Lake Buel

Last Updated: 4/2018
      This lake has always been a good producer for anglers of every stripe, but due to limited shoreline access, it is best fished from a boat. Trout are considered the major fishery, drawing heavy pressure during the spring months before the dense weed growth, recreational boaters and water skiers make trolling difficult to impossible.
     Bass and panfish are abundant, and trophy large mouths are occasionally reported. Once again, however, dense weeds and competition with other recreational users during the summer present problems for anglers. Only the most weedless lures (such as rubber worms or floating frogs) can be fished effectively in most areas under 10 to 15 feet in depth. Avoid the crowds by fishing very early in the morning or late at night.
      Best action of the year, at least for the warm water species, is during the winter. Ice fishermen, depending on how they rig up and what size bait they use, can score on trout, bass and panfish. Many specialists rig for nothing but pike, using wire leaders and big baits. Most pike taken here are taken through the ice, and at least a few fish in excess of 15 pounds are caught every winter.
      Lake Buel is just south of Route 57 and east of Great Barrington, Massachusetts.  It is surrounded by many summer homes and a few dozen year-round homes in about a dozen separate, tight-knit neighborhoods, each with its own private or semi-private road.
       The Lake is named after Samuel C. Buel of the town of Tyringham who saved people from drowning on the Lake on July 23, 1812.   At the time, it was known as Six Mile Pond.  The northern shore of the Lake is in the town of Monterey and the southern shore is in Mew Marlborough.
       By the 1870s, the lake became a major summer attraction.  It started with George N. Gibson at what became known as Gibson Grove with picnicking, swimming, boat launch and more.  By 1875 Turners Landing was up and running with carnivals with tenting, cottages, and rooms to rent. Bigford’s Landing was established in 1910. It had its own launch, a restaurant and camps.  Miami Beach, an amusement and swimming resort, opened on the north shore of the Lake about 1925. The main building was destroyed by fire in 1947.  The Littlecrest Inn, which boarded summer guests, started in 1937. It included individual cabins.  It closed in 1959.  Hebert’s Beach opened in 1946. It included a large hall, which hosted square dances. In 1955, the building was converted into a 7-unit motel latter converted to apartments.
       The boat ramp is owned by the Public Access Board and managed by the Division of Forests and Parks.  This paved area can park up to 30 vehicles and can handle all but the largest trailer boats.  An aquatic weed removal machine that is used on the lake is kept by the boat ramp.
Northwest End
       As you leave the boat ramp, turn right into a small cove filled with lily pads.  It is home to turtles, blue gills, pumpkinseeds, and bass.  As you travel northwest, you will come to a stream entering from the north and flanked on the west side by a house.  Turn up this stream and you will soon come to beaver dams.  The first can be easily navigated.  The second and the third, the highest, follow.  It’s worth a look and if you approach quietly you may be rewarded with a beaver sighting.
North and West Side
       Turn south along the northwest side of the lake.  There are many summer homes and boat docks.  If you are a bass fisherman, then you will be in heaven as the bass like to congregate under these docks.
      When you get to about 1.5 miles of the trip you will notice several very large summer homes.  Clearly these are owned by the wealthy and worth a look.  Continue southeast along the shore.
Southeast End
      At about 2.0 miles, you will come to a cluster of homes some of which are year round residents.  At the end of the lake is a gravelly beach with objects washed ashore.  Behind this beach is a large swamp. 
      Turn right along the shore and then left into the stream heading out of the lake and into the swamp.  This area is an excellent place to observe birds and beavers too.  You will not need to paddle far before you will first encounter a large beaver lodge on your right.  A short distance further and the stream has a beaver dam flanked on both sides with beaver lodges.  If you have a camera, this example of beaver work is very photogenic.  I suggest heading back into the lake rather than down stream to the Konkapot River.
East Side
       The east side of the lake is dominated by summer homes of various sizes.  I find it interesting to see how people have built decks, docks, boat houses, and private beaches.
      At about 3.8 miles there is an entrance northward.  Travel in and you come to two canal areas that are quite deep.  The furthest is blocked by a tree that can be navigated around.  The closer of these dead end canals has a beaver lodge on the corner.  Both are filled with various fish.  It can be slow going when weeds fill the canals.
      Turn northwest as you exit the canals and follow the coastline.  An interesting cove is first filled with weeds.  Less than a half mile and you are back at the boat ramp.

Skill Level:             Class 1 - Flat water
Estimated Time:    1.5 hour
Total Distance:      4.5 miles
USGS Map:            Great Barrington, MA (7.5’x15’)
Launch Address:  60 Pixley Rd, Great Barrington, MA 01230

Boat Launch:         Paved State Boat Ramp with plenty of parking.
Position:  42-10.51 N 73-16.79 W
Physical Features:
  • Area:                196 acres
  • Max depth:         42 feet
  • Average Depth:  20 feet
  • Transparency:    13 feet
  • Terrain Type: Summer homes, woods, wetlands, beaver structures
Fish Population
  • Last survey 1978
  • 13 species recorded - Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, bluegill, white perch, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, black crappie, rock bass, white sucker, golden shiner, common shiner, and bridled minnow.  Stocked every spring and fall with brookies, browns, and rainbow trout    
Put-In/Take-Out (14.0 miles)
  • From US Route 90 (Mass Turnpike) take exit 2.
  • At the end of the ramp turn left at the stop light and right before the next light on Route 102 West toward Stockbridge.
  • At 4.7 miles, at the Red Lion Inn, turn left on Route 7 South.
  • At 7.3 miles, at stoplight, just passed Monument Mountain High School, turn left on Monument Valley Road.
  • At 12.0 miles, turn left on Route 23 East
  • At 13.1 miles, turn right on Route 57 East
  • At 13.9 miles, turn right at the sign for Lake Buel Boat Ramp.    
State Pond Map
Paved Concrete Boat Ramp
Plenty of parking for all types of boats