CONCORD, N.H. — Anglers were out Sunday as fishing season got under way under sunny skies in New Hampshire and Maine, but questions lingered about the effect of the unusually warm winter on the fishery.
Fishermen were dropping their lines along 15 lakes that New Hampshire Fish and Game officers stock with salmon and lake trout.
“It’s sunny, in the mid- to high 40s. It’s a nice day to fish,” said Richard Bernard, a fishing guide from Londonderry, who reported seeing a number of anglers along southern New Hampshire waterways Sunday morning.
With ice also long gone on many Maine lakes, open-water season also began Sunday. In Vermont, the statewide season for trout and salmon opens the second Saturday in April on inland lakes and streams. In the meantime, anglers can take advantage of year-round catch-and-release trout fishing on nine river sections.
In New Hampshire, Fish and Game officials say the mild winter that frustrated ice fishermen means there will be an abundance of fish for the open-water anglers. But a fisheries biologist noted that the unusual winter could disrupt the life cycles of freshwater fish.
Don Miller, large lake fisheries biologist for New Hampshire Fish and Game, told the Laconia Daily Sun that the warmer-than-usual temperatures could affect freshwater fish.
Because there’s little to no snowpack, there won’t be a spring melt to fill streams and rivers. With bodies of water already at about mid-summer levels, it will be harder for fish attempting to swim up streams and brooks to spawn. They may become stuck in pools, where they will be more susceptible to predators, he said.
The 15 Granite State lakes that state Fish and Game stocks with landlocked salmon and lake trout are Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, Conway, Newfound, Sunapee, Ossipee, Big and Little Squam Lakes, the First and Second Connecticut Lakes, Lake Francis, Nubanusit Lake, Merrymeeting Lake and Big Dan Hole Pond.
Pleasant Lake in New London is stocked as well, but is classified as a trout pond. Its season opens April 28.