Great Herring Pond
Great Herring Pond is a 376-acre natural warmwater pond with an average depth of 20 feet and a maximum depth of 42 feet. The pond, historically also known as Lake Manomet, is named from its large size and its herring run. Its outlet is the Herring River, formerly known as Monument River, which used to flow into Buzzards Bay. This river now enters the Cape Cod Canal at the Bournedale Herring Run. The ponds water supply is an inlet from Little Herring Pond, cranberry bogs and groundwater. Water color is generally clear and transparency is about 8 feet. Due its windswept nature, the pond is unstratified during the summer months. The ponds 5.3 miles of shoreline is moderately developed with houses, roads, cranberry bogs and a summer camp (Camp Bournedale). The bottom is primarily sand and rubble with mud in deeper and more sheltered areas. Access:
Public access to Great Herring Pond is a state Office of Fishing and Boating Access Ramp located in the southern end of the pond. To get to the ramp from the Cape Cod Canal, take Herring Pond Road north from Route 6, and take a left on Little Sandy Pond Road. The access will be visible immediately to your right. From Route 3 South, take Exit 2, then left onto Herring Pond Road heading south. At the southern end of the pond take a right on Little Sandy Pond Road. The boat ramp is unimproved and enters shallow water and is therefore best suited for canoes, inflatables and other shallow-draft, hand-carried craft. Larger boats of shallow draft can be launched with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Parking spaces are available for about six vehicles.
An October 1912 survey reported "yellow perch, white perch, pickerel, bass, roach, shiners and minnows, herring plentiful" and "it is a popular summer resort presenting a wild and picturesque appearance. Great Herring Pond supports one of the best herring runs in Massachusetts. The herring spawned in this pond attract striped bass in the Cape Cod Canal and have created one of the best striper hotspots on the East Coast. Prior to 1947, the pond a long history of indiscriminate stockings including brown trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bluegills, brown bullheads, white perch, yellow perch, chain pickerel, black crappie, and walleyes. Two artificial tire reefs were installed in 1975 to provide additional fish shelter. Walleye were stocked here experimentally in the 1980s, but failed to thrive.
The pond was last completely surveyed in the summer of 1984 and nine fish species were present: yellow perch, white perch, white sucker, brown bullhead, banded killifish, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, golden shiner and American eel. A May 2001 fish survey found abundant smallmouth bass and three additional species: largemouth bass, pumpkinseed and tesselated darter. Also, an occasional walleye is also reported. Alewife and blueback herring are abundant in the pond from late spring through fall.
Great Herring Pond offers good smallmouth bass and white perch fishing. Try off the points on the eastern shore and also the two sunken islands near the center of the pond. Abundant forage from the Bournedale herring run translates into good growth rates for gamefish and panfish but may make the gamefish a little harder to catch during the summer months when schools of young-of-year herring are readily available.