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10 Best Fishing Spots in Massachusetts

10 Best Fishing Spots in Massachusetts

Some of the best fishing spots in Massachusetts are spread along the Cape Cod Peninsula.

Provincetown and Plymouth present anglers with a myriad of fishing options, as each destination gives them easy access to Cape Cod Bay and offers miles of beaches.

There are also plenty of freshwater fishing spots in Massachusetts that are worth your time.

These fishing spots are ideal if you’re targeting Trout, Bass, or Crappies and are easily reachable, as they’re only a short ride from the state’s largest cities.

Top Fishing Spots in Massachusetts at a Glance

Here’s an overview of some of the best fishing locations in Massachusetts:

10 Best Fishing Spots in Massachusetts

Let’s dive deeper and explore the charms of the best fishing spots in Massachusetts.

Provincetown

best fishing spots in Massachusetts - Provincetown image

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The city’s location makes it a heaven for all anglers of all styles and skill levels. Provincetown sits at the tip of the Cape Cod Peninsula, so you can choose whether to fish in the Atlantic Ocean’s open waters or explore Cape Cod Bay.

Moreover, you don’t have to leave the shore for a memorable fishing experience in Provincetown since you can cast a line from one of the city’s beaches and reel in Bass or Bluefish.

Types of fishing: Surf fishing, offshore fishing, wade fishing

Expect to find: Tuna, Bluefish, Atlantic Mackerel, Striped Bass

Rules and safety guidelines: Strict bag limits apply to most fish species.

See Provincetown on the map

Orleans

Orleans fishing spot image

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Located in the Cape Cod Peninsula’s central section, Orleans is less than thirty miles away from Provincetown. Two scenic towns share a similar allure for anglers, as they offer stunning surf fishing opportunities and access to Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Chartering a boat is probably the best way to make the most of the fishing experience in Orleans, but you can also wet a line in Orleans Cove or roam the town’s beaches in search of a perfect fishing spot.

Types of fishing: Offshore fishing, surf fishing

Expect to find: Bluefin Tuna, Atlantic Bonito, Flounder, Striped Bass

Rules and safety guidelines: Avoid fishing in choppy waters

See Orleans on the map

Cape Cod Canal

Cape Cod Canal fishing spot image

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Aside from being a historic landmark, the Cape Cod Canal is also a popular fishing destination. The Canal connects Buzzards Bay in the South and Cape Cod Bay in the North, so the easiest way to reach it is from Bourne or Sandwich.

The 17-mile-long waterway is an excellent destination for anglers who prefer fishing from shore, targeting Cod, Striped Bass, or Haddock.

Jigging and plugging are the most common fishing tactics used at the Cape Cod Canal, so bringing your jigging rod and all other necessary equipment is paramount.

Types of fishing: Plugging, jigging

Expect to find: Haddock, Cod, Stripped Bass

Rules and safety guidelines: Strong currents flow through the canal, making getting the bait to the bottom challenging.

See Cape Cod Canal on the map

Nantucket Island

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With its sandy beaches and rich waters, Nantucket Island is one of the best fishing destinations on the East Coast.

The island is thirty miles away from the Cape Cod Peninsula, and you can reach it in around two hours from the port of Hyannis, another great fishing spot on the peninsula.

Nantucket is a must-visit location for anglers targeting Tuna or Bluefish. Still, you can cast a line from the island’s sandy beaches and catch a Striped Bass, Fluke, or Scup.

Types of fishing: Offshore fishing, surf fishing

Expect to find: False Albacore, Tuna, Fluke, Black Sea Bass

Rules and safety guidelines: Length limits apply to some fish species

See Nantucket Island on the map

Cleveland Pond at Ames Nowell State Park

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A perfect getaway from loud, bustling cities, Cleveland Pond at Ames Nowell State Park is less than an hour away from Boston and just two miles away from downtown Abington.

The state park covers a 700-acre area, including the 97-acre Cleaveland Pond surrounded by Cleaveland Pond Loop, a trail that features some genuinely remarkable fishing spots. The park offers ample parking space, restrooms, a picnic area, and other amenities.

Besides angling from the shore, you can also rent a kayak or a non-motorized boat at the location, but keep in mind that the best time of the year to visit Ames Nowell State Park is May through October.

Types of fishing: Kayak fishing, freshwater fishing

Expect to find: Largemouth Bass

Rules and safety guidelines: Fishing at the Cleaveland Pond without a license is prohibited.

See Cleavland Pond at Ames Nowell State Park on the map

Hammond Pond Reservation

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If you’re planning a short visit to Boston and want to spend an afternoon angling, Hammond Pond Reservation might be the perfect spot.

The reservation is a part of the Metropolitan Park System of Greater Boston, and you’ll need less than thirty minutes to reach it from the city’s downtown area. In addition to fishing, the reservation is a popular hiking and rock-climbing destination.

Hammond Pond has a vast largemouth bass population, but you can also catch a Redbreast Sunfish, Black Crappie, or Pond Perch.

Types of fishing: Freshwater fishing

Expect to find: Bass, Crappie, Sunfish

Rules and safety guidelines: Wade fishing in Hammond Pond isn’t allowed.

See Hammond Pond Reservation on the map

Nut Island

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Boston Harbor’s Nut Island is a popular fishing spot for locals and visitors. The 20-acre island has a fishing pier, and it’s an ideal location for night angling. In addition, you can find plenty of great spots along Houghs Neck.

It’s advisable to bring your gear, but you don’t have to take tackles with you since there are plenty of bait shops in the area. Most importantly, you must check the weather conditions before heading out to the Nut Island Pier because high winds are common in the area.

Types of fishing: Pier fishing

Expect to find: Squid, Bass, Winter Flounder, Herring

Rules and safety guidelines: Obtain all necessary licenses for fishing in Boston Harbor before casting a line off the Nut Island Pier.

See Nut Island on the map

Plymouth

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Unlike other popular fishing spots on the Cape Cod Peninsula, Plymouth‘s shoreline is predominantly rocky, which makes it a perfect destination for anglers who enjoy casting a line from the jetties.

Still, you’ll find several beaches within the city limits with plenty of space for surf fishing. Plymouth Harbor and the Fraizer State Pier are among the city’s most popular fishing spots because they’re available to the public around the clock.

Offshore anglers can charter a boat and go on a fishing adventure in Plymouth Bay or Cape Cod Bay.

Types of fishing: Surf fishing, jetty fishing, offshore fishing

Expect to find: Bluefish, Pollock, Haddock, Striped Bass

Rules and safety guidelines: Don’t forget to check the size and possession limits for the fish species you want to target.

See Plymouth on the map

Wallum Lake

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Even though the largest part of Wallum Lake is in Rhode Island, the lake is still among Massachusetts’s most popular fishing spots.

Hence, you can fish at the lake with a license from either state, but don’t forget that Rhode Island fishing regulations apply throughout the entire lake.

Wallum Lake is stocked with Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout seasonally, but despite this, Smallmouth Bass remain the most common fish species anglers catch at this location.

The lake has a boat ramp, which enables you to wet a line away from the shore.

Types of fishing: Freshwater fishing, boat fishing

Expect to find: Brown Trout, Smallmouth Bass, Sunfish, Landlocked Alewife, Broodstock Salmon

Rules and safety guidelines: The lake is crowded during the summer, so finding a good fishing spot can be difficult.

See Wallum Lake on the map

Dunn State Park

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You won’t have to travel far to find a perfect fishing spot if you’re visiting Gardner, Massachusetts. Dunn State Parkis a popular recreation area for the locals, with miles of hiking trails, public beaches, and numerous fishing piers.

The park also has pavilion rentals and a campsite, so finding a place to stay shouldn’t be difficult if you plan to spend several days at this beautiful fishing location.

Entrance to the park is free, but out-of-state visitors must pay a $30 daily parking fee during the summer.

Types of fishing: Pier fishing, kayak fishing

Expect to find: Bass, Trout, Black Crappie

Rules and safety guidelines: Keep the area clean and check the daily bag limit.

See Dunn State Park on the map

Essential Things to Consider When Choosing Where to Fish in Massachusetts

Some of the most popular fishing destinations on the East Coast are located in Massachusetts. Although you’ll be spoiled for choice when deciding where to fish in The Old Colony State, having too many options can make picking the one you want to visit challenging.

We’ve listed a few factors that can help you choose the fishing spot in Massachusetts that offers everything you hope for.

  • Saltwater or freshwater fishing – Knowing whether you want to fish in the Atlantic Ocean or try your luck with freshwater fishing will make picking a perfect fishing spot easier.
  • Fishing season – Although the fishing season in Massachusetts is open throughout the year, weather conditions in the winter can be too harsh for inshore fishing or angling at lakes or ponds. It’s also worth noting that the season for some saltwater fish species is only open from May to September.
  • Check if a fishing spot is catch-and-release only – Several fishing locations have catch-and-release restrictions.
  • Water accessibility – Reaching the water and finding a spot can be difficult due to vegetation and other reasons, so researching the location’s terrain can help you pick a spot where you can access water easily.

Rules for Fishing in Massachusetts

You must familiarize yourself with the state’s freshwater and saltwater fishing regulations to avoid keeping a fish under the length limit. Don’t forget that fishing without a license is prohibited at all locations in Massachusetts.

The fish length limits vary from species to species, so you cannot keep a Black Bass if its length is under 12 inches, while size limits don’t apply to Mackerel or Bluefish.

Let’s go through some of the crucial fishing rules in Massachusetts.

  • Possession Limits – The number of fish you can keep per day ranges from one to unlimited, but in most cases, you won’t be able to keep more than ten fish you caught on the same day.
  • Protected Species – Anglers cannot harvest Whale, Sturgeon, Atlantic (Sea-Run) Salmon, Dusky, and numerous other freshwater and saltwater fish species.
  • Use of multiple hooks – You must use only one hook while fishing in Massachusetts unless you’re ice fishing, in which case the maximum number of hooks you can attach to a line is five.

Lead sinkers, jigs, or weights must weigh over 1 ounce, but the same rule doesn’t apply to artificial or natural lures or fishing tackle.

Fishing Licenses in Massachusetts

Freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses are mandatory for all anglers older than 15, but resident minors and senior citizens over 70 can obtain their freshwater fishing licenses for free.

Here’s an overview of fishing license costs in Massachusetts: Please note that the prices below don’t include the $5 Wildlands Conservation Stamp fee added to the first license residents purchase in a year and all nonresident licenses.

You can get your Massachusetts fishing license online or at local fishing stores.

Freshwater Fishing License for Residents

  • Resident Minor Fishing (15 – 17) – Free
  • Resident Fishing (17 – 65) – $29.50
  • Resident Fishing (65 – 69) – $14.75
  • Resident Fishing (over 70) – Free
  • 3-day Resident Fishing License – $12.50

Freshwater Fishing License for Nonresidents

  • 3-day Nonresident Fishing License – $23.30
  • Nonresident Minor Fishing – $7.10
  • Nonresident fishing – $39.50

Saltwater Fishing Licenses

  • For resident and nonresident anglers – $10 per person
  • For resident and nonresident anglers over 60 – Free

How Salted Angler Selected the Best Fishing Spots in Massachusetts

Our team is dedicated to the goal of delivering reliable information to anglers. We kept our ears to the ground and listened to what anglers say about Massachusetts’s best fishing spots.

We then combined this information with our own Massachusetts fishing experiences to shortlist the top fishing locations in the state.

During the selection process, our goal was to identify the best freshwater and saltwater destinations in Massachusetts, which is why we had to exclude some excellent spots along the shoreline and inland.

Please read our editorial policy for more information about us and our mission.

General FAQs

Are the Best Fishing Spots in Massachusetts Hard to Reach?

Almost all popular fishing locations in Massachusetts are near urban areas, and they’re easily accessible by car or other means of transportation.

What is the Best Time of Year for Fishing on Nantucket Island?

The peak of Nantucket Island’s fishing season is in the late summer and early autumn.

Is Massachusetts Good for Ice-Fishing?

The state’s lakes and ponds freeze during the winter, making them a popular ice-fishing option.

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