CONCORD, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is looking for volunteers to help stock millions of inch-long salmon fry (young salmon) into the Merrimack River basin, several rivers and streams in the Upper Connecticut River watershed in northern New Hampshire, and the Monadnock region of southwestern New Hampshire’s Connecticut River watershed.

The stocking plays a vital role in restoring runs of salmon to New Hampshire’s waterways. Fry released in these river systems and their tributaries stay and grow in the rivers for about two years before migrating to the ocean. When the salmon are about four years old, they will try to return to these rivers to spawn.

MERRIMACK RIVER: If you can lend a hand with the Merrimack watershed effort, call Vikki Leonard, N.H. Fish and Game Inland Fisheries Division, at (603) 271-2501 or email fisheries@wildlife.nh.gov. Please leave your name, home address and email address, telephone number and which days you might be available. Volunteers will release close to 1.4 million salmon fry in the Merrimack River watershed on April 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, 29 and May 4 and 6, 2010. Approximately ten volunteers are needed for each day of stocking.

UPPER CONNECTICUT RIVER: More than half a million salmon fry will be stocked in northern New Hampshire. If you can volunteer to help with efforts to stock fry in the Upper Connecticut River watershed, contact Andrew Schafermeyer, N.H. Fish and Game Fisheries Biologist, at (603) 788-3164 or email andrew.schafermeyer@wildlife.nh.gov for meeting times and places. There will be opportunities for six days of volunteer stocking (including one Saturday) in the Upper Connecticut River watershed during the end of April and first week of May. On Thursday, April 29, 2010, Nash Stream will be stocked (meet at the Fish and Game regional office in Lancaster at 10:30 a.m.). The upper part of the Ammonoosuc River from Bretton Woods down to Littleton will be stocked with salmon fry on Friday, April 30 (meet at Foster’s Crossroads Store in Twin Mountain at 10:00 a.m.). The third day of stocking will be Saturday, May 1, 2010 (meet at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Littleton at 9:30 a.m. and proceed downriver).

On Monday, May 3, 2010, salmon fry will be stocked in the Gale River, Israel River and the Little River (meeting at Foster’s Crossroads Store at 10:00 a.m.). The Mohawk River will be stocked on Wednesday, May 5 (meeting 10:30 a.m. at N.H. Fish and Game’s Region 1 office in Lancaster). On Thursday, May 6, 2010, the Wild Ammonoosuc River will be stocked (meet at the Wildwood Picnic Area on Route 112 in Easton at 9:30 a.m.).

MONADNOCK REGION: Over half a million Atlantic salmon fry are also stocked each spring in the Monadnock region in southwestern New Hampshire's Connecticut River watershed. Additional volunteers are not generally needed for this effort, which involves seven days of stocking in late April and May. The contact for stocking in this area is Gabe Gries, Fisheries Biologist, N.H. Fish and Game, at (603) 352-9669 or gabriel.gries@wildlife.nh.gov.

Many individuals and groups take part in the fry stocking effort, including state and federal fisheries personnel, conservation organizations such as Trout Unlimited, and other interested citizens. Volunteers carry the inch-long salmon fry to release points along rivers and streams in the watershed. They should be prepared for an all-day commitment and rigorous walking with heavy buckets of water and fish. Waders, hip boots or old sneakers are recommended footwear for stocking. You may get wet, so bring extra socks and clothing layers, etc. Stocking will take place rain or shine. Pack a lunch and drinking water, waders or hip boots and be prepared to spend the whole day on the river.

For more information about the Anadromous Fish Restoration Program in New Hampshire, which is funded by the Sport Fish Restoration Program, visit Anadromous Fish Restoration Program -- N.H. Fish and Game.