The Atlantic Salmon Brood Stock Fishery
In 1993, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, in cooperation with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, created the Atlantic salmon brood stock program to provide a unique recreational fishing opportunity in the Merrimack River. Approximately 1,500 brood stock Atlantic salmon, weighing 3 to 12 pounds each, are released annually in the Merrimack and lower Pemigewasset rivers. The fishery includes both a spring and a fall stocking program.
The brood stock program is part of the Merrimack River Anadromous Fish Restoration Program. Before they are released, these brood fish provide eggs for the restoration program’s fry-stocking efforts. Each year, the NH Fish and Game Department, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service and conservation groups stock over one million fry in the Merrimack River and its tributaries.
While the brood stock program has generated a lot of enthusiasm among anglers, the recreational fishing opportunity is secondary to the overall goal of restoring salmon, shad and river herring to the Merrimack River.
Permit Required: Anglers age 16 and older must purchase an Atlantic Salmon Brood Stock Permit ($11) in addition to a regular NH freshwater fishing license. No license or permit is required for anglers younger than 16 years old.
Season: Year-round. Exception: Salmon taken from October 1 through March 31 must be immediately released.
Bag Limits: The daily limit for salmon is 1 fish. The season limit for salmon is 5 fish. The minimum total length for salmon is 15 inches.
Identification of Legal Salmon:
Anglers can identify brood stock salmon by a T-bar anchor tag attached to one side of the base of the dorsal fin. Only salmon marked with a T-bar anchor tag may be kept. The tag must remain attached to the salmon while on or leaving the water. Any salmon not identified by a T-bar anchor tag must be immediately released.
For more information and a map, see FishNH.com/Fishing/atlantic_salmon.htm or call (603) 271-2501.
Rivers and Streams Stocked with Juvenile Atlantic Salmon
A number of rivers and streams are stocked with juvenile Atlantic salmon as part of cooperative state-federal agency restoration programs in the Merrimack and Connecticut River basins. Be sure to know the difference between Atlantic salmon and trout, as regulations require that all juvenile salmon be released.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.