• Shawn the Fisherman


Welcome to the first Jigs & Bigs LOCAL WESTERN MASSACHUSETTS fishing report!

Off the bat, 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 My 4 Sons Bait & Tackle, Lee Old Glory Outdoors, East Brookfield R&R Sport Shop LLC, Belchertown

Starting waaaaaay out west in the Berkshires, I spoke with Melissa at My 4 Sons, and she relayed that Goose Pond (Lee), Laurel Lake (Lee), and Greenwater Pond (Becket) are “absolutely loaded” with Trout, Largemouth , and Smallmouth Bass. I made a point during the start of this report to visit each shop in person. On my visit, Melissa let me know that the brook running a couple hundred out the shop door was loaded with some Brook Trout. And it was! Ask before you take a walk that way. I ventured out looking for Northern Pike to Pontoosuc Lake in Pittsfield this week, and while I didn’t get into any (landed 2 Smallmouth before I got chased off the water by T-storms), I can verify by the amount of airborne Trout I saw that Pontoosuc can be added to that list. Pike were the one freshwater fish in Chronic Trip’s multispecies tournament I was unable to hook into. (More to come on the results on that tourney.) It’s about that time of the year when I’ll be making the rounds of my favorite waters up in the mountains for Largemouth, so I’m positive the Berkshires section of this report will grow as the summer continues.

Rodney at Flagg’s in Orange has had numerous reports coming in. Trout anglers fishing the streams in the north-central part of the state have had a great time. Meanwhile, Lake Rohunta (Orange) has maintained a steady Largemouth bite. I made my first trip to Rohunta a few weeks ago and caught several willing Largemouth on jigs around timber. I will definitely be making a return trip soon. Rodney also had a lot to say on Quabbin’s Gate 31, with Landlocked Salmon, Smallmouth Bass and Trout all willing to do battle. Smallmouth have been very willing to hit wacky-rigged Senkos, which are flying out of his store. Before we spoke, he was discussing Quabbin’s Salmon with a customer, and their biggest takeaway was the lack of fishing pressure at the Reservoir. He only saw 2 other boats on the water the entire morning. As the customer departed, Rodney noted that the gent was one of the best Salmon fishermen in the area. Unknowingly illustrating that point, he soon walked back in with a keeper that looked to be all of 18” to my calibrated eye. Flagg’s does have shiners in stock, so keep that in mind if you are headed that way.

I stopped into Old Glory Outdoors this past Saturday with Booby Roast Beef after an outing on Lake Lashaway with the Hookset Hoodlums crew and Old Glory’s own Lunker Lads. Plenty of shiners there, and a recently stocked room of lures, including some intriguing 6th Sense patterns items, which I purchased. Bobby has detailed what happened on Lashaway on a Facebook post, but in brief, I was able to put up double digits in Largemouth by running a shallow crankbait over weedbeds, a favorite tactic of mine. However, it was a bit slower for all others involved. When I spoke to Joe, Old Glory’s owner, he relayed that reporting has been a bit slow, as it appears anglers have been avoiding outings due to the erratic weather lately. What he did relay was that Largemouth on Lake Lashaway and South Pond have been steadily hitting Shakey-head rigged worms, Dragon Craws, and various jigs. He also recommended that anyone seeking big Brown Trout spend some time at South Pond and hang shiners around the thermocline. I mentioned to him that the river between South and Quaboag was where I found some Largemouth success, and he had a laugh. Apparently, Ryan of the Lunker Lads was fishing the same area when a Pike “repossessed” his Whopper Plopper. Ryan went back to the same spot the next day and located his now severely damaged Plopper. Always good to get a lure back!

R&R Sports echoed Flagg’s Smallmouth/Senko reports from Quabbin, then added that they were able to get live crawfish restocked for the Smallies to munch on. I talked with Phil and Jim there, and Phil noted that while they haven’t had many recent reports due to the secretive nature of their customers (I understand both perspectives completely), targeting the thermocline for Salmon and Trout is the best bet to get bites.

Ben and Dan at Ben’s in Brookfield had quite a bit to say on the Largemouth action in East Brimfield Reservoir. Targeting weedlines with spinnerbaits has been a go-to pattern. I participate in the yearly Massachusetts Kayak Bassing (MAKB) bracketed one-on-one Knockout tournament (think NCAA hoops tourney for kayak anglers), and my 2nd round opponent and I chose there for our matchup. The go-to for my opponent was a creature bait rigged weightless on an EWG hook and left to sink slowly in deeper waters. That tactic was deadly, as I lost to a 3-fish limit made up of 2 fish over 20” and a 19”. (If you’re gonna lose, lose big, right?) The conversation then drifted to Quaboag Pond and its input and output rivers. Obviously, talking to a crew that has a ton of experience on these waters, I was lucky enough to get a bit of history on them. I was only able to add that during my Pike-quest this week, I had some decent Largemouth action in the river leading from South Pond. The water was about 5 degrees colder and it seemed to convince the Largemouth that my jig was now edible. One note on Ben’s: I was amazed at the locally made swimbaits they carry. If you’re in the market for one, stop in and check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

My last 2 stops for this report were Granby Bait & Tackle and Red Bridge Bait & Tackle (Ludlow). Brandon, Paul, and Matthew had the same sentiments regarding the Trout, Salmon, and Smallmouth in Quabbin. However, they also let me know they’d been hearing a buzz about great Smallie action in the Connecticut River above the Holyoke Dam. They recommended live shiners and crawfish, which they carry, along with Yamamoto plastics, which they’ve just restocked. Over at Red Bridge, Lane greeted me with the news that Smallmouth and Trout have been caught deep at the Red Bridge portion of the Chicopee River. Bank anglers will be getting some exercise combing the trails around Pool St. to get at the open water. She noted that they have small and small/medium shiners available, but the biggest surprise was that the store has recently gotten their 24-hour live bait machine outside the shop working. So, if you’re in need of nightcrawlers, trout worms, or mealworms at non-retail hours, you’ll be able to pick them up there!

It looks like this weekend’s weather will be nice, and most of the gamefish species are past their spawning periods of the year and into summer feeding patterns. (Except for most Northerns, which are apparently all busy making obscene gestures at my lures as they go by.) My advice would be to get on and off the waters early or wait until dusk/dark to fish your water of choice.

Finally, please get out there and fish safely! We all know how busy the waters have been during the quarantine and reopening phases, as droves of people that normally wouldn’t be using the resources are now using them. I was also reminded a couple times over the past couple weeks that a lot of these folks don’t know proper etiquette on the water. We’re fishermen, and we have great patience. Now is the time we need to use it.

Thanks for reading and hope you have a safe and relaxing 4th of July!


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