Massachusetts Fishing Report- December 14, 2023

Josh with brown trout
Josh from the Fishing Hole in South Hadley caught this beautiful brown in the Deerfield River.

Massachusetts Fishing Report

Downtime ain’t what it used to be! While hardcore hardwater heroes may take exception, those looking to get in their casting licks well into winter are loving it. While it’s impossible to predict the future, with a less than frigid weather forecast we might as well enjoy it.

I received some sad news when I called Flagg’s Fly and Tackle in Orange on Wedesday. I learned from Rodney Flagg’s son-in-law Robbie that Rod had recently passed away. Rod was a master fly tier who was as comfortable tying Swift River nymphs as he was tying Quabbin Reservoir streamers. His creations were works of art and highly sought after not only locally but nationally as well. Few had their finger on the pulse of Quabbin quite like Rod and his loss has created a void that in all probability will never be filled. Personally I knew next to nothing about Quabbin Reservoir and not only did I learn a ton over the two decades and weekly conversations we had, but even introduced me to Bobby May who took me out on several unforgettable salmon trips. Rodney Flagg will sorely be missed by the innumerable lives he touched; tight lines in the afterlife Rod!

Eric from Lunkers in Ashland talked of some solid bass fishing when we spoke. I thought that odd considering how close his shop is to terrific trout water such as Ashland Reservoir, Hopkinton Reservoir and Lake Cochituate. It just goes to show what varied water exists in Metrowest. For largemouth check out Farm Pond and Winthrop Lake. For smallmouth bass, Walden Pond is the better bet. The latter also has ideal conditions to grow big brown trout and we can thank the smelt forage base for that.

“He’s back!”, the “he” being Pete Santini of Fishing FINatics who will be tending to his Everett emporium until January 6th when the shop will close until late February. Should we get a totally out-of-left field freeze he will stock shiners until he leaves for a spell. Thanks to the shop’s 24/7 bait dispenser you can always count on a steady supply of crawlers and trout worms. You can put those worms to good use for a menagerie of trout species which are biting at Jamaica Pond, Sluice Pond, Pleasant Pond as well as White Pond and Walden Pond. An alternative use for those worms is smelt which according to Pete are being pursued at historic haunts such as the Chelsea Creek by the Cronin Rink and the Belle Isle Creek by the Beachmont VFW off Bennington Street. If you’re looking for a sweet deal on hardwater necessities swing by the shop, Pete’s looking to liquidate ice fishing gear which just doesn’t get the local workout it used to.

Wachusett laker
Better Chu lakers are finished spawning and hungry!

Rene from Bridge Road Bait in Salisbury said that he’s still doling out shiners for anglers targeting black bass in Artichoke Reservoir, Lake Attitash and Tewksbury Pond. Bigger shiners are being put to good use on pike in the Haverhill, Methuen and North Andover stretches of the Merrimack River. Trout top picks are Stiles Pond, Baldpate Pond and Pleasant Pond. Anglers are loving the extended season at the Chu and willing lakers are making for quite the accomplice! There also has been an uptick in the size of the fish now that the spawn is well past. My buddy Rick Holbrook caught a solid 26” fish the other day that is topping the seasonal B&A Bait and Tackle Co. tournament. I’ve been following his lead and getting better fish with blue/chrome Kastmasters between 1/2 and 3/4 ounces. Another lure to keep handy is 1ounce gold Hopkins Shortys for jigging deep/far away holes! As to where, I suggest you check out downstream areas off the Thomas Basin after rain storms. Salmonoids of all sorts are beholden to their nature and can’t resist the current which flows out from the tributaries after a torrent. Areas around the power lines have produced well for me in the past.

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Joe from Granby Bait told me that he and chums have been catching a nice mix of trout from Asnacomet in Hubbardston. While spinners and spoons are working, when temps dip this much you can’t beat bait and if you’re near the shop you’re in luck – bait is part of their name! Forge Pond is a favorite as is Lake Wyola in Shutesbury.

Josh from the Fishing Hole in South Hadley said that trout are still in spawning mode in rivers such as the Swift and Deerfield making egg pattern flies and egg-simulating baits working best. Lures will work also but to trigger a strike a spoon such as a Little Cleo or Thomas Buoyant, will dig in deeper eliciting a reactionary strike. The goal is to put your offering right in front of their noses to incite a hit. Pike throughout the Connecticut River also have adjusted their positioning away from the main current making setbacks, oxbows and coves deadly. In fact – The Oxbow – is just about perfect for pike right now. Plummeting water temperatures are also having an effect on pike activity levels making real bait – fallfish, pond shiners, yellow perch – the most effective.

Massachusetts Fishing Forecast

Trout remain the top target with varied venues all fishing well. Ponds and lakes from Jamaica Pond to Asnacomet all have a diversity of trout species with spoons and bait all working. Continuous rainfall has concentrated pike in the Connecticut River as well as lake trout in Wachusett Reservoir. While hardly high times in the salt, smelt are an option among Greater Boston creeks.

1 thought on “Massachusetts Fishing Report- December 14, 2023

  1. Alan Wynn

    So sorry to hear one the finest fly tiers ever and a wealth of Central MA knowledge passed away Definitely was one of my fishing hero’s for sure!

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