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Brood Stock Atlantic Salmon Offer Exciting Fall Fishing in New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. - N.H. anglers looking for some challenging  catch-and-release sport fishing while they're enjoying the fall foliage should  head to the Merrimack and Pemigewasset rivers to hook the "King of  Fish."  October and November are the best  months for fall Atlantic salmon fishing in New Hampshire.  This fall the New Hampshire Fish and Game  Department has stocked the Merrimack River basin with about 600 brood stock  Atlantic salmon, averaging about 3 to 5 pounds each.   The fish are  now in, so get out and enjoy some great salmon fishing!

"This is the best looking group of fish for fall release  that I've seen in a few years," said Matt Carpenter, a Fisheries Biologist with  the Anadromous Fisheries Restoration Program.   "Anglers with experience catching broodstock salmon in the fall will be  pleasantly surprised at the size of some of these fish."

Fisheries statistics suggest that the success rate for  catching salmon is higher in the fall than in the spring season. The brood  stock Atlantic salmon season runs year-round, but all salmon caught from  October 1 through March 31 must be released immediately.

To fish for brood stock salmon, anglers need a current  New Hampshire fishing license and an $11 brood stock salmon permit; both are  available at or from license agents statewide.  All proceeds from salmon permits support the  Merrimack River Anadromous Fish Restoration Program, created in 1993 by Fish  and Game, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to help  restore migratory fish populations to the Merrimack River watershed.

To watch a 3-minute video of NH fishing guide Jon  Lockwood fishing for brood stock Atlantic salmon in the Merrimack, visit

The brood stock salmon were stocked this fall at two  sites -- below the Eastman Falls Dam in Franklin and the Ayers Island Dam in  Bristol. The majority of the fish were released in the Bristol area.  The first good spots to try for the brood  stock salmon are below the Ayers Island Dam in Bristol along the  Coolidge Woods Road, the Profile Falls Recreation Area (the access  site near the Smith River confluence), below the Eastman Falls Dam in  Franklin and the public boat launch behind the Franklin High School on the Winnipesaukee River. Find more information and an access  map at

Carpenter suggests that anglers use traditional salmon  flies or trout streamers such as Grey Ghosts, Mickey Finns or any patterns that  imitate small baitfish.  Fishing with  spinning gear is allowed in the section of the river below the Garvins Falls  Dam in Bow.  Anglers should review the  special regulations for brood stock salmon at the Fish and Game website.

Brood stock salmon anglers can help the program by  reporting their catch to Fish and Game.   If you have questions, comments, or just want to share your fishing  experience, call Matt Carpenter (603-271-2612).

Brood stock salmon are kept by the US Fish and Wildlife  Service to produce offspring, or "fry," more than a million of which  are released each spring to in an effort to restore sea-running fish to the  Merrimack River basin. After spawning at the hatchery, the brood stock fish are  released in the Merrimack, creating the only managed salmon fishery in New  England.

Fish and Game's programs for restoring anadromous fish,  managing and researching fisheries and teaching people about aquatic resources  are made possible in part by the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program,  funded through purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuels. Visit Fish  and Game at

Information taken from the NH Fish and Game website

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