Massachusetts Fishing Report – December 23, 2021

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Skim ice is the fishing version of limbo and a heartache for anglers who know no quit despite the calendar! Many water bodies suffer from this malady at the moment but there is safe ice out west and rivers to the west and to the east are holding beasts.

Massachusetts Fishing Report

“We’ve got ice!”, said Jim from JCB in Cheshire when we spoke Thursday morning. In fact interest was so high that Jim was making a trip to Granby to get more bait! Cheshire Reservoir hasn’t “caught” yet but has skimmed over but all is well with the higher elevation “hilltown” ponds, such as Plainville Pond, North and Windsor! You can expect for the duration of the winter that Jim and the crew at JCB will be carrying bait of all sizes whether the quarry is stocked trout or big pike which prowl in Cheshire Reservoir and the other western pike lakes.

Nick Diphillipo
Northern pike such as Nick Diphillipo’s 44-inch catch are taking the bite out of little hardwater!

Captain Patrick Barone of Charter The Berkshires has had one eye on early ice fishing options and the other on his fly rod as trout of all sorts have been falling for gaudy “worm” patterns in the West Branch of the Swift River. According to Patrick, North Pond is sporting ice and trout. Another option is open water pike in the Connecticut River. While setbacks are far removed from frozen that doesn’t mean that pike cannot be caught. The South Hadley section of that river has plenty of pike and a properly worked jerk bait is one of the best ways to catch them regardless of the year. Colder water culls out the weak and old and pike take advantage of injured/dying forage this time of the year. Suspending baits with the emphasis on the suspending part simulate an easy mark for a big predator such as a pike which must feed fairly often. Patrick’s preferred lure is the perch Rapala X Rap and in winter he’ll let the lure suspend for up to 15 agonizing seconds after vigorously working it.

As for pike, there are a contingent of hardcore river-stalkers who as long as there is open water are casting and catching pike in the Sudbury, Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Regarding the Merrimack, Merrimack Sports caters to just such an angler. Coves of the Merrimack will freeze up when a sufficient/sustained cold blast hits and David and Donny will be among the first to know of it! Tuxbury Pond in Amesbury is among the first to freeze locally and has an interesting mix of warm water species. Nearby Attitash Lake is a best bet for a smallmouth through the ice. And if you don’t mind crossing the border a bit Big Island Lake in New Hampshire is known for it’s crappie! Meanwhile South Shore and Greater Boston Boston shops such as Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate and Fishing FINatics in Everett continue to dole out power bait, worms, shiners and mealworms for anglers who are still finding plenty of local trout. That’s a good thing since next week’s forecast does not look hardwater friendly for those close to the coast.

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Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

For those who prefer their holidays with a dose of hardwater than the higher elevation Berkshire ponds and lakes are the only option at the moment. For the others the end of December can be spent one of two ways: tempting a trout in a stocked pond or trying for a toothy among a number of rivers. Whichever you try, may it along with the rest of the holiday season fill you with joy!

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1 thought on “Massachusetts Fishing Report – December 23, 2021

  1. Dan

    Very good Ron ive got at least 40 trout in a month ready for the ice

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