Our Hotspots For Winter Pike

Our Hotspots For Winter Pike

Northern pike are fast becoming New England's top trophy game species, with specimens in the 40-inch range being taken annually. Here's a sampling of top-rated lakes and ponds to consider this season. (February 2008).

Photo by Tim Lesmeister

Northern pike are not native to any New England water other than Lake Champlain. Yet these toothy predators now exist in all six states. While some states struggle to limit or reduce their pike numbers, other states gladly stock them -- to control panfish populations and to provide additional fishing opportunities.

Here's a roundup of some of the best hardwater destinations for hot winter pike action near you:



CONNECTICUT

Mansfield Hollow Reservoir

This reservoir, in the town of Mansfield, is one of three lakes in eastern Connecticut that the state stocks with pike.


"We have three pike-spawning marshes in the eastern portion of the state," said Chris McDowell, a Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Fisheries Division biologist.

When there is adequate production, in addition to stocking portions of the Connecticut River from these three eastern marshes the DEP also stocks three other lakes in eastern Connecticut, including Mansfield Hollow, which "has been stocked with as many as 2,700 pike each year," McDowell said.


"Over the next few seasons, we'll be seeing what type of natural recruitment is going on. It won't be stocked with juvenile pike for the next few years. However, because of the massive flooding as we were going to draw the lake down last year, we think a large majority of pike escaped into Mansfield Hollow.

"According to our angler surveys, a lot of people are catching pike here early in the season and again just before ice out," McDowell continued, advising anglers to "fish with live shiners near the weed edges."

High-action areas include the boat launch side of the reservoir and around the lake's several islands.

For information on bait and currents, try Ryan's Bait Shop on the North Windham Road Extension off Route 6.

Lake Lillinonah

"Another good place that's kind of a sleeper is Lake Lillinonah," biologist Tim Barry offered. "It's one of the larger impoundments on the Housatonic River, so anglers need to be cautious about ice conditions. Fish the coves early, because the river doesn't freeze as early as other lakes in the region.

"The hotspot for pike is what we call the Shepaug Arm, where the Shepaug River comes in," Barry continued. (Continued)

He noted that access could be tough at the Arm. The Lake Lillinonah State Boat Launch area off Route 133 provides access to the main stem of the lake, but would be a very long hike to the Shepaug Arm.

A second site, Pond Brook State Boat Launch, also offers good lake access. For access closer to the Shepaug Arm, anglers will need to obtain landowner permission.

"The lake seems to be producing more pike in the last several years," Barry noted. "And very large pike, as well. Our current state record is out of Lillinonah, and most of the pike we see in there are from the Bantam Lake river system."

Visit Valley Angler in Danbury for bait, access information and "where to fish today" tips, or call them at (203) 792-8324.

In the Nutmeg State, the daily creel limit on pike is two fish, with a minimum length of 26 inches.

MAINE

Sabattus Pond

Pike aren't particularly welcome in the Pine Tree State, where trout and salmon have dominated the scene for decades. However, they do thrive in many waters here, following illegal introductions.

Bobby Van Riper, a Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Region B fisheries biologist suggested this great hardwater destination. There are no regulations on pike in his region, so anglers can catch and keep as many of these toothy critters as they can hook!

This 2,036-acre pond, which is bordered by the towns of Sabattus, Wales and Greene, gives up catches of pike in the 4- to 6-pound range.

"This fishery is dominated by a large number of smaller pike," Van Riper said. "Smaller pike are good eating, and you don't need a huge fish to get a nice strip of meat. I hope anglers will take their pike home and make fish burgers out of them."

Van Riper said that pike are caught on shiners fished anywhere from two to 20 feet down. Access is off Route 9. For bait and current angling tips, stop by Stone's Bait and Tackle on Cedar Street in Lewiston, or call (207) 784-8014. Also try Dag's Bait Shop on Minot Avenue in Auburn, or call (207) 783-0388.

MASSACHUSETTS

Lake Chauncy

This 177-acre lake in Westboro has been stocked with pike since 1988. Lake Chauncy was stocked with northern pike in 2002, 2003 and 2005. Pike grow to a challenging size here and most are taken through the ice.

Lake Chauncy is a moderately large natural pond with a 14-foot average depth and a maximum depth of 20 feet. Aquatic vegetation is thicker in the shallow coves along the western and northern shores. There's an access area with a gravel ramp off Lyman Street. Shore access along the south, east and northern shorelines may be had via the Westboro Wildlife Management Area.

For bait and current information, stop by Barry's Bait and Tackle, 218 Milk Street in Westboro, or call (508) 616-7977.

The best pike fishing in

the Granite State is in the

Connecticut River and its

setbacks, according to

Gabe Gries, a New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

fisheries biologist.

Pike season is open year-round in the Bay State. The daily creel limit is one fish longer than 28 inches.

For a complete listing of those waters where pike are stocked, visit www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/dfwpike.htm

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Moore Reservoir

The best pike fishing in the Granite State is in the Connecticut River and its setbacks, according to Gabe Gries, a New Hampshire Fish and Game Department fisheries biologist.

Rivers are open for the taking of pike from Jan. 1 to Oct. 15. Pike may

be fished from lakes and ponds year 'round. The daily creel limit is one fish longer than 28 inches.

Gries recommended Moore Reservoir, which is off Interstate Route 93 on the Vermont-New Hampshire state border.

Partridge Lake

This 104-acre lake in Littleton offers ice anglers an excellent destination for winter pike, chain pickerel and largemouth and smallmouth bass. From I-93, turn right off Exit 44 onto Old Partridge Road. Travel about one mile, and then turn right onto Partridge Lake Road. Turn left onto the dirt road about a mile ahead.

Corey's Sport Shop, 35 Meadow Street in Littleton, is the place to go for bait and information.

RHODE ISLAND

Hundred Acre Pond

This 83-acre pond in South Kingston is privately owned, but public access is negotiated between the owners and the state Department of Environmental Management.

Be sure to check the status of current access rules before heading out. But Hundred Acre Pond is well worth the trip (and any begging for landowner permission that may be required) because it gives up state-champion pike.

State access is available on a walk-in basis off Plains Road.

Johnson's Pond

This 659-acre pond, also known as the Flat River Reservoir in Coventry, is stocked with northern pike. The growth rate for fish over four years of age is above the state average.

The lower growth rate at earlier stages indicates "excessive survival," which translates to too many fish -- just the kind of problem an angler likes to have!

Access may be had at Zeke's Bridge on Harkney Hill Road.

VERMONT

Anglers everywhere know about pike fishing in Lake Champlain -- one of many great hardwater destinations for exciting pike action. Lake Bomoseen, Lake St. Catherine and Lake Hortonia all offer anglers the chance to do battle with big pike.

For a complete listing of where ice- anglers have been landing big pike, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

Regulations vary by location, so be sure to check the law book before heading out.

Lake Hortonia

This 400-acre lake in Hubberton is close to the New York border. Access to the lake is off Lake Hortonia Road by turning left onto Fishing Access Road. The access area is on the right.

Get bait and bite updates at Ed's Bait Center, 2060 Route 22A in Fair Haven, or call (802) 265-3388.

Also try Tom's Bait and Tackle Shop, 456 Route 4 in Bomoseen at (802) 265-8654.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Simms

Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor Hoody

John Frazier of Simms Fishing Products helps OSG's Lynn Burkhead understand the new features of the new Simms' Solarflex Ultra Cool Armor sun protection hoody.

Berkley

Berkley's Surge Shad

Major League Fishing pro Scott Suggs has relied on the Berkley Surge Shad lure concept for years, using similar designs to capture MLF titles and a $1 million dollar FLW Forrest Cup win. With new features in the Surge Shad, Suggs tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead that even he can find success out on the water!

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

MLF Pro Tips: How to Fish a New Lake

Major League Fishing pros Alton Jones, Jeff Sprague, Anthony Gagliardi and James Watson share their thoughts on how to approach fishing a new lake for bass.

Berkley

Berkley's Frittside Crankbaits

World Fishing Network show host Chad LaChance had a chance to visit with legendary crankbait master David Fritts about his new Frittside crankbaits from Berkley. LaChance, host of the Fishful Thinker on WFN, also got a few cranking tips from Fritts, the former Classic and Forrest Wood Cup champion.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some strategies. Catfish

Understanding Catfish Spawning

Keith Sutton - June 06, 2006

Unlike many game fish, catfish can be harder to catch during the spawn. Here are some...

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish. Records

Upon Further Review: 70-Year-Old Catfish Record Voided

Game & Fish Digital Staff - May 22, 2019

Experts agree record channel cat caught in 1949 was actually a blue catfish.

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record. Walleye

Record-Sized Walleye Was Foul-Hooked, Agency Says

G&F Online Staff

North Dakota Game & Fish Department said the 16-9 walleye doesn't qualify for record.

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing. Bass

4 Tips When Jig Fishing For Bass

Chris Schneider - August 25, 2015

The best jig fisherman are those that are always aware of what their jig is doing.

See More Trending Articles

More Other Freshwater

Increase your odds of hooking up by trolling, then casting in high-percentage areas. Other Freshwater

Troll to Cast for Muskies

Mark Sak - June 13, 2019

Increase your odds of hooking up by trolling, then casting in high-percentage areas.

Target vegetation with inline spinners for summer's best musky bites. Fishing How-To

Weed Whackers: Bucktails for Big Muskies

Dr. Jason Halfen - May 28, 2020

Target vegetation with inline spinners for summer's best musky bites.

Catching winter walleyes often requires mobility and a willingness to adjust tactics. Other Freshwater

Hardwater Handbook: Ice-Fishing Adaptations

Mark Romanack - January 28, 2020

Catching winter walleyes often requires mobility and a willingness to adjust tactics.

He was fishing for catfish when the Missouri record struck. Records

Angler Doesn't Miss 2nd Chance at State Record

G&F Online Staff - July 25, 2019

He was fishing for catfish when the Missouri record struck.

See More Other Freshwater

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now