It’s no secret that New England is the fishing epicenter of the East Coast. The Old Colony State offers some of the most diverse and prolific fishing opportunities in six states of the region. That’s why we want to introduce you to the top fishing spots in Massachusetts.
After all, MA is also nicknamed the “Codfish State.” And with easy access to both freshwater and saltwater action, it’s a treasure trove for all anglers. But where to start? Worry not! We’ve prepared for you a list of top fishing spots in Massachusetts to help you organize your trip and have a great time on the water.
We’ll start our journey at the very top of the state. You’ll find Gloucester on Cape Ann, nestled right on the Atlantic coast, where stunning views and excellent fishing are a part of everyday life.
The main upside of Gloucester is that both shore and boat anglers will have a blast here. From April through October, you’ll see local fishers lining the beaches, casting into the surf in search of Bluefish, Striped Bass, Flounder, and Mackerel. In the mood for Lobster? Head to the harbor to catch a few of them, too!
You can even fish during the night. Just hop on a boat, and you’re in for a treat. Bottom fishing is on point off the coast of Gloucester, with Haddock, Pollock, and Cod all on the menu. Add to that excellent Bluefin Tuna in the summer, and you’ve got the makings of a fabulous fishing spot.
When you’ve had your fill of angling, you can do some whale watching. Head back to land to admire the Hammond Castle and Eastern Point Lighthouse, or explore the town’s vibrant nightlife.
Here’s a destination for all the freshwater enthusiasts out there. Wachusett Reservoir is one of the best-known known spots to target Bass, Sunfish, Trout species, and even Atlantic Salmon.
One of the main reasons both local and visiting anglers flock to the reservoir is the diversity of species. Add to that the fact that this is the place to be if you’re after trophy catches, and you’ve got a win-win combo. And if there’s only one species you can chase, then big Lake Trout will give you a run for their money. The best time to cast a line is in spring when the fish are abundant and hungry.
The best thing about Wachusett Reservoir, apart from fishing, is that it’s a great weekend getaway spot. The nature is gorgeous and there’s plenty to do here. If you prefer an active holiday, you can go hiking and biking, or you can relax with your line in the water, it’s up to you.
Castle Island, South Boston
It’s hardly a surprise that Boston is on our list, seeing that it’s one of the better urban fisheries on the East Coast. Castle Island is easily one of the most popular haunts in the city, with access to Pleasure Bay (locally known as “The Bowl”) and a convenient fishing pier.
As soon as the weather takes mercy on Bostonians, shore anglers head to Castle Island in search of something feisty to catch. Stripers are the most common target here, along with aggressive Bluefish and Cunner. Some days, you may come face to gills with Flounder, which translates into a delicious dinner. If you find yourself in Boston and you’d like to get a taste of shore fishing, Castle Island has a lot to offer.
Fishing is just one of the many appeals Boston has, so you won’t get bored here even after the action is done for the day. Whether you’d like to go on a pub crawl, visit Harvard and Cambridge, or take a stroll through the parks, the ways to take in Boston’s charms are endless.
Plymouth Harbor, Plymouth
Fancy casting a line from a rocky shore, or maybe heading out into the bluewater to hunt for monsters? In Plymouth, you can do both! One of the best places to start your fishing escapades is Plymouth Harbor, where you’ll find plenty of spots to fish from shore, as well as charters for hire.
The coastline of the harbor is pretty rocky and there are jetties perfect for targeting all the saltwater favorites. This means an abundance of Bluefish and Striped Bass of all sizes. Plymouth Harbor also gives easy access to all the top offshore fishing grounds.
Bottom fishers will have a lot of fun going after Haddock but, for a productive bite, you’ll need to venture further out, about 20 miles from land. This is where the Stellwagen Bank lies – the gathering place of all the sought-after species. Bluefin Tuna summer here in great numbers, and you can even find a variety of impressive Sharks in these waters.
All this makes Plymouth Harbor one of the top fishing spots in Massachusetts. After your angling adventures, you can spend some time exploring the city and getting immersed in its history and culture.
Norton Reservoir is a popular freshwater hub and one that you can visit any time of year. This watershed is extremely shallow (with an average depth of only 4 feet), which makes it perfect for angling aficionados without a boat.
You can wade your way through most of the reservoir, looking for Largemouth Bass, Crappie, and Chain Pickerel as you go. White Perch are probably the most common catch, and there’s a lot of them in these waters. If you’re a fan of ice fishing, visit the reservoir in the winter months for some memorable action.
Norton Reservoir is bustling with activity and people in the summer. There are plenty of water sports to enjoy, including sailing and canoeing. You can come here with your family to relax and get some fresh air with a spot of fishing on the side. You can also pop by on your own, spend a bit of time in silence, with the only interruption being reel screaming when you’ve got a fish on.
This summer colony is much more than a getaway for the rich and famous. Martha’s Vineyard is a beautiful island, only a short ferry ride away from Cape Cod, and it boasts prolific fishing. Home of the five-week “Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby,” this destination is a haven for beginners and seasoned anglers alike.
Visit Martha’s Vineyard anytime from May through late October, and you’ll be thrilled by the sheer variety of fishing on offer. You can fish the Vineyard Sound from shore and look forward to Stripers, Bluefish, Black Seabass, Bonito, and Fluke. There’s no shortage of good fishing spots because there are 100 miles of coastline at your disposal.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. The deep waters of the Atlantic await, and all you need is good weather and a guide to take you to some of the prominent spots like Gordon’s Gulley and the “Star.” Here, you’ll be facing off against fantastic Bluefin Tuna, huge Sharks, Mahi Mahi, and even White Marlin, if you’re lucky.
Choose one of the six towns on the island and explore its fishing potential. In between your angling jaunts, make the most of Vineyard’s unique appeal and its beautiful beaches.
Everybody knows that Cape Cod is the fishing mecca of Massachusetts, and Hyannis is one the top locations to put the reputation to the test. Unofficially known as Cape Cod’s “capital,” this quaint village is a favorite of both tourists and fishermen.
What can you catch here? Well, just about anything you set your mind to. Striped Bass roam the shallow inshore waters, with beach anglers patiently waiting for them to gobble down their offering. Hop on a boat, and the riches of the ocean are at your fingertips. Whether you’re in the mood for some delicious Cod, Pollock, and Seabass, or you’d rather battle the likes of Swordfish and Tuna, the adrenaline will be running high. Simply put, deep sea fishing in Hyannis is one for the books.
From here, you can easily get to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, if you’re up for exploration. But you don’t have to travel far for some fun – windsurfing on the Kalmus Beach and the historic vibe of Hyannis will keep you busy.
If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Cape Cod then, just 30 miles from the coast, you’ll find the island of Nantucket. A fabulous vacation spot and an even better fishing destination, Nantucket has everything a fisherman could ever need.
Fishing is a year-round activity on the island, but spring and summer are by far the most productive. A slew of species including Scup, Bluefish, Stripers, Fluke, and Bonito come close to land, to live and feed in the warm waters. This is the cue for anglers to get their rods out and start casting.
Nantucket is also the gateway to the rich fishing grounds of the Atlantic. Out there, you can hook into the likes of Marlin, Sharks, Mahi Mahi, and, of course, majestic Bluefin Tuna. On the way to your prey, you’ll probably spot whales in the distance, which is always a wonderful bonus.
When you’re not on the water, check out the Whaling Museum (remember Moby Dick?), take a stroll down the Bluff Walk, and enjoy delicious Lobster and clam bake for dinner. Does it get better than this? Probably not.
When you’re in the mood for some Trout fishing, Scargo Lake is the place to be. This is one of the all-time-favorite freshwater haunts on Cape Cod – and for good reason. The lake is regularly stocked with Rainbow, Brook, and Brown Trout, all there for you to target and enjoy.
This kettlehole pond holds good numbers of Trout you can catch throughout the year. And where there’s Trout, there’s the potential for fly fishing, which is another reason the lake is so loved. You can also find White Perch, Bluegill, Smallmouth Bass, and Pumpkinseed at the end of your line.
The best thing about this watershed is that it’s a just hop, skip, and a beat away from Cape Cod Bay. If you organize your day well, you can chase Trout on Scargo in the morning and spend your afternoon battling Stripers on the bay. Your options are limitless, which is why Scargo Lake found its place on the list of top fishing spots in Massachusetts.
Right in the heart of Cape Cod, you’ll find the town of Orleans. Fishermen looking for a quiet place where they can unwind will enjoy the excellent bite Orleans has.
The long beaches are picture-perfect for surf fishing, even though the surf can get quite strong. Striped Bass and Bluefish are both in the cards for shore fishers. Deep sea fishing can’t be overlooked in Orleans either, because it can put you on some whopping-size fish. Charters move out of the Rock Harbor in search of Flounder, Cod, Bluefin Tuna, and Sharks.
Because the waves can be very strong, surfing is big in Orleans. Whether you’re an experienced surfer, or you’d simply like to give it a try, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to do it here. You can also spend your day on Nauset Beach, soaking up the sun and living your best life.
Provincetown is almost like the crown of Cape Cod, and the last stop on our tour through the best fishing spots in Massachusetts. Surrounded by the rich waters of Cape Cod Bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, it’s easy to understand why the town merits a place on our list.
Thanks to its location, Provincetown is a stone’s throw away from premier fishing grounds. Surfcasting is very popular and yields excellent results in the form of massive Stripers and Bluefish. Because the seafloor drops dramatically very close to shore, you can catch A-listers like Bluefin Tuna and Pollock within sight of land. This is a huge advantage of Provincetown, seeing that sometimes you need to travel dozens of miles to find Tuna.
The tip of Cape is shaped like a fishing hook, which curiously foretells the first-class fishing Provincetown boasts. When you’re done with fishing for the day, you can explore Commercial Street and its art galleries, climb to the top of the Towering Pilgrim Monument, or bask in the sun on Race Point Beach.
Massachusetts Fishing Spots: The Possibilities are Endless
Now that you’ve got your list of top fishing spots in the Codfish State, it’s time to start planning your fishing trip. It’s worth noting that this selection of destinations is just to give you ideas, Massachusetts is big and open for your own exploration. So, get started!
Turning the spotlight over to you now… Do you have any favorite fishing spots in Massachusetts? Is there a place that should definitely be on the list? Let us know in the comments below.