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Fly Fishing in Massachusetts - Fly Fishing Rivers in Massachusetts

Fly Fishing Rivers in Massachusetts


Massachusetts has angling opportunities for all different types of fishermen. From small stream fishing in the Berkshires, to the sand flats Monomoy. The state us also full of public waters that are full of trophy fish. Making this a great sate if you’re looking to hook into a monster.

 So, check out some of the spots below to see which spot in Massachusetts you’d like to fish next.


Swift River 

The Swift River is considered one of the best in the state. The trout fishing here is great and boats crystal clear water and big trout.

It’s a tailwater so its stays relatively cool year-round, but it’s still suggested to leave the tout alone during the dog days of summer or if a heat wave is passing through. The river is easily accessible and is wadable, so the fish see a lot of pressure.

Don’t let that deter you though. There is a lot of fish to catch and as long as you’re getting nice drift on your flies then you shouldn’t have too much of an issue landing fish. Just make sure your tippet is light and using a four-weight rod might be a good idea.

Start fishing at the bridge near route 9. This bridge crosses over the Swift and there is a parking lot nearby where you can park your car and gather your gear. The bridge also marks the catch and release section of the river.

Above the bridge is catch and release fly fishing only while below you can keep a limit of tort between January 1 – July 1. Most of the fish will be in the fly fishing only section so if sportfishing if our primary goal then that is the way to go.

The river is stocked multiple times year-round, and the trout can get very big in this river. You just have to very technical with these spooky fish. If you don’t know how to nymph and get a drag free drift, then this is not the river for you. It could lead to a very long and uneventful day.

Fly Selection

  • Zebra Midges
  • Brassies
  • CDC Dun
  • Terrestrial (Summer)
  • Big Streamers (Winter, muddy water)


Deerfield River

One of the best known wild brown trot rivers in the state. The Deerfield tailwater has browns in it that weight up to fifteen pounds. Rainbow trout also thrive in these waters. Fishing from a drift boat is the best way to fish this river.

The upper Deerfield holds wild rainbow, brown, and brook trout. Where the lower section holds good numbers of smallmouth bass and walleye.

Wild browns and rainbows are the main catch of the river. Native brook trout can be caught but those can be a pretty albeit rare treat.

9’ rods in the 5-6 weight range will work best for the upper section that holds trout. If you plan to fish for smallmouth in the lower section, then a 7 weight is ideal. The Deerfield allows anglers to use whatever flies they wish. There hatches you can match, and throw dries all day, or you can beat up the banks with streamers or drop nymphs off an indicator.

There really is no bad time to fish this river. Dress for warm weather in the summer and cold weather for the winter. Like the old saying goes, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing.

Fly Selection

  • Small Streamers
  • Wooly Buggers
  • Hoppers
  • Terrestrials
  • Midges
  • BWO
  • Sulphur’s
  • Ants (Fall)


Charles River

Running through the heart of Boston, this river gets a bad rap. Most still think of it as that river that runs through the city and is teeming with pollution. Back in the day this was definitely true. However, the river is now cleaner than ever and because of its reputation is floating in under the radar with local anglers. 

The fishing pressure in this river is very light so the fish are more likely to bite your flies than not. A drift boat, kayak, or canoe will be your best bet when floating this river. The fishing is solid from the boat and it’s hard to argue being to being so close to Boston. Making it an ideal spot for the angler who lives in or works in the city.

The river is 80 miles long and runs through 23 different communities on its way to Boston harbor. Thanks in part to legislative measures the Charles is now one of the cleanest urban waterways in the US. This started back in the 1960’s and the Charles River Watershed association which began in the 70’s helped clean the river up and now is home to one of the best urban fisheries in the northeast. 

The lower basin has deep water. So, unless you’re fishing in the middle of summer then a sinking or sink tip line will be your best bet. The rest of the river can be fished with floating or sink tip.

The river also has many public access points that anglers can get shore fish from. Be aware of pedestrians behind if you’re in a more urban area. Many pedestrians will often be surprised that fish live there, and they’ll be even more surprised when you tell them how many you’ve caught that day.

The Brighton to BU Bridge float will feel more like fishing in the suburbs. More houses and less people. However, if you keep floating down river, you’ll find yourself in a much more urban environment. Catching fish as joggers and duck boat paddles ride past you.



Massachusetts has some great fishing. From downtown Boston bass to the trout rivers out west. There is truly any type of fishing an angler could desire in this state. So, check out the spots above and see which Massachusetts fishery you’ll be going to!


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