WMASS FISHING REPORT: 7/16/2020
WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS FISHING REPORT
The dog days of summer have arrived in Western Mass. This past week held the threat of daily thunderstorms looming over us. For me, that means I concentrate on activities other than fishing. In a previous report, I mentioned that I had a thunderstorm form quickly and quietly overhead during a jaunt on Lake Buel. For those familiar with the water, I was on the opposite side of the shallow stretch that separates the 2 lake basins. I have a paddle, not pedal, kayak, and it was a hairy ordeal getting back to the launch. So, I don’t risk lightning for bass anymore. They’ll still be there after the storm.
I managed to get out twice this past week around the weather and home projects. I fished a Massachusetts Kayak Bassing (MAKB) trail tournament this past Saturday. It was my 1st time on the Taunton River, which is tidal, and it was a whole new experience for me. The section I focused on did hold some fish, and I managed to avoid a skunking, but anglers in other sections upriver fared much better than I did. The tide came in during the competition hours, and once it rose significantly, my morning bite died. Of note, I hooked a juvenile Striper, and several of the most BLAZING-RED Redbreast Sunfish I’ve ever seen.
My second outing was that evening. After a nap, I met a friend out at a pond closer to Worcester than Springfield. We met up at 2 am Sunday, hoping to capitalize on prime night-bite hours and the dawn. The night-bite wasn’t there, but between 4-6 am, we both did pretty well. Nothing oversized (17’ big), but I was able to submit a couple Largemouth in monthly tourneys. Did most of my damage with a jig, and was nice to get some confidence going. I can confirm that we were the only fishermen (lunatics) on the water until about 5 am, so if you’re looking to fish in solitude, get on the water in the dark.
Now, onto this week’s report.
As always, I’d like to thank the following Bait and Tackle shops for their gracious voluntary participation in this report. Please take the time to visit them in your travels and mention that you got their report from our site. I don’t want anyone to burn a spot or technique, but please try to relay any fishing info you can to the shop owners. We’d all like to keep this report coming!
BG Sporting Inc., Westfield Ben’s Tackle Shack, Brookfield Flagg’s Fly & Tackle, Orange Granby Bait & Tackle, Granby My 4 Sons Bait & Tackle, Lee Old Glory Outdoors, East Brookfield R&R Sport Shop LLC, Belchertown Red Bridge Bait & Tackle, Ludlow
My 4 Sons has designated a member of their Pro Staff, Brett Veazie, to deliver the report from their end of the state. (Brett contributed to last week’s report by excitedly firing me input from the background during my call there, so this was a natural next step for all parties involved.) Brett let me know that there are no wrong choices Berkshire-bound Largemouth anglers can make for small water bass. Ponds everywhere are hot, especially when dropping weighted creature baits around weed-line and structural drops. He related that a recent trip with friends turned up several bass in the 3 to 4 lb range, with a kicker over 6! Also “up da’ ‘Shires” (I’ll explain that term in a future blog entry or podcast episode) are Trout. Lots of them. While they are holding in moving water, particularly the deep parts of the Farmington and Housatonic’s faster sections. They can be caught with bait and flies, depending on where you choose to wet a line. He made sure to mention that My 4 Sons has just restocked their lure selections, including crankbaits, plastics, and any plastic rigging hooks and weights you may need. If you’re having trouble finding a rod & reel combo (have you been to fishing sections of sporting goods retailers recently?), Brett let me know that an order is on the way, and we’ll both be sure to pass along info when it arrives.
Bill at BG Sporting in Westfield had talked about a number of waters producing Largemouth and Smallmouth. He’s gotten angler feedback from Otis Reservoir, Big Pond, and Benton Pond that noted success with various Yamamoto baits and on top with Jitterbugs and Whopper Ploppers. Anglers in need are in luck, as Bill noted that they’ve restocked the aforementioned lures this week. Unfortunately, he did make sure to let me know that some Trout anglers may have to do some searching for their targets, as the Westfield River levels have dropped due to the drought conditions of late. He mentioned that BG does have plenty of Trout baits, such as crawlers and worms, if you’re on your way to find them.
Rich at R&R Sports was a great call this week, as he had some follow-up information from my request at the end of last week’s report. During his report on Quabbin’s Lake Trout action, he confirmed that he had seen not only the mystery 20+ lb Lake Trout picture, but also saw a 16 lb 2 oz one along with it! He noted that he’d only seen pictures due to both Lakers being given the CPR (Catch Photograph Release) treatment. So, both are back in Quabbin now and surely getting fatter for their next boating adventure. He advised Salmon, Trout, and Smallmouth anglers to all aim deeper, at or below the thermocline, and fish slower to improve their hookup chances.
I also had a chance to briefly talk with Lane at Red Bridge Bait & Tackle. Reports have been scarce for her, but she did relay that Trout Powerbait has been flying off the shelves. Based on my deductions, either Trout anglers are hoarding it like toilet paper, or Trout are biting it. I’m going to go with the latter on that one. Red Bridge is also in process of restocking their lures and terminal tackle but do have live bait available. And don’t forget about the 24-hour live bait machine outside the front door for you early and late hour anglers!
Creatures, creatures, creatures. Joe at Old Glory Outdoors was also getting reports of their effectiveness for shy Largemouth. He also added that shakey-head and Ned rigs have been doing damage as well. On top of that, he stressed the topwater action he’s been hearing about with Whopper Ploppers and hollow-body frogs. He recommended the Quaboag River and any area small ponds to put these reports to the test. Of note, he also caught wind of a good large-swimbait bite over on the Congamond lakes. Of course, Quabbin Reservoir’s Smallmouth bite has continued to be good, even as the Trout have gone deeper during this dry spell. No matter what you’re after, Old Glory will be able to help you out after their recent restocking. In particular, Joe mentioned that their recent shipment contained Spro BBZ Rat wakebaits. I’ve caught a few non-discriminating Largemouth with mice in them over the years, and Ken Wood, Director of MAKB, was gracious enough to allow me to share the pic of the mouse-destroying Largemouth he caught during the Taunton tourney last weekend. (Check out the throat.)
These things'll eat anything.
Finally, Joe added that Old Glory now is carrying Reaction Innovation plastics, and both Lew’s and Abu Garcia rods and reels. Check them out if you’re in the area!
Rodney at Flagg’s reported that things have quieted down a bit this week, with the theme of our call becoming “quantity over quality”. With the heat, Quabbin’s Lake Trout and Salmon have gone to colder, deeper water. He said that with some patience, they can still be hooked, and did have an angler stop in with a harvested Salmon over 5 lbs. Try running streamers for the Salmon in the 35’ to 40’ range and putting live shiners on the bottom for Lakers. Smallmouth also have retreated deeper, but will still respond to a variety of plastics, particularly weighted Yamamoto products rigged in the manner of your preference. Outside of Quabbin, he noted that he’s been hearing of Largemouth hitting on Lake Rohunta. With the amount of aquatic plant life there, any manner of weedless lures will be your best bet. Rodney said that small ponds everywhere are producing the same “quantity” bite and noted that Miller’s River (Orange/Athol) anglers have been having a blast with numerous smaller Smallmouth and Brown Trout. Finally, he talked about Lake Mattawa’s (Orange) Trout and Smallmouth. The Smallies there have been gobbling up Yamamoto plastics and live craws. Might not be a bad idea to take a youngster that’s learning to fish there, as they won’t remember the exact length of the 14” Smallmouth they hook, but they’ll never forget it going airborne 3’ trying to shake the hook!
Finally, Bobby Roast Beef has been passing along some great feedback on this report to me, and I’m happy to keep it going! Please feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org for any input. He makes sure it gets to me!
Thanks for reading, stay safe and rip some lips this week!