Hot Spot: The Old Stone Church - The Fisherman

Hot Spot: The Old Stone Church

This one brings me back to the year after high school, I was working a later shift, 1:30 to 9 p.m. and I had the whole morning to do whatever I felt like. At the time, I was living in Westborough, MA and did a lot of fishing at Wachusett Reservoir in search of a giant lake trout. I fished spots all over the lake, but the Old Stone Church is a great spot because it’s extremely easy to access and the fishing there can be quite good. There’s ample parking on the south side of Beanman Street in West Boylston, right near the gate (just don’t park in front of the gate or you may be towed and ticketed).

From the parking area it’s barely a tenth of a mile to the water’s edge on the point below the picturesque Old Stone Church. A short, sand and gravel, beach wraps around the point here with some larger boulders scattered throughout. I spent one particularly cold and windy morning laying down beside one of the larger rocks to stay out of the biting wind, positioned so that I could see my rod tip, while I shivered and waited for a bite. Luckily, a bite did come that frigid day, but the 14-inch laker was only memorable because I froze myself half to death for the opportunity to catch it!

This point offers casting access to the deepest portion of Thomas Basin, the arm of the large lake that reaches north from the causeway where Route 12/140 crosses. Here you’ll find depths of 30 to 40 feet and you’ll be surprised how long it takes for your lure or bait to reach bottom. Thomas Basin has a history of producing large fish, both the former Massachusetts State Record lake trout (24 pounds) and current record rainbow trout (13.8 pounds) were caught inside Thomas Basin and the rainbow trout was caught on a nightcrawler floated below a bobber casting beneath the granite slab walls of the Old Stone Church. (If my memory serves, the laker was caught on a half-ounce Kastmaster).

Most of my fishing here was done with shiners fished on the bottom with a slip-sinker rig, but I have taken lakers on Kastmasters and Krocodiles here as well, snap-jigged off the bottom. Rounding the point you’ll find a shallower, protected area north of the Church, I’ve landed a few solid smallmouth bass along this stretch using various methods, live shiners, plastic worms, floating Rapalas. These days I’d probably target the area using jerkbaits and Ned Rigs.

The easy access here does mean that it’s a spot that’s often occupied unless you take the early bird approach and get there first. However, that ease of access also makes it a great spot to bring kids to fish, and if they get bored, there’s lots of shoreline to explore as well. The thing I always loved about Wachusett was that it felt like striper fishing. There are monster fish in that lake, like the 24-pound record or the photo that was pressed under the glass on the counter at B&A Bait and Tackle in West Boylston back in the day. Captured in a state electroshock survey of the lake, the massive laker measured over 40 inches and was said to weigh in excess of 30 pounds. While I can’t confirm its actual weight, it served as a constant motivator for me and kept me coming back day after day when I couldn’t make the longer ride to fish the salt.

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