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Fishing Seasons

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Open Season
(All Dates Inclusive)

Daily Creel

Minimum Length1


Lakes, ponds, major rivers 3, 5, 6

Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 3
Housatonic River 4 Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 1 20″
All other rivers and brooks Apr. 1 – Sept. 10
Sept. 11 – Mar. 31, 2012


Wachusett Reservoir 6 Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 3
Quabbin 6 Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 2 18″
SALMON (landlocked) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 2 15″
SALMON (broodstock) 7 Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 2 15″
AMERICAN SHAD Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 6
CHAIN PICKEREL Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 5 15″
BLACK BASS (Largemouth and
Smallmouth, singly or combined)
Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 5 12″
NORTHERN PIKE Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 1 28″
TIGER MUSKIE (Muskellunge) Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 1 28″
WALLEYE Jan. 1 – Dec. 31 5 14″
SMELT8 Jan. 1 – Feb. 28
May 16 – Dec. 31
STRIPED BASS and HERRING: For season, size, and possession limits call the Division of Marine Fisheries at (617) 626-1520, or visit their website at
POSSESSION OF: Sturgeon (all species), American Brook Lamprey, Atlantic (sea-run) Salmon7, Bridle Shiner, Burbot, Eastern Silvery Minnow, Lake Chub, Longnose Sucker, and Northern Redbelly Dace is illegal! If caught release immediately. This means remove hook or cut line and return fish to water immediately — do not pose for photographs, place on a stringer, hold in a net, or delay in any way the immediate return and release of the fish to the water!
  1. Minimum length is measured as the straight line (not curved over the body) from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. The tips of any forked tail may be squeezed together for the final measurement.
  2. Trout applies to Brook, Brown, Rainbow, and Tiger Trout (a cross between a female brown and a male brook trout). From Apr. 1 to Sept. 10, no more than 8 trout (as defined) may be taken daily, and only 3 of those trout may be from lakes, ponds, or major rivers3. From Sept. 11 to Mar. 31, no more than 3 trout (as defined) may be taken daily.
  3. Major Rivers: Childs, Coonamessett, Deerfield, Farmington, Green (Colrain), Green (Great Barrington), Ipswich, Jones, Mashpee, Millers, Nissitissit, North (Colrain), North (West Branch), Parker, Quaboag, Quinapoxet, Quinebaug, Seven Mile, Santuit, Scorton Creek, Shawsheen, Squannacook, Stillwater (Sterling, Princeton), Swift (East Branch), Swift (Winsor Dam to Ware River, except as posted), Tully (East and West Branches), Ware, Ware (East Branch), Westfield (all branches).
  4. Mainstem Housatonic only, from the confluence of the East and West Branches to the MA–CT line, exclusive of the catch-and-release areas where no trout may be kept.
  5. Special brown trout water: South Pond (Quacumquasit), Brookfield. Total daily creel is 3 trout but only 1 may be a brown trout and it must be at least 15″.
  6. Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs: Opening and closing dates are set by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. For Quabbin Reservoir visit
    or call (413) 323-7221. For Wachusett / Sudbury Reservoirs
    visit or call (508) 835-4816 or (978) 365-3800. Quabbin Reservoir and its tributary streams within the Quabbin Reservation are closed to all fishing except during the open season as set by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The use of lead fishing sinkers is prohibited in the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs (see Fishing Prohibitions).
  7. The harvest of broodstock salmon (Atlantic salmon) is lawful in all inland waters of Massachusetts except in: the Connecticut River and all its tributaries; and the Merrimack River downstream of the Essex Dam in Lawrence, MA and all its tributaries downstream of the Essex Dam in Lawrence, MA. The possession of an Atlantic salmon (including broodstock salmon) while fishing in the Connecticut River and all its tributaries and in the Merrimack River downstream of the Essex Dam in Lawrence, MA and all its tributaries downstream of the Essex Dam in Lawrence, MA is prohibited.
  8. Smelt may be taken by hook and line only.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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