Here's a sampling of 36 great fishing trips to consider while making your 2010 angling vacation plans. (February 2010)
Photo by Jason Mitchell
The term "four-season destination" was made for New England, and the region's fisheries are no exception. Early season stream trouting, dog days trolling, fall fly-casting and hardwater action are all available to the New England angler.
With only 12 months in a year, there's no way an angler could hit all the great places this region has to offer, so here's a roundup of some best-bet waters to try in 2010:
Rainbow Trout: Crystal Lake, Conn.
This 200-acre Trophy Trout lake in Ellington is stocked with rainbow and brown trout. It is also a good fishery for largemouth and smallmouth bass, chain pickerel and panfish.
The lake is at the intersection of routes 30 and 140. Access to the western shore may be had off Route 30.
Check DeLorme's Connecticut/Rhode Island Atlas and Gazetteer, map 54 for area details.
Muskellunge: Saint John River, Maine
This Aroostook County river is an excellent fishery for muskellunge, and also provides hardwater anglers with opportunities for smallmouth bass and brook trout. The Saint John is open for fishing from Jan. 1 to March 31 from the International Bridge in Van Buren downstream to the Maine-New Brunswick border in Hamlin.
Check DeLorme's Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, maps 65, 66 and 67 for access sites and area details.
Brown Trout: Olney Pond, R.I.
Olney Pond in Lincoln Woods State Park is stocked with trout in spring and fall, and occasionally receives an infusion of surplus broodstock Atlantic salmon.
Access to the 120-acre lake is via Route 95 north to Route 146.
Check DeLorme's Connecticut/Rhode Island Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 65 for area details.
Brown Trout: Lake Quinsigamond, Mass.
This 772-acre lake in Worcester and Shrewsbury is divided into three distinct sections: a deep, narrow basin to the north, a shallower southern basin with multiple coves and islands and the shallow, southernmost section known as Flint Pond. Fishing at night at the northern end of the lake is productive for brown trout and for rainbow smelt. Yellow perch are plentiful in the southern portion of the lake, and Flint Pond is most productive for northern pike.
Access is available off North Quinsigamond Avenue and Route 20. Check DeLorme's Massachusetts Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 38, for area details.
Yellow Perch: Lake Champlain, Vt.
Vermont's 120-mile-long Lake Champlain is one of the Green Mountain State's premier destinations for winter yellow perch.
Stick to the safe ice along the shoreline. Check DeLorme's Vermont Atlas and Gazetteer, Map 44, for access information all along the big lake's shoreline.
Northern Pike: Waterman Reservoir, R.I.
This 306-acre hardwater haven in Glocester is stocked with pike. The reservoir is also a productive destination for largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Access is off Route 44. Check DeLorme's CT/RI AG, Map 65 for area details.
Walleyes: Mashapaug Lake, Conn.
This 287-acre lake in Union is managed for walleyes and is a Bass Management Lake.
Drop large, lively shiners to varying depths to find schools of feeding walleyes. Access is through Bigelow Hollow State Park via Route 171, about 1.3 miles east of Route 190.
Check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, Map 56, for area details.
Largemouth Bass: Parker Pond, Maine
This 102-acre pond near Jay offers excellent hardwater fishing for largemouth bass, white perch and chain pickerel. Access is off a gravel side road from the East Jay Road.
Check DeLorme's MAG, Map 19, for area details.
Smallmouth Bass: Big Salem Lake, Vt.
Salem is known as a good hardwater destination for bronzebacks. This 764-acre lake in Derby is open for trout, salmon and bass fishing from the third Saturday in January to March 15. The lake is also home to brown trout, landlocked salmon, walleyes and largemouth bass.
Access is off Hayward Road. Check DeLorme's VAG, Map 54, for area details.
Walleyes: Connecticut River, N.H.
Walleyes stack up this month below the Bellows Falls and Vernon dams. As waters warm, catches may include smallmouth bass, northern pike and brown trout.
Check DeLorme's New Hampshire Atlas and Gazetteer, maps 18, 33, 42 and 47, for river access details.
Brown Trout: Cobbosseecontee Lake, Maine
This 5,543-acre lake is known as an excellent producer for brown trout. The lake is also home to brookies, largemouth and smallmouth bass and northern pike.
Access is available at a town-owned site in Monmouth and at the north end of the lake in Manchester.
Check DeLorme's MAG, Map 12 for area details.
Rainbow Trout: Jamaica Pond, Mass.
This 68-acre lake in Jamaica Plain is stocked with rainbow trout, brookies and browns, along with occasional brood stock salmon.
Shoreline access and nearby amenities make this an excellent family fishing destination. Access is off Perkins Street along the northern cove or off Pond Street.
Check DeLorme's MAG, Map 41, for area details.
Landlocked Salmon: Nubanusit Lake, N.H.
Anglers report that the salmon and trout at this 715-acre lake in Hancock and Nelson are fond of DB's Smelt and Gray Ghost streamers. Access is off Kings Highway.
Check DeLorme's NHAG, Map 20, for area details.
Bluefish: Guilford Harbor, Conn.
Fishing for hungry bluefish is excellent throughout much of Long Island Sound. Access sites in Guilford are plentiful. The Guilford Town Marina is off Old Whitefield Street at the mouth of the East River. Additional access may be had at the Trolley Road Coastal Access site at 110 Trolley Road.
Check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, Map 26, for area details.
Lake Trout: East Grand Lake, Maine
This 16,070-acre lake in Aroostook and Washington counties is known for its togue in the 5-pound-plus range and some good salmon fishing.
As waters warm later in the season, fish deeper with either lead line or downriggers.
Access is in Greenland Cove in Danforth off Route 1 and at a smaller site in Davenport Cove off Route 1 in Weston.
Check DeLorme's MAG, Map 45, for area information.
Largemouth Bass: Hopkinton-Everett Reservoir, N.H.
The 87-acre reservoir, also known as Stump Field, offers plenty of good habitat for big bass. Soft-plastic crayfish imitations fished in the stumps usually pay off here. A beach in Elm Brook Park provides access for car-top boats, and there's a gravel ramp on Stumpfield Road.
Check DeLorme's NHAG, Map 27, for area details.
Smallmouth Bass: Beech Hill Pond, Maine
This 1,351-acre pond in Otis offers fine smallmouth bass fishing. Beech Hill Pond is also home to togue, landlocked salmon, white perch and panfish. The pond is off Route 180 near Ellsworth. There's a public boat landing owned by the town of Otis about a mile above the outlet on the southwestern shore.
Check DeLorme's MAG, Map 24, for area details.
Brown Trout: Housatonic River, Conn.
Fly-fishing enthusiasts ply the Housatonic this month with caddis, and stonefly imitations.
There are multiple access points along the river. Check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, Map 31, for area details and access points.
Stripers: Block Island Sound, R.I.
This is an excellent time to fish for big cow stripers that can weigh more than 60 pounds. Anglers report success drifting live bunker, eels or scup along with trolling a tube-and-worm combination just before dawn and again after dark.
Try the town of Watch Hill as a departure point. Schoolies should still be biting in the Pawcatuck River here.
Check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, Map 73 for shoreline access details.
Landlocked Salmon: Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.
Anglers can expect good numbers of salmon in the 17- to 21-inch range, and a few hefty 4-pounders longer than 22 inches. The 44,586-acre lake is also home to trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, perch and whitefish.
There are multiple access sites around the big lake, especially along state routes 11, 11B and 109. Check DeLorme's NHAG, Map 36 for more details.
Rainbow Trout: Androscoggin River, Maine
This is an excellent month for anglers to target trophy-sized rainbow and brown trout along the Androscoggin. The Hexagenia and alderfly hatches generally take place this month.
River access may be had in Gilead, Bethel, West Bethel, Newry and Hanover. Check DeLorme's MAG, Map 10, for area details.
Atlantic Cod: Jeffreys Ledge, Mass.
Jeffreys Ledge is a long, relatively shallow area stretching from Rockport, Mass., to Cape Elizabeth, Maine. While offshore cod rarely come close to the 85-pound, 10-ounce Massachusetts record fish taken in 1984, they do average 50 to 60 pounds.
Successful cod anglers use jigs with teasers. Use a medium to stiff rod with a conventional 4/0 reel and 50-pound-test Dacron line to land these big fish.
Check DeLorme's MAG, Map 31, for departure points near Rockport.
Walleyes: Poultney River, Vermont
The Poultney River flows for 40 miles through west-central Vermont and New York. The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has started stocking walleyes into the river. Some 62,000 fry were added last year. The river is also stocked with trout.
A good stretch of river flows along the Horace Greeley Memorial Highway.
Check DeLorme's VAG, Map 28 for area details.
Fluke: Blackwater River, N.H.
This river in Seabrook is an excellent destination for anglers targeting summer flounder. These aggressive fish have big mouths, so use big lures, jigs and chunked herring to catch them.
Access may be had off state Route 1A. Check DeLorme's NHAG, Map 31 for area details.
Bluefish: Narragansett Bay, R.I.
Blues are plentiful all along the Ocean State coastline. Chum lures them in, and a simple wire leader rig will get them on the hook. Blues also hit jigs, swimming plugs and poppers.
Check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, maps 68 and 72, for coastal access information.
Largemouth Bass: Forest Lake, N.H.
This 192-acre lake in Whitefield offers good fishing for bucketmouths Try casting crankbaits over deep vegetation to find the big ones.
For access, take Forest Lake Road off state Route 142. Check DeLorme's NHAG, Map 47, for area details.
Landlocked Salmon: Great Pond, Maine
This 8,239-acre pond in Belgrade is one of the better fall fishing destinations in the region, especially below the dam. Reports of large salmon and trout are common, and the occasional pike is also taken here.
Access is off state Route 8. Check DeLorme's MAG, Map 12, for area details.
Tautog: Cape Cod, Mass.
These popular fighting fish can be found along inshore waters from southern Cape Cod to Delaware.
Use large pieces of sea worm, whole or halved crabs or pieces of conch, snail or clams.
Access points are plentiful. Sesuit Harbor, Rock Harbor, Wellfleet and Pamet Harbor are all good choices. Check DeLorme's MAG, maps 60 and 61, for access information.
Northern Pike: Connecticut River, N.H.
The 2008 state-record pike came out of the Lancaster stretch of this popular warmwater fishery, tipping the scales at 18 pounds, 1.28 ounces.
Multiple access sites are available along state routes 102 and 135. Check DeLorme's NHAG, maps 18, 33, 42 and 47 for river access information.
Landlocked Salmon: Harriman Reservoir, Vt.
This 2,157-acre reservoir in Wilmington and Whitingham was recently stocked with 2-year-old salmon averaging over a foot in length. Anglers may also catch brook trout, browns and rainbows here, as well as smallmouth bass.
Access is off state Route 100 in Whitingham or state Route 9 in Wilmington.
Check DeLorme's VA
G, Map 21, for area details.
Northern Pike: Winchester Lake, Conn.
This 246-acre lake in Winchester has been stocked with pike since 2001. These big, toothy predators are suckers for lures that mimic natural forage species.
Access is available at the southern end of the lake. Take West Road off Winchester Road. Check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, Map 50, for area details.
Largemouth Bass: Barber Pond, R.I.
This 28-acre pond in South Kingstown has a good number of largemouth bass, as well as smallmouth bass, pickerel, yellow perch and panfish. Barber once gave up the state-record bucketmouth, a fish weighing 9.75 pounds.
Access is off Route 2. Check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, Map 71, for area details.
Muskellunge: Missisquoi River, Vt.
Vermont's all-time record for big muskies was set when Chris Beebe pulled his 38-pound, 3.5-ounce monster out of a stretch of the Missisquoi River in Swanton. Anglers may also expect pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleyes, brookies, brown trout and rainbows. Access may be had at multiple sites, including the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge at points along state routes 78 and 105. Check DeLorme's VAG, maps 51, 52 and 53 for river access sites.
Stripers: Misquamicut Beach, R.I.
This seven-mile beach in Westerly has a reputation for late-season striper runs. The state-owned portion stays open year 'round and offers ample parking.
Try large, wide-bodied lures and flies. Bait-fishermen will also want to go large, fishing just off the bottom using the head half of a herring.
To get there from Interstate Route 95, take Route 78, or try scenic U.S. Route 1. Check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, Map 73, for coastal access information.
Largemouth Bass: Stillwater Pond, Conn.
This 100-acre pond in Torrington is an artificial impoundment on the West Branch Naugatuck River. The pond and shoreline are state-owned. In addition to lunker largemouth bass, Stillwater is stocked with trout and offers fast panfish action.
Access is off Route 272. Check DeLorme's CT/RIAG, Map 42, for area details.
White Perch: Ellis Pond, Maine
This 93-acre pond in Brooks gave up the new state-record white perch last December, a 3.02-pounder taken by Jeff Paquette of Freedom.