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Just because the weather has turned cold doesn’t mean that you need to stop doing what you love, in this case, fishing.
When the lakes freeze over, Ice fishing is a great way to spend a day in the fresh air out on the lake in Massachusetts.
In this article, we will look at some of the top places to ice fish in Massachusetts and offer some useful tips to help you enjoy your day.
Ice Fishing in Massachusetts
If you love catching a range of species, you will be spoiled for choice. When ice fishing in Massachusetts, you’ll stand a chance of reeling in trout, largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch, salmon.
The start of December onwards is normally when the temperature cools down sufficiently to form fishable ice. However, this is obviously variable, so check before you go and always air on the side of caution.
You’ll find several styles of ice fishing techniques employed. Ice fishing tip-ups are a popular choice.
Regarding bait, most anglers have success by employing foods that represent what is normally found on the lake. Jigs, live baits, and lures will all catch fish.
Be aware that in certain venues, there is a hook limit per angler.
Ice Fishing in Massachusetts | Central Mass
Quaboag Pond, Brookfield
Found two miles south of state Route 9, Quaboag pond offers the opportunity to catch perch, pike, largemouth bass, and bluegill.
Comet Pond, Hubbardston
You’ll often find the ice is Thicker at Comet pond, making it ideal if you want to fish for the full day. It is one of the best venues for trout fishing. Shiners are a particularly effective bait.
Bare Hill Pond. Harvard
For largemouth bass, Bare hill pond is the place to go. Located just to the southwest of Harvard, you’ll have the opportunity to catch bass of up to 8lbs using lures and jigs.
Ice Fishing in Massachusetts | Pioneer Valley
Fivemile Pond, Springfield
This spring-fed pond offers superb trout fishing and is stocked. If you are lucky, you might occasionally see the odd Atlantic Salmon too! Aside from the above species, you may also encounter yellow perch, bullhead, and largemouth bass.
Lake Rohunta, Orange
Lake Rohunta, with its clear water and large weed blooms, is ideal for hunting bass. In the summer months, it is abundant with crayfish and golden shiner, so these are go-to baits for the winter.
You’d be well advised to use weedless hooks, but largemouth bass are the dominant species when the fish are on.
Lake Mattawa, Orange
If you have a depth finder and the ice is thick enough, Lake Mattawa offers quite a bit of interest. The lake features a substantial ‘drop off’, allowing the angler to fish different depths searching for sizeable brown trout.
Ice Fishing in Massachusetts | Western Mass
Onoto Lake, Pittsfield
This huge lake is great for pike and the occasional state record-sized fish at that! Not to mention Atlantic salmon, bass, and carp. A selection of lures, live bait, and static baits will all catch fish.
Pontoosuc Lake, Pittsfield
One of the most popular lakes in the Berkshires, Pontoosuc has a huge trout and largemouth bass population, not to mention the occasional trophy-sized northern pike. As ice fishing goes, it is one of the most popular spots in the county.
Stockbridge Bowl, Stockbridge
Come the colder months, you’ll find Stockbridge Bowl, a premier venue for ice fishing. If fishing with an ice tip up, you can expect to catch trout, bass, and occasional pickerel. During the winter, minnows fish exceptionally well.
Ice Fishing FAQ
Provided you make your safety a priority, ice fishing is a great way to spend the day. Here are some commonly asked questions. Remember, when it comes to ice fishing, if in doubt, err on the side of caution .
How Thick is the Ice in Massachusetts?
The ice in Massachusetts can get up to 12” given the right conditions. However, this can vary depending on conditions and venue. As a safe minimum, aim for around 4” of ice. It must be thicker than 5” if you intend to use a snowmobile or ATV
How Dangerous is Ice Fishing?
Provided you follow some common-sense guidelines, ice fishing is really safe. If you are inexperienced, the best option is to hire a guide or go with someone who has lots of experience.
What is the Best Time to Go Ice Fishing?
Ice fishing is normally possible in Massachusetts from December onwards. The water’s depth at your chosen venue will dictate how thick the ice is and whether it is fishable.
With regards to the right time of day, the colder periods of the day are best. Mornings are good as the ice hasn’t been warmed by the sun. When the sun sets, the temperature also drops.
What Fish are in Season in Massachusetts?
Some fish are free to catch all year round. Other species are limited depending on the style of fishing, type of water, and size. Find out the seasons for your target species.
How Do You Find Fish When Ice Fishing?
If you are already familiar with a venue, you’ll find that fish tend to be concentrated in the same areas as they would in warmer seasons.
Without local knowledge, the best bet is to opt for a portable fish finder. You can accurately assess depths, underwater features and identify areas that may hold fish.
When it comes to ice fishing in Massachusetts, there are plenty of venues and options. The hardest part may be deciding where to go.