Angling for a Great View

  • David Ginisi

Photo by: John Burke

So many colors, so little time.

If you’re looking to pack maximum fall foliage-viewing into a day trip in North Central Massachusetts, here’s a tip: Head out to the nearest lake, pond or stream. The clear, quiet waters of the region create perfect mirrors for all those gorgeous colors, instantly doubling your foliage enjoyment!

But wait — there’s more!

Grab your fishing gear and bring (or rent) a canoe, and you can get in some super fall fishing while reveling in the bright reds, yellows and oranges of New England foliage season. Worried that the end of summer will mean a shortage of fish waiting to chomp on your hook?  Relax — the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries & Wildlife has a fall stocking program, and local streams, rivers and lakes are now home to tens of thousands of hungry rainbow and brown trout.

Each September, MassWildlife augments the 500,000 fish of its spring stocking program, creating some great fall fishing. Wondering where to find those just-released fish? Stocking information is updated weekly during the 2020 season. Visit the state agency’s website,, and you can search for a specific waterbody or town using the sortable list, or explore new fishing spots with the map feature, which shows the spots on each water body where the stocking was done.

Here’s a sample of some stocking locations:

Willard Brook in Ashby

Millers River and Silver Lake in Athol

Sandy Pond in Ayer

Lancaster Millpond and Mossy Pond in Clinton

Fallulah Brook and Phillips Brook in Fitchburg

Dunn Pond, Kendall Pond, and Perley Brook in Gardner

Squannacook River in Groton

Ware River in Hubbardston

Barrett Pond in Leominster

Lake Whalom in Lunenburg

Lake Mattawa, Tully River and Millers River in Orange

Nissitissit River and Sucker Brook in Pepperell

Millers River in Royalston

Otter River in Templeton

Squannacook River and Willard Brook in Townsend

Crow Hills Pond and Wyman Pond Brook in Westminster

Lake Dennison and Millers River in Winchendon

Just visiting? You can rent a canoe or kayak from Nashoba Paddler in Groton. Paddling your own canoe? A full list of local public boat launches in the Nashua River watershed is available at the Nashua River Watershed Association website. The state’s Office of Fishing and Boating also offers a map showing dozens of boat launch sites in the region.

Remember to buy your freshwater fishing license before you hit the water — and the good news is that you can do it online, so if you’re making an impromptu tour of the region and want to add a bit of fall angling to your agenda, you’re in luck.  If you buy your license online, you can print a copy to bring with you, or simply be prepared to display a true, complete, and legible image of your license on your smartphone if an official asks for it. Licenses are also available from local vendors, including most Walmart locations. 

Sun-dappled waters. Brilliant fall foliage. Plentiful fish. What more could an angler ask for on a beautiful autumn day in North Central Massachusetts?

Story by: Pat Gale