• Shawn the Fisherman


Welcome to the Jigs & Bigs LOCAL WESTERN MASS fishing report!

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

This week was pretty easy to sum up for my personal fishing adventures: it sucked. After putting in a ton of time on the water during the May and June Massachusetts Kayak Bassing, KayakTournamentsOnline.com, and Chronic Trips remote tournaments, I’m focusing on getting on top of housework and projects this month.

I was able to get out on July 2nd for a grand total of 15 minutes. T-storms came over the Berkshire Mountain pond I was on. I bolted immediately. Last year I got trapped on Lake Buel in Monterey about a half mile away from the launch by a pop-up t-storm. That memory is still fresh and I’m trying not to put myself in similar situations again.

On the 5th, I traveled across the CT border over to Colebrook Reservoir. I haven’t fished it in years but the Smallmouth action can be pretty intense there. On a bluebird-sky Sunday, however, there were already numerous kayaks and larger fishing boats combing the lake. I made a quick run, had a couple non-committal hits that I couldn’t turn, then proceeded on to another Berkshires pond. I made a lap around that one, hit for 2 Largemouth (biggest was a skinny 17” on a frog), and headed home.

At least my house projects are getting done.

So, let’s see how the rest of Western Mass is doing…


Chuck at My 4 Sons was my first call, where he and Brett had a lot to say about great Berkshires action. Pike are active in the Woods Pond and other backwater sections of the Housatonic River. Getting a flat-bottomed boat or kayak will be your best bet to reach them. I did have a laugh and made note that I wished I had that info just over a week ago for the Chronic Trips tourney, where I struck out on Pike for the month. They also said that there is no wrong water to choose for Largemouth Bass action (and check the MA DCR site for Berkshire waters holding Smallmouth, same deal). However, with the abnormal amount of quarantine fishing pressure everywhere, they let me know that finesse rigs, such as Neds and Drop-shots are enticing both Bass species the most effectively. My 4 Sons has plenty of both, along with shiners, craws, and worms in stock for whatever finny creatures you’re after.

Jan at BG Sporting reported that the Westfield River (located directly across Rt 20 from BG) has been turning up plenty of Rainbow and Brook Trout. Bait, lures, and flies have all been successful for Trout anglers there. She also noted that the Otis Reservoir Largemouth and Smallmouth bite has been great, and due to that, BG’s supply of Whopper Ploppers has been decimated. What they have recently restocked is their live bait selection. Anyone in need of shiners, crawlers, Dillies, or Trout worms will find them there.


Rich at R&R Sports only had a minute to talk, with more than a few customers in the store when I called, 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 live crawfish to scratch your Smallmouth itch.


Old Glory Outdoors’ owner Joe was pretty pumped up to share some Largemouth fishing particulars with me for South Pond. Smaller male Bass are still shallow, wrapping up their fry-guarding details, and are falling for various plastic baits and topwaters. Meanwhile, out in the 10-20’ depths, the larger, recovering females haven’t been shy about going after crankbaits and drop-shot rigs. He also let me know that a 6lb 8oz slob was pulled out of Lake Lashaway this week. After seeing the amount of submerged vegetation there firsthand, I have no doubt there are more that size you’ll read about in future reports. He ended by briefly letting me know that he’s been getting a few reports that the Swift River has been turning up all manner of Trout, and that drop-shots at Quabbin have been hooking both Large and Smallmouth. Stop in for more details. BREAKING NEWS: As I was typing this, I saw his most recent Facebook post showing the arrival of a large shipment of plastics. Get them before they’re gone, as we know how scarce plastics are in tackle shops and departments lately!

I had a great call to Ben’s Tackle Shack this morning. Dan couldn’t wait to have me talk with one of his Pro Team members, Dave Outdoorsman (you can find him on Facebook). Dave recently went out to Sugden Reservoir on his bass boat and had a kayaker with him. They found the Largemouth and Smallmouth extremely active there, averaging 1.5-2.5 fish throughout the day, but there were A LOT of them. Arkie jigs and various Senko-style stickworms did most of the damage, and he mentioned an excellent early-a.m. topwater bite on Pop-Rs and Zara Spooks. He did laugh about misidentifying surfacing Trout as Bass, and said they briefly targeted them until they ID’d them. (I did the same thing recently, so I know the pain!) Spinnerbaits were also effective as the day wore on. The kayaker that came out (apologies on not getting his/her name) had some success wacky-rigging a Doomsday Laggin’ Dragon soft bait. Ben’s carries those, so check them out next time you stop in. Dave also provided some insight on Sugden for those interested. He said that the boat ramp is a bit intimidating, due to being a bit narrow, but can be used for all types of vessels. Once on the water, the amount of structure and docks holding fish will quickly make an angler forget the ramp. He described Sugden as a perfect place for new anglers learning the game, or for experienced ones trying new techniques.

I’m going to finish with Flagg’s at Orange this week. Talking to Rodney on a weekly basis may be the early highlight of this fledgling report. Rodney is heavily armed with 2 things: experience and enthusiasm, which make my calls to him great. He passed along that Quabbin’s landlocked Salmon fishing is on fire this week, with Streamer Flies run deep being a great tactical choice for them. Smallmouth Bass fishing has also been hot, with the feisty bronzebacks willing to attack all manner of plastics, Spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and crankbaits. Meanwhile, trolling baits deep (20’) has been the ticket for Rainbows, a 5 lb specimen of which was brought to his shop by an angler. Rodney also wanted me to let fishermen know that due to distributor supply chain Coronavirus disruptions, it’s best to stop into Flagg’s often, as gear has been flying off the shelves. Particularly Yamamoto lures, which have been restocked since my visit last week, and Flagg’s is now sold out of them again.

One odd note here, as we veered off topic for a bit to speculate on a RUMOR (did I accentuate that enough?) floating around the area that a 20lb Lake Trout may have been harvested at Quabbin. Rodney has been investigating as best he can but hasn’t turned up much info. If you were (or know) the angler that can verify this claim, please reach out to either Rodney or myself (jigsandbigs413@gmail.com). This is out of pure curiosity for such a mammoth specimen, neither of us is offering any type of reward.

Finally, a quick shout out to Mrs. Mitchell’s Kitchen in Holyoke, which Bobby Roast Beef and I made or impromptu Jigs and Bigs headquarters this week. We are both large mammals that enjoy our meals, and Mrs. Mitchell’s is THE place to enjoy authentic Irish breakfast cuisine in the Valley. Stop in and try it sometime!

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


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