CONCORD — Bring the kids and explore the life cycle of landlocked salmon, fish prized by anglers on New Hampshire’s big lakes, at the state Fish and Game Department’s annual Salmon Sunday event on Sunday, Nov. 10, from noon-2 p.m. at Pope Dam in Melvin Village.
Pope Dam is 9 miles north of Wolfeboro on Route 109 in Tuftonboro.
“Salmon Sunday is a great chance for everyone to get a close-up look at landlocked salmon from Lake Winnipesaukee in their fall spawning colors,” said Fisheries Biologist John Viar. “Kids love to see the big salmon, averaging about three pounds each, and watch biologists collect the eggs.”
During the event, fisheries biologists will be busy harvesting, or “stripping,” eggs and milt from adult salmon. Standing knee-deep in the cold water of the Melvin River, scientists expertly relieve the colorful adult female salmon of their eggs by stroking their stomachs. Milt from the male fish is obtained in the same way and mixed with the gold-colored eggs to fertilize them.
This activity is all part of the work the Fish and Game Department carries out each year, with support from the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Program, to maintain the landlocked salmon population in New Hampshire’s big lakes.
Salmon used for the stripping demonstration are netted from Lake Winnipesaukee during October and early November. They are returned to the lake after their eggs and milt have been collected. The fertilized eggs are taken to one of Fish and Game’s hatcheries, where newborn fish will hatch in three to four months. The salmon are raised in the hatchery for about 18 months and then stocked into Lake Winnipesaukee and other New Hampshire lakes.
Fish and Game staff will be on hand to answer questions about salmon, the egg-stripping process and the stocking program that ensures these beautiful fish continue to be available in the lakes for anglers to catch. Salmon Sunday is a rain or shine event, and children are encouraged to participate in the process. Dress warmly.
If you have questions about Salmon Sunday, you can call (603) 744-5470.
Learn more about fisheries management in New Hampshire, which is funded in part by the federal Sport Fish Registration Program (financed by your purchases of fishing equipment and motorboat fuel), at fishnh.com/fishing/fisheries-mgt.