Quabbin Reservoir photo courtesy of Belchertown, MA

Quabbin Reservoir

Quabbin Reservoir is one of the largest man-made public water supplies in the United States. Created in the 1930's by the construction of two huge earthen dams, the reservoir is fed by the three branches of the Swift River, and seasonally by the Ware River. Four towns were flooded in the Swift River Valley - namely Dana, North Dana, Greenwich, and Enfield.

Construction of the reservoir remains a great engineering feat, and Quabbin is one of the largest unfiltered water supplies in the world. The reservoir is 18 miles long and has 181 miles of shoreline including 61 miles along the reservoir's 60 islands. Quabbin collects as run-off an average of one-half of the water that falls as rain or snow on the watershed. When full, the reservoir holds 412 billion gallons of water.

The Quabbin Reservoir is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation's Division of Water Supply Protection (formerly Metropolitan District Commission). The Quabbin Visitor's Center is located in Belchertown at the southern tip of the reservoir. Phone number is (413) 323-7221.

Quabbin Fishing Facts

The reservoir supports 27 species of fish, 17 of which are sought by anglers. Lake trout fishing is best during the first month of the season, declining slowly until mid September, when it improves till the end of the season. This species can be caught anywhere in April and early May, but gradually moves deeper and south as the season progresses. By mid-July the only lake trout harvest occurs near the barrels on the Gate 8 side.

Landlocked salmon fishing is best in early May, declining quickly by late June. Some large individuals are taken in the fall, near stream mouths.

The next spring species is the smallmouth bass. The good fishing begins in mid May as the adults "stake out" spawning sites. Action declines quick by the end of June, when the young leave the nest. Overall, anglers catch between 35 and 50,000 smallmouths per year, with the catch being spread throughout the reservoir.

The other major fishery involves ½ to 1½ lb white perch. As the white perch move south in late June, serious anglers switch to Mepps spinners tipped with a piece of worm. Skilled anglers can harvest 50 to 100 of these large, white perch in a good day.

Summary of Fishing Regulations

Anyone 15 or older who is fishing, must have a valid Massachusetts Fishing or Sporting License or a $ 5.00 One-Day, Quabbin-Only, Fishing License.  Annual fishing licenses and the $5 1-day Quabbin Fishing License may be purchased via computer at www.mass.gov/massfishhunt.  The $5 One-Day, Quabbin-Only Fishing license may also be purchased at the Quabbin Reservoir at Gates 8, (Pelham) 31 (New Salem), and 43 (Hardwick) or at the DFW Connecticut Valley District Office (Belchertown). Quabbin Fishing Licenses are limited to the designated shore and fishing areas on Quabbin Reservoir during the Quabbin Fishing Season.

Fish Consumption Advisory

The DCR and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health have issued a health advisory for persons consuming fish harvested from Quabbin Reservoir. The advisory recommends limiting or eliminating consumption of certain species of fish due to elevated levels of mercury found in fish samples. Water testing results indicate that mercury has not affected the drinking water and its suitability for human consumption. Please consult the complete fishing advisory posted on the bulletin boards at the boat launch areas, ask the attendant for further information or visit the Massachusetts Public Health fact sheet.