Southern New Hampshire Life

Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

Southern New Hampshire Life - Southern New Hampshire Blog by Steve Russo, Realtor

Bob Houses and Ice Fishing

About this time every year in New Hampshire, the number of waterfront properties increases dramatically. Within the course of a few weeks, hundreds of new structures dot the lakes and ponds throughout the state.

What causes this great housing increase? Bob houses! These portable “shanties,” as they are called by those in the know, are wheeled or pushed onto ice-covered bodies of water by die hard fisherman and their friends and followers each winter. No one knows for sure where bob houses got their name. There are various theories: they could be named for the bobsleds that some used to bring their shacks out onto the ponds, or because “bob” is an old fashioned term for short or small (as in bobtail or bobbed hair), or because your shanty will be bobbing in the water if you leave it out on a lake too long.

Bob Houses on Lake Potanipo

Statistics show that 25{6da90d3849ec5634a5b7617fb2fe46a655feac6f5bf56f53403b0961171136b9} of New Hampshire fishing enthusiasts enjoy going out to fish regardless of the cold weather. Fishing on one of the state’s many lakes and ponds is a great winter pastime. While some people fish out in the open, many bring a plastic tent, the true (and experienced) fisher folk bring shacks out onto the water bodies. These shacks can be crude plywood constructions, or they can be small well-constructed shed-like houses that have carpeting, electricity, stoves, and even heaters and televisions. There are stories of some shanties that not only have lighting, but have crystal chandeliers. Chatting with friends and downing cold drinks (that don’t need any artificial refrigeration) is a great way to while away the hours while you wait for a pull on your line. After drilling holes in the ice with your auger, you can sit back and relax until the active cold weather fish – perch, pike, crappie, and others – tug your line to get your attention.

The bob house and ice fishing season is from ice-in, usually in December, to ice-out, usually in mid-April. Lakes under State trout and salmon management have an official season of January 1st through March 31st. But don’t venture onto the ice without checking with locals to make sure the ice is thick enough to support you and whatever you are bringing with you. All bob houses must be removed from lakes and ponds by April 1st, but of course, if it’s unseasonably warm, remove it – or lose it – before the ice cracks under the weight of your home and/or vehicle. Every year there are tales of lost houses…

Bob Houses, Lake Potanipo, 1/13

There are a lot of friendly get-togethers among bob house fishermen and women, and they have a lot of fun out on the ice. For the more serious sportsman, there are dozens of competitive ice fishing derbies across the state, but the one that attracts the most participants is Meredith’s annual Great Rotary Ice Fishing Derby. As many as 6,000 anglers compete for dozen of prizes, including $ 40,000+ in cash prizes,  and boats, trailers, and other  fishing gear give-aways . This year Derby Weekend will be February 9-10. For details, visit the Meredith Rotary Club website.

If you want to try bob housing, check out the New England Sportsman’s extensive ice fishing website. The NH Fish and Game Commission has a good site with the regulations everyone should observe.

On the other hand, if you want to try to convince someone to come in from the cold and give up ice fishing, you may want to show him or her this short video.

The NH Farm & Forest Exposition

Southern New Hampshire is home to many farms and woodlots, large and small.  In addition, many homeowners include gardening or part-time farming among their hobbies. As there’s not much a farmer or gardener can do outside this time of year, it’s the perfect time for the 30th Anniversary Farm and Forest Exposition! This year the Expo will be Friday and Saturday February 8th and 9th at the Center of New Hampshire in the Radisson Hotel in Manchester.

Many programs are geared to full-time farmers, but there are many sessions that are directed to backyard gardeners and homeowners as well. Some presentations will cover farm management subjects like keeping farm animals healthy, running a farmer’s market, farm labor laws and regulations, the locovore movement, and how to adjust crops in a time of climate change.  Others have a wider audience in mind, such as programs on rain gardens, small-scale maple sugaring, growing plants from seed, the care and feeding of your chainsaw, beekeeping, and how to resurrect a declining barn.

Speakers will be experts in the farming, conservation, and restaurant fields, including Margaret Hagen of the UNH Cooperative Extension Service, well-known for her informative segments on WMUR-TV news.

The NH Farm and Forest Exposition is co-sponsored by the UNH Cooperative Extension Service, the NH Division of Forests and Lands, and the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Food.  The Expo’s hours will be 9 to 5 on Friday and 9 to 4 on Saturday; admission is $ 7, with free admission for people 15 and under. The Radisson is located at 700 Elm Street in Manchester.

For full details see the NH Farm and Forest Exposition website.

14th Annual Penguin Plunge at Hampton Beach

Liven up your Sunday morning on February 3rd with a quick plunge into the frigid waters off Hampton Beach.  This Special Olympics New Hampshire fundraiser attracts hundreds of swimming enthusiasts every year.  Plungers raise funds for Special Olympics NH by soliciting donations of $ 350 from friends, business associates, and family members.

This year Mark Ericson and Karen Kiley from WOKQ will join WMUR’s Chief Meteorologist Mike Haddad to welcome the Penguins.  The Plunge will take place “rain, snow, or shine.”  This year’s theme is “Going to the Chapel.”

Last year, 703 Plungers raised over $ 500,000 for the NH Special Olympics organization.  For details about joining the Plungers, click here.  Check in for participants is 9 to 11AM.   The costume parade starts at 11:30 followed by the Plunge at Noon.  There will be a Post Plunge Lunch at 12:30.

For more information about Special Olympics NH, see their website.  For details on this year’s Penguin Plunge at Hampton Beach, click here.



12th Annual Keene Ice and Snow Festival

On February 9th downtown Keene will host the 12th Annual Keene Ice and Snow Festival.  From 10AM to 4PM,  Central Square, Gilbo Avenue, and the surrounding area will be festooned with ice and snow sculptures – and lots of participatory activities.

Help judge the sculptures,  join the snowball throwing contest,  build a snowman, or have your photo taken with the Ice Princess, Polar Bear, and the Snowman.  Warm up with hot chocolate, s’mores, and more!  Be entertained by magician Ben Pratt, a snowboard railjam, musicians, train rides, and face painting.

This event is co-sponsored by the Monadnock Travel Council and the Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce. For more information on the Keene Ice and Snow Festival, click here or see the event’s facebook page.

PLEASE NOTE:  This was just added to the Festival’s facebook page: Due to the severe weather coming over the next couple days the Ice & Snow Festival scheduled for this Saturday is cancelled. We will keep you posted if it is possible to reschedule the event to a later date.