Trout are Biting
It’s spring and that means “fish on.”
Sure, fishing in Massachusetts, weather permitting, is a year-round activity on rivers, streams, lakes and ponds, but it really heats up in early April.
The daily creel limit for trout, April 1 through September 10, is eight; it’s only three from September 11 to March 31 of the following year.
For fishermen, and fisherwomen, wetting a line in the pristine rivers, streams and brooks of Berkshire County in spring completes a cycle of life and links families together through generations. Everybody has a favorite body of water, a special place to cast a lure or wet a fly.
The Housatonic River rolls high and mighty in early spring from its source near Pittsfield MA to its mouth in Long Island Sound. Its waters are fed by snowmelt in April, making anglers tread carefully along its myriad pools where brown, rainbow and brook trout lurk.
Farther east, The Farmington River, from its upper reaches in lower Berkshire County down into Connecticut, is internationally renowned for its early season fishing.
While the Housatonic and the lower section of the Farmington River are considered world-class trout waters, there are many smaller rivers and streams that draw anglers to try their luck on Opening Day without bumping elbows with others.
The state of Massachusetts will stock close to 500,000 hatchery-grown brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout this spring from MassWildlife’s five hatcheries located in Sandwich, Palmer, Belchertown, Sunderland, and Montague. These fish, coupled with the more than 80,000 fish stocked last fall, will provide some excellent fishing in the coming months.
Stocking began the southeastern area of the state during the first full week of March with other regions following. Anglers can get daily stocking updates at www.Mass.gov/Trout, or contact individual district offices for the latest stocking information.
The northern reaches of the Housatonic in Massachusetts are comprised of the east and southeast branches, and the waters from Richmond Pond near Pittsfield down offer some great early-season fishing. You can access the river in this stretch near bridges and other areas along Route 20.
The East Branch near Hinsdale is actually a small and swampy stream that makes access and fly-fishing somewhat difficult, but rewarding because the trout are not under heavy pressure. The WMA near Hinsdale does provide access to the river.
While it doesn’t receive the attention that the Connecticut section does between Colebrook and Farmington, the Otis stretch of the Farmington River is stocked each year with trout. You will also find native trout, carp, small mouth bass and perhaps an occasional salmon in this part of the river.
Of course, there are numerous lakes and ponds that draw attention when the ice melts and the weather warms. But, if privacy is your thing, you should check out the Berkshire Fishing Club in Great Barrington, MA. The club offers bass boats fully-equipped with electric trolling motors, mounted seats and small four-stroke gas motors.
The club says its 125-acre lake operates just like a “private country club,” except instead of making a tee time, members call to reserve a boat for a day of superb largemouth bass fishing. Check out berkshirefishing.com.
If you are serious about fishing and enjoy camaraderie, there are a number of groups you can join, such as the Lee Sportsmen’s Association, the Lenox Sportsmen’s Club, the Massachusetts/Rhode Island Council of Trout Unlimited, MassWildlife, the Pittsfield Sportsmen’s Club, the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club and the Taconic Chapter Trout Unlimited.
If you want to find out where the fish are hitting or need some equipment, you can stop into the Berkshire Outfitters in Adams or Berkshire River Drifters in North Adams.
Spring has sprung, the waters are warming and the trout are biting, It’s time to try to catch dinner.