The Department of Conservation and Recreation's Division of Water Supply Protection is the steward of the 4,135 acre Wachusett reservoir. Because this reservoir is the primary water supply for Boston, approximately 80% of the 37 mile shoreline is usually open to angling in early through November 30. (Dependent on ice conditions.) To assure pure water, there are a number of regulations such as prohibiting boats, ice fishing, wading, swimming, overnight camping, alcoholic beverages, littering, animals, bikes and motor vehicles from the reservoir and abutting property. Check the DCR website for up-to-date access, dates and other information.
Opening Day for Fishing on Wachusett (and Sudbury) Reservoir is the first Saturday in April, ice conditions permitting.
Wachusett Reservoir, the second largest waterbody in the state, has a maximum depth of 120 ft and a mean of 48 ft. As of 1999, the reservoir contained 12 native and 12 introduced species of fish. The limited access, combined with abundant, high quality habitat, produced state records for brown trout, landlocked salmon, smallmouth bass and white perch, even though more than 1.5 million people live within a 25 mile radius.
A 1998 angler creel survey conducted by MassWildlife, estimated about 27,000 anglers from 86 eastern and central Massachusetts towns fished this reservoir. The survey results indicated fishing pressure was heaviest in April, declining slowly through June as the lake trout and smallmouth bass peaked, and then declined dramatically. Summer time produced low fishing effort, directed at warmwater species by families recreating in the early evening. In the fall, the rainbow trout, landlocked salmon and lake trout reentered shallow water, doubling angler effort over the summer angling.
The top five species people were trying to catch, ranked in declining order, were:
- Lake trout
- Rainbow trout
- Landlocked salmon
- Smallmouth bass
- Largemouth bass
The five species caught most often were:
- Lake trout (6,200)
- Sunfish (5,400)
- Yellow perch (4,400)
- Smallmouth bass (3,600)
- Largemouth bass (2,200)
Wachusett Reservoir is located west of Interstate 495, halfway between Interstate 290 and 190 in West Boylston, Sterling and Clinton, and is virtually surrounded by Rt.. 110 on the East and North, Rt. 70 on the South, Rt. 140 running diagonally from northeast to southwest and Rt. 12 bisecting the northern third.
The DCR labeled gates on the lower 2/3 of the reservoir in a clockwise direction, facilitating access to the desirable sections of the reservoir. The most popular spring fishing gates are; 6, 7 ,8, 11, 14, 20, 21, 22, 25, Rt. 12 causeway, gates 28, 31, 35, 36, and the Quinapoxet River outlet, where a deep water aqueduct from Quabbin reservoir discharges to Wachusett.
Since the reservoir is closed to ice fishing, the DCR does not open the reservoir to fishing until the reservoir is virtually ice free. Please call the DCR Ranger Station at (978) 365-3800 to confirm the opening date and the hours during which fishing is allowed.