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About the Millers River

Bearsden Pool – Millers River The Millers River, located in North Central Massachusetts, originates in Ashburnham, MA and winds its way westward through 46 miles before emptying into the Connecticut River in Erving. With 392 square miles drained by this river and its tributaries, its water levels can be quickly influenced by rainfall. The tea-stained water characteristic of this river is a result of the high mineral content of this vast drainage area.

In the early 1970’s the Miller’s River gained a deserved reputation for pollution as a result of industrial PCB contamination. In the years since these problems were identified, efforts by many state, federal and private organizations have resulted in substantial improvements to water quality and environment. While the effects of PCB contamination can last for years, today, the river once again supports an array of wildlife including an insect population that sustains and fortifies the fishery.

The Millers receives trout stockings in the Spring and Fall as well as maintains a population of hold-over browns, some rumored to be quite large. A state advisory recommending against the consumption of brown trout, due largely to their ability to hold-over, has the effect of making the entire river a defacto catch and release stream. Stocked Rainbow trout are the exception and bear the burden of the put and take fishery.

While there are many smaller dams on the Millers, none provide a cool water source throughout the year. As a result, summer temperatures can force the water temperatures well above 70 degrees and fishing for trout in these conditions should be avoided.

The river can logically be classified into upper and lower sections separated at the Starrett factory dam in Athol, MA. The upper section starts at the headwaters in Ashburnham, continues through Winchendon and Royalston before entering Athol. The lower section progresses from this point in Athol, through Orange, Wendell Depot, Erving and ends at the Connecticut River. Each section has designated ‘Catch and Release” waters where only artificial bait can be used and all fish must be returned to the stream unharmed.

One word of warning, the Millers River is a difficult wading river, full of large, slippery rocks. Felt soled wading boots are a must. Studded boots and a sturdy wading staff are also welcome companions on this river.