Nice pics of the Newfound River basin Mike! This stream joins the Pemi about 1-2 miles down the road, along with several other oxygenated sources in the Coolidge Woods stretch. Aside from providing a comfortable spey practice pool for us it is a good trout and landlocked river from this basin up to the outflow of Newfound lake until it warms up when the fish scoot back into the pristine lake.
I spoke with the NH F&W and learned that due to the quality conditions on the Pemi, nearly half of the 3000-3500 brood and sea-run (limited numbers) are recycled into this section (Ayers Island to Franklin Dam) after spawning each year. There has been evidence that salmon holdover in this stretch, and there is a reasonable amount of forage in the form of shiners, chubs and other river minnows.
It's really sad that this stretch is unavailable to sea run atlantics - the end of the line is Amoskeag in Manchester, even if they did run the gauntlet from Lawrence / Lowell successfully. I have a feeling the historic spawning activity occurred up around Woodstock and higher where the river bottom changes over to gravel moraines, and reaching that stretch would be harder still - but the many tribs offer much promise if the fish passage was there.
Tribs of the Mac and Pemi have been attracting sea-runs for the cooler and oxygenated water, some of which are good spawning candidates e.g. Souhegan if Merrimac had passage, etc.
There is a review of the handling of salmon open to the public on Thursday April 24th in Public Serv. Energy Park, Manchester where the group responsible for fish management (oxymoron) CHI Energy Inc. is responding to the Merrimac River Anadramous Fish Restoration group. CHI is responsible for fish passage systems, which appears to the observer to have not completely ineffective IMHO. It starts at 10am and runs until 1pm so if you are in the area take a long lunch, I plan on attending.
Adopt a river!