Like most things in these parts, fishing in Boston is a long-lasting tradition. Catching fish is so ingrained in the local culture, you’d be hard-pressed to find a soul without at least a bit of salt in their veins.
Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of freshwater fishing spots around. From fish-filled streams and pristine lakes, to the blue waters of the Atlantic, Boston has a fishing spot for every type of angler. Today, we’re going to explore the best ones you can find, all within an hour’s drive from home. Let’s dig in!
At just 40 miles from “The Town,” Gloucester is definitely one of the more picturesque places you’ll see. It also happens to be one of the best fisheries on the north-Atlantic coast. Perched atop Cape Ann, this is a town with an angling tradition dating back hundreds of years. And just as it was a few centuries ago, fishing in Gloucester is an action-packed affair.
To get here, you can either take a highway drive or hop on a train and take a scenic ride along the coast. Either way, you’re in for a treat. One stroll along its historic streets and you’ll see why so many painters found their inspiration here.
Gloucester might be sitting on the ocean coast, but the place is far from a one-trick-pony. Wetting a line in these parts can mean anything from a calm day on the river, to an offshore wrestling match with a giant.
If you like river angling, you can start things out by testing the waters of the Annisquam River. These fishing grounds are great for catching Bass. Prefer something different? Head down to Brace Cove or Norman’s Woe. Rockfish are the name of the game here, and you’ll find plenty of them.
If you’re feeling adventurous, though, head out on an offshore charter. Most Gloucester fishing guides can take you anywhere from 5–40 miles out. Here, you’ll get the chance to catch tasty Cod, Pollock, or Haddock, and even wrestle a monster Mako Shark!
“America’s Hometown” is one of the culturally-richest places in the country. But did you know that the town is an awesome place to fish, as well? Ever since New England was established here some four centuries ago, Plymouth has been a bonafide treasure trove for anglers. This coastal gem is just half an hour’s drive from Boston, as well as a townie’s favorite.
Protected by the Cape, Plymouth’s fishing grounds let you explore the rich ocean bounty without giant waves tumbling you around. Right off the docks, you can fill your bag with Bluefish, Stripers, and Flounder.
Out in the bay, you’re in for some delicious table fare with fish like Cod, Mackerel, Haddock, and Pollock all there for the taking. If you’re in it for the thrill, however, head offshore and test your skills against giant Blue, Thresher, and Mako Sharks.
Once you’re done reeling, Plymouth offers plenty of scenic trails and historic sites to explore. Retrace the steps of the Pilgrims, and see why this town is deserving of a spot on any bucket list!
A 45-minute ride along the I-95 will take you to one of the most charming coastal towns in New England. With its red-brick streets, scenic waterfront views, and fancy restaurants, Newburyport is the getaway of choice for countless Bostonians. But that’s not what earned it a spot on our list.
Boasting a fishing heritage that would put many East Coast towns to shame, “The Port” is, simply put, an angler’s dream. The Merrimack River flows right through the heart of the town, bringing a hot bite along with it. This is a great spot if you want to catch something tasty like Shad or Flounder.
Out in the ocean, Plum Island offers some of the best Rockfish fishing you’ll see. Cow Stripers are commonplace and, with an abundance of Bluefish in the mix, you’ve got a recipe for an action-packed day on the water. But if you think that that’s all she wrote, think again.
Offshore fishing out of Newburyport is nothing short of spectacular. If you’re short on time, you can head out on an 8-hour trip for some Pollock, Haddock, and Halibut. But if you want to experience this fishery in all its glory, hop on a 10-12 hour outing and enter battle against the likes of Bluefin Tuna, and Porbeagle and Thresher Sharks.
If you’re going to practice social distancing, you might as well enjoy it. An hour away from Boston, that’s precisely what’s in store for you at Wachusett Reservoir. As the second largest body of water in Massachusetts, this place certainly lacks no elbow room. But more importantly, the Reservoir is a picture-perfect setting, and an awesome place to wet your line.
Fishing from a boat isn’t allowed on Wachusett Reservoir, but believe it or not, this is actually a good thing. Not only does the Reservoir lack crowds of anglers, these waters have seen much less fishing pressure because of it. That means more peace, and more fish for you.
The signature species here is Lake Trout, but you’ll also find good numbers of Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. And if that’s not enough, you can mix it up with landlocked Salmon, White Perch, or Rainbow Trout.
The reservoir has plenty of access points for angling, but you should know that the upper reaches of the lake are off-limits for fishing. Don’t worry, that still leaves you with more fishing holes than you can hope to cover in a day. Before you head out for Wachusett Reservoir, we recommend you check the local rules and regulations.
Lake Chaubunagungamaug (Lake Webster)
For people who’ve never visited it, Lake Chaubunagungamaug is instantly recognizable for its long name. But for those lucky enough to have fished here, the lake sticks in the memory for an entirely different reason.
Located just outside of Webster, some 60 miles from Boston, Lake Chaubunagungamaug is one of the most diverse fishing locations in the state. From Smallies to Largies to White and Yellow Perch, to various Bullheads and Sunfish, there’s no telling what you can find in these waters.
There are several access points for shore angling, as well as a couple of boat ramps if you want to go out on the water.
And when you’re done reeling, Lake Webster boasts a number of top-notch restaurants. From New England’s iconic seafood dishes to Italian comfort food, these joints are the ideal place to relax after a hard day of fishing. The lakeside views are complementary.
Harold Parker State Forest
Harold Parker State Forest might be half an hour away from Boston, but by the looks of it, you certainly wouldn’t know it. Sprawling out on 3,300 acres of lush woodlands, the park is an unblemished patch of natural beauty. With its rolling hills, ponds and hiking trails, this is the perfect escape if there ever was one.
There are 11 ponds in the forest, each with its own fishing prospects. To make the most out of your outing, we recommend you head out on a kayak or a paddleboat (motorboats aren’t allowed). Sudden Pond is arguably the most productive body of water here, housing a good number of Bass and Yellow Perch.
Once you’ve caught your fill, it’s time to check out the hiking trails. Connecting the park’s 89 campsites, these pine-needled pathways give new meaning to the word serene. Who knew that fishing near Boston could be so tranquil? Still, while the trails and ponds are always here, you’ll probably want to check if the park’s facilities are open before you go.
And So Many More!
Picking a place to fish near Boston is like asking a kid to pick their favorite ice cream. With so many angling opportunities around, you’re literally spoiled for choice. We hope that our list helped you pick your next fishing spot. Now it’s time to grab your rod, hook up with a local charter, and start fishing!
And now, let’s hear from you. Do you agree with our picks? What are your favorite fishing spots near Boston? Let us know in the comments below.