A literal fishermen’s paradise is located amongst the hills of central Massachusetts; its name is Quabbin Reservoir. Like most titles that are found in the Bay State, the name Quabbin is sourced from a regional Indian tribe’s word meaning “meeting of many waters”. Quabbin Reservoir is also known as the Big Lady, the Accidental Wilderness, Big Q. or sometimes just Q. No matter its name, Quabbin Reservoir an angling wonderland.
Quabbin is by far the largest body of fresh water present within the State of Massachusetts. Its almost twenty-five thousand surface acres impound 412 billion gallons of fresh water making it one of the biggest, minimally treated water reservoirs in the US today. This high quality water is diverted around 95 miles to the coast serving 2,500,000 inhabitants of the Boston Metro area.
Lady Q was created mainly during the 1930s. One indication of the quality of Quabbin’s waters is indicated by the transparency of the water which in most areas exceeds 20 feet. The range of water depth varies widely across the lake in some places exceeding 100 feet. Usually one associates these water quality parameters are found in cold water fisheries, The Big Q is truly an excellent two-story fishery. More than twenty-seven different types of fish cruise Lady Q’s crystal clear surface waters with more than 15 species being vigorously sought by the fishing masses every day.
Fishermen going out to Q have the option of fishing from the shoreline or boat. Since this is the Commonwealth’s largest water supply, however, many restrictions are in force. Every season the Mass DCR publishes a fishing guide for the Accidental Wilderness that is easily obtainable from State’s Quabbin Reservoir page.
The cool, clear waters of Lady Q contain 5 different coldwater species of fish including four members of the trout family plus landlocked salmon. Though all three of the Big Lady’s launch areas enable access to the deep water areas where salmanoids thrive, the better trout and salmon area is accessible from Gate #8 located on Q’s west leg near Belchertown.
Where Gate #8 on Quabbin’s west arm yields the best access to the cold water area, the other two launch areas at Gates #31 and #43 provide gateway to the best shallow and warm sections of impoundment. Warm water species most sought from Lady Q include both largemouth and smallmouth bass (though smallmouths are king), chain pickerel, perch, catfish and the occasional walleye. Though fairly rare, the current State record walleye weighing 11 pounds was caught from Quabbin Reservoir in 1975.
One additional fish swimming in Quabbin’s depths is usually ignored is the common carp but that is common on almost all US reservoirs since most American’s consider it a “rough fish”.