Here's an in-depth look at 36 great fishing trips to consider while you plan this year's New England angling vacations. (Feb 2009)
New England draws anglers from around the world to experience what the rest of us enjoy in our own back yards! From early-season streams to deep summer hotspots to winter's hardwater action, you could fish a different water every day for years without experiencing everything that New England fisheries have to offer.
Here's a look at 36 great trips to keep you busy year 'round:
Crystal Lake, Maine
This southern Maine lake provides excellent fishing for brookies in the 12-to 16-inch range. Crystal Lake is also home to rainbow and brown trout. For brookies, jig with small lures or Swedish pimples fished about 15 feet down. For details on the town-owned access area, see DeLorme's Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, page 5.
Pemigewasset Lake, N.H.
The state-owned boat launch at this popular hardwater bass lake off Route 104 gets more angler use in winter than over the summer. Pemigewasset Lake is also home to smallmouths, pickerel, yellow perch and black crappies, providing plenty of fast action for ice-anglers.
Mashapaug Lake, Conn.
This 287-acre lake in Union is stocked annually with brown trout and rainbow trout.
Last winter, anglers reported pulling 18-inch brown trout up through the ice. Access may be had in Bigelow Hollow State Park off Route 171.
Newfound Lake, N.H.
This 4,106-acre lake is in the towns of Bridgewater, Bristol, Hebron and Alexandria. In addition to lunker lakers, Newfound Lake provides good fishing for rainbow trout.
Try large bucktail jigs with cut bait, or use live suckers on tip-ups.
Public access is available in Wellington State Park on West Shore Road off Route 3.
For area details, see DeLorme's New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer, pages 39 and 35.
Winchester Lake, Conn.
This 246-acre lake in Winchester gives up northern pike over 30 inches each winter. Winchester Lake is also home to good numbers of chain pickerel, yellow perch and sunfish to keep tip-up flags flying.
Public access may be had at the south end of the lake. Take Route 263 and then turn north on West Road.
Access is on the right.
Olney Pond, R.I.
This Lincoln pond is stocked during early winter with surplus brood stock Atlantic salmon whenever they are available. Most stocked fish weigh between 5 and 12 pounds.
For ice conditions at Olney, located within Lincoln Woods State Park, call the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management's 24-hour ice safety hotline at (401) 222-2632.
Lake Champlain, Vt.
Plentiful yellow perch are one of the biggest draws for hardwater anglers along this great lake's bays and shoreline shallows.
Of course, Champlain is also home to landlocked salmon, lake trout, northern pike, white perch, walleyes and crappies. For access sites, see DeLorme's Vermont Atlas and Gazetteer, page 44.
Pleasant Pond, Maine
This pond in Caratunk gives up lunker lake trout. Last February, one lucky hardwater angler pulled an 11-pound, 6-ounce laker out of the ice.
The Pleasant Pond Protection Association maintains a public access area here. For details, see DeLorme's Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, page 30.
Manchaug Pond, Mass.
This 360-acre pond is also home to bass, perch, pickerel and bullheads. There's an access area managed by the town of Sutton on the southeastern arm of the pond off Oak Street onto Holt Road.
Peaked Mountain Pond, Maine
This pond in the Down East town of Centerville is closed to ice-fishing, but offers excellent spring and fall fishing for 14- to 17-inch splake.
Access is off the 84-00-0 Road from Route 9. Canoes and small boats may be launched at the road culvert here, but paddle up the outlet cove about 100 feet before putting your motor down. For fast action, fish deep with a sinking fly line or lead-core line, using a minnow-type spoon in copper or silver.
Amos Lake, Conn.
When the season opens in mid-April, be one of the first anglers in line to catch the hungry brown trout stocked in this 105-acre lake.
In addition to regularly scheduled stockings, Amos Lake receives occasional infusions of surplus broodstock Seeforellan-strain browns weighing up to 15 pounds.
For access details, see DeLorme's Connecticut Atlas and Gazetteer, page 38.
Bowdish Reservoir, R.I.
White cats were introduced to this 226-acre Glocester pond to provide anglers with additional sport fishing options. Bowdish is also home to bass, perch, pickerel and plentiful panfish. State-owned access may be found within the George Washington Wildlife Management Area off U. S. Route 44.
Winnisquam Lake, N.H.
In May, salmon begin loading up on spawning rainbow smelts. Try trolling streamer flies, casting suspended stick baits, or use a live smelt under a bobber.
Several locations offer access to this 4,264-acre lake. For details, see DeLorme's New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer, pages 36 and 64.
East Creek, Vt.
Sections of this Rutland creek are stocked annually with trophy-sized rainbows and brown trout. Many of these two-year-old fish exceed 18 inches. The creek is managed for trophy trout from the confluence of Otter Creek upstream about 2.7 miles to the top of Patch Dam in Rutland.
See DeLorme's Vermont Atlas and Gazetteer, page 32, for access information.
Coventry Lake, Conn.
This 373-acre lake in Coventry (also known as Wangumbaug Lake) was first stocked with walleyes by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection's Inland Fisheries Division in 2001.
Those efforts are now paying off, with anglers here having the opportunity to catch walleyes up to 24 inches long and weighing up to 6 pounds.
There's a state-owned boat launch on the southeastern shore off Lake Street.
Camp Ellis, Maine
The jetty at this juncture of the Atlantic Ocean and the Saco River off Route 9 provides easy access to stripers chasing the herring run upstream.
Run a hook through the top of a live herring's heads, where stripers are most likely to strike.
Connecticut River, Vt.
A new state-record carp (42.46 pounds) was taken last June by a bow fisherman at Retreat Meadows on the Connecticut River in Brattleboro.
When archery-fishing, aim just a little below the fish, and be prepared for a battle.
There are multiple access sites along the river. See DeLorme's Vermont Atlas and Gazetteer, pages 23, 31, 49 and 71 for details.
Mamanasco Lake, Conn.
This 89-acre lake in Ridgefield is a Bass Management Lake, with special slot length and creel limits in place.
Be sure to check the current law book before heading out.
Action is fast for largemouth bass up to 14 inches, and special regulations are geared toward increasing the abundance of bigger fish. This is also a good place to take the kids for brown bullheads and black crappies.
You'll find a state-owned boat launch on the southern shore off Mamanasco Road.
Buckley Dunton Reservoir, Mass.
This shallow, 161-acre lake lies about six miles northeast of Becket. Plentiful pickerel of good size are common here, as are abundant largemouth bass. This water is thick with stumps and potential tangles. Use snag-proof lures, spinnerbaits, weedless spoons and rubber worms, surface plugs and poppers on top.
Merrimack River, N.H.
Fishing regulations vary along different stretches of this river. Be sure to check the current law book before heading out.
There are multiple access sites. For details, see DeLorme's New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer, page 35.
Charlestown Breachway, R.I.
For access to Block Island Sound by boat, as well as plenty of shoreline fishing opportunity, the Breachway is an excellent destination. There is no closed season on bluefish and no minimum-size limit. The daily creel limit is 10 fish. (Fresh bluefish tastes delicious grilled!)
Take Interstate Route 95 south to Route 4 and Route 1 to the Charleston Breachway exit, and then follow the signs.
Hamilton Reservoir, Mass.
This 249-acre reservoir in Holland has given up its share of tackle-busting "gold pin" pike. Lively baits fished over the top of submerged weeds will draw strikes.
Hamilton Reservoir is also home to tiger muskellunge, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, perch, brown trout and rainbow trout.
Access is off Mashapaug Road.
Six Mile Reef, Conn.
Fishing for bluefish is excellent throughout much of Long Island Sound. To access Six Mile Reef, head for Lighthouse Point Park in the city of New Haven.
The park has a fishing pier and boat launch facilities to accommodate seaworthy boats. Take Townsend Avenue to Lighthouse Road, which leads into the park.
Lake Carmi, Vt.
This 1,375-acre lake in the northwestern Vermont town of Franklin offers excellent walleye fishing.
Carmi is also home to northern pike, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, brown bullheads and plentiful panfish. Public access at the northern end of the lake is off Route 120. At the southern end, access is via Lake Carmi State Park.
West Grand Lake, Maine
This lake in Grand Lake Stream is a premier salmon destination at any time of the year. As surface water temperatures drop, first into the 60s and then to the mid-50s, it's like spring fishing all over again.
Try trolling brightly colored streamers and lures like the Montreal, Barnes Special and orange-beaded Gray Ghost for flies and for lures, the chartreuse, orange and silver Rapala (size 5 or 7).
For directions to the improved boat launch, see DeLorme's Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, page 35.
Breakheart Pond, R.I.
This 45-acre Designated Trout Water in West Greenwich and Exeter is stocked spring and fall. Breakheart is also home to brookies, rainbow trout and a number of warmwater species.
A state-owned area off Austin Farm Road provides access for shoreline fishing and boat-launch facilities.
Otis Reservoir, Mass.
This 1,200-acre water in East Otis is bordered by Tolland State Forest. In addition to muskies, the big reservoir is also home to perch, smallmouth bass and pickerel.
Access is off the East Otis Road. See DeLorme's Massachusetts Atlas and Gazetteer, page 45 for details.
Cole Pond, N.H.
Morning and dusk are the best times to fish for brookies at this 17-acre Enfield pond. When selecting tackle here, be sure to match the hatch and keep your eyes peeled for a caddis hatch coming off at dusk.
There's an unimproved state-owned access site at the southern end of the pond.
Salem Lake, Vt
Through Nov. 30, this 764-acre lake in Derby is open to angling for largemouth bass over 10 inches, with a daily creel of five largemouth and smallmouth bass, total. In addition to bass, this Northeast Kingdom lake is home to yellow perch, walleyes, pickerel, bullheads, cusk and panfish.
See DeLorme's Vermont Atlas and Gazetteer, page 54 for access details.
Winthrop Harbor, Mass.
This harbor in the tiny town of Winthrop offers access to the Massachusetts Bay and some choice cod fisheries. Cod, found in deep waters over the summer, come in closer to shore as temperatures cool.
Use sea worms, clams, crabs or strips of fish and at least 50-pound-test line.
Merrimack River, N.H.
Each fall, based on availability, surplus broodstock Atlantic salmon are stocked into the Merrimack basin.
Last year, 700 fish weighing about 2 pounds each were stocked here.
Use trout streamers like Mickey Finns and Grey Ghosts.
Special regulations apply. Always be sure to check this year's fishing laws before heading out.
Black River, Vt.
The Black River is stocked annually and received 1,500 trophy rainbow trout last spring.
Largemouth and smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleyes, chain pickerel, brown bullheads, brook and brown trout, yellow perch and panfish may all be caught here.
Regulations vary along this river, so be sure to look at the law book before heading out.
See DeLorme's Vermont Atlas and Gazetteer, pages 27 and 69, for multiple-access sites.
Beavertail Point, R.I.
Access to this most southerly tip of Jamestown jutting into the Atlantic Ocean can be had through Beavertail State Park. The park is open year 'round, with no entrance fee.
The season on tautogs is open through Dec. 15. Daily creel limit is eight fish, with a 16-inch length limit.
From Providence, take I-95 south to Route 4 south and then Route 1 south to Route 138 east. From there, follow North Main Road to South East Avenue, then Beavertail Road.
Manhanock Pond, Maine
December is a great month to fish for perch in this Sangerville pond and its sister Harlow Pond in Parkman.
Catch-and-release regulations are in place for bass. Both ponds are open to ice-fishing as soon as safe ice has formed. Drill your holes over deep water, rigging tip-ups with earthworms, and fish various depths.
Once fish are located, drop all of your lines into the school.
The Harlow end of these twin ponds may be accessed off the Harlow Pond Road, while Manhanock is easily accessible behind the baseball field on Route 23 in Sangerville.
Indian Pond, R.I.
This 221-acre South Kingstown pond is one of only a few left in the state where largemouths haven't made the smallmouths completely disappear. Better than average growth rates have been reported here for both species of bass, as well as for chain pickerel. Access can be had via a state-owned area at the south end off U.S. Route 1.
Blueberry Pond, Mass.
This 25-acre pond in Brewster is also home to yellow and white perch, brown bullheads and potentially, a growing largemouth bass population.
Public access is available at the end of Blueberry Pond Drive, courtesy of the Blueberry Pond Association.
There is a 3-horsepower limit on outboard engines here.