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Yarmouth, Massachusetts, is on the Cape Cod coast in Barnstable, Massachusetts, bordered by the Cape Cod Bay by the north and Nantucket Sound to the south. Like Sandwich, it is Cape Cod’s oldest incorporated town, inhabited previously by the Wampanoag tribes before the Europeans came to settle here in the early 1600s.
Yarmouth is divided into three villages, each of which has its own distinct flavor: South Yarmouth is known for its historic estates and churches as well as its oceanfront properties and golf courses; Yarmouth Port is filled with old-world New England charm, fantastic wildlife, and easy access to Cape Cod Bay; and West Yarmouth is a tourist-friendly spot filled with beach-side attractions and unique restaurants.
Yarmouth was an agricultural area, but many of its people derived their living from the ocean because of its proximity to the waters. It was only in the late nineteenth century when Yarmouth began developing into a resort town. All villages provide great access to both saltwater and freshwater fishing opportunities, making it a go-to place for anglers.
Yarmouth is known as a historic seaside town with equally legendary fishing opportunities. Bass River in South Yarmouth is one of its most important bodies of water, an estuary separating Yarmouth and Dennis. Cape Cod’s biggest river is home to plenty of striped bass, back sea bass, bluefish, and fluke. From south of Bass River, anglers can head to the Tire Pile, an artificial fishing reef, which has become home to fish species such as tautog, scup, and sometimes, a few striped bass, bluefish, and false albacore.
At West Yarmouth, anglers eager to do some pier-fishing are in for a treat at the Smuggler’s Beach or Bass River Beach, right at the mouth of the Bass River, where it connects to the ocean. Here, anglers of all levels can target fluke and bluefish, and striped bass. Anglers can try jetty-fishing here. West Yarmouth has several reservoirs and lakes offering great catches for freshwater trophies. One, in particular, is the Quabbin Reservoir, which is primarily known for providing drinking water for millions of Massachusetts residents. It offers a range of outdoor recreational activities, including shoreline fishing and boat fishing. Its waters are home to bass, perch, chain pickerel, and bullhead, as well as salmon and trout.
At Long Pond, located 0.7 miles from downtown South Yarmouth, anglers will definitely be treated to a great largemouth bass population, particularly during April and May. Other species found in the pond are yellow and white perch, sunfish, American eel, brown bullhead, chain pickerel, and shiner. It is stocked with rainbow, brown, and brook trout in spring.
A Yarmouth Port favorite among local anglers, Hallets Millpond, has plenty of whitefish and steelhead trout, among other fish species, which you can catch either by fly fishing, spinning, or baitcasting. Muddy Pond, another nearby freshwater pond, is also a worthy body of water to check out, teeming with pumpkinseed, rock bass, and channel catfish.
Dennis Pond is a popular fishing and recreational destination in Yarmouth, known for its great yellow perch and chain pickerel. It is home to largemouth bass, brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, and golden shiner. The water here is infertile and quite acidic, so there may not be large catches. But it is a good fishing destination for families as it is less crowded and offers a more tranquil fishing ambiance.
Yarmouth Port also has saltwater fishing opportunities, particularly at Gray’s Beach, a big estuary opening into Cape Cod. Anglers can try kayak-fishing or wade fishing here, but with caution as the waves are strong. Because it is a public beach, anglers should head here before dawn or at night to catch some trophy-size striped bass. Other fish species found here are bluefish, rock bass, weakfish, bonefish, fluke, and black sea bass.
Fishing in Yarmouth is most fruitful around the warmer months, starting in April, and is great until September. Cod is available all year round but especially active at the start of summer and then at fall. Around April, striped bass, tautog, and flounder begin to bite aplenty and continue to do so until September. Bluefish, black sea bass, haddock, bonito, and scup are in season in June. Around August, blue sharks and bluefin tuna can be caught offshore. Bluefish, Atlantic mackerel, tautog, and pollock resurface in October. While bluefish and tautog lie low in the colder months until February, mackerel, and pollock still bite around this time.
Yarmouth has several diverse fishing charters in all of its villages that offer various fishing methods for anglers of all levels. It is particularly famous for its bass fishing, especially Bass River Beach, where many fishing charters specialize in this trophy catch, so you’ll be spoiled for choice here if you’re targeting Striped Bass and other bass species.
Yarmouth has many freshwater and saltwater beaches dotting its three villages. The biggest, Seagull Beach, is a tranquil beach filled with opportunities for observing wildlife and viewing the sunset after a day of swimming and sunbathing. Gray’s Beach is a popular spot not just for fishing but for its boardwalk over a salt marsh.
Yarmouth is historically rich and is eager to share this history with its visitors. Take a self-guided walking tour with tour guides prepared by the Historical Society of Old Yarmouth, which will take you down walking tours of the Captains’ Mile and the picturesque village of Yarmouth Port, Old South Yarmouth, and Bass River. They will also guide you through the architectural treasures of the area and its famous ghosts and legends. The same society has walking guides for nature trails and the Old Cape Cod Discovery Trail.
Other historical landmarks worth visiting include the Edward Gorey House, a museum dedicated to the Cape Cod native Edward Gorey, who was a writer and illustrator famous for his children’s book illustrations; the Yarmouth New Church, a stunning church built in Yarmouth Port in the mid-1800s; and the Windmill Park, which houses the Judah Baker Windmill built-in 1791 in Dennis and moved to Yarmouth in 1866. The park itself has a small swimming beach.
Yarmouth prides itself on its golf courses which are all scenic and challenging. At South Yarmouth, you’ll find the Bass River Golf Course, a 6,000-yard public 18-hole course, and the Blue Rock Golf Course, which has one of the best holes of Cape Cod and on every golfer’s list. There’s the Bayberry Hill Golf Course at West Yarmouth, a dream for golfers who want to challenge themselves with its hills, sand traps, and water features. And finally, Yarmouth Port has its very own Kings Way Golf Course, designed by golf architect Brian Silva, a golf course designed for golfers of all levels.
The largest beach in Yarmouth and a popular spot for locals, Seagull Beach, has fine, clean sand and hosts many activities, including surfing. It is handicap-accessible and has many amenities, including a large parking lot.
Aside from great fishing, Bass River Beach is known for its views and its annual Sand Castle Contest. It is angler-friendly, with its boat trailer parking, boat ramp, and fishing deck. It is handicap-accessible and has ample parking.
Also known as Beachwood, Parkers River Beach has fantastic views. You can take a walk down its concrete sea wall. It is quite a popular spot, so it can get crowded.