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West Lake and Abby Lake

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Last Updated: 4/2014
 Fishing
      For those looking for a quiet, scenic pond to fish, West Lake certainly qualifies. Except for the dam area, the shoreline is totally undisturbed. Game fish options are limited to just one species, but fishing for largemouth bass should be productive. Although big bass are rare, there are numerous individuals around 12 inches capable of providing fast action.
       Pan fishermen can have a good time here — but not with the usual bluegills and pumpkinseeds, all of which are of small average size. The real stars are the brown bullheads, better known to New England anglers as “horn’ pout.” These are not only abundant, but of large average size, with many individuals at 12 inches or better. Try fishing for them with worms on the bottom near any of the four inlets or right off the dam. When fishing for the freezer or table, use a snap swivel and snelled hooks. These fish often swallow the hook and time can be saved by simply unsnapping each catch, tossing it into the cooler, and snapping on a new hook. ‘Pout from this water are reportedly excellent in flavor.
 
Description
 
West Lake
     This 60-acre pond, located entirely within the Sandisfield State Forest, was created in 1966 by the damming of Morely Brook, a tributary to the Buck River. Average depth is 8 feet; maximum depth is 13 feet. The transparency of this dark water is only fair, extending to 5 feet, and algal blooms occasionally reduce this to near zero. Aquatic plants are diverse and common around the entire shoreline, particularly dense at the shallow northern inlet end.
     Access to an informal gravel boat-launching ramp is located on the southwestern corner of the pond off West Street. It can be reached via a dirt road located next to the state forest building. Parking space at the boat-launching site is limited to about five vehicles. Virtually the entire shoreline is open and accessible to shore fishing.  According to the metal marker:
 
CLAM RIVER WATERSHED PROJECT
WEST LAKE MULTIPLE PURPOSE DAM
RECREATION AND FLOOD PREVENTION
 
Drainage area 934 acres
Floodwater retarding storage 340 acre-feet
Recreation Pool area 60 acres
Height of Dam 25 feet
Volume of Fill 29,000 cubic yards
 
Built under the watershed protection and flood prevention act by Massachusetts Water Resources Commission and Berkshire Conservation District with the assistance of Soil Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1965
 
The Portage
       There is no driving access to Abbey Lake.  Fortunately, there is a dirt road that can be used to carry you boat.  Go back out to West Road and turn left (south) and go about 50 yards. This is where the dirt road begins.  The portage is 0.8 miles long.  The road crosses under the dam on West Lake and over the stream.  Continue through the woods.  There is very little change in elevation but it is quite a walk to paddle only 1.3 miles.  The put-in is from the grass near the dam at the south end of Abbey Lake.  Portage back the same way.
 
Abbey Lake
    There is no specific information or bathymetry published by the state of Massachusetts.  The only information I could find was posted at the lake below.  According to the metal marker:
 
CLAM RIVER WATERSHED PROJECT
ABBEY LAKE MULTIPLE PURPOSE DAM
RECREATION AND FLOOD PREVENTION
 
Drainage area 1120 acres
Floodwater retarding storage 327 acre-feet
Recreation Pool area 37 acres
Height of Dam 37 feet
Volume of Fill 21,000 cubic yards
 
Built under the watershed protection and flood prevention act by Massachusetts Water Resources Commission and Berkshire Conservation District with the assistance of Soil Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, 1965
STATISTICS
 
Skill Level:            Class 1 - Flat water
Estimated Time:    1 hour each plus portage
Total Distance:      2.9 miles
West Lake:   1.6 miles
Abby Lake:   1.3 miles
USGS Map:           Otis, MA (7.5’x15’)
  
West Lake:
      Launch Address:  56 West St, Sandisfield, MA 01255
      Position:  42-07.76 N 73-09.72 W
Abbey Lake:
Launch Address: Portage in from West Lake
Position:  42-08.07 N 73-09.13 W    
 
Physical Features:
     West Lake:
  • Area:                60 acres
  • Max depth:         13 feet
  • Average Depth:  8 feet
  • Transparency:     5 feet
  • Terrain Type: Wooded, State Park
​     Abby Lake
  • Area 37 acres
 
Fish Population - West Lake
  • Last survey 1979
  •  5 species: Large mouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead and golden shiner.     
 
Put-In/Take-Out (14.8 miles, about 27 minutes)
  • From US Route 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) take exit 2.
  • After the tollbooths turn left at stoplight and right at the second stoplight on to Route 102 West.
  • At the next stoplight, mile 0.2, turn left on to Tyringham Road
  • At about mile 2.9, the road becomes Main Road.  Pass through the tiny village of Tyringham.  The road now become Tyringham Road again as you pass into Otis.
  • At mile 11.6 cross Route 23 and continue on Town Hill Road.
  • At mile 13.1 turn right on Cronk Road.
  • At mile 13.8 turn left on West Street.
  • At mile 14.8 arrive at the turn off for the boat launch.  Car top boats only.
State Pond Map of West Lake
West Lake Boat Ramp
Abby Lake Dam 
West Lake looking toward the dam
PORTAGE: West Lake to Abby Lake 
Abby Lake