Great Herring Pond, MA

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Great Herring Pond


Town(s): Bourne MA, Plymouth MA
County: Barnstable, Plymouth
Local Name: Lake Manomet

Size: 376 acres
Average Depth: 20 feet
Maximum Depth: 42 feet

Boating Allowed: Kayaks, Canoes, Sail Boats, Electric Motor Boats, Power Boats, State & Local Rules & Regulations Apply, Other Restrictions
Swimming: Swimming Allowed, Some Restrictions



Great Herring Pond is a 376-acre warm water pond mostly located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, with the southern portion extending into Bourne. The village of Pondville in the Cedarville section of Plymouth lies on the eastern shore of the pond. The pond has an average depth of 20 ft and a maximum depth of 42 ft. The bottom is composed of sand, rubble and muck. A tire reef was installed in 1979 to provide additional fish shelter. The inflow comes from Little Herring Pond, and the outflow goes into the Herring River in Bourne. The Public Access Board gravel ramp in Bourne enters shallow water and is therefore best suited for canoes, inflatable and other shallow-draft, hand-carried craft. Great Herring Pond is a natural warm water pond that is named for its large size as well as supporting one of the state’s best herring runs. The herring spawned in this pond attract striped bass to the Cape Cod Canal and have created one of the best striper hotspots on the East Coast. The water is generally clear and transparency is about 8-feet. The bottom is primarily sand and rubble with mud in the deeper and more sheltered areas. There are 5.3 miles of shoreline that is moderately developed with houses, roads, cranberry bogs, and a summer camp (Camp Bourndale). Most of the development is in the northeastern corner and along the eastern and western shores. The southern shoreline has very little development, mostly comprised of private undeveloped land. Due to its windswept nature, the pond is unstratified during the summer months. The Massachusetts Maritime Academy also has a sailing center on the pond.

Water Quality: Unknown
Vegetation Growth: Minimal
Non-native Species: Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum Spicatum)

Fishing Comments: The pond offers good smallmouth bass and white perch fishing. Try off the points on the eastern shore and also the two sunken islands near the pond’s center. Abundant forage from the Bourndale herring run translates into good growth rates for gamefish and panfish. Two artificial tire reefs were installed in 1975 to provide additional fish shelter. However this may also make the gamefish a little harder to catch during the summer months when schools of young-of-year herring are readily available.
Fish Species: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Chain Pickerel, Yellow Perch, White Perch, Brown Bullhead, Sunfish, Golden Shiner, White Sucker, American Eel

Boat Access: Primarily Car-top boats & Canoes
Ramp Comments: A state ramp, located in Bourne and operated by the Office of Fishing & Boating Access, is on the southern end of the pond. The ramp is unimproved and enters shallow water. Therefore it is best suited for canoes and other shallow-draft boats. Larger shallow-draft boats, like bass boats, can be launched with a four-wheel drive vehicle. Parking is available for about 6 vehicles.
Parking Spaces: Less than 10

Directions: From the South: Take Route 6 to Herring Pond Road and head north. Take a left onto Little Sandy Pond Road. The access will be visible immediately to your right on the pond’s southern tip. From the North: Take Route 3 south to Exit 2 and take a left onto Herring Pond Road heading south for about 2½ miles. You will be able to see portions of the water on the left. At the southern end of the pond take a right onto Little Sandy Pond Road.
Shoreline Development: 50-75%