River and Reservoir Weekend (Millers and Wachusett)

On Saturday I checked out the Millers River and on Sunday I went to Wachusett Reservoir. Considering that I’ve only been in Massachusetts for 3 weeks it should be obvious that this was my first trip to both fisheries.

Millers – Saturday (all day)
I decided to fish Millers River this weekend. With so much unfamiliar water in this state I decided on the Millers specifically based on conversations with the guys at Concord Outfitters (a great shop by the way and it happens to be the closest shop to me now that Lower Forty Outfitters decided to close as soon as I moved here), and reading the enticing posts by the other authors on this exact blog. By the looks of things I should probably try to get together with him and learn some of his secrets to success on the Millers!

Saturday morning I parked at the well-marked area situated about halfway through the catch-and-release section between South Royalston and Athol. From there I fished downstream nearly to Athol and hiked back up to my car. It’s a rather long section to fish in just one day but at this point I’m just trying to cover as much new water as possible to find out where I like and I’ll come back in the future and fish it more thoroughly. I didn’t see another person all day until I got back near the parking lot in the evening.

The Millers River in this section is a beautiful spot. With all the giant boulders and heavy currents it reminded me a lot of the Wolf River in NE Wisconsin that I used to fish way back when.

I started off with a bugger-dropper rig. Black bugger with caddis pupae dropper. I’m sure at some point readers of the blog will realize that I’m terrible at remembering the proper names of flies I use. I know what they are supposed to imitate but for the life of me I can never recall the names of most of them, hence caddis pupae rather than the actual name of the fly. I picked up a decent brookie on this rig.

In the interest of covering water, and because every inch of this river begs for a drift, I decided to switch to a streamer. I always love fishing streamers with the hopes of hooking bigger fish. I tied on a cone-head sculpin imitation and started swimming the streamer through current slots between boulders and drifting it down-and-across in some of the wider runs and heads of pools. Shortly after switching to the streamer I had my first fallfish experience….

Really cool looking fish, especially the males in their spawning regalia. Also a bit larger and harder fighting than I had anticipated. I also hooked an impressive rainbow that dogged me pretty good in the current. Very pretty fish and showed very little sign of being a stocker so I assume that it was from an early plant or maybe even a holdover from the fall.

In case anyone was wondering about my rod-reel setup pictured here – I fish Echo rods. Pictured above is a relatively brand new Echo-3 six-weight with matching Echo Ion reel. This setup is a replacement for one that was stolen from me last fall so I haven’t had much time to use it until now. I also have an Echo Ion nine-weight as my “big” rod. For the financially fiscal anglers the Echo line excellent for the money. I think I paid about $350 for the rod-reel-line shown here. Not the cheapest but also beats spending $1000 for rod-reel combo from some of the other more well-known fly rod and reel manufacturers. Echo rods are a bit on the fast side but that fits my fishing and casting style.

Wachusett Reservoir (Sunday)
Sunday I spent a few hours walking the shore of Wachusett hoping to find some prespawn smallmouth cruising the shallows. I may have been early. I think the water is still pretty chilly in the big lake for bass in the shallows. I did find a couple willing fish but they were few and far between.

I also saw a couple pretty nice largemouth bass but they were sluggish and uninterested in what I had to offer them. Wachusett is very cool and I found a number of spots that likely will hold fish over the summer. I’ve heard there are some big bass in there. I’ll end with a few pictures of the reservoir and a delicate little mayfly that landed on my reel seat (nothing was rising out on the lake though…). Didn’t see another person anywhere in 3 hours of fishing and hiking.


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13 thoughts on “River and Reservoir Weekend (Millers and Wachusett)

  1. Very nice! A very beautiful array of fish. In a few days you'll be finding some big bass in those shallows, they are already bedded up in Central CT.

  2. Kudos on the spinner pic. The focus and resolution are so good that zooming in reveals some incredible detail.

    1. Thanks, I usually bring 2 cameras when I fish – a waterproof Olympus for fish pics and my Nikon DSLR for scenery or a particularly good fish. The mayfly spinner picture was taken with the Olympus. I am continually impressed with the quality of images I get with that camera. It has a macro mode which is quite good.

    1. That's true. I'm used to fishing smallmouth a ton back in the midwest. They're not nearly as widespread here in southern New England but I still plan on seeking them out when I can.

  3. You might or might not see this comment, but if you do, I’m a local, I live in the Boston area, and do large amounts of fly and spin fishing from the Charles river to the Swift river. Wachusett offers great fishing early spring when it opens in April depending on ice, and good trout/landlocked salmon in fall. In the spring, lakers can also be caught on the fly due to how close they come to shore following smelt and other forage. The same goes for landlocked Salmon in the fall. Swift is a very sterile, clear, pressured small river, but it does hold many wild brookies and big browns and a large population of bows. It can be easy or hard to fish depending on day/time of year. Sometimes fish there eat big streamers one day, and then won’t eat anything except a size 24 scud. I’m a commoner at Concor Outfitters. Side note; Don’t be fooled by Walden ponds large amount of tourists, mid spring tends to be prime bass time, and as long as you go early, so is summer. There are lots of Smallmouth, but mostly largemouth. The largemouth get very big, and i have seen with my own eyes big largemouth eating 12 inch stocked trout. My biggest is a 6.5, but i have a neighbor who’s lived in MA all his life who has caught a 9lber there. I hope this helps in someway.

    1. Hi Noah, thank you for such a thorough set of observations. Would you be willing to write a guest post sometime?

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