Massachusetts Fishing Report – December 2, 2021

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In New England, we have four seasons for a reason and from a fishing perspective that is to – fish them all! If you live out west or have taken a trip out there recently skim ice has been the hint of what’s coming, namely – hardwater! As an appetizer for what we’ll be catching, trout and pickerel are acting very cooperative!

Massachusetts Freshwater Fishing Report

Eric from Lunkers in Ashland threw out a few of his best predictions for potential first ice honey holes. Due to the unusually high water levels, water bodies which connect with rivers may have better than usual ice fishing this season – especially at first ice! The pike-filled Sudbury River often breaches Heard Pond in Wayland and odds are that this year was exceptionally so. Anglers dropping a pike shiner under the ice here may find more action than is normally the case. Of course there are no demerit points for not waiting for the freeze and fishing open water! South End Pond in Millis is one of those first to freeze/last to thaw spots and because it’s a backwater of the Charles there’s a real diversity of critters to fish for – even the occasional trout since that stretch of the river is stocked! For more reliable trout, Eric told me that guys were having recent rainbow and brown action at Ashland Reservoir and Hopkinton Reservoir. For a shot at big pre-freeze pickerel, consider Winthrop Lake.
Eddie of B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston told me that the Wachusett fishing season went out with a bang – literally! For the first time authorities allowed an overlap of fishing and hunting at the Chu on Monday and Tuesday. Ordinarily the deer hunt would not be allowed until the day after the fishing season closed but this time everyone was thrown in the mix, which left some shaking their heads! Fortunately there appears to have been no issues but Eddie is now taken to carrying blaze orange for anglers who want to play it safe if this becomes the November normal. Overall the season was really good with it being a solid year for smallies, salmon, rainbows, lakers and most importantly – smelt, the most important forage in the reservoir!

Rod from Flagg’s Fly and Tackle in Orange told me that the leading contender in the first-to-freeze category is Clubhouse Pond (Sheomet Lake) which is stocked with trout. This place also tenaciously holds onto ice, in fact, there have been years when anglers were ice fishing there during open day for the Quabbin! Smaller sloughs in the area have had skim ice on them for a while but larger lakes such as Mattawa and Rohunta remain wide open and the fishing has been good! Some are taking the ride out to South Pond in the East Brookfield/Sturbridge area and trolling up brown trout there! Shiners or Rod’s hand-tied streamers are ideal for there and owing to the landlocked alewife forage base, South Pond has real potential to give up a trophy trout!

It’s curtain time for Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy for the season according to Lisa from Fore River. The shop shuts down for the offseason beginning on Sunday but plans are to open once again in February! Meanwhile, anglers are grabbing shiners and crawlers and targeting pickerel and bass from local water bodies such as Popes Pond in Milton. With every call to the shop, I yearn for news on smelt but it just doesn’t happen. There was a brief window off Hull pre-storm but what little bite there was appears to be over. There was once a time when I would get news from Rick Newcomb, who ran the shop for years, of a solid smelt bite as early as late August! Sadly there’s not much left to this traditional late fall/winter pastime.

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Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics in Everett said that the shop is still carrying shiners, worms, grubs and other goodies and much of it is available from the shop’s 24-7 vending machine! The latest is impressive trout out of White Pond with shiners fished on the bottom! This place also has some nice black bass which occasionally crash the trout party. Horn Pond remains hot and cold for rainbow trout. An interesting option is white catfish which thrive throughout the Charles River! More sporting and larger than their brown bullhead cousins, they are more fun to catch and more aggressive. I’ve caught them in the river in areas as diverse as the Leo J. Martin Golf Course in Wellesley and the Royal Sonesta hotel in Cambridge. Any bait on the bottom, from shiners to worms to chicken gizzards (yup) will work for them.

The mighty Merrimack River also is home to white catfish with the Spicket River/Merrimack confluence one of the better bets. For that I consulted David from Merrimack Sports, who agreed with that assessment, but also mentioned that the pike bite is running counter to water temperatures – as temps drop, pike activity increases! For action, anglers need to go no farther than just upstream of the Lawrence Dam. A large shiner will do the trick as will a slowly waked swimmer/spinnerbait. Trout, however, remain the top ticket, with places aplenty! Fans of Forest Lake in Methuen can’t get enough as are regulars of Round Pond who rave about the rainbows.

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

Looking back at my notes, I see that in most years there is ice fishing opportunities in Maine within the first few weeks of December and when that happens I’ll be trumpeting the good news! Meanwhile, the forecast is a bit like the Thanksgiving turkey the day after – not much meat on the bones! Trout remain the top ticket with members of pike and pickerel family a close second. As for the salt, look at it like your Doctor’s recommendation – you may have to do without (at least for a while!).

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3 on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – December 2, 2021

  1. H.T

    It ain’t over yet! Nov 31st and dec 1st I got into some really nice pods of fish on the south shore, just shy of 27 inches!!! birds, bait, and bass! no one in sight except for a lone beachgoer who watched in awe as I was down and TIGHT 🤘🏼

    1. Ron

      HT, if you aren’t having a December to remember! What were those 12th inning stripers interested in?

      1. H.T

        Small 3/4 oz jigs with a white soft plastics! a school 9f fish was working further off shore and there were some BIG breaks

        Tight lines

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