Frozen fingers are crossed throughout the Bay State as the hope is that skim ice will turn to solid ice after the weekend cold snap. Not all angling activity is wishful thinking thankfully, as the “Valleys” are giving up everything from trout to toothies!
Massachusetts Fishing Report
Most ponds and lakes close to the South Coast through Metrowest and Greater Boston still have a ways to go before the conscientious can make the call – “ice is in”, but a trip out west and up north reveals a whole different world. It’s hard to top hardwater among setbacks and coves of rivers as reports of everything from pike to white perch are impressive. While the Central Mass area remains stuck in the almost-there category, B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston told me that Indian Lake in Worcester was covered with ice and he’s betting by the end of the weekend chill, the pike that swim there will be fair game!
Rodney Flagg of Flagg’s Fly and Tackle in Orange said that anglers are already out on the ice in the lower end of Barton Cove in the Connecticut River. Typical of a river, a flying flag could be a real whodunnit there with the quarry consisting of pike, walleye, smallmouth bass and more. Other nearby spots which are looking good are Lake Mattawa, Lake Rohunta, Moores Pond, Lake Ellis and Tully Lake. While Mattawa is known for trout, each year it gives up a few corker smallmouth bass as well.
Jim from JCB Bait in Cheshire said that Cheshire Reservoir coves have good ice but the shape of the wind-swept middle ice is unknown. This big water body has current in its center so be cautious and stick to coves that have been in the lee of the wind. No word on a big pike from here as of yet but a low-pressure front predicated to come in Sunday night through Monday should set it off!
Meanwhile, things are quite different among the coves of the Merrimack River according to David from Merrimack Sports. Already one pike pro piled up impressive numbers. On 7 inches of ice he caught 8 pike up to 44”, 20 pounds! The supporting cast of aggressive white perch kept the crew busy during the brief pauses in the action. Although the Merrimack is one big river and is loaded with coves and islands that create early-freezing stretches, never lose sight of the fact that you’re standing over moving water. Should you go then take along a buddy, toss ice picks over your shoulder, and tote along a rope just in case the worst-case scenario happens. Even better, see if you can pick up one of the many ice fishing suits which have flotation in them.
For trout, the best bet is Forest Lake in Methuen which was stocked in the fall with a variety of broodstock and tiger trout. For crappie, Lake Cochichewick, especially near the Brooks School, is a good choice. For pickerel Tuxbury Pond is the pick while nearby Lake Attitash is tops for smallmouth bass.
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Massachusetts Fishing Forecast
Chances are good that the following week’s best bets are going to be much more expansive than this week especially for those looking to stick to the South Shore through Greater Boston. Meanwhile, trout and maybe a nice smallie from Lake Mattawa should be worth the trip. Farther west Cheshire Reservoir looks to be all locked up after the weekend chill while the coves should be good to go now. Bartons Cove in the Connecticut River as well as the mighty Merrimack up north could be viewed as the hardwater equivalent of a box of chocolates you never know what you’re gonna get!