Ispwich River Massachusetts
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Fly Fishing The Ipswich River
The Ipswich River begins in Wilmington and flows for
about thirty-four miles into Ipswich Bay. It's not over
thirty miles to Boston at the cities closest point to the
river, so you can imagine the attention the stream gets.
It's formed by the confluence of Lubbers Brook and
Maple Meadow Brook. This area is called the
one-hundred acre swamp.
The quality of the water in the Ipswich River is very
high. Several small brooks and springs add to the flow
and also helps make the water chemistry excellent for
trout and their source of food. Pye Brook, Howlett
Brook, Boston Brook and Fish Brook are all stocked
tributaries of the river.
The Ipswich River serves as the main source of drinking
water for a huge number of communities and people.
There are a few places where the river looks like the
typical trout stream, meaning riffles, runs and pools but
most of it is a slow moving, meandering slick water
stream that flows through marshes and swamp areas. It
has a huge amount of backwater and swampland area.
All the surrounding property is well protected from
impurities and pollution.
The Ipswich River is best fished from a small boat or
canoe. Much of its water flows through private property
that could not otherwise be reached. Considering all the
pockets and coves along the stream, it would an angler
a very long time to completely fish a short section of the
The stream is stocked but many of its trout are
streambred trout. There are a lot of holdover trout. In its
upper section just downstream from the swamp it begins
in, below the Woburn Street Bridge, there's a deep
water, far too deep to wade. This upper section,
downstream for about five miles, is best floated. At
Ipswich River Park there are areas to take a boat or
canoe out. The area within the park, which looks more
like a pond that a trout stream, provides a place for
anglers to fish from the bank and do some wading.
The section from the Ipswich River Park downstream for
just under three miles to the Peabody Dam is best
fished from a small boat or a canoe. Two bridges near
the end of this section provide some access.
Below the Peabody Dam lies the best section of the
Ipswich River. Its a four mile long stretch that ends at
Middletown. This section can be accessed from an area
near the Boston Road bridge. This water below the dam
can be waded in this area. There's also access at the
state highway 114 Bridge. Boats can be taken out at an
access on state highway 62 at Howe Station.
The ten mile long section from Howe Station to Bradley
Palmer State Park is best fished from a boat or canoe.
This section flows through Wenham Swamp. Several
bridges in this area upstream from the swamp provide
places to launch and/or takeout. You cannot put in or
take out in the four mile long swamp section. Bradley
Palmer Park and Willowdale State Park are on opposite
sides of the river downstream to Willowdale Dam
Reservation. Fly fishing the Ipswich River in this area is
top notch. Several areas can be waded.
Angie and I have fished the river in the Bradley Palmer
Park and from the Willowdale State Park. We did well
from each side of the river. The trout are beautiful and
it's more difficult than it normally is to tell stockers from
The season runs year-round
Trout can be caught on some warm winter days.
Spring is the best time for fly fishing the Ipswich River.
Summertime is marginal, the water can become too
warm in some areas and some are fine.
Fall is a good time to fish the Ipswich River. There's
good fishing and less people.
Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Trout Flies
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Photo Courtesy Steven Lamb
Recommended Tackle & Gear
4, 5 or 6 weight
Dry fly: 9 ft., 5 or 6X Nymphing: 71/2 ft.,
3 or 4X, Streamers 1-2X
Dry fly: 5 or 6X, Nymphing: 3 or 4X,
Best Fly Rod:
Perfect Fly Supreme Four, Superb Five
or Ultimate Six
For 4/5/6 fly line
Fly Floatants and Misc Items:
Loon Floatants, KISS Strike Indicators
Tools & Accessories:
Nippers, forceps, retractors, etc.
|Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (email@example.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.
2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.
3. Email us (firstname.lastname@example.org)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.
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