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Winni Awakening

By Tom Richardson; Videography by A.J. Derosa

Join ENE host Tom Richardson as he experiences the annual rebirth of New Hampshire’s largest lake through a salmon-trolling trip with guide Jason Parent and a mid-May kayak excursion to Stonedam Island, one of a handful of islands that are open to the public for hiking and exploring the natural world.

Salmon fishing on Winnipesaukee is at its peak just after ice-out. The best action is available from a boat, and Parent has the strategy dialed in with planer boards and downriggers. He looks for areas where schools of smelt are prevalent (much depends on wind direction), then slow-trolls live shiners or metal spoons positioned at different depths to cover the upper water column. The lake is stocked annually with salmon raised in hatcheries, but many survive several years and can reach several pounds.

Spring is also a great time to visit Stonedam, to witness terrestrial life starting to emerge. The island features a mix of hardwood and conifer forest, as well as a vernal pool where various amphibians lay their eggs. Expect to see a variety of warblers migrating through the island in spring, and you may also hear barred owls calling during the day. Stonedam can be reached by kayak or canoe from Cattle Landing in Moultonborough, but keep a close eye on the weather, as the route takes you across open water. The island features a wooden pier where boaters can tie up.




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