September 1, 2010

Fishing the Quabbin

Ever since we moved to Petersham in 1997 we have known that the Quabbin Reservoir is a special place. In fact, the natural beauty of the North Quabbin area is one of the reasons that we purchased the Inn at Clamber Hill. (There is actually a view of the Quabbin Resevoir on a small knoll in the woods behind Clamber Hill.) And many of our guests over the years have come to visit Petersham because of the Quabbin.

The Quabbin Reservoir was created in the Swift River Valley of Central Massachuestts during the late-1920's and 1930's as a source of fresh water for the city of Boston. The towns of Dana, Enfield, Greenwich and Prescott were "discontinued" to create the reservoir. There are many books written on the Quabbin's history. For those who would like to know more try reading some of the books by J.R. Greene and Michael Tougias.

Located in the very center of Massachusetts, the Quabbin is 18 miles long and contains 412 billion gallons of water. It is the largest inland lake in Massachusetts and one of the largest drinking water reservoirs in the United States. Due to the myriad of restrictions to preserve water quality, the entire 120,000 acre watershed area surrounding the Quabbin has become a nature preserve, making it one of the most attractive destinations in New England for nature enthusiasts.

The Still Waters of the Quabbin Reservoir

Recreational activities are limited to hiking, bird watching, fishing and hunting. You're not allowed to hike with your dogs, ride horses, wade or swim. And if you're planning to fish, you need to either fish from the shoreline in designated spots, rent one of the Quabbin boats or provide proof that your boat has been properly decontaminated. Canoes and kayaks are no longer allowed. You can obtain a copy of the Quabbin Reservoir Fishing Guide, complete with map, on the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation website.

Quabbin Fishing Boats

Although we have lived next to the Quabbin for thirteen years now and have hiked many of the "gates", until yesterday we had never fished the Quabbin. We did not know what we were missing.

The water is beautiful. We spent five hours on the water and everywhere we looked there was a gorgeous view. We rented a boat from Fishing Area 2, at the northern end where there are many islands. As we headed out to find a good fishing spot we passed a pair of loons. Not only are they majestic birds, their call is hauntingly beautiful.

Loons on the Quabbin Reservoir

Loons on the Quabbin Reservoir

Navigating around the islands, the water was crystal clear, the sky was bright blue and the wind kept a cool breeze on us. We encountered more a couple of other fishing boats, more loons, duck and some turtles sunning themselves on a log. We even managed to catch two fish, a large bass and a small perch. Beginner's luck or not -it was a wonderful day.

Fishing on the Quabbin

Fishing on the Quabbin

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