Those who can’t shake the salt are mostly describing their efforts with such platitudes as “good exercise”, “fresh air” and the default “caught a nice sunset”! However when that bottom-of-the ninth linesider hits, the reward makes the time invested all worth it! Freshwater fishing remains the main draw and as befitting late fall, it’s all about trout!
Massachusetts Freshwater Fishing Report
While most anglers are hitting shops up for Powerbait, mealworms and small shiny hardware, there are a few who are taking advantage of impressive warm water species fishing.
Now is actually the perfect time for a variety of fun fish as weedbeds, which provide sanctuary for fry and a host of invertebrates, dieback exposing the forage to predators. White and yellow perch, crappie, smallmouth and largemouth bass will prowl along the edge of those weeds and pick off the now exposed prey. The fishing for all of those species right now is often as good as it gets! Ordinary water bodies which are choked out by excess weeds in summer now have pockets from which to float a shiner or even plop a float with a small jig or fly.
Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate mentioned Jacobs Pond as just such a place. While most are totally in for the trout at Long Pond and Little Pond in Plymouth, some are appreciating the less pressured warm water species fishery in Billington Sea where growth rates are improved by alewife fry and a killifish forage base.
Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy talked of Sunset Lake, the Brookline Reservoir, Whitman Pond, Jamaica Pond and Ponkapoag Pond as possibilities.
Apparently the family fishing addiction doesn’t stop with Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett as his brother Bobby has been having his way with a variety of trout while trolling in Long Pond in Plymouth. Most of the fish are healthy rainbows but there are enough browns (including holdovers) to make things really interesting. Yo-Zuri Pins Minnows will work there as will Al’s Golfish and streamers. On a smaller scale Walden and White Ponds are a Metrowest option. For warm water species check out the Charles River as well as Swains and Towners in Melrose as well as the Golden Hills.
You folks have obviously paid attention and according to Eddie of B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston his patrons reports of 2 1/2 pound rainbows, lakers and smallies from the causeway are proof! Some are floating or suspending shiners and doing well while others tip-toe among the rocks and are catching on a variety of Kastmasters. A slight drop in water levels have improved access to the Cellar Holes, Sawyer Bluffs, Scar Hill Road as well as the peninsula/coves near the Department of Fish and Game HQ. It’s rare that most everything is cooperating in late November but that seems to be the case. In anticipation of the grand finale, Eddie loaded up the shelves with 3/8 to 3/4 ounce Kastmasters in most every color.
Patrick Barone of Charter The Berkshires was on a Swift River salmon search the other day and while he found fresh redds he did not find the salmon. They are most likely spawned out and are back in the Quabbin looking to refuel on smelt! The Main Branch of the Swift River is faring much better however as the brook trout fishing is peaking! No news on the Connecticut River as it remains too high for realistic fishing.
One river that is not too high is the Merrimack River according to David from Merrimack Sports. The Haverhill stretch has been hot for smallies with jigs and Mepps spinners accounting for a number of fish. Take along a Daredevil spoon while you’re at it because you never know when an oversized pike is prowling the area. For many however, now is all about the “hawgs”! Anglers floating big shiners at the edge of weedbeds are catching huge, pot-bellied largemouth bass! Some of the fish have been 6 pound beauties. Round Pond, Powwow Pond and Country Pond are among the better bass bets.
Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Report
It’s often a lonely pursuit plucking a late fall striper out of a chilled sea but some are still doing it! Just like in “season” birds often point the way but be prepared for false alarms as mackerel or even pollock push small sea herring or silversides towards the surface. But every once in a while, the protagonist will be sporting stripes – even this late into November! Hunter Thayer recently posted in last weeks report of consecutive day feeds among the Three Bays. While it’s been a few years, Shifting Lots Preserve/Ellisville Harbor was always my go-to November spot for the last schoolies of the season. Even better, the bite was good for topwaters such as Magic Swimmers and Hydro Pencils.
Scituate Harbor is holding mackerel and Nut Island Pier has macks, whiting and sea herring. Unless you are absolutely sure that the herring are sea herring and not the protected river herring, than err on the side of caution and just keep the whiting and mackerel!
Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy told me that the public pier in Hull has had some smelt action and I also heard from Pete Santini of a few from Summer Street. The most interesting news is of big cod, which of course must be released, out by the B Buoy with haddock hitting well between there and the Dumping Grounds. I would not be surprised if President Roads didn’t hold a few fish as well right now.
Save a mackerel report or two from Tomo of Tomo’s Tackle there isn’t an awful lot to report on on the North Shore as you would expect.
If you pay attention to the changing seasons you would also expect the sea to have a different look to it now and according to Martha from Surfland, the surf looks cleaner, clearer and darker right now! Such is our reality as we near December. Shop owners such as Tomo, the Three Lantern Marine crew and Surfland have been busy loading up on the latest tackle from terminal odds-and-ends to rods and reels and to a shop it sounds as if they are lacking nothing right now!
Massachusetts Fishing Forecast
Odds are that more than a few of you will be over-indulging during this awesome American Holiday and in my opinion there is no better way to work off those excess calories than by taking a couple of casts. Among the best bets is big black bass at the edge of a weedline at Billington Sea on the South Shore or the Golden Hills in Greater Boston. While it is the Swan Song for the Chu’ season, you have until Tuesday to get your rainbow, smallie or forktail fix! Bass are also ambushing prey at weedline edges in the Merrimack Valley Region as the bait sanctuary dies off. However, in spite of the calendar and feel of the sea that swirl you just saw behind your spook, it might be more than just your imagination!