Ice Fishing for Pike & Tiger Muskie Mass. Pike through the Ice MA
Pike & Tiger Muskie Fishing in Central Massachusetts
Northern Pike (Esox lucius)
Northern Pike prefer large rivers and medium to large lakes. In lakes they stay in bays and straits, avoiding deep offshore water. They are loners, hunting in weedy or log-strewn shallows.
Pike spawn in early spring. They migrate to their spawning grounds during the night. Those living in streams move up them to spawning sites. Pike living in lakes move to spawning sites in the lake. The actual spawning takes place during daylight hours.
Adult northern pike feed almost exclusively on fish, with just about any fish (including young pike) being potential prey. They are not selective in their feeding habits, supplementing their fish diet with aquatic insects, leeches, crayfish, frogs, snakes, small muskrats, and ducklings. The northern pike is one of the most rapidly growing fish we have, averaging 2 to 4 pounds and 2 feet long. Often these fish reach the 20-pound class. They are important sport fish.
Best Bets for Pike Central Ma
Lake Quacumquasit, commonly known as South Pond, is a 218-acre lake located in
Brookfield and Sturbridge about 3 miles north of Route 20. South Pond is stocked each spring with 12+ inch rainbow trout, and 12+ inch brown trout.
Considerable fishing pressure is exerted towards catching trout from mid-April through the end of
June. The clear water and lack of good hiding cover does not produce spectacular bass fishing,
hence most interest is for trout.
Ice fishing is popular also, primarily for trout, yellow perch, white perch, pickerel and
occasionally a northern pike, which may have strayed into Quacumquasit from nearby Quaboag
Pond. A few northerns have been caught here in excess of 30 pounds. The pond has acquired a
reputation for producing lunker crappie, brown trout and pike, but ice fishing action is generally
quite slow. Be prepared to put in plenty of hours for the occasional big fish.
(Brookfield / East Brookfield)
This 531-acre pond averages 5.9 feet in depth with a maximum of 12 feet.
Aquatic weeds are common along much of the shore.
Fishing interest at Quaboag Pond is intense, particularly through the winter when
anglers are in pursuit of northern pike. There are also good catches of largemouth bass,
chain pickerel, white perch, yellow perch, and black crappie to be made. For those
interested in summer fishing, Quaboag Pond has some of the best potential for bullheads
Webster Lake is a large, (1,270 acres), two-story lake located in southern Worcester County.
From the Worcester area, drive west on I-290 and continue on Route 52 to Exit 1. This will put
you at the Memorial Beach Drive boat launching facility. There is limited shore fishing access
because of extensive shoreline development. The lake is characterized by clear watercolor with a
transparency of 15 feet. The mean and maximum depths are 13 feet and 45 feet respectively.
The bottom is primarily mud and rock. For the most part, aquatic vegetation is confined to shallow
Webster Lake offers an extremely diverse fishery with largemouth bass, smallmouth bass,
chain pickerel, stocked trout and an assortment of panfish. Although recreational use is heavy,
particularly during the summer months, many fish of large size are available. Jigging for yellow
perch in the winter is particularly productive.
Northern pike and tiger muskies have been stocked here regularly since 1981 in order to
utilize the abundant panfish population and offer the angler a chance to catch a truly large
gamefish. Pike in the 20-pound range are taken every year.
Finally, Webster Lake has been stocked with brood salmon since 1992. These fish, some of
which are over ten pounds in weight, offer the salmonid angler the possibility of intense battles.
They will continue to be stocked whenever available, and are taken trough the ice as well as in
Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy)
belong to the Esocids
family of fish.
Muskellunge spawn in the spring following the northern pike spawning period. Water temperatures between 48° and 56°F seem to be optimum for muskellunge spawning. Their age at first spawning varies between 3 and 6 years old. The males move to the spawning grounds first, the females following. Actual spawning takes place at night in shallow, muck-bottomed bays or coves, especially those with sunken stumps or logs. Eggs are distributed along several hundred feet of shoreline. No nests are built, and no parental care is given to eggs or young.
Muskies prefer habitat with clear, quiet water. Submerged weed beds interspersed with sunken stumps and logs are all components of ideal muskie habitat. They tend to move little, staying in their favorite lairs awaiting their prey, which consists of fish, frogs, snakes, small mammals, and aquatic birds. Muskies are sometimes cannibalistic to the extent of damaging their own populations. A rapidly growing fish, they reach sizes of several feet and can be in the 40-60-pound class. They are highly prized as sport fish; unfortunately, they are rather rare and few are caught.
The norlunge (or tiger muskellunge) is a northern pike X muskellunge hybrid. While this fish is stocked in some Massachusett waters, it may occur naturally in waters inhabited by northern pike and muskellunge. Norlunge grow faster than either parent during their first year and at nearly the same rate as their parents during following years. They also exhibit greater vitality and experience a lower mortality rate than pure northern pike or muskellunge.
(Worcester / Shrewsbury)
Lake Quinsigamond is a 772-acre lake located in the heart of Worcester County between the
city of Worcester and the Town of Shrewsbury. There are really three distinct sections: the deep,
narrow northern basin, the shallower southern basin with its many coves and islands, and the
shallow, southernmost section known as Flint Pond. The deep northern basin averages 33 feet,
while Flint Pond averages only 9 feet.
The lake supports both warm water fish (such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain
pickerel, yellow perch, white perch, bluegills and pumpkinseeds) and cold water fish (such as
rainbow smelt and stocked trout). Northern pike and tiger muskies have been stocked here
regularly since the 1980s, and ice fishermen routinely take northerns in the 20-pound range. This
water has produced a former state record tiger muskie over 19 pounds, as well as a former state
record carp over 42 pounds. The lake also receives stockings of broodstock salmon whenever
they are available.
Ice fishing is popular here, but because of its large size, this lake is one of the last in the area
to acquire safe ice every winter. Be cautious! Try the northern extreme for rainbow smelt
(generally fished at night; look for lanterns), which appear to be on the increase after several
years of poor reproduction. Brown trout are often taken by the same nightfishing methods that
work for smelt. Jigging for yellow perch should be best in the southern areas. Pike can turn up
almost anywhere, but Flint Pond is our best bet.
Lake Chauncy is a moderately large, natural great pond of 185 acres. Its average depth is 14
feet with a maximum depth of 20 feet over a considerable area. The shores are lightly wooded
and shoreline development is quite limited since Westboro State Hospital land and the Westboro
Wildlife Management Area border much of the lake.
The bottom is predominantly muck with about 15% consisting of rubble, sand and gravel.
Aquatic vegetation is generally less than average, occurring principally in shallow coves along the
western and northerly shores, but it appears to be increasing.
A 1994 summer survey indicated that the following species were present: largemouth and
smallmouth bass, bluegills, pumpkinseeds, white and yellow perch, chain pickerel, brown and
yellow bullheads, golden shiners and landlocked alewives. This lake has been stocked with
northern pike and tiger muskies since 1988.
Largemouth bass are abundant and provide excellent fishing. Bass cover consists of weed
beds and fallen trees and is especially productive along the northern shore. An occasional
smallmouth may be caught along the rocky southern shore.
Northern pike and tiger muskies grow to large size and provide a challenging angling
opportunity, though most are taken by ice fishermen. Open water fishermen should pursue these
trophies with large lures and baits off the edge of weed beds.
Panfish are abundant and grow to good size in this fertile lake. Bullheads are of particularly
good size with many exceeding one pound.
Ocean State Tackle
430 Branch Avenue
Providence, RI 02904
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