Fish and Game Take Trout to the Skies

Trout literally took flight this month, as the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department delivered fingerling fish to some of the state’s most remote waters. Every year in June, a helicopter hired by Fish and Game stocks remote ponds from Sunapee to Pittsburg. During this one-day event, which this year took place on June 13, some 48 remote New Hampshire ponds were stocked with brook trout fingerlings raised in Fish and Game’s New Hampton Hatchery.

The stocking of remote ponds in the backcountry of New Hampshire provides a unique opportunity for anglers seeking a true wilderness experience. While the trout delivered during the current year by air are small, those stocked last June should have reached 5-6 inches in most areas, and 2-year-old fish may reach 12 inches or better.

“It’s time to grab your float tube, a light-weight fly rod and rubber boots and pack a lunch for a day on a remote pond,” said Fish and Game Hatcheries Supervisor Jason Smith. “Brook trout that were stocked last year should be well into their summer diets of mayflies. Evening trips in late June and early July can private dry fly enthusiasts one last great opportunity for catching fish on the surface. As we get into July, even these high elevation ponds will heat up enough to where many of the trout will seek thermal refuge in the deeper waters.”

For an exciting, in-depth look at the experience of aerial stocking, check out this Associated Press video from this year’s helicopter trip:

Serene, remote ponds not only produce beautiful brook trout with high catch rates, but also give the outdoor enthusiast an opportunity for wildlife viewing, hiking, camping or just simple solitude. Many of these remote ponds are located off popular hiking trails. As with any hiking excursion, be sure to follow hiking safety guidelines.

A few of these remote ponds are designated as “fly fishing only,” so be sure to check the regulations prior to your trip. For the list of remote ponds that are stocked, check the Fish and Game website.

The aerial trout stocking program is made possible through fishing license sales and with assistance from the Wildlife Heritage Foundation of New Hampshire. To contribute to this effort, visit their website and designate your donation for aerial trout stocking.


Trout and Fly Fishing Ponds Open this Weekend

Fishing in New Hampshire’s designated trout ponds and fly-fishing-only ponds opens this year on April 28, 2012, offering anglers the chance to experience exciting fishing in some of the Granite State’s most scenic surroundings. These ponds are managed specifically for trout, and fishing is allowed through October 15.

“These trout ponds are often the best waters in a given area for a variety of reasons,” said New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Fisheries Biologist Don Miller. “Excellent habitat, low species competition and the fact that these ponds are closed to ice-fishing allow these waters to be managed for the trout fishing enthusiast.” Ponds managed for trout may be stocked with one or more species, including brook, rainbow and/or brown trout, with age classes ranging from “yearlings”, 8-12 inches; 2-year olds, 12-15 inches; and 3+ year olds measured in pounds.

“Trout are prized by anglers because they can be a challenge to catch, and fishing for them is one of the traditional rites of spring,” Miller said. “Whether your passion is a multi-colored brook trout, a leaping rainbow or the determined fight of a brown, there’s a New Hampshire trout pond within reasonable driving distance for you.”

Hot Hole Pond and Clough Pond in Loudon, French Pond in Henniker, Mount William Pond in Weare, Dublin Lake in Dublin, Lucas Pond (tiger trout) in Northwood, and Barbadoes Pond in Madbury are a few of the generously stocked early season hotspots where opening day trout are taken. It gets no better than this for taking the youngsters along with a simple garden hackle under a bobber, or floating PowerBait fished just off the bottom.

Due to the mild winter we have experienced, this year may find some of our northern ponds ice-free. There are many popular ponds located from the Lakes Region north to Pittsburg. They include Echo Lake in Franconia, Russell Pond in Woodstock, Conner Pond and Duncan Lake in Ossipee, White Lake in Tamworth, Perch Pond in Campton, Saltmarsh Pond in Gilford, Spectacle Pond in Groton, Back Lake in Pittsburg, Fish Pond in Columbia and Little Diamond Pond in Stewartstown.

For those looking for a true wilderness experience, check out one of the approximately 50 remote trout ponds Fish and Game annually stocks with fingerling brook trout via helicopter, listed online here. Flat Mountain Pond in Sandwich, Cole Pond in Enfield, which is fly fishing only, Butterfield Pond in Wilmot, Peaked Hill Pond in Thornton, Black Pond and Lonesome Lake in Lincoln are just a sampling of these delightful ponds, where fingerling brook trout often grow to 8-10 inches by their second growing season, and it’s not unusual to pull in brookies 15 inches or longer. Trophy, remote-pond brook trout three or more years old, some in excess of 17-18 inches, are available to the anglers who wish to fish in the “backcountry.”

Archery Pond in Allenstown, which features a wheelchair-accessible casting platform, and Stonehouse Pond in Barrington are two popular fly-fishing-only ponds that will be ice-free and well stocked for the opener. If you travel over to Antrim and fish Willard Pond, which produced the state record tiger trout caught in 2011, you will be treated to forested, undeveloped shorelines and the “triple treat” of fly-fishing: brook, rainbow and tiger trout.

Further north, some excellent fly-fishing-only ponds include Upper Hall Pond in Sandwich, Sky Pond in New Hampton and Profile Lake in Franconia on these waters; check the fish digest for special regulations. In addition, White Pond in Ossipee and Coon Brook Bog in Pittsburg offer excellent opportunities to “match the hatch” throughout spring and early summer.

For a list of trout ponds and fly-fishing-only ponds in New Hampshire, as well as a description of special rules that apply to certain ponds, consult the 2012 New Hampshire Freshwater Fishing Digest, available online or from any Fish and Game license agent when you buy your license.

Below are four remote ponds located in Sandwich, NH.

View Sandwich Ponds in a larger map