A Big Day on the Big Q

Catching sallies on the Quabbin Reservoir

By Dan Kenney, Go Fish Dan

If you’re looking for smallies in big numbers, look no further than the Big Q. Massachusetts’ own Quabbin Reservoir is a fisherman’s paradise that just opened for the season on April 16. Located in the heart of the state and spanning 39 square miles, the Big Q was created in the 1930s when a pair of dams was built to divert water from the Swift River. Today, the Big Q delivers arguably the best freshwater fishing in the state, with huge numbers of bass and scores of trout, salmon, pickerel, perch and bullhead. But the Quabbin is just as famous for its beauty and tranquility, thanks to limits on boat size and horsepower and an array of wildlife.

Recently, I met my good friend John LaQuire there for a day on the water. As promised, he showed me a couple great spots and some tricks for making the most of them. But first we talked about what a great day it was. “Where else can you go fishing and not see a jet ski, a pontoon boat, or another ski boat?” John asked, and I had to agree. “You can’t beat it as far as the state of Massachusetts goes,” I said.

With the sun coming up over the water, we went right to John’s favorite spot, by the dam. “There’s 35 feet of water and a lot of boulders and steep drops,” he said. “Bait fish come here and so do the smallmouth that feed on them. This is a no-fail area.” He was right. I saw countless smallies and other species cruising around the depths, thanks to the clarity of my Typhoon polarized sunglasses. And, thanks to John’s suggestion to use drop shot rigs—a trick for navigating deep waters and large boulders that he learned from the great Woo Daves—we hooked ‘em early and often.

We were doing so well that we could have stayed right there all day. But where’s the fun in that? Putting on our explorers’ hats, John and I headed to the flats. With shallow water, gravel and smaller rocks on the bottom we changed to spinnerbaits, crankbaits and a creature bait, but our run of success continued. If nothing else, spending a day on the Big Q proved that it really is a no-fail area. Even if you don’t catch a thing—which seems hard to do—you’ll enjoy one of Massachusetts’ most scenic areas.

Until Next Time, God Bless & Go Fish!



FORECAST BY: Dan is an avid angler and host of the television show “Go Fish with Dan Kenney.” The television program airs via the Charter Spectrum network and is seen on YouTube at youtube.com/gofishdanshow. Dan also runs the New England Fishing & Outdoor Expo. Dan wears Typhoon polarized sunglasses on all of his fishing adventures.