Catch the King of Fish — Brood Stock Atlantic Salmon

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CONCORD, N.H. — Spring is here — flowers are blooming, birds are singing, black flies are biting and it’s time to fish for brood stock salmon.  The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is planning to release more than 1,500 Atlantic salmon into the Pemigewasset and Merrimack Rivers — three times the number of fish that were released last year.

“There is something for everyone, from respectable two pounders to trophy-sized, 18-pound fish,” said Matt Carpenter, Fish and Game’s Anadromous Fish Program Coordinator. 

The record snowpack this winter has kept the rivers high so far this spring, but the bulk of the melt is over and flows are reaching ideal levels.  The best fishing for brood stock salmon is during May and early June, when the water temperature remains cool.  Depending on the weather, by some point in June the water gets too warm (70 degrees F) for the fish, and they tend to migrate downstream out of the stocking area. 

If all goes well, Fish and Game will start to put fish in this week (May 12 – 16, 2008).  To account for the tendency of Atlantic salmon to migrate downstream, we will stock most of the salmon below the Ayers Island and Franklin Falls dams.  This will give anglers more chances to catch the fish as they move south. Smaller numbers of salmon will be stocked at Sewalls Falls, below Hooksett Dam and below the Amoskeag Dam, to provide better fishing opportunities for people who live in southern New Hampshire and may not be able to make the trip up north.

To fish for brood stock salmon, anglers need a current New Hampshire fishing license and an $11 brood stock salmon permit.  Both can be purchased online at or from Fish and Game license agents statewide.  

For more information on New Hampshire’s brood stock salmon fishery, including an access map, visit

New Hampshire has the only managed Atlantic salmon river fishery in New England.  Only salmon marked by Fish and Game with a T-bar anchor at the base of the dorsal fin may be kept, and the bag limit remains 1 per day and 5 total for the season.