Ashmere Lake

Last Updated: 3/2017
        Winter draw downs conducted to limit the amount of aquatic vegetation have apparently caused fish kills at this lake in the past. As a result, bass abundance was found to be reduced substantially at the time the last survey was conducted. Growth rates were high, however, and unless winter kills have continued, both basins should now offer some big bass along with fair to good fishing action. Those in search of smallmouth will do best in the deeper southern basin, while largemouth fanciers will have better luck in the shallow, heavily weeded northern basin. Yellow perch are common in both basins and offer good winter jigging action, but their growth rates are low and average size is on the small side. (1993)

Skill Level:            Class 1 - Flat water
Estimated Time:    3 hour
Total Distance:       8.9 miles
USGS Map:     Pittsfield East, MA (7.5’x15’)
Launch Address:     121 Smith Road, Hinsdale, MA

Boat Launch:  Paved narrow boat launch.
Position:     42-26.10 N 73-05.05 W 
Alternate Car top Launch:
Launch Address: Route 143, 670 Peru Road, Hinsdale, MA
Position: 42-26.70 N 73-05.02 W
Physical Features:
  • Area:                217 acres
  • South Basin Max depth:   23 feet
  • North Basin  Max depth:  12 feet
  • Average Depth:  8 feet
  • Transparency:    9 feet
  • Terrain Type:  Summer Homes, Summer Camps, Woodlands, Wetlands
Fish Population
  • Last survey 1979
  • 9 species:  largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, black crappie, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, white sucker and golden shiner.    

Put In and Take Out: 23.7 miles (about 40 min.)
  • From US Route 90 (Mass. Turnpike) take exit 2.
  • At the end of the ramp turn right on Route 20 West going thru the Center of Lee toward Pittsfield.
  • Follow Route 20 and it will merge with Route 7 becoming Routes 7 & 20 at about 4.5 miles.
  • Follow Route 20 to mile11.1 miles at the center of Pittsfield. Turn right on East Street/ Route 9.
  • Near Allendale Shopping Center Light turn right continuing on Route 9 East/ Route 8 South. At mile 14.3.
  • When Route 9 turns left in Dalton, go straight following Route 8 south to Hinsdale.
  • At mile 21.3 turn slightly left on to Skyline Trail (aka Middlefield Road). 
  • Creamery Road will enter on left as you bear right.
  • At Mile 23 turn left on Smith Road (aka Hickingham Road) for another 0.3 miles where the road turns 90 degrees right. 
  • There is a dirt road on your left as the road turns right that will lead to the boat ramp. 
  • Travel 0.4 miles down this single lane dirt road to the boat ramp and parking for at least 12 cars.
State Highway 143 Put-In / Take-Out: 23.1 Miles (about 36 min.)
  • Follow Steps 1 through 6 above.
  • At about Mile 20.9 turn left on Route 143 East (aka Maple Street and becomes Peru Road)
  • Travel 2.2 more miles to Mile 23.1. Launch on the right side of the road where a culvert allows passage by boat under the road. Both the North and South basins are visible.
South Basin
      The south half of Ashmere Lake is a split between woodlands and summer homes.  It may be possible to take advantage of exploring trails on the southern most area.  On a summer weekday you may have all this area to yourself.
Put-in and the Dam
     From the South Put-In turn right and follow the dam, which is over 1500 feet long.  At the end of this dam is the spillway.  The spillway is safe to approach and you can view the other side where water leaves the lake.  This portion of the lake has no buildings and makes observation of wildlife a great opportunity.
South Side
     Follow the around the south peninsula which is part of Ashmere Lake State Park.  Follow around and into the southwest cove.  This too has no habitation and has an air of wilderness.
      Travel north along the west shore to a small island.  North of this is Camp Ashmere, a well-known summer camp with its own beach.
East Side and Alternate Put-in
     Follow the shore to the north most end passing an American Flag flying on a rock in the summertime.
     Turn east and follow the shore along Route 143.  Eventually you will come to a culvert that passes to the north half of the lake, which can be used, only by small vessels like canoes and kayaks.  Just east of this culvert is the alternate Put-In described above.
State Pond Map
Colvert Passage Under Route 143
Southwest Side
      Continue to follow the shoreline southwest.  This area, including the next two peninsulas, is filled with homes with docks, swim rafts, and boats.
As you approach the southwest, the shoreline gets wilder with no structures.  Follow the shoreline southwest and finish at the southern Put-In Take-Out.

North Basin
      The northern half of Ashmere Lake is more urban than most paddlers may enjoy.  Despite this profile, observing summer homes can be fun.  There are still some areas that are more secluded including Ashmere island owned by Berkshire Natural Resource Counci lto explorer and a cove in the southwest that has wetlands.
West Side
      After passing through the Route 143 culvert, turn right, west, and follow the coastline north.  After passing many summer homes, turn west into a pleasant cove filled with dozens of homes.  There are many small beaches, boat docks, and swim rafts.
      Exit the cove and turn north following more homes and pass between an island and the west shore.  You can land on Ashmere Island at many locations.  I particularly like the northern half.
Paved Boat Launch
Ashmere Lake
      Ashmere Island owned by Berkshire Natural Resources Council and is open for passive recreation. The mooring of motor boats, camping, and fires are not allowed.

Berkshire Natural Resource Council
       We keep land for you!  This is what we’re about: preserving, or keeping land so we can all have access to it, enjoy it, find peace and serenity in it.  We keep land so we can all experience the beauty that the Berkshire mountains have to offer.  Read more about BNRC and donate by clicking the link below:
Property Map
New Dam
​​       Continue north and enter another cove and follow the shore around.  This cove had summer homes but half of the shore is wooded even along George Schnopp Road.  As you exit turn northeast to a very quiet shallow cove filled with weeds.  This is a good place to catch pike and pickerel.
East Side
      Head south and pass by Camp Taconic.  This is a very active area with many middle school and high school age campers.  They have a large beach area with sailboats as well as paddleboats. 
      Pass between the island and the camp turning west as the shore opens to the only truly wooded area of the north half of Ashmere Lake.  Follow this shoreline as it meanders along.  At the southern and western most end wetland prevail.  Follow the shore north again along a peninsula filled with trees.  At the point you will find a small but very old summer home with the same charm of yesteryear.  Finally, turn south following the shore to the culvert under Route 143.