Massachusetts Fishing Report – January 11, 2017

Pictured above: Customers of Fishing FINatics such as Chrissy Isley of Revere have been finding big trout among Walden and Whites Ponds.

The remedy to a little too much snow and a single-digit freeze is upon us in the form of a good old January thaw! Once the rain and warm temperatures skim the top off the slush and snow, foot travel will improve and the fine fishing will continue.

Massachusetts South Shore Through Metrowest Fishing Report

South Shore ice-fishing addicts no longer have to make hour-plus runs to get their frozen fix, and they are taking advantage of it. On Thursday, Pete of Belsan’s Bait in Scituate just might have been an inadvertent accessory to some serious hooky-play as anglers got out in droves to fish over ice in 50-degree weather. It’s no secret that just like the Cape, ice fishing tends to be better after years of little to no ice, and results thus far are proving that point.

Panfish pursuers are pulling in perch from Pitts Pond, while there have been pickerel up to 26” taken out of Cohasset Reservoir. Fishing on a golf course pond is a heck of a lot less hazardous in winter when you don’t have to worry about dodging incoming, and some have been hauling in bass from the pond on the Widows Walk Golf Course. Look for the channel edges for your best shot at a better bass. Honorable mention for warm water species has to go to the Twin Lakes in Monposett.

Nuno of Lunkers in Ashland said that the Winthrop Lakes have been warm water species winners in the waxing weeks of the season. For trout, Lake Chochituate has been a good choice as has Ashland Reservoir and Hopkinton Reservoir. For a chance at a pike, the Sudbury River is a best bet, in particular Fairhaven Bay, and Heard Pond, which is infused with additional life a few times a year from the Sudbury River when river levels are high.

Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett is enjoying a respite in Florida but there’s no quit in his customers who are catching impressive rainbows and browns out of Concord’s Walden and Whites ponds.

Central Massachusetts through Western Massachusetts Ice Fishing Report

Eddie of B&A in West Boylston told me that the top local places for trout have been Quinsigamond and Comet. Peter Carr has had action as has South Meadow, both of which feature bass, panfish and pickerel. You may find it unusual to hear of smallmouth bass and yellow perch being targeted from a “trout” pond, but such is the case with Lake Mattawa. In spite of it being a regular stop for the hatchery trucks, a few shop regulars key in on the numerous 15” to 16” bronzebacks and yellow perch which are nearly that big. If you have sonar at the ready, then this is a perfect place to explore.

Downstream of the Turner Falls dam had been producing walleye until the powers-that-be opened the dam. Keep this in mind should this lock up again or for open-water prospects in the spring. For fast-paced action, it’s hard to top Queen Lake, which is home to big numbers of respectably-sized white perch!

Patrick Barone of Early Rise Outfitters has been treating charters to Berkshires trout by keeping the bait close to the ice! In fact, he pulls on average no more than 18” off his trap spools. Rainbows especially will cruise practically tickling the underneath of the ice with their dorsal fins, even in 50 feet of water! It’s good to bring a mixture of baits with you as lately the trout have shown a preference for worms but some days, they want a shiner supper. The pick of the week for Patrick is Richmond Pond in Pittsfield, which holds healthy numbers of bass and trout and is accessible thanks to a boat ramp/parking area.

Regarding Pittsfield, Jim from JCB in Cheshire commented that nearby Lake Onota is one impressive water body with a lot of potential. It’s big at 653 acres, deep at 72 feet and has given up Masswildlife “pin fish” in 13 different categories for everything from tiger trout to pike. Cheshire Reservoir has cooled off after the initial “shocking” of first ice. The game until the final flurry at the end of the season will be one of patience and perseverance until the fish feel like feeding.

Donnie from Merrimac Sports said that many of his customers are heading across the border to take advantage of impressive fishing in New Hampshire. He’s heard good things about Massabessic and Little Massabessic. For those looking for a more cold-water species experience the prospects are better on Manning Lake.

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

It only makes sense that the pond less fished is often more productive. The last two winters were not very kind to South Shore ice fishers who had few opportunities, but that’s not the case this year. For trout set your traps or try jigging the Plymouth trifecta of Big Sandy Pond, Long Pond and Little Pond. For something quite a bit toothier, there’s Sudbury’s Fairhaven Bay, Heard Pond or out west Cheshire or Onota. For the latter varied fish bowl, it’d be a shame if you didn’t bring a long something to jig with since you never know what’s swimming below!

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