It’s often been said that ones perception is one’s reality and if you’re sticking close to the coast hoping for hardwater than you’re missing out on opportunities elsewhere. Talk of 15 pound pike and Hilltown trout abound out west and finally there are even solid reports of solid ice north of the border!
Massachusetts Fishing Report
Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate said that he is occasionally getting customers who are picking up some clams and surf casting towards the horizon, as well as hopefully a wayward cod, off South Shore beaches. Two which have produced in the distant past were Rexhame and Duxbury. For a more dependable outing, try soaking a shiner among the cranberry bogs of Norwell. Of course it is January and for those who prefer their winters with ice underfoot some are picking up a flat of herring and heading out to western pike spots such as Cheshire Reservoir. After speaking to the shop owner out there, that seems like a good idea!
Nuno of Lunkers in Ashland said that very briefly anglers were able to get out on smaller local ponds such as Dudley and if the predicted freeze holds true those ponds should cap over again. While the wait is on, some are floating shiners and tossing Power Bait in noted trout water such as Ashland Reservoir, Hopkinton Reservoir and Lake Cochituate.
It’s a rare year for me to be able to talk first hand with my friend Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett who is usually guiding at the Galapagos this time of the year, but obviously there is nothing normal about this season. While captain Pete is not endeavoring to be near the equator this season he is keeping in touch with his friends there and inshore sailfish has been especially noteworthy. He did pass along news that some of the smelt shacks in Maine were expecting to drag out their shacks soon as nighttime temperatures are expected to dip into the teens. While the wait is on, customers are catching rainbows at Horn Pond and a mixture of salmonoids at White Pond.
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For those who obsess over the Chu’ even during the offseason when they can’t fish it, Eddie of B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston is our “eyes” on the reservoir. While the main reservoir is wide open, the Stone Church and Stillwater Basin have ice. Where customers are finding ice to fish on is in the Rutland State Park area, where there are a number of options. An open water trout favorite that some are focusing on is Lake Quinsigamond. Customers are picking up shiners and Power Bait and doing well on the southwest side of this sprawling lake. This place has been stocked time to time with pike and even tiger muskies so a big shiner could get the attention of something fierce. In preparation of safe ice locally and beyond (and the Chu’ opening day), Eddie’s been stocking up with a menagerie of Kastmasters from 1/24th ounce ice jigging versions to 1 ounce forktail-friendly spoons for the April opening.
And then there’s the “ice-belt” from the Connecticut Valley Region to well out west. Rodney from Flagg’s Fly and Tackle in Orange listed almost too many places where anglers where already ice fishing and with single-digits predicted over the next few morning it’s only going to get better. Many are heading out to the town of Warwick where anglers are fishing on Sheomet Lake, Moore Lake and Hastings Pond. Customers are crowing about crappie, trout and bass out there. North Spectacle Pond has had some good action as has the multi-specie setbacks in Hinsdale New Hampshire where walleye are the preferred prize!
Another example of how different things are out west was how casually Jim from JCB in Cheshire referred to a group out on a section of Lake Pontoosuc as “about 15 guys”! Pontoosuc has smelt as a forage base and is renowned for trophy toothies as well as brown trout. It’s a big place and not all is safe there just yet, so be careful should you head out there. Cheshire Reservoir has been yielding good pike fishing for fish up to 15 pounds! There are also some real slab largemouth bass in this reservoir. Jim’s sons took a trip up to Plainfield and while targeting trout at the back of the pond only landed a few bass. The word is that the front of the pond is fishing better. For all your ice fishing needs, JCB has got it!
Massachusetts Fishing Forecast
Finally there is some fun for frozen water fanatics! For the time being stick to the icy swath from the Connecticut Valley Region to the westernmost part of the state. Best bets are North Spectacle Pond for crappie, Lake Rohunta and Cheshire Reservoir for largemouth bass and pike for the latter. Pontoosuc can be magical with plenty of intrigue greeting every sprung trap. The setbacks off the Connecticut River in Hinsdale New Hampshire offer the prospects of a real multi-species outing. While we are on the subject of north of the border, we are also renewing our New Hampshire/Maine portion of the reports now and there is even news regarding Lake Winnipesaukee!