Generally, frost on the pumpkin and striped bass aren’t images which coexist but if ever there was an anomaly of a season this is it! Any old schoolie into the eleventh month is a treat but there are still some tackle-testers out there! However, with the top-notch trout reports tricking in you may want to finally shift to sweetwater.
Massachusetts Freshwater Fishing Report
With strong stockings in Lout Pond, Little Pond, Long Pond as well as a number of Cape water bodies, many have taken to trout fishing. Some anglers are using stick baits at dark and catching big browns.
Anglers fishing the Chu’ might just be experiencing too much of a “good thing”. Rain is often the trigger for better fishing at Wachusett but when bushwhacking is as much a part of the deal as buying bait, things get challenging! Still, smallies are unusually aggressive for November, lakers are pushing perch fry into the shallows and rainbows are prowling at the edge of shoreline drop-offs. Among some of the better catches this week was a 1-12 white perch by Carl Hewitt of Sterling, who is one of the reservoir’s more accomplished/versatile anglers. Eddie of B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston has been catching brown trout by the pier off the Quinapoxet River. No need to get fancy for the gamut of salmonoids which swim in the Stillwater or Quinapoxet, good old “garden hackle” drifted in the current will work just fine!
Are you looking for lightly pressured water, teeming with possibilities? Rod from Flagg’s Fly and Tackle in Orange just might have the answer! He told me that “no-one’s fishing” the frequently stocked Lake Mattawa, Moores Pond, Tully Lake or Lake Ellis! Seven-pound largemouth bass have also been caught this season from Lake Rohunta with nary an angler fishing it now! As for river/trout fishing, most are just too high with the flow-controlled Swift River the exception. Pike are the word from Merrimack Sports according to David! The shop has the right size shiners and he knows the spots in the Lawrence, Methuen stretches of the Merrimack River. Other toothy options are the Spicket and Shawsheen Rivers. The Merrimack also is home to banner black bass fishing. Regarding bass, efforts to cull much of the weed growth out of Lake Attitash are paying dividends with a spike in smallmouth bass numbers! David suggests working suspending jerk baits over rocky stretches not far from the shoreline. Plug’s Pond in Haverhill is the local hit for trout with Masswildlife even recently stocking brown trout to join the rainbows. Other alternatives for trout are Baldpate, Stiles, and Forest Lake.
Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Report
Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate told me that the “lagoons” of the North River are still giving up schoolies, a few slots and every once in a while – a beast! The emphasis has been on eels and clams by the Spit and Herring River. A few 30” stripers have been hauled up onto Humarock Beach. While the nights are getting chilly, your chances for a late-inning cow still remain best from dusk to dawn. Boaters who have their rides at the ready on trailers during breaks in the weather are scooting out picking up a few mackerel and catching stripers among the Glades and Fourth Cliff. Mackerel are there for the picking inshore.
Captain Mark Rowell of Legit Fish Charters has joined Captain Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters in his quest for tautog in Buzzards Bay. While Captain Colby has probably had the blackfish bug since he was in training wheels, Captain Rowell is new to the game and now gets the addiction. Water temperatures are now below 60 degrees making now the best time to target tog.
Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy told me that stripers have been observed feeding on river herring fry among downstream areas of the Weymouth Back River as well as the Fore River and Town River. Anglers who still have their boats at the ready are hitting the ledges off Hull for a few mackerel and then live-lining them for stripers off Point Allerton and Hull Gut. While not many are fishing for them, a few smelt continue to be taken off the piers of Hull, Hewitts Cove and the Reserve Channel.
Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett in Everett told me that there are still occasionally schoolie surface feeds off Revere Beach and Winthrop Beach. For a more consistent chance at catching stripers in November (and beyond!), try dragging a tube and worm from the Alford Street Bridge to the casino and out to the Amelia Earhart Dam. Worms are getting tough to get but crawlers make for a suitable substitute. Try a couple of drops of BioEdge sandworm/bloodworm on the crawler for added attraction. For trout options, Pete suggests Horn, Walden, Whites and Jamaica Ponds.
I had the good fortune to visit Surfland Bait and Tackle the other day and in addition to picking up prime baits for the last waltz of the striper season, I was pleased to hear from Liz that anglers were still catching stripers from the oceanfront! Additionally, my buddy Dave Flaherty of Nahant has been shaking off the pre-dawn mid-30 degree temperatures and finding schoolies for 3 out of the last 4 mornings! For him, this has been a November first! Obviously, if the catching continues on the North Shore then the rest of Massbay has a ways to go; in fact Liz opined that she thinks there will be bass to be caught this year until Thanksgiving! Another option to consider is catch-and-releasing cod off Cape Ann. A jig dropped off Magnolia in 50’+ depths will not last long before it’s walloped by a brown bomber.
According to TJ from Three Lantern Marine, squid continue to be caught right behind the shop. While no current anecdotes, those same docks have harbored smelt in the past.
Tomo from Tomo’s Tackle told me that mackerel off the Beverly Pier is the big draw with some also being taken off The Fisherman’s Beach pier. Both spots may also reward with squid at night. Schoolies randomly pop up in Marblehead/Salem/Beverly Harbor! There still remains a few night shift anglers fishing estuaries on the North Shore who are finding larger linesiders.
Massachusetts Fishing Forecast
The pain of dwindling saltwater options is being somewhat mitigated by a host of trout and even salmon possibilities! Night stalking South Shore anglers are slowly working minnow-imitating lures to fool wily brown trout. While the high water of Wachusett presents a challenge willing white perch, smallmouth bass, lakers, trout and salmon make the bother worth it. While waning, salt opportunities are not all gone with North Shore striped bass success giving us all hope!