Approximately one-half of all saltwater recreational fishing trips take place from shore.
Unfortunately, this highly popular method of fishing is being threatened by the rapidly accelerating loss of public access to coastal waters. Much of this loss is the direct result of acquisition and development of coastal properties by private parties who then post their holdings against public access. In Massachusetts, colonial law granted private ownership to the intertidal zone (the wet sand), but reserved the public rights of fishing, fowling, and navigation. Although the public rights were reserved for certain uses of the intertidal zone, it is often not possible to enjoy those rights because access across private property to the intertidal zone was never reserved.
To guarantee that the public has access to shore based fishing opportunities, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the Department’s Office of Fishing and Boating Access (FBA) with help from federal aid in Sport Fish Restoration funds, have made it a priority to find, acquire, and provide access by way of land acquisition of easements and/or tidal property.
Currently there are ten MarineFisheries properties and/or FBA properties or facilities providing anglers with access to shore fishing locations:
Wareham River Fish Pier, Wareham:
From Rt. 6 South in Wareham turn left onto Main St. just after crossing the Wareham River. The pier is located on the river just below Tobey Hospital. There is a parking area on the property.
Craven’s Landing at Scortons Creek, Sandwich:
From 6A in East Sandwich turn onto Ploughed Neck Rd. At the end of Ploughed Neck Road, take a right onto North Shore Blvd. Take a right onto Holway Rd. Park only in designated spots. Note – parking area is flooded at high tide and 4WD/AWD is highly recommended due to soft sand in the parking area.
Popponesset Beach Shorefishing Area, Mashpee:
From Mashpee Rotary (Rts. 28 & 151) take Great Neck Rd. to Daniel’s Island Rd. to Wading Place Rd. Parking is limited at the end of Wading Place Rd.
Parker River Fishing Pier, Yarmouth:
Off Main St. (Rt. 28). Parking is available at site (managed by the town of Yarmouth).
Bass River Fishing Pier, Yarmouth:
From Main St. turn onto South St. Go approximately 3/4 mile and fishing pier will be at end of parking lot on left (at the mouth of Bass River). Parking is available for both boat ramp and fishing pier use. Town charges fee during certain time of year (managed by the town of Yarmouth).
Dogfish Bar, Aquinnah:
From Vineyard Haven, take State Rd. towards Gay Head past Menemsha and Squibnocket Ponds. Take a right onto Lobsterville Rd. and then a left onto Lighthouse Rd. Then take a right onto Oxcart Rd., which parallels the beach. Park alongside the road.
Great Rock Bight Shorefishing Area, Chilmark:
Off North Rd. in Chilmark (managed by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank).
Leland Beach, Edgartown:
From Chappaquiddick Island ferry dock, travel on Chappaquiddick Rd. until the road turns sharply to the right. Continue heading straight on Dike Bridge Rd. Park before or after bridge. The area is managed by the Trustees of Reservations; therefore, an entrance fee is required. If you want to drive your vehicle on the beach you will need an over sand vehicle permit. Call the Trustees Superintendent’s Office for details (508) 627-7689.
The beach is also accessible via the Wasque Reservation entrance. Follow Chappaquiddick Rd. to the end and then take a left onto Pocha Rd. Pocha Rd. takes you to the entrance to Wasque.
Fore River Shorefishing Area, Quincy:
From Sea St. take Palmer St. to Yardarm St. Take a right at Doane St. Park at the end of Doane St.
Broad Cove Shorefishing Area, Somerset:
On the Taunton River. From Route 138 take North St. east to Pleasant St. Head North on Pleasant St. to the shorefishing area (managed by the town of Somerset). Park at the site.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.