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Freshwater fishing spots in Western Mass.

Page 2 of 2 -- Westfield River -- West of the Connecticut River, the Westfield is one of the better trout rivers in the state. It offers plenty of native brown and rainbow trout amid the amply stocked fish. Running from the town of Savoy, accessible along Route 9 as it runs southeasterly to Chesterfield and into the Trustees of Reservation land, the river has many excellent spots, some of which must be earned with some bushwhacking. Wading spots are easy to find, as are the clearings where you can find fly casting room. The deep pools in the lower river hold fish throughout the season.

Deerfield River -- The finest stream fishing in the state is the Deerfield. Its upper branch courses out of Vermont through Florida and Charlemont. The water is controlled by the Fife Brook Dam and stays cold throughout the season. Many boulder-strewn riffles appear throughout its length and, despite the proximity to the well-traveled River Road, there are opportunities aplenty to find wilderness fishing. As with most dam-controlled rivers, wading anglers should heed the warning sounded before the flow is increased because the level rises rapidly. The lower Deerfield, running south to Route 2, is slower and more accessible, so the crowds find it on weekends. Where sections of the upper river are fly fishing only, the lower river has more kinds of fishing going on. Aside from the stocked fish there are wild brook trout, especially early in the season.

Green River -- One of the Deerfield's best tributaries is the Green. The riffles created by large boulders are long with deep pools and eddies that hold ample amounts of mostly stocked trout, though an occasional wild brookie makes an appearance. The river is fairly high with a steep gradient and can be too fast to fish. In mid-May, the action is at its height.

Yokum Pond and Buckley Dunton Reservoir -- For warmwater enthusiasts, even though the water isn't particularly warm yet, these two areas in Becket should be loaded with their usual abundance of perch, bass, and pickerel by month's end. These glacial ponds, separated by a land bridge and Yokum Pond Road, are found in the lower corner of October Mountain State Forest, which contains a number of warmwater ponds.

Housatonic River -- Though there have been attempts to clean up the Housatonic, it's hard to escape the industrial effects in the western branch. The East Branch flows through farmland from a pond in Washington and runs in a lazy flow down to Dalton. The trout are a combination of stocked and wild, and while the upper approaches to the river tend to be choked with brush, limiting the fly casting -- or perhaps challenging it -- the lower part of this branch offers some fine fishing.

Next -- The South of Northern New England. TONY CHAMBERLAIN  

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