Fixing the dam

Dam repairs halt fishing for Pittsburg’s Scotts Bog

Special to the Union Leader
May 12. 2013 8:32PM
New Hampshire environmental officials are having the water in Scotts Bog in Pittsburg drawn down. The pond's failing dam will be repaired this summer. (COURTESY)

PITTSBURG — Burnham “Bing” Judd isn’t fishing for Eastern brook trout this year in Scotts Bog. Nor will anyone else.

Judd, who’s been everything from Pittsburg’s road agent, town selectman and a Coos County commissioner, to a North Country hunting and fishing guide, is about as close to a far north Granite State landmark himself as a person can be.

He’d rather pass his 80th summer — or at least part of it — in his canoe on Scotts Bog, as usual. That’s where he once had a camp, and he’s spent more summers than he can count probing the same waters that saw him land a three-pound brookie one season. That’s still his personal best.

But the dam — on the body of water with a size estimated between 75 and 98 acres — is failing and won’t last much longer, state officials say.

The pond’s water will be drawn down, Scotts won’t be stocked with fingerlings for a change, and the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Dam Bureau staff expects to have a crew repair the concrete dam by fall.

“They worked on it a little bit last year,” Cathy McComiskey, secretary for the Pittsburg selectmen, said Saturday. There hasn’t been much discussion among residents regarding the relatively small project, she said.

“It’s kind of far. It’s up above Second Lake in the north portion of town,” she said.

Judd said Saturday the spot is indeed a popular fishing site for those who know it, including himself, and he’d rather it was stocked and remained open this summer. If there was some runoff as a result of a leaky dam, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world either, he added.

“The hell of it is, Second Lake would catch it,” he said of the excess water.

Last week, DES officials issued a public notice.

“Anglers should note that all fish stocking for this pond has been cancelled for this season. Stocking activities at Scotts Bog will be re-initiated next year, following the completion of the dam reconstruction project,” the release stated.

Judd estimated it was 15 years ago that the state previously deemed the dam to be failing there, and added concrete to what was then a wooden structure to bolster it.

Carol Henderson, a Department of Environmental Services coordinator, said Friday it had been at least that long since the state started stocking the pond with young trout.

“They’ve started drawing down already,” Judd observed. He said fishermen would just have no choice but to come back next spring.

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