With the arrival of cold weather, I recently checked in with MassWildlife district supervisors, fisheries biologists and other staff for their recommendations about hot spots for ice fishing in Massachusetts. They gave me many great suggestions to share. The photo is from Barton's Cove in Gill and pictured in the center in the waders is MassWildlife's aquatic resources education program coordinator Jim Lagacy.
Ice fishing in western Massachusetts is sometimes possible by December 1st and usually underway by mid-December. In central Massachusetts, things cool down (or heat up, depending on how you look at it) a week or two later.
Of course, anyone who chooses to go ice fishing should be careful about ice safety and check individual ponds before venturing out. See Marion Larson’s blog post about ice safety and if you are new to the sport, check out my post about ice fishing tips for beginners.
Here are recommendations for ponds in western and central Massachusetts with a bit of information about the fish that are most popular with ice anglers.
- Onota Lake, Pittsfield: broodstock Atlantic salmon, trout, northern pike
- Pontoosuc Lake, Pittsfield: northern pike, tiger muskie, largemouth bass, chain pickerel
- Stockbridge Bowl, Stockbridge: broodstock Atlantic salmon, trout, chain pickerel
Connecticut Valley District
- Lake Mattawa, Orange; broodstock Atlantic salmon, trout, yellow perch
- Lake Rohunta, Orange: largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch
- Lake Congamond, Southwick: broodstock Atlantic salmon, trout, chain pickerel, perch
- Fivemile Pond, Springfield: broodstock Atlantic salmon, trout, largemouth bass
- Oxbow Pond, Easthampton: largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, white perch
- Quaboag Pond, Brookfield: northern pike, largemouth bass, chain pickerel
- Comet Pond, Hubbardston: broodstock Atlantic salmon, trout
- Bare Hill Pond, Harvard: largemouth bass, yellow perch, chain pickerel
MassWildlife’s Angler Education Program typically offers a few ice fishing programs per year, so stay tuned to our website to find these offerings. Also, if you check in with your local sporting shop/bait and tackle store, you can find postings for ice fishing derbies which can be a fun way to experience ice fishing.
I’m going to follow up with a blog about eastern Massachusetts in a couple of weeks.