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Big Benton Pond

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Last Updated: 11/2013
 Fishing
     Big Benton offers a true smorgasbord of fishing opportunities, but a canoe or boat is almost a necessity due to the poor shoreline access. There is good trout fishing action throughout the year, although most of the pressure occurs in April and May. The bass — both smallmouth and largemouth — are fairly abundant and of good average size. They provide fair to good action throughout the year, but keep in mind that swimming, water skiing and other recreational use of this pond is high, particularly during mid summer, and adjust your fishing schedule accordingly. Bass anglers should concentrate their efforts around the structure provided by the numerous islands and rocks.
    This is an excellent pond for ice fishing, producing an occasional large chain pickerel along with large numbers of nice yellow perch. (1993)
 
Description:
Big pond (or Big Benton Pond) is located in Otis.  It is heavily developed with both year round and summer homes along all but the northern end of the lake.  Public access is limited to a State Boat Ramp located in the southern most cove near the outlet dam.
Big Benton offers a whole array of fishing opportunities.  All must be accessed by boat.  Trout can be had in any season with April and May being the prime months.  Bass fisherman should spend their time around natural and manmade structures.  Plan your fishing early or late in the day in the summer to avoid a high level of boat traffic.  Weekdays are even better.
 
SOUTH  Put-In/Take-Out and Cove Passage
       At the put in is a small dam.  When the water is high, like early spring, water will spill over other places.  The put in is easy and there is plenty of parking.  The passage is wooded with several beaver houses though only one has signs of activity.  Just less than half a mile up, there is a small stream coming in from the east side.  If you follow it, you will come to a beaver dam about 3 feet high.  A local resident told me you can portage over and explore a fair distance in.  If you feel adventurous and don’t mind a little mud I would suggest you try it.
      Continue up the south cove you will come to a narrow rocked passage.  In the summer a home made buoy marks a rock for motor boats.  On your left is the oldest cabin on the pond.  It is well over 100 years old and still owned by the same family.  From here the pond opens up with numerous summer homes.
 
EAST SIDE
      Follow the pond north up the east side. Along this side of the lake are numerous summer homes.  Many of these have changed from cabins on posts to more formal and elaborate homes with full foundations over the years.  Like so many ponds and lakes in the Berkshires, relatively inexpensive summer cottages are now houses worth millions of dollars.
Continue up the East side of the pond.  There are a number of access roads off Algerie Road to get to summer homes.  As you approach the north end, a Girl Scout camp begins.  In the summer, it is marked by a floating pier with numerous small boats and cabins on the shore.  The Girl Scouts are still active there.
 
NORTH SHORE
      Turn west along the north shore of the pond.  You will find it both wooded and swampy.  All this land is part of the Girl Scout Camp.  The woods continue to point of land marking the half way point around the pond.  The point contains a cabin, tent platforms, and a common fire area.  I have had lunch here on the off season but remember it is private land and is actively used by the Girl Scouts.  There is a hiking trail that connects this end of the camp to the main section to the east.  Travel around the point and into the northern cove.
 
CENTER - The Island
      From almost any where on the pond a view of the large island in the center is possible.  This Island is private.  The residents access their homes by boat from the northwest side of the pond where they have a common dock area and parking lot.  The Island is private access only but you may find a paddle around the shore interesting.
     A second smaller island has a single private owner.  There is only one residence but several out buildings.
 
WEST SIDE
      Just south of the north cove is the town beach.  It can be used for emergencies but it is used by residents of the town of Otis only.
      All along the west side of the pond are summer homes with wooded hill rising up behind.   Numerous floating docks with motor boats, sailboats, canoes, and jet skis prevail.  You will see renovations in mid stride as you pass these homes.
      The west side draws to the east as you travel south and soon you will find yourself entering the south cover again at about 4 miles of paddling.  Follow the one mile back to the Put-In/Take-Out
 
ALTERNATE TAKE-OUT
     If the water is high, and you would like to extend your adventure, you can choose to paddle down the stream south of the state boat launch.  Put in below the small dam.  You will need to make an easy short portage around several fallen trees.
Next, the stream slows and enters a swamp.  A few houses can barely be seen on both sides.  Follow through the swamp to the beaver dam to the southwest.  Pull your boat over the dam and make a short quick ride to the take out.
       To continue is dangerous.  You would pass through one of two culverts and face an old gristmill dam.  The stream eventually enters Otis Reservoir, another excellent paddle.
STATISTICS

Skill Level:            Class 1 - Flat water
Estimated Time:     3 hours
Total Distance        5.0 miles (5.6 with Alt. Take-Out)
Benton 1.7 miles    
USGS Map: Otis, MA(7.5’x15’)
Launch Address:  1750 E Otis Rd, East Otis, MA 01029


Boat Launch: Paved Boat Ramp for all boats
Position:  42-10.77 N 73-02.34 W
 
Physical Features:
  • Area:                310 acres
  • Max depth:         26 feet
  • Average Depth:  18 feet
  • Transparency:    10 feet
  • Terrain Type: Homes, Wooded, Girl Scout Camp
Fish Population
  • Last survey 1980
  • 13 species: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, white perch, bluegill, white sucker, golden shiner, common shiner and killifish. The pond is stocked with rainbow trout, brook trout and brown trout every spring, and usually receives a fall stocking as well.
   
   
Put-In/Take-Out
  • From US Route 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) take exit 2. 
  • After the tollgate, turn left turn left at stop light on Route 20 East going under the highway.
  • Go through 2 more stoplights heading into South Lee on Route 20 East and passing the entrance to the Lee Outlet Village.
  • Pass Greenwater Pond on your right at 5.0 miles.
  • At 7.0 miles turn right on Route 8 South toward Otis.
  • At 12.7 miles, in the center of Otis, turn left on to Rt. 23 East.  The Fire House is on the corner.
  • At 15.2 miles pass Little Benton Pond on your left.  Continue East on Route 23.
  • Take the third left after the pond at 15.9 miles on to Service Drive.  Follow this to the end where it becomes the state boat launch.  Total distance 16.1 miles.
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NOTE: If you miss the turn, you will come to Hall’s Country Store on your left just before crossing a stream.  Turn around and take your first right off 23 West.
    
 
    
State Pond Map
Paved Boat Ramp
The Island
Beaver House along waterway
The Boat Ramp from the water