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Many central Massachusetts anglers have no idea that they have a great opportunity to catch lake trout from the shore right in their back yards.
By Dave Anderson
Image courtesy of Bing.
And lakers are not the only fish that the second largest manmade waterbody in the commonwealth has to offer, it’s also famous for big smallmouth bass, landlocked salmon, white perch, rainbow trout and several other species. It holds six state records and the lack of boat access means that the fish see less pressure and grow longer and larger. This is why my target at Wachusett has always been lake trout. I saw photos from one of the ‘shocking surveys’ conducted by Mass Wildlife back in the mid-1990’s and they tagged one laker that was easily in excess of 30 pounds, an angler was also lucky enough to land a 24-pounder here in 2004!

One of my favorite areas to fish is Scar Hill Bluffs. This area is located at the end of Scar Hill Road in Boylston, at the end of the road there is a cemetery and there is enough parking for about six cars on the left hand side of the road. Walk around the gate and follow the road down to a beachy area, keep an eye out for deer here I’ve seen them several times. Once on the beach walk to the left and round the bend at the edge of the cove. The water from this corner, along the base of the bluff and then wrapping the next corner is very deep just a short cast out. Both corners are great spots to set up camp—and the half of the bluff closer to the beach is very good as well. When you come around the second bend you’ll see that you’re at the mouth of a long cove. This area is very good for lake trout and if you make your way up into the cove a bit you’ll have a great shot some big smallies as well.

The most popular method for taking lakers here is soaking live or dead shiners on a slip-sinker rig. If you elect to fish them dead make sure to inflate them with a worm-blower so they don’t just lie motionless on the bottom. Set up your rods and wait for a fish to take the bait. If you prefer a stick-and-move approach, consider tying on a Kastmaster in the 3/4- to 1-1/2 ounce range and casting out as far as you can. Allow the tin to sink all the way to the bottom and commence a snapping retrieve—yanking the bait up off the bottom and allowing it to flutter back to the bottom. Wachusett sharpies swear that color can make a difference so make sure to bring a selection; in addition to the usual gold, silver, silver/blue and gold/green, gold/orange and the hard-to-find “brook trout” colored Kastmasters are considered must-haves. Make sure to check regulations before you go—Wachusett closes from December to April and ice can delay opening day. For details on when the reservoir is set to open for fishing for the season you can check out the “Wachusett and Sudbury Reservoir Fishing Guide” which is located on the Mass.gov website. It’s an awesome place to fish and you have a legitimate shot at hanging something gigantic! See you out there.