Pittsfield Fishing: Angling in the Green City

Experience excellent and productive and inshore fishing in Pittsfield, MA. Book your trip today and get a change to land on some bass, pumpkinseed, and trout.

Pittsfield Fishing: Angling in the Green City
Pittsfield Fishing: Angling in the Green City
Team Guidesly

April 7, 2022, 6 min read

Updated on April 4, 2022

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Between the intersection of the east and west branches of the Housatonic River lies the rich city of Pittsfield. Lanesborough borders the 42.5 square mile city to its north, Lenox to its south, Hancock to its west, and Dalton to its east; it encompasses Berkshire. 

The history of Pittsfield began in 1738 when Col. Jacob Wendell bought 24,000 acres of land that was then called Pontoosuc, a Mohican word that means “a haven for winter deer.” Although Jacob was not a resident of the area, he thought it would be great to subdivide and resell to others who plan to settle there. However, the property remained unoccupied until 1752. Since then, the population grew, and a village began to grow. Then in 1753, it was incorporated as Pontoosuc Plantation. By 1761, the plantation became the Township of Pittsfield, home to about 200 residents. Since then, the population has continued to grow. It had even become the center of woolen manufacturing in the United States, an industry that had dominated the country for nearly a century.

Today, Pittsfield still prospers economically. It ranks 61th in the list of Best Small Places for Business. Furthermore, it also holds 24th place in the list of the Green Cities located east of the Mississippi. Because of its diversified ecosystem, different species thrive here. This makes it one of the most sought-after recreational activities like swimming, hiking, and angling. 

Pittsfield Fishing

man and child standing on the dock and fishing by the pond

Angling in Pittsfield allows anglers to experience year-round fishing anywhere in the area. Due to its proximity to other water bodies, anglers get higher chances of landing on different species. So, where to go angling when you are in Pittsfield?

One of the most notable angling locations is located in Pittsfield State Forest. The state forest sprawls for about 11,000 acres and features cascading streams, waterfalls, and flowering shrubs. It has two camping and picnic areas where visitors enjoy spending time with their families while enjoying the sight of nature right in front of them. But, what makes Pittsfield a hotspot for anglers is that it is home to the best flora and fauna in the area. One of which is the scenic Berry Pond which sits atop Berry Mountain. It is the highest natural body of water in the state, with an elevation of 2,150 feet. 

Berry Pond is a natural pond with a muddy bottom completely carpeted by submerged aquatic plants and brown water with around seven feet of transparency. This pond condition provides a thriving environment for different species such as rainbow trout, golden shiner, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, and bluegill. However, some of the most common catches include largemouth bass and different trout species. This is because Berry Pond is stocked with more than 500  trout annually. 

According to local anglers, bass and trout fishing in the area will be most successful during the setting sun. During this time of the day, light conditions are lower, which causes largemouth bass to navigate the shallows. In addition, searching for these species around exposed tree roots will increase your chances of landing on one.  

The famous Pontoosuc Lake is another location anglers love to gather around. The 511-acre pond has a maximum depth of about 40 feet. It is home to a great trout and bass population, stocked every spring and fall. But what makes the lake more enticing to anglers is its ability to produce several trophy northern pike. Furthermore, the lake is also home to species like the smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, white perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, rock bass, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, white sucker, common carp, golden shiner, spottail shiner, and common shiner. 

The shoreline of the lake is heavily developed. Because of this, there had been limited shoreline access to the lake. Despite this, shore fishing is still possible, especially in areas adjacent to the boat launch. Anglers suggest using Berkley PowerBait or worms to land on some bass that lurks at the bottom of the Pontoosuc Lake. 

Another angling location in the area is another lake. Onota Lake is a 653-acre pond about 21 feet deep on average. Due to its central location and ease of access, the lake has been a popular angling hotspot for tourists. Onota is stocked with trout every spring and fall and is also home to more than 20 species, including some spottail shiner, banded killifish, redbreast sunfish, channel catfish, white catfish, and chain pickerel. Anglers in Onota Lake tend to challenge themselves as they patiently wait for common carp that weighs around 10 to 20 lbs. 

Last on the list, but not least, is the Housatonic River, the most popular angling location in Massachusetts. The river has different sections where you can fish. Each area is home to various species. 

The first section extends from the state line to the top of Great Falls. Here, you can catch a lot of northern pike, common carp, and smallmouth bass. The second section connects the Great Falls to the Route 7 and 112 bridge crossings; this area is ideal for catching common carp, smallmouth bass, fallfish, and occasional trout. Section three includes a bridge crossing from Route 7 and 112 to Route 4 and 7. The Trout Management Area is nestled in this section of the Housatonic River, with the lower three miles designated for fly fishing only.


Top 10 Fish Species in Pittsfield, Ma

The top 10 fish species in Pittsfield, Ma are redbreast sunfish, channel catfish, white catfish, northern pike fallfish, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, rock bass, and smallmouth bass.

Fishing Seasonality

Angling in Pittsfield is possible any day, at any time. Thanks to its proximity to diverse bodies of water, angling in the area never gets dry. However, booking your trip at different times of the year can change the kind of fishing opportunities you can experience. In summers, most anglers get a productive catch of bass, chain pickerel, and northern pike at Pontoosuc Lake by boat. Likewise, they enjoy the abundance of bass, pickerel, and panfish from Burbank Park’s shores and the causeway on Dan Casey Memorial drive in Lake Onata. Meanwhile, planning your angling trip in winter allows anglers to experience productive ice fishing in the Berkshires. During Spring and Fall, most lakes in Pittsfield are stocked with bass and trout, making them the eye candy of these seasons. 

Pittsfield is More Than Just Angling

1. Book a Fishing Charter

Pittsfield, Massachusetts, comprises different lakes home to multiple fish species. It is also a place that offers numerous angling opportunities. Thus, if your purpose is to experience the best angling in the area, booking a fishing charter might help achieve that. With experienced guides, you are sure to visit the best angling location in Pittsfield.

2. Visit the Colonial Theater

What can be a better way to spend your day in Pittsfield than to witness a work of art up close. The Colonial Theater was built in 1903 and was host to many theater personalities like George M. Cohan and Ziegfeld Follies. Today, the theater is considered a National Historic Treasure and is described as one of the finest acoustic theaters in the world.

3. Go on an Adventure in the Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary

Pittsfield is home to Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary; it is a 264-acre area of woods, wetlands, and fields. The sanctuary is being maintained by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. It features a ski area and a summer resort that keeps visitors entertained.

Fish in Pittsfield and beyond.