Massachusetts Fishing Report- March 28, 2024

In between deluges there has been a red hot river pike bite with both largemouth and smallmouth bass joining in the feed. While deluge would not be an apt description for salty options there are some signs of life worth noting. For most however the primary target remains trout…so what’s your favorite Power Bait?

Massachusetts Fishing Report

Little Sister Charters cod and tautog
Captain Jason Colby of Little Sister Charters will be revisiting his Southern New England waypoints in early April. Benji came up with this interesting tandem last year!

Pete Belsan of Belsan Bait and Tackle in Scituate told me that gulls and terns have been observed picking “something” off the surface in the First Cliff/Dougherty Cove area. The speculation is that there is a worm spawn occurring. Some are looking forward to the haddock season opener on April 1st but unfortunately that does not include cod as it has the past few years. However, there is good news on the cod front so long as you don’t mind hauling into the Southern New England area to catch them. The regulations there are 5 fish at a minimum of 23” with the season set for now until May 31st. If that prospect to you sounds as plausible as climbing Mount Everest cheer up – I have a solution!

Captain Jason Colby is planning on having his Little Sister in port, gassed up and ready to hit his waypoints for cod beginning on April 6th. I do a bit of fishing and of all I do one trip last year stood head and shoulders above the rest and that was a junket with Jason on just one of those trips. On that day I was hoping for cod but was not prepared to be catching “catch-and-release” monstrous black sea bass and big blackfish! The bite was steady with double-headers the norm. While the action was predictable what was not was what would be at the end of the line with all three species joining in on the feed. If the skippers waypoints deliver as they did last year, the trips will be memorable!

For South Shore largemouth the Cohasset and Scituate Reservoirs are among the better bets, especially for a larger Larrys. Water temperatures however remain a factor with the recent chill/rainfall causing the needle to remain stuck in the lower 40s. A few sunny days/upper 50 degree temperatures will push those bass into feeding mode. Trout fishing now is a game of multiple choice with a plethora of species and near-limitless spots. A few highlights for locals are Norris Reservation and First Herring Brook, both of which are holding brook trout. Come spring a writer/bait shop owners conversation inevitably turns to – stripers! While it’s too early for the linesider watch, Lisa from Fore River Fishing Tackle in Quincy couldn’t help but bring up her favorite early season spot which is the Great Esker Park section of the Weymouth Back River. While no confirmation of river herring there, the sightings of osprey usually coincide with the appearance of alewives. Striped bass concerns will be later but for now the game is largely one of trout, bass and panfish! Trout fishing has been terrific in Jamaica Pond, Houghton’s and Norris Reservation. Lisa’s Larry pick of the week is Pond Meadow Park in Braintree.

Eric from Lunkers in Ashland told me of a unique circumstance regarding Heard Pond in Wayland. Because of the exceptionally high water this place is potentially very promising for pike right now. The stars are aligned for this spot to be something this spring since the effluent Sudbury River should be breaching the pond. This does not happen every year but when it does spawn/post spawn pike will move from the main river into this tributary making for the real possibility of stellar pike fishing. In some years when the two water bodies connect anglers with prams are able to access the river from the pond. While trout are now swimming in most every designated water body, for bass one of the best bets is Whitehall Reservoir. Rick from Jerry’s Bait and Tackle in Milford told me that many of his patrons are planning on opening day at Wachusett Reservoir and Sudbury Reservoir. For lunker largemouth the latter is Rick’s pick. Stump Pond in Westborough is another Metrowest largemouth favorite. As for trout, Power Bait is doing the trick at Louisa Lake in Milford and Uncas Pond in Franklin.

Elise and Griffin Sabolevski with trout
Elise and Griffin Sabolevski have been finding the Connecticut Valley Region trout action terrific!

One peak at my April Fishing Planner column in the current issue of On The Water is a reminder that I’m no threat to Nostradamus! After a wimpy winter with little upstream snowfall and with reports of low water levels at Wachusett about a month ago I opined that water levels would be low – wrong! According to Eddie of B&A Bait and Tackle Co. in West Boylston, the Chu is so filled to the brim he’s worried that it’ll seep into his shop. If the season were to start this weekend access would be a major problem. Fortunately the season does not begin until Saturday the 6th so there’s still hope that conditions will improve but far from me to make any more predictions. Meanwhile Comet has been a major draw for trout with Quinsigamond and South Meadow the supporting cast for Central Mass trout. Pike pursuers are targeting toothies at Quaboag Pond and Indian Lake.

Regarding fish with teeth, Josh from the Fishing Hole in South Hadley had promising things to say about walleye when we spoke! In fact he said that he’s hearing more buzz about that species throughout the Connecticut River than he’s ever heard! Could there be a spike in numbers of this unique fish which is not ordinarily caught in New England? For a hint as to the “where, when and on what”, Josh suggests that you target confluences with other rivers and tributaries such as the Chicopee River. For walleyes the night bite is best and guys are catching them on jigs/small paddletails crawled along sandy/gravely bottoms. The bass bite is off due to static cold water temperatures that need to bump up between 45-50 for the fish to feed aggressively. Carp up to 30 pounds have been taken on boilies upstream of the Holyoke Dam; you’ll catch downstream also but quality will give way to quantity. The Fishing Hole is busy stocking shad darts along with willow leaf spoons.

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Shawn from Merrimac Sports said that the Merrimack had been hot for pike and bass but he was concerned that the increased current would kill the bite. Prior to the torrent, there was terrific toothy action upstream of the Lawrence Dam as well as near Stanley and Kimball Islands. While jerk baits and big paddletails will work, pike shiners remain the premium offering and the shop still has a few in stock! For trout, Round Pond, Millvale and Baldpate have been productive. Angler’s fishing Lake Attitash have been having luck with Larrys.

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

Prowling pike, walleyes and black bass make the Connecticut, Sudbury and Merrimack Rivers among the Bay State’s best bets. For the bass to really turn on we need a bump in water temperatures with another five degrees (next week?) the tipping point. River herring are moving into their natal watersheds and are a harbinger of a seven-striped favorite to come. Those herring have some thinking of imminent arrival of their larger American shad cousins as shops from Scituate to South Hadley to Newburyport are stocking shad darts and willow leaf spoons! As we near April ground fishing is on deck with GOM haddock and Southern New England cod in angler’s sites.

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