Berkshire Woods and Waters: New book published on fishing the Cape Cod Canal

How many times have you fishermen traveled over the Saginaw or Bourne Bridge on your way to surf cast for striped bass near Wellfleet on Cape Cod Bay or Race Point near Provincetown?

Traveling up Rte. 6, have you ever peered at the Cape Cod Canal and wondered what the fishing was like there? Were you ever tempted to stop and fish it but just didn't know enough about it?

Maybe it is good that you didn't stop because the fishing gear that you took along probably wasn't adequate to land those big stripers in the Canal's strong current. That's according to D.J. Muller, who recently authored a new book entitled "Fishing the Cape Cod Canal, A Surfcaster's guide to Stripers."

The Canal, which is seven miles long and 480 feet wide, connects Buzzards Bay to the south and west to Cape Cod Bay to the north and east and purportedly offers the striped bass fisherman unparalleled opportunities — a fishery unlike any to be found on any coast.

Before fishing the Canal, or "the Ditch," one should know and understand the tides and migration patterns and how they affect the fishery. One should also know what type of fishing tackle and lures to use. According to Muller, your normal salt water rod, reel, line and lures probably won't hold these 30, 40 or 50 pound fish, which know how to use the strong currents and tides to their advantage. He also explains the various methods of fishing the Canal.

I know one thing for sure, after reading this book, I would never use my regular surf casting gear in that canal. A much heavier rod, reel and line are needed. I could probably get away with using my lures, but would have to change out the hooks to heavier ones, as the author suggests.

And even if you had the necessary equipment, do you know where to fish? Well, Muller covers that, too. He doesn't give away his secret spots, but does recommend some storied locations on its banks. He is a recognized authority on Northeast surfcasting who has been fishing the Ditch for over 15 years. He is the author of "The Surfcaster's Guide to the Striper Coast," "Striper Strategies" and "Striper Tales."

It is a clear, concise, no-nonsense, well-written book. I suspect that after reading this book, you won't head for the Cape to do some striper fishing without taking it along.

The book was published by Burford Books. It is a 120-page paperback book which won't break the bank at $14.95. What a great gift for Father's Day, and you know he won't have it yet as it was just published this past May 27. It should be available at bookstores, online book retailers, tackle and specialty shops or from the publisher, Burford Books (

Fishing Derbies

The Berkshire Hatchery Foundation in Hartsville-New Marlborough is having a free children's fishing derby next Saturday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at its lower pond.

Children aged 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

Trout Stockings

Depending on the hatchery, staff, weather, water conditions, etc., the following waters may have been stocked last week: Otis Reservoir, Onota Lake, Westfield River in Becket, Middlefield, Chester and Huntington and the Green River in Alford, Egremont and Great Barrington.

Forest Tour

A Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Bureau of Forestry Pre-Harvest Forest Tour will take place at the Pittsfield State Forest in Lanesborough tomorrow from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

DCR Forester Kevin Podkowka will be leading a tour of the Potter Mountain-Lanesborough Timber Sale, where he will discuss forest management techniques in a predominantly northern hardwood forest, provide a view of the trees designated for harvest and explain how harvest operations will take place. A detailed silviculture prescription for the harvesting operation will be provided to attendees.

The meeting place is the parking area for Potter Mountain Road, Pittsfield State Forest in Lanesborough. The tour will be conducted rain or shine. Attendees are encouraged to dress for the weather and to wear sturdy shoes.

For additional information about the tours and DCR forest management on state forests, parks, and reservations, contact William Hill, Management Forestry Program Supervisor, at 413-545-3891.

The Housatonic Valley Association

HVA recently announced the opening of a new floating dock, which is located at the end of Park Street, just beyond Stockbridge Town Park. A new sign featuring a map of the local water trail, points of interest and safety tips marks the entry to the dock

The new dock is designed to provide easy access for paddlers of all abilities, giving a safer approach to the water over a treaded walkway and featuring a roller-entry system that makes it easier for paddlers to get their crafts into and out of the water.

The launch location is convenient for destinations such as Goodrich Memorial Footbridge, the Mary Flynn Trail, Laura's Tower, Willow Mill Dam or (downriver) the Glendale Dam.

"The absolute best way to connect with the river is to spend some time paddling it," says HVA Berkshires Director Dennis Regan. "HVA's mission of protecting the river and its surroundings begins with providing more opportunities for people to experience it up close. We hope this new dock will be the starting point for many lifelong adventures."

Onyx Specialty Papers, Berkshire Bank, TD Charitable Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, Canyon Ranch and the Red Lion Inn were sponsors of the project. Also, the citizens of Stockbridge, through the Community Preservation Committee, provided the major contribution for this project. Fundraising and project management were provided by the HVA.

Incidentally, the HVA recently moved to a new office, which is located at the Merwin House, 14 Main Street, Stockbridge. Stop in check it out some time.

Questions/comments: 413-637-1818.


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