• Shawn the Fisherman

WMASS FISHING REPORT: 7/23/2020

Updated: Jul 24, 2020


What a difference a week can make.

After slogging through the first couple weeks of a humid, soupy July, I was finally able to find and boat some good fish. And when it mattered.

Last Saturday, I fished the Massachusetts Kayak Bassing (MAKB) tournament trail stop that ran the length of the Nashua River between the NH border and Rt. 117 in Lancaster. I applied my own previous fishing reports’ info to this tourney by fishing creature baits and fishing them deep. Locating aggressive Largemouth at the first location I planned on fishing, and after my abysmal outing in the Taunton River tourney the week prior, I kept the “golden rule” in mind. I didn’t leave fish to find fish. I stayed on top of those fish for a full 8 hours (minus a bathroom break). That resulted in a 1st place finish in a field absolutely loaded with experienced, quality kayak anglers. Good stuff!

18.5", my 2nd largest fish of Saturday's tourney.

Midweek, I shifted gears and did some fishing with my sons, my neighbors, and their sons. My neighbors have just installed their dock on the small lake we all live on, and their sons have become very interested in catching sunfish with the classic “worm and bobber” setup. On Wednesday, in the name of saving them from buying worms every day, I introduced all the boys to the even more classic “kernels of corn under a bobber” setup. This has been nothing short of a hit, as all the kids are now able to hook their own bait (under adult supervision, of course), and the older boys have been starting to remove and release their own fish. Of course, I had a 1/0 EWG hook and 4” stick worm on my spinning combo to keep the smaller Largemouth in the area entertained. I mean, somebody had to. All in all, a really fantastic way to end a couple hot summer days.


6 lbs. of corn. 0 lbs. of screwing around.

Yesterday at dusk, Bobby Roast Beef and I had an impromptu jaunt out onto one of my favorite little waters “up da ‘Shires”. (I promise, explanation is forthcoming.) The fish told us to throw jigs and frogs, and we listened. Bobby hit for quality, landing the biggest between us (just shy of 17”). I was the “quantity” guy and caught 7 fish between 14” and 16”. I’ll take a steady bite when I can get it, especially after the past couple weeks. I hope this recent action I’ve caught onto continues into August.

And, speaking of August, please keep in mind that Chronic Trips will be holding their 2nd month-long multispecies tournament. (Full disclosure: I recently joined their team on the fishing side of the house and will be providing weekly updates on the podcast over the course of August.) For more details, search CHRONIC TRIPS on the FishDonkey App., or contact Chronic Trips through Facebook. If you’d like to hear my take on the June tournament, check out the 7/6 Jigs & Bigs podcast in the archives at jigsandbigs.com. It's a great way to push your boundaries if you generally (like myself) concentrate on a couple different species, and I had a blast going after species I wouldn't have normally!

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

BERKSHIRE MOUNTAINS

This morning, I spoke with Jan at BG Sporting. I started the conversation by joking about how the report would be extremely short due to the drought conditions affecting the Westfield River. She laughed and said that the low water levels were in no way affecting the steady stream of Trout fishermen trying their luck there. BG still has plenty of Dillies, crawlers, mealworms, and Trout worms for those of you looking to bank-fish or wade the Westfield and nearby waters. She also noted that both Otis Reservoir and Littleville Lake have been seeing their share of Trout and Bass anglers. She recommended that anglers search deep for either of those species and noted that worms and lures tipped with worms have worked for Trout. Meanwhile, for Bass, she let me know that as soon BG receives Whopper Ploppers, they vanish from the shelves. Low-light conditions should prove to be deadly for the prop-lures, just be sure to stop in often to purchase a Plopper before they pull their disappearing act.


My 4 Sons fishing reporter, Brett, received news on how the recent heat wave has affected the Trout way out west. A fly-fishing friend passed along that some interesting info for catch and release Trout fisherman. It seems that Trout survivability rates decrease over 68 F due to stress. This has made cold water mountain streams the place to find Trout for sport. Brett let me know that he planned to fish the stream running by My 4 Sons this week for Brook Trout, possibly getting a water temp, and see how they fare after being caught. On the Bass front, he passed along that daytime bass angling has been slow, but picks up during dawn and again during dusk. He advised continuing to throw topwaters, such as Whopper Ploppers, during those times to improve hookup odds.


PIONEER VALLEY

Rich at R&R Sports noted a slow week for reports from anglers, but reiterated that Quabbin Salmon and Lake Trout anglers should focus their efforts with minnows sent deep down to the thermocline. R&R has plenty of shiners to achieve that end, and plenty of live crawfish for Smallmouth anglers.

QUABBIN REGION

Joe at Old Glory Outdoors always has some good info on tap, and today was no exception. This week, he’s had a number of reports of big Largemouth targeting large-sized plastics in smaller ponds. Googan Mondos and 7” Yamamoto Senkos were a couple of Joe’s recommendations to that end. Drop-shotting plastics in 10’-12’ of water has been another successful tactic, along with topwater lures near dawn and dusk. For topwater anglers, hollow-body frogs, rat wakebaits, and Whopper Ploppers have all been deadly. Joe also mentioned that live shiners have taken large Bass as well. For the Trout crew reading this report, he suggested heading to the Swift River, but doing some homework on your mapping app. of choice beforehand. The bite there has been hot, but the angling pressure has been intense. Find a spot off the beaten path and please avoid breaking any trespassing laws. Waterfront homeowners hate dealing with that, and I’m speaking from experience. Joe also noted that South Pond continues to churn out 3 to 6 lb. Brown Trout, still down at the thermocline with shiners. If you’re in need of any of the aforementioned lures or live shiners and you’re in the neighborhood, Old Glory should have what you need in stock. If they don’t, they’re able to order what you need. Joe put in a reel order for me recently, and I hope to have some feedback on my 1st 13 FISHING reel in the near future.

Fishing Team member Don “Donny Ballgame” Litchfield was my point of contact for Ben’s Tackle Shack this week. Don recently fished Walker Pond at Wells State Park in Sturbridge, and we had a great talk about the lake, as I’ve hit Walker numerous times over the years. Don let me know that he had success on both weedy sections of the lake at the south end, by the 84/90 interchange, and the north end, where the boat ramp is located. He found bass at 7’ to 8’ depths along the edge of weedlines meeting the bottom of the lake. He was able to get them to bite both Bico Jigs and various plastics, and noted the Largemouth were chasing schools of Yellow and White Perch. Using electronics to find the bait will put you in proximity of the fish, and lures “matching the hatch” should entice bites. Topwater lures on the north end weedline during lowlight hours drew bites as well. Don and I also talked about a couple of the drastic changes in depth the pond has, and with surface water temps at or near their highs for the year in the low 80s, he recommended fishing the drops when you can find them. Especially when near weedlines. Nearing the end of our call, Don let me know that Ben’s has recently restocked their rod and reel selection, with numerous models an speeds of FX, Doomsday, and Ardent models. Check them out!

Flagg’s in Orange. Love the weekly calls to Rodney. Can’t type that enough.

Before we got talking about the fishing in his neck of the woods, I let him know that I’d received info on the rumored massive Lake Trout that had been caught in Quabbin a few weeks ago. (Details in my last 2 reports.) He responded back that, while reports have been a bit slow this week, there was a great recent one. A regular customer and Laker angler stopped in with a 14 lb. beast (!) and while at Flagg’s, let Rodney know that he’d also recently harvested 9 and 8 lb. individuals (!!). The 9 lb. fish was a particularly interesting catch, as it had a recently swallowed 14” Salmon in it’s stomach! Rodney passed along that he’s been receiving a trickle of reports from Gates 8 and 31 regarding the Salmon bite there, and to continue keeping shiners at the level of the thermocline for success. He noted he hasn’t gotten any info on Gate 43 recently, so stop into Flagg’s if you’ve been fishing there to let Rodney know how it’s been. Outside of Quabbin’s cozy confines, Trout have been biting at Lake Mattawa on a variety of live baits. Shiners under bobbers at dusk have been the trick for Lake Rohunta Largemouth. And Yamamoto plastic frogs have been scoring big dividends for competitive anglers in bass boats. Rodney let me know that he has small shiners and all manner of Trout worms in stock, and is awaiting a lure restock order to arrive

Please feel free to email Bobby Roast Beef at jigsandbigs413@gmail.com for any input or feedback on this report. He makes sure it gets to me!

Thanks for reading, stay safe and rip some lips this week!

-StF

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