Located in Middlesex County, Ashland is a town in Massachusetts that is part of the MetroWest region. It is one of the clusters of cities and towns situated to the west of Boston and east of Worcester and is considered the ideal halfway between the two. The area of Ashland is bordered by the towns and cities of Sherborn on the east, Holliston on the south, Framingham in the north east, Hopkinton in the south west and Southborough in the north west. In the early 18th century, the town’s area before it was known as Ashland, was settled and inhabited by the Megunko Native Americans. Ashland was previously known as Unionville and it became an incorporated town in 1846. Its change of name was inspired by the Kentucky estate of statesman Henry Clay.
Compared to many other surrounding towns and cities, Ashland is considerably younger, with its territory consisting of equal parts taken from the towns of Hopkinton, Holliston and Framingham. During the 20th century, the town graduated from its humble rural town roots when a boom in population gave way to housing, farms and the development of rail lines. Despite this, some areas of Ashland remain untouched including the Ashland Town Forest, Ashland State Park, Warren Woods, and the area comprising the beach and dam parts of Hopkinton State Park, which are also places where anglers can find fishing locations. Ashland has retained and maintained its traditions despite urban development, keeping a close-knit community feeling that embodies and is pertinent to the New England region.
Ashland possesses a number of inshore and offshore fishing spots that anglers can venture to and have the chance to catch different kinds of fish species of mostly the freshwater variety. Anglers looking to snag catches while basking in the modern yet intimate feel of New England through Ashland will be able to find many fishing opportunities there, with either going by foot or by boat doable.
The most popular spot to fish in Ashland is located within Ashland State Park, where the Ashland Reservoir is located. Its shores are undeveloped making it a peaceful site to go fishing. Aside from fishing, the park is also where people enjoy swimming, picnicking, boating, bicycling, cross-country skiing and hiking. The 171-acre reservoir is annually stocked with trout (brown, rainbow and tiger). Anglers can also hook for species such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, bluegill, brown bullhead and golden shiner in the reservoir. Anglers can try their hand at surf casting by the beach area of the reservoir or they can launch their boats from there or from the gravel ramp that is available and can handle most trailers and other boat-like vessels.
Ashland Reservoir keeps up a layer of cold, oxygenated water throughout warmer periods, allowing stocked trout to survive multiple seasons. Aquatic vegetation is scarce as it’s limited to a few coves and shoreline sites. The species of trout produced in the reservoir have been recognized by the Freshwater Sportfishing Awards Program. Ten to fourteen-inch largemouth bass can easily be found around the drop-offs associated with the islands along the reservoir’s western shore. Simple techniques like baitcasting, spinning and fly fishing can be done in the reservoir’s waters.
To the north of Ashland, anglers will find the Sudbury River, which is known for great bass fishing and where they can hook freshwater species like largemouth bass, northern pike, bluegill, chain pickerel, common carp, black crappie, yellow perch, white catfish and channel catfish. The river has boat ramp access located by Myrtle Street and High Street but anglers can also enjoy fishing by the river’s banks. Fly fishing is commonly done there as well. Like the Ashland Reservoir, it is stocked annually with brown trout. Great spots to fish in the river are where debris and fallen trees can be found, with bass and pike the normally targeted fish to nab. During the winter, ice fishing is heavily represented in the river too as winters are relatively colder in New England towns like Ashland.
A portion of Hopkinton Reservoir is located on Ashland’s west where a concrete boat ramp is accessible. Its waters are home to the similarly mentioned species like largemouth and smallmouth bass, yellow perch, salmon, white perch, pumpkinseed, bluegill and brown trout. Like the other fishing areas in Ashland, the reservoir is annually stocked with trout, mainly rainbow. One is more likely to hook fish near the dam on the back side of the long island. Kayaks are popularly used by anglers in the reservoir as they use live bait or wet flies to catch fish.
Every year, the Ashland Fish and Game Club hosts the Annual Trout Derby held during May. The event can be participated by members and members’ children up to the age of 12. The event challenges any type of angler to bait cast for trout that are fully stocked in their club’s pond located on Ponderosa Road in Ashland. A similar event called the Kids Fishing Derby, which is only exclusive to children, is also organized and hosted by the club.
The top 10 fish species found in Ashland, Massachusetts are brown trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, white perch, pumpkinseed, northern pike and bluegill.