< PREVIOUS

Upper and Lower Spectacle Ponds

NEXT >
Last Updated: 9/2014
Fishing
At present the beautiful Upper Pond is a secluded pond and only lightly fished because of the lack of game-fish. While not overly abundant, the pickerel population is healthy and there are fair numbers of legal size individuals. Any small, flashy lure retrieved at moderate to high speed should provoke strikes and provide some action, but in general this pond will be enjoyed for its scenery and solitude, rather its limited fishing opportunities.  I could find no details on fishing the Lower Pond.
 
General Description:
     For cartographers the first maps of Otis held an amusing surprise. There in the middle of the map was a slender stream, somewhat reminiscent of a wire nose-bridge. At either end of the stream was a small lake, which appeared like glassy eyepieces. Viewed together the arrangement of lakes and stream looked like an old-style pair of spectacles aligned north to south. In a flush of poetic abandon, the two ponds were named Upper and Lower Spectacle Ponds. At least that’s the story. If you actually look at a map, the ponds look like spectacles only if you afford yourself a very large dollop of imagination. What is even nicer than the story is the subtle beauty of Upper Spectacle Pond itself. The pond is wonderfully isolated and wild, with no shoreline development. Plus there is an island in the middle of the lake which begs to be explored. The pond, at an elevation of 1,443 feet, occupies a narrow north-south valley pinched on either side by rounded hills. © Copyright Charles W. G. Smith Published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.
 
Upper Spectacle Pond
This pond is completely surrounded by Otis State forest. This small shallow pond should be enjoyable for the sighting of wildlife.
Launch your canoe or kayak at the spillway and travel north along the shore.   The dense forest comes all the way down to the water and the sense of isolation is wonderful.  At the north end you will find an island that is bordered by shallow wet land to the west and water to the east.  You should pull up your boat and explore it. There is a well-known and used campsite complete with a rock circle for fires.  Move slowly through the weeds and shallows with polarized sunglasses and you can observe fish up close.
 
Between Ponds
There is a Spectacle Pond Brook that runs between the two ponds.  You may ask, is it possible to paddle this brook?  I have never seen this brook high enough to navigate with any boat.  If time allows, hike alongside it the short hike between the ponds.
 
Lower Spectacle Pond
      At the south end is a small park area containing picnic tables and parking.  Launch your boat here at a dirt boat ramp and travel north.  Unlike the Upper pond, this pond has a few small homes at the southwest shore.  Otherwise it is completely surrounded by woods..  Follow along the shore for a 2.3 mile paddle and return to the boat ramp.
     Note that there is no state information on fishing or stats on depth and acreage.  When this becomes available to me I will add it.
      In 2007 The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation acquired 907.3-acre Spectacle Pond Farm on Lower Spectacle Pond in Sandisfield. The land abuts the Clam River watershed, and has been made part of nearby Otis State Forest for management purposes. It's a treasure for nature lovers and local historians.
      Besides encircling undeveloped Lower Spectacle Pond (so-named because it and Upper Spectacle Pond apparently resembled eyeglasses), it wraps around a 15-or-so acre stand of old-growth eastern hemlock and boasts remnants of a late 18th century mill complex.
As if that weren't enough, it encompasses "one of the longest undisturbed remaining portions of the Knox Trail used by General Henry Knox in the winter of 1776 to bring the cannon from New York's Fort Ticonderoga to Massachusetts to break the British siege of Boston," according to an Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs news release. The dirt road Knox took between the ponds is no longer a through road, but what's there is little changed.
STATISTICS

Skill Level:            Class 1 - Flat water
Estimated Time:   1 hour for each pond
Total Distance:     4.3 miles
Upper Pond: 2.0 miles
Lower Pond: 2.3 miles
USGS Map: Otis, MA (7.5’x15’)
   
Upper Pond 
Launch Address: Webb Road, Otis, MA
Position: 42-10.63 N 73-07.08 W
Lower Pond
Launch Address: 250 Cold Spring Road, Monterey, MA
Position: 42-09.68 N  73-07.22 W
 
Physical Features:
Upper Spectacle 
  • Area:                  52.7 acres
  • Max depth:         22 feet
  • Average Depth:  11 feet
  • Transparency:      4 feet
  • Terrain Type: Wooded, Some Homes State Park
​Lower Spectacle
  • Area:                  69.8 acres

Fish Population
  • Last survey 1981
  • Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, rainbow trout, brown trout, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow bullhead, black crappie, rock bass, golden shiner, white sucker  Annual spring and fall stocking of trout.
   
   
Put-In/Take-Out
Upper Pond - (11.8 miles about 23 minutes)
  • Take Exit 2 in Lee and turn left after tollbooths at stoplight.
  • Go under the Mass Pike and turn right on 102 West.
  • At mile 0.2 miles, turn left at light (at the Big Y grocery store) onto Tyringham Road.
  • Travel through the tiny village of Tyringham to the town of Otis.
  • At mile 10.0, turn left on Route 23.
  • At mile 10.1, take your first right onto Cold Spring Road.
  • At mile 10.9, turn a slight left on to Webb Road.
  • At mile 11.8, arrive at the spillway for the Upper Pond where you will launch (left picture below).
  •   
 
Lower Pond - (12.3 miles about 23 minutes)
  • Take Exit 2 in Lee and turn left after tollbooths at stoplight.
  • Go under the Mass Pike and turn right on 102 West.
  • At mile 0.2 miles, turn left at light (at the Big Y grocery store) onto Tyringham Road.
  • Travel through the tiny village of Tyringham to the town of Otis.
  • At mile 10.0, turn left on Route 23.
  • At mile 10.1, take your first right onto Cold Spring Road.
  • At mile 10.9, continue on Cold Spring Road.
  • At mile 12.3, arrive at the south end of the Lower Pond where you will launch (right picture above).  There is a picnic area and a boat launch.
    
 
    
 
State Pond Map of Upper Spectacle
Lower Spectacle Gravel Boat Ramp
Otis State Forest
       Otis State Forest is scattered throughout town of Otis, from a large tract in East Otis to a section that Route 23 bisects in western Otis. These lands feature multi-use trails and offer hunting and fishing in several streams and ponds, including Upper Spectacle Pond. The Historic Knox trail runs through a small block of Otis State Forest to the south of Route 23 in East Otis.
 
Reservers -   1,328 acres
Woodlands -  3,519 acres
Parklands -         42 acres 
Total Facility - 4,888 acres
Upper Spectacle Launch near Spillway
Lower Spectacle Looking North
Upper Spectacle Looking North at Island
Upper Spectacle Island Campsite