Trout remain the top ticket in town with the venue now expanding to rivers. Those rivers are interesting in another note as observers are seeing eagles, ospreys and mink on the move which could mean only one thing – herring!
Massachusetts Fishing Report
Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate said that almost overnight the North River has become a beehive of activity thanks to river herring. While that doesn’t translate to catching anything for most, it does increase the likelihood that holdover stripers will become more active.
With rivers now on the stocking schedule many are anticipating the stocking of Bound Brook, the Indian Head River and the Weir River. Lethargic largemouth bass which are just waking up from a winter nap are being targeted with shiners in Aaron River Reservoir and Silver Lake. East side coves in the mid-afternoon warm up first and are a bass best bet.
Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett mentioned Milton’s Houghton’s Pond as a recently stocked spot. Horn Pond is about due as is Jamaica Pond, both of which in time will receive a mixture of several species of trout. The catching throughout the Charles River is varied from holdover stripers near the Hotel Sonesta to white catfish behind the Museum of Science. One of the cats was a corker of 6 pounds! The Charles is loaded with white catfish and they are one fun fish which grown bigger and fight harder than your typical hornpout. Anglers have been testing the salt off of the Deer Island Pier but there’s been no word on winter flounder or cod, which are the most likely species you would encounter now.
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All kinds of open water options are available to the northern Massachusetts angler according to David from Merrimack Sports. Lake Attitash has opened up with some drop-shoting for smallmouth bass. While no stocking has occurred there yet, anglers are reporting holdover rainbows from Round Pond. Just over the border in New Hampshire is a shallow warm water species gem – Pow Wow Pond – which is an early season bass and panfish favorite. The Merrimack River is wide open with a fishable flow rate. Pike, white perch and smallmouth bass are the draw from Lawrence through Haverhill. Spots where shallower tributaries mix in have warmer water and more activity.
Good news for opening day prospects for Wachusett Reservoir as Eddie of B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston reported that it is wide open beyond the causeway and should be on schedule for the April 3rd planned opening. If water levels remain as relatively low as they are then there should be plenty of access. Regarding access, the Stillwater Basin is open and fishing is allowed all year upstream of the Waushacum Brook. Offseason lake trout have been caught in this stretch! Now is a good time to stock up with Chu’ goodies as the shop is stocked with all the required reservoir fare including every size and color Kastmaster conceivable.
Rod from Flagg’s Fly and Tackle in Orange said that many locals are ogling the convoy of hatchery trucks traveling en route from the Belchertown hatchery as trout stocking is ongoing. While there are still pockets of safe ice, most anglers are targeting those trout in the Swift River, Deerfield and even the Miller River. The Miller section by the Wendall Depot section of the river remains one of Rodney’s favorites for a brown trout.
Regarding river trout, Captain Patrick Barone of Charter The Berkshires has been taking advantage of freshly stocked rainbow trout throughout the Swift River and the fresh fish on average are big – 16” to 18”! It’s almost as if the powers that be planned on rewarding the wading/fly folks who may be earning it a bit more than the Power Bait brigade! While Patrick is spotting wild/holdover browns and brookies, the stocked fish are so aggressive the resident fish don’t stand a chance. Pink Squirmy Worm patterns are getting it done!
Jim from JCB in Cheshire said that while there is still plenty of ice out west the shorelines are sketchy. It’s been a good year and the shop’s priority now is shifting to their other expertise – lawn care! Shiners are now giving way to fertilizer; either way, the show must go on!
Massachusetts Fishing Forecast
Ongoing trout stocking is bringing the fun to many Bay State districts. Warm water prospects loom large especially in the rivers such as the Charles and Merrimack Rivers. Not all of the interest in the rivers is “what can be caught now” as returning river herring signal what is coming!