Stocked fish usually aren’t the hardest to hook, or fight the hardest, but they are great to introduce new anglers to the sport or just give you that great feeling of a tug on the end of your line. But, for the remote reaches of New Hampshire, it’s hard to get stock trucks to some of their lakes, so they pack up the helicopter instead.
In one day last week, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s aerial stocking program more than 114,000 fish were dropped in 48 locations, from Lake Solitude in Newbury to Boundary Pond in Pittsburg.
“Back-country ponds are harder to get to, and because of that fact, these trout grow much larger,” said fisheries biologist Don Miller. “And the wilderness setting is something a lot of people are really looking forward to, rather than just driving off the side of the road and fishing a roadside pond or stream.”
This is not a new concept or even a new program. New Hampshire has had aerial stocking since 1947 and has been using helicopters 1974. They have recently added pontoons to their helicopters to allow them to land on the lake and reduce the mortality rate that comes from dumping the fingerlings from the air.
“There’s not too many places in the area that you can get a good hike and have quality fishing like that,” said angler Art Rafus. “To be able to hike an hour up a mountain or whatever and come out to a beautiful, pristine pond that you know is not polluted water, that’s one of the best things.” –Brian McClintock