Line Drive: Fishing in Western Mass
If your idea of a good time involves hanging up a “gone fishing” sign and relaxing with a fishing pole in hand, Western Mass has you covered. Many a local hike follow the contours of a body of water, and many of those spots are stocked with fish.
And, of course, the Connecticut cuts its way through the region, too. There are handy boat ramps in Franklin and Hampshire Counties starting near the northern border with the Pauchaug ramp and Barton Cove, and continuing southward to Sunderland, the Oxbow, and South Hadley. For full details, check the Connecticut River Greenway State Park. Need to check up on river conditions, or pick up a few last-minute supplies for the tacklebox? Check out Deerfield Fly Shop for all the necessities.
A particularly peaceful spot is hidden away near Shutesbury, where you’ll find bass- and trout-fishing at Lake Wyola. In the warm season, Wyola also has a popular public beach. It’s a small, but lovely lake that feels pleasantly isolated. Not far away, but a bit more off the beaten path, is Wendell State Park. There’s plenty to do, from hiking and picnicking to enjoying Ruggles Pond, with its 10 acres to fish.
For extra-nice views on the way to your destination, head up the Mohawk Trail, known for its spectacular leaf-peeping. Up in Charlemont, you’ll find the Mohawk Trail State Forest, which boasts 18 miles of trout-fishing waters. Worth noting: the area is also home to Berkshire East ski resort, with mountain biking trails and zip-lining off-season, plus Zoar Outdoor whitewater rafting, if you’d rather ride the currents than fish them.
Mount Tom State Reservation is known for the great views along its trails, but there’s a lot more than hiking going on atop the ridgeline between Easthampton and Holyoke. In addition to the ruins of the old Eyrie House hotel, you’ll also find Lake Bray, another 10-acre lake where you can drop in a line. Mount Tom is near the Oxbow boat ramp, if you want to add the Connecticut River to the agenda.
West of Northampton in Chesterfield, there’s fishing to be had, but only if you don’t want to take home your catch. The lovely Chesterfield Gorge allows for angling only with artificial lures, and only catch-and-release. In nearby Goshen, you can enjoy fishing from a fully accessible pier at Upper Highland Lake, or drop in a line at the Lower Highland Lake. Wherever you decide to wade, Western Mass will lure you in!