Bass fishing - Tournaments allow for more participants and higher fish survival


ALTON — It is typically quiet around the lake at 6 a.m., as most animals and people are still sleeping and boats have yet to be launched for a day of leisure. However, certain pockets of shoreline awake earlier than others, as dozens of avid fisherman arrive at the lake shoreline early to prepare for a day of competitive bass fishing.

Throughout the state, bass fishing has been a sport that has attracted many a large demographic of people from all regions of New Hampshire. The Lakes Region is host a multitude of tournaments that occur throughout the April through October season, which are run by a number of fishing clubs in the area.

The New Hampshire Bass Federation has been hosting tournaments for more than a decade and is currently in the middle of a strong 2017 season, according to Justin Brighan, vice president of the federation.

Brighan has held the position of vice president for 15 years, and during that time he has various changes take place in the bass fishing community.

Some of the changes have been technical changes, including different sizes of boats being used and advanced safety technology that promotes catch and release. The evolution of boats and storage systems are seen as positive changes by Brighan, as they allow for better fishing and a higher survival rate of fish that are caught.

One of the contested changes, that some people believe has a largely negative impact on the fishing community, is the prevalence of Rock Bass in the lakes. Lake Sunapee experienced an overpopulation of rock bass a few years ago, which resulted in the pushing out of smallmouth bass. But, with efforts conducted by the New Hampshire Department of Fish and Game, the number of Rock Bass residing in the lake has decreased and fisherman are catching much bigger bass now than they had in the past, according to Brighan.

The changes in technology and the ecology of bass fishing in the region has been coupled with an additional change in demographics of people participating in the tournaments.

“A huge change that we have seen is in who is going out to the tournaments now,” said Brighan. “Now we are seeing a lot of youth, because there has been a big push for younger people to get involved with fishing to continue the sport on for years to come.”

The push for more young people to become involved in fishing for sport has also been expressed by various school districts in the area that now offer fishing as a school sport. By getting involved in fishing at the high school level, young people are able to learn new skills and techniques and begin competing in tournaments.

The early entry into fishing tournaments often incites younger people to stay involved in events later in their lives. However, those who are a more seasoned fisherman and have not participated in a tournament are still encouraged to register for an upcoming event.

“I know that it can be overwhelming for people to come out to a tournament if they are not used to it,” said Brighan. “With our federation we try to be streamlined and welcome all people whether they are on shore or on the lake as a kayaker or boaters. We don’t want to be intimidating.”

The process of getting involved in a fishing tournament differs depending on the fisherman’s interest. Fishermen who want to participate in tournaments frequently are encouraged to join one of the many fishing clubs that has emerged throughout the state. Those who do not want to commit to frequent fishing tournaments or want are a first time tournament goer can participate in one of the public tournaments held in the area.

On Sunday, Aug. 20, the Massachusetts Bass Federation will be hosting a public tournament on Winnisquam Lake, which will be launched out of State and Martels location in Alton. For more information about the fishing tournament visit the Fish and Game website at

Other open tournaments have been planned for the next few months, including one held by the New Hampshire Bass Federation on Sunday, Oct. 22, on Squam Lake in Holderness. For this tournament, like most others, fisherman are asked to arrive around 6 a.m., approximately one hour before the 7 a.m. launch time. Fisherman must have boats inspected to be sure they are not bringing fish into the lake from other water bodies, and a registration form must be completed. During open-tournaments a registration fee is required, but a membership fee is not.

Following the launch, an average of 50 fisherman usually takes to the lake in the hopes of catching a prize bass. On Lake Winnipesaukee, fisherman often catch smallmouth bass between 3 to 4 pounds and largemouth bass anywhere from 6 to 8 pounds.

“We’ve seen fisherman catch some really big fish, although it really does depend on the size of the lake you are fishing on and the season that you are fishing,” said Brighan. “The best time to fish is in the spring or the fall because there is less activity on the lake with boats and the fish are feeding more.”

As prime bass fishing season is approaching with the start of the fall, Brighan suggests that people begin planning for upcoming tournaments ahead of time. For more information on the fall fishing tournament conducted by the New Hampshire Bass Federation visit  


City marks Train station’s 125th anniversary


(Courtesy photo)

Laconia to celebrate historic passenger station with entertainment there and in Veterans Square Saturday


Celebrate Laconia will mark the 125th anniversary of the opening of the historic railroad station in Veterans Square Saturday with a ceremony which includes music, speeches, train rides and a pig roast.
The ceremony gets underway at 10:30 a.m. with entertainment by the New Horizons Band, followed by an opening ceremony at 11 a.m., which will feature presentations by Carl Byron, past president of the Boston and Maine Historical Society, on the history of the Laconia Passenger Station and remarks by former Laconia Mayors Rod Dyer and Paul Fitzgerald.
Pam Clark, president of Celebrate Laconia, a nonprofit group which is organizing the celebration of Laconia’s 125th anniversary as a city, which takes place in 2018, will talk about future events which are planned.
The ceremony will be highlighted by the unveiling of a the National Register Historic Plaque for the station, which has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982.
The Winnipesuakee Scenic Railroad will provide 50-minute train rides at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. A pig roast provided by Kevin Halligan of the Local Eatery starts at noon, and over 30 vendor booths will be set up in Veterans Square for the event.
Live entertainment will be provided throughout the afternoon by Annie and the Orphans, Tyler Road and The Rockin’ Daddios.
From its very beginning, the Romanesque Revival station has ben considered an architectural masterpiece. The 1899 “Illustrated Laconian: History and Industries” reported “the Laconia depot at the time of its construction was pronounced by competent judges to be ‘without doubt, all things considered, the best structure of the kind in America.’”
An article in The Laconia Democrat concerning the Aug. 22, 1892, dedication of the station, said, “The main features of the building are the port-cochere at the entrance and the large general waiting room or rotunda, open to the roof, with clerestory windows on all sides. The floor of this room is of tile, and the walls to a height of ten feet are finished in quartered oak, and above that plastered and tinted in two shades of chrome.”
An article on the Lake Winnipesaukee Museum website (, Victorian Railroad Station of Laconia, NH, said the idea to replace Laconia’s original, one-room railroad station came from Charles A. Busiel, a successful Laconia businessman who also served as a New Hampshire governor from 1895-97 and was elected as Laconia’s first mayor in 1893.
The son of John Busiel, who built the Busiel Mill, Charles Busiel was president of the Laconia National Bank and the City Savings Bank. He was also president of the Lake Shore Railroad and director of the Concord & Montreal Railroad, which operated the rail line through Laconia when the station was built.
The station is often referred to as the Boston and Maine Railroad station but was built before the B&M purchased the Boston, Concord and Montreal Railroad in 1895.
Busiel had been presented with a gold-headed cane in 1890 when the Lake Shore Railroad, which had been a work in progress for 50 years, was completed from Alton to Laconia. There it linked up with the Boston, Concord and Montreal line, providing links to the Seacoast, Boston and Montreal and making Laconia an important railroad crossroads.
What was missing was the kind of grand structure which highlighted its importance. But it wasn’t long before the ground was laid for the replacement of the small wooden structure in the downtown area which had served as the city’s original station.
In April 1891, a contract was signed to build the new railroad station and the railroad moved the previous station across the way. Four homes were razed and a total of seven properties were bought in whole or part to expand the footprint of the new station.
S.S. Ordway & Co. of Massachusetts was chosen contractor for the project, which cost $30,000. An additional $22,000 was spent on the purchase of property, including the four homes which were razed.
The station’s architect was Bradford Gilbert, known for designing the first steel-framed curtain wall building in New York, the Tower Building which was completed in 1889 and many consider to have been the first skyscraper. He also designed a number of railroad stations, at least five of which are on the National Register as well as a Flatiron building in Atlanta which was built five years before its New York City counterpart.
The most striking architectural feature of the Laconia station was its central waiting room, a rotunda more than 50 feet in height. The room also featured a huge red sandstone fireplace and was ringed with clerestory stained glass windows. Work on the building was completed in 16 months.
The building was a centerpiece of Laconia’s downtown for many years and, unlike its counterpart in Concord, which was torn down, survives as a landmark to this day.
The Boston and Maine Railroad operated the station until 1958. It was later sold to the city of Laconia and rail service continued until the last Boston and Maine passenger train came to Laconia on Jan. 3, 1965.
In 1963, Laconia began to renovate the station for use as the Laconia Police Department and the Laconia District Court. Both the police department and the court remained in the building until 1979.
Over the years, the old railroad station, which passed into private hands in 1982, has served as an office for the local chamber of commerce, as a coffee shop, a jewelry store, a floral shop, various restaurants, and bank offices.


125th Anniversary celebration of the Laconia Passenger Station Ceremony


10:30-11:00 Entertainment by New Horizon’s Band

11:00AM Procession of Dignitaries: “Under the Double Eagle”   composer Josef Wagner 1893

                                                                                                                 Played by New Horizons Band

Master of Ceremonies Pat Kelly introduces honored guests

Welcome: Mayor Ed Engler

Presentation: Executive Councilor Joe Kenney

History of the Laconia Passenger Station: Carl Byron, Past President of the Boston and Maine Historical Society

Remarks: Former Mayors Rod Dyer (75th Anniversary) and Paul Fitzgerald (100th Anniversary)

Song: “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”   performed by 3rd Graders from Pleasant Street School

Celebrate Laconia 2018 Future Events: Pam Clark. President Celebrate Laconia

Today’s Activities and Thank yous: Pat Kelly

Unveiling of the National Historic Register Plaque

Musical Selections by New Horizons Band:

“Hobo Train” a medley of songs by composer Ralph O’Reilly include “Wabash Cannonball”, “Get on Board’, “This Train is bound for Glory” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”.

“Take the A Train” by Duke Ellington


Dignitaries and local citizens will board the first of three rides on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad where they will be entertained by “ A Sharp Foursome Quartet” members of the “Lakes Region Chorsdmen


125th Anniversary Laconia Passenger Station Block Party Program of Events

12:00. 1:00, 2:00: 50 minute train rides on the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad featuring “A Sharp Foursome Quartet” members of the Lakes Region Chordsmen

                                                                                                                   Price: $10 adults

                                                                                                                              $5 children 12 and under

12:00-5:00 Trackless Train rides for children                                                   $2.00


12:00-1:30 “Annie and the Orphans”                                 Ongoing LHMS exhibit in the Gallery of “The

2:00-3:30   “Tyler Road”                                                       History of the Laconia Passenger Station and

4:00-6:00   “Rockin Daddios”                                                 the “History of the Laconia Streetcar”

                                                                                                     1:00-1:40 Storytelling of favorite train stories

                                                                                                    With Gail Drucker in Rotary Hall

                                                                                                     2:00-3:00 LHMS monthly lecture in Rotary Hall

                                                                                                  “Trolley Cars of Laconia” by Phil Morse of the

                                                                                           Seashore Trolley Museum, Kennebunkport, Maine

                                                                                                       Refreshments will be served.

KIDS ZONE (Children’s Tent)

Face Painting

11:00-2:30Spider Web Activity “sponsored by Prescott Farm

12:00-1:00 “Five Big Freight Trains” art activity with Ellen Ward-Hill and Courtney Leighton teachers

                                                                                                                                           Pleasant Street School

2:00-3:00 “Nascimento” Magic Show with Larry Frates

3:00-5:00 Art projects and storytelling with Larry Frates of Frates Creates

5:00-6:00 “Nascimento” returns


                                                     ONGOING ACTIVITIES     11:00-6:00PM


  • Over 30 Vendor Booths including crafts and food
  • Rotunda open with model train exhibit, Boston and Maine Historical Society Display and

Operation Life Safety

  • Antique Car
  • “Coal” Hole Tournament
  • Live Alpacas
  • Locomotion Raffle and Silent Auction
  • Celebrate Laconia Merchandise Table
  • Open House at the Congregational Church serving lemonade and cookies on the front lawn, a Christmas in August table, and organ music with Bob Bengsten inside the church
  • 11:00-3:00 Model Trains will be running at the Laconia Antique Center





                      CORN ON THE COB                                                           $12.00

                       POTATO SALAD







8 19hydrothing

Drew Morin of Laconia is propelled high above the water using a hydro-jetovator on Lake Winnipesaukee. (Courtesy photo)

LACONIA — At first glance, it may appear that people are completing an unnatural feat as they fly a few feet above the water. Yet, upon a closer look it becomes clear that the people are being propelled by a hydro-jetovator, an up-and-coming water toy that has hit the lakes this season.

The hydro-jetovator is a unique water toy, as it requires a water propulsion system that comes from a jet ski and puts the water under the board people stand on. This differs from water skis or wakeboards that merely require the wake of a boat to keep them afloat.

“It’s like nothing I have ever done in the water before,” said Drew Morin, an avid boater from Laconia.

Using the hydro-jetovator came naturally for Morin, who said that the watercraft is much easier to master than wakeboarding or water skiing.

“It’s not actually that difficult to do; most people get up on the first try,” said Morin. “All you need to do is get the feeling of water pressure under your feet and then you just need to just a little bit of balance to stay floating around.”