Massachusetts Fishing Report – December 16, 2021

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Merrimack Valley pike
No hardwater, no problem for northerns! Nick Diphillipo caught and released this Merrimack Valley 35-inch pike the other evening!

The uncontested hardwater heavyweight in these parts is the northern pike. While interest may not be quite at the level of linesider love, the faction of frozen water fanatics who pursue those monsters is no less obsessive. Fans may be feeling frustrated as Mother Nature takes her sweet time “catching” ice, but there is no need to wait as cooler temperatures have resulted in a hotter pike bite!

As to where you can tempt one of those extra-large toothies, I decided to pick the brains of a few who are no strangers to pike! While the South Shore does not hold pike, there are a few spots not far from there that do according to Pete from Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate. Principally of those places is the sprawling Wequaguet Lake in Barnstable County of the Cape, which has a naturally reproductive population of pike! For best bet artificials Pete suggests the Daddy Mac Sunfish, size 10, 12 X-Raps as well as the J11 Rapala. The shop also carries herring which when “split” and soaked on the bottom catch pike. Unlike their pickerel cousins, pike are aggressive in low light and are especially aggressive pre-storm. I know of a pike sleuth from the western part of the state who will clear his schedule to be on point and pike fishing just as the flakes are flying or the rains start falling.

Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett has patrons who indulge in everything the Bay State has to offer including pike. A few years ago “bucket biologists” supplanted pike which presumably originated in the Sudbury River into Spy Pond in Arlington. For decades that pond was known as one of the better tiger muskie water bodies in Greater Boston but in recent years you’re just as likely to catch a pike. Other anglers target the Assabet, Concord, and Sudbury Rivers. Pete’s patrons know no boundaries when it comes to a big fish bite and some have no problem heading out west to Indian Lake or up north to the Merrimack River. In addition to shiners, the shop carries all kinds of spinnerbaits, jigs/soft plastics, and swimmers to help you target toothies. If you can’t kick the trout habit, Walden and White are still serving up beautiful browns and rainbows! Lunkers in Ashland is a fitting name when the subject is a freshwater fish that can grow up to 4’ long! As to the “where”, that’s easy as the folks there steer pike fishers towards Fairhaven Bay in the Sudbury River as well as Heard Pond in Wayland. Shiners will always work but so will a jerk bait, stick bait, or curly tail grub!


While it’ll be some time before central Mass anglers will be able to wet a line in Wachusett Reservoir, anglers out there do not have to take a pass on the possibility of a big fish! B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston is perfectly positioned near a number of pike strongholds including the naturally reproducing Indian Lake in Worcester. Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester has been often stocked with pike through the years.

Rod from Flagg’s Fly and Tackle in Orange told me that while the Miller River is well known for trout it holds some huge pike! Barton Cove /Turner Falls on the Connecticut River also are pike honey holes. The oft-stocked Quaboag Pond is one of the area’s more noteworthy northern lairs although its “sister” pond, the kettle pond deep South Pond is the state record holder for pike! This is also brown trout trophy water and a large shiner trolled or floated under a bobber is more likely to be engulfed by a big brown.

Want to get in on the bite? Find an OTW-approved Charter Fishing Captain for Massachusetts

Every bit as fortuitous is the stomping ground of Captain Patrick Barone of Charter The Berkshires who lives close to the Connecticut River/Berkshires area. The Oxbow section of the Connecticut River is one of the most varied water bodies in the Bay State. Anglers are as likely to land a lunker largemouth bass as a bowfin, walleye or – pike! Regarding oxbows, Woods Pond which is influenced by the Housatonic River is another naturally reproducing pike place. Patrick is also no stranger to Pontoosuc Lake which is another multi-species producer with real trophy potential. Twenty-pound pike have been caught there!

David from Merrimack Sports has numerous pike spots within close proximity of the shop. Arguably that shop has the most fanatical open water pike fans of any in the Bay State. Because of that, the shop carries big bait all year long! The Concord River naturally reproduces pike and it is suspected that so does the Merrimack River and possibly the Shawsheen. At one point or another almost any place you can access along those rivers probably holds pike! Merrimack Sports picks of the week are just upstream of the Lawrence Dam, near the Haverhill Yacht Club and by the old Ogden Martin Plant site. A new walking trail by the Yacht Club has improved access immeasurably among a big swath of the river. That stretch is also great for smallmouth. One spot which has actually benefitted from a lack of pike is Lake Attitash in Amesbury. The lack of an apex predator in Attitash has been a boon for bronzebacks as smallmouth bass numbers have skyrocketed!

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

If the trout thing is getting kind of old and safe ice seems but a pipe dream away then consider open water fishing for a brute perfectly capable of shredding line as it is its victim! Northern pike rule among numerous water bodies in the Bay State and fortunately, we have shops that can point you in the right direction. Now, all we need is some help from Mother Nature and I’m not just referring to ice either! Dropping pressure and an imminent storm is often the trigger to a toothy and last time I checked just such an event is on the way!

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