Fisheries & Fishing

Manchaug Pond is an important recreational fishery throughout the year whether you’re a fishing club bass tournament or just a kid looking for the quick-fighting catch of a bluegill.

The state boat ramp, managed by the town of Sutton, offers easy-on access with a $6 . in state fee and $12. out-of-state day fee or a $20 season pass for Mass residents available at the town hall.

Manchaug Pond hosts a full season of fishing tournaments and kayak/canoe clubs from the tri-state area. Check the state site or our Events at a Glance page for a listing. A port-o-let facility is available during the summer season. Be sure to visit the stormwater structures at the ramp and the information kiosk installed with a MassDEP Non-point Source Pollution Grant administered by the Manchaug Pond Foundation in cooperation with the Town of Sutton to improve water quality.

Boaters should take care leaving the ramp and on the water as Manchaug is a shallow lake with large rocks present, a submerged rock wall at the channel, several islands, and a submerged sandbar known as Blueberry Island.


LICENSES:  Massachusetts freshwater fishing license is required of anyone 15 years and over. Younger anglers are not licensed but must follow all freshwater fishing laws concerning daily limit and minimum catch size. Licenses are free for ages 15 -17 and 70 and older.

THE CATCH: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife reports:  “The fishing pressure is intense, and bass over a pound or two are decidedly scare.  This is a good pond to fish for bass in early spring, before the recreational boat traffic becomes distracting. Perch fishing is generally good, although average perch size is around 7-8 inches, with white perch predominating.  The bluegills are very good, with plenty of fish 8 inches or better.  Pickerels are scare, but lunkers are regularly taken through the ice.  While pike are no longer stocked here, the possibility of catching a very large example from the 1989 stocking will remain for some years to come.”

Check the state list of current biggest catches for both adults and youth for the Freshwater Sportsfishing Award.


Surveys conducted by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife have revealed 10 species:

  • Black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus)
  • Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
  • Brown bullhead (Amelurus nebulosus)
  • Chain pickerel (Esox niger)
  • Golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas)
  • Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides)
  • Pumpkinseed or Kiver (Lepomis gibbosus)
  • Smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu)
  • White perch (Morone americana)
  • Yellow perch (Perca flavescens).

Additionally, the pond has been historically stocked with

  • Northern pike (Esox lucieus) and
  • Tiger muskellunge (Esox lucius x Esox masquinongy)

with the last stocking occurring in 1989, and are still caught by fishermen today.

Manchaug Pond Foundation

Bluegills guard their nest in Manchaug Pond, June 4th, 2009.

Yellow perch


An unnamed tributary to Manchaug Pond, located on private property, is a significant coldwater fishery resource supporting multiple year classes of native brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis). While stories from days gone by of other streams supporting trout the size of your forearm in the hillsides of Manchaug Pond, pressure from increased development and low stream water levels have contributed to the loss of these resources.

An electrofishing survey performed by MassWildlife staff on July 15, 2008 yielded 120 native brook trout as well as white suckers (Catastomus commersoni), yellow bullheads (Ameiurus natalis) and blacknose dace (Rhinichthys atratulus).

Manchaug Pond plays an important role as a headwater of the Mumford River in the Blackstone River watershed by linking this cold-water fishery with the river.  Summer high water levels in the pond are needed for connectivity in order to maintain these populations in both the stream and the pond.

Coldwater fisheries are highly susceptible to changes in water quality and/or quantity such as siltation, water level fluctuations and alterations of the temperature regime. On the list of Massachusetts' fish species in greatest need of conservation are the brook trout and blacknose dace both present in our watershed.  State maps show that the small blacknose dace is nearly lost in the eastern part of the state.

Source: Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife

Take the fish quiz!

Can you identify all fish species living in Manchaug Pond and its streams? Hover over the picture for the answer! Click for more information about each species.

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