Swift River Reach 1

Last Updated: 5/2018
Winsor Dam to Upper Bondville Dam

Swift River below Winsor Dam - Mile 9.1
         The Swift River from Winsor Dam "Y Pool" to Route 9 is open year-round to fly fishing on a catch and release basis. A "No Trespassing Zone" has been established around the Power Station where all public access is prohibited.  There is a section shaped like a "Y" where one side comes from the Power Station getting its water from under the dam and the other side getting its water from the spillway.
         If you launch form Enouh Sanford Road, you can paddle up under the Route 9 bridge all the way to the "Y Pool".   Its only about 0.8 mile so its worth the paddle.  Be aware that you may have to give way occasionally to fly fishers.
          The water is always cold even on the hotest days of the summer.  Even though the river is not particularly deep, the deep Quabbin Reservoir does not warm up like other lakes.  Most of the water is released from under the dam where the temperature is always cold.

Route 9 Bridge - Mile 8.5 to Cold Spring Road Bridge - Mile 5.7
            This section is a narrow river with woods and some fields.  Keep checking the water (polarized sunglasses help) and you will see trout, some very large.  At mile 7.7 there is a small building and a release of water from the fish hatchery.  McLaughlin Hatchery is one of four hatcheries managed by the state of Massachusetts.  Rainbow, brown, brook and tiger trout are raised for stocking rivers, streams, lakes and ponds throughout the Commonwealth.  It is open to the public and worth a visit.  This is especially fun for children because they can actually feed the fish.
       Another half mile and you will encounter a few houses with docks along the river.  When I past by once they owners were outside and were very friendly.  
       For the next mile there is only woods and wildlife until you begin to approach Cold Spring Road.  Pass under the bridge and you will come to the State Boat Launch area.  This is a good place for a break.

Cold Spring Road, the most popular Launch
       This is clearly the popular place to launch.  Some summer days will find vans filled with summer camp kids or groups launching and paddling.  The most popular route is to do a south loop only.
       If you launched from here, you can paddle up the river against the current since it is not that difficult.  Return to this launch for a break before you continue to explore southward.  A complete round trip of both the north section and south section to the Upper Bondsville Dam should take about four hours.  If you are fishing or just moving slow allow more time.

Cold Spring Road Bridge - Mile 5.7  to Upper Bondsville Dam - Mile 3.9
         Leave the launch area and head south.  For the first 0.7 miles there will be a current with only two houses and mostly woods.  At about mile 5.0 the current dies to a crawl and the river widens with     peninsulas and islands.  The pond areas are worth exploring.  If you have brought binoculars, you will be treated with wildlife, especially birds.
           Houses and a few private campsites are found along the shoreline mixed with marsh and woods.  This area is so beautiful and should be preserved for everyone.  You may encounter a few motorized boats that are used by fishers.
           As you approach the dam area there is a floating barrier, its time to turn around or get ready to portage around on the east (right) side.

 Bondsville Dam
{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DStartFragment%2D%2D%3E         The Bondsville Dam most certainly is of historical significance. It was built over 100 years ago for the purpose of providing water to the mills of Bondsville that produced the fabric known as duck . In fact, the name of the fabric produced became the nickname for the town of Bondsville. If you lived in Bondsville you notably lived in “duck”. The building of this dam not only provided water for the mills but additionally provided an impound and a way of life for the many who lived in the towns surrounding this watershed and for many well beyond the borders of the neighboring communities.
         The dam while being built for economic purposes inadvertently created a recreational, ecological and environmental masterpiece. In later years, coupled with the clear, pure, cold and consistent discharge of water from the Quabbin Reservoir it became an area second to none in the state of Massachusetts.{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DEndFragment%2D%2D%3E
Skill Level:            Class 1
Estimated Time:    2 hours ( allow 4 hours for a round trip)
Distance:               5.2 miles
USGS Map: Winsor Dam, MA and Palmer, MA (7.5’x15’)
[2] Enoch Sanford Road south of Route 9 - Mile 8.5
Position: 42-16.40 N 72-20.20 W
Altitude: 370 feet
Boat Launch:
Roadside car top launch.
Nearest Launch Address:
61 Enoch Sanford Road, Belchertown, MA 01007
Put-In/Take-Out Directions ( 9.3 miles, 21 minutes):
From Exit 8 Palmer of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. At end of the ramp, turn left at the stoplight onto Route 32 North towards Ware/Thorndike.
  2. Go under the Mass Pike and at mile 0.8 at a stoplight, turn left on High Street towards Thorndike.
  3. At mile 1.2, make a slight right onto Church Street.
  4. It eventually becomes Pleasant Street.
  5. At mile 2.6, make a slight right onto Thorndike Road.
  6. At mile 3.0, you will come to a stop sign, make a slight right onto Palmer Street.
  7. It will become Main Street and then Bondville Road.
  8. At mile 6.3, the road ends turn left onto Cold Spring Rd.
  9. Now make an immediate right on River Road.
  10. At mile 8.9, at the end of the road, turn left onto Route 9 West.
  11. At mile 9.1, make a left onto  Enoch Sanford Rd.
  12. Go another 0.2 miles and arrive at roadside Put-In.
This roadside launch is easy access for car top boats.
Here, just below the Route 9 bridge, fly fishing is very popular.
​[3] State Boat Launch - Cold Spring Road - Mile 5.7
Position: 42-14.56 N 72-20.10 W
Altitude: 360 feet
Boat Launch:
Paved State Boat Ramp with portable toilet. Parking for at least 20 vehicles.  Very popular launch.
Nearest Launch Address: 
506 Cold Spring Road, Belchertown, MA 01007
Located just south of the bridge.
Put-In/Take-Out Directions (6.4 miles, 14 minutes)
From Exit 8 Palmer of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. Follow steps 1 to 8 in [2] above.
  2. Continue straight over the Swift River Bridge.
  3. At mile 6.4, just over the bridge, turn left into the State Boat Launch.
This boat launch works for all types of boats.  Kayaks and Canoes can use it to paddle up river and down river and return to the launch location because the current is not very strong.
This parking is more than adequate with portable toilets available.
[1] Below Windsor Dam - Mile 9.1
Position: 42-16.85 N 72-20.36 W
Altitude: 372 feet
Above Dam Altitude: 520 feet
Boat Launch:
The dam area is no long accessible directly by vehicles.  As a result, there is a very long carry to this access point.  We recomend paddling up stream 0.6 miles from the next access point. Very cold water exits under the dam and feeds the Swift River year round.
Nearest Address:
Quabbin Hill Road, Ware, MA 01082
Put-In/Take-Out Directions (10.0 miles, 18 minutes)
From Exit 8 Palmer of the Massachusetts Turnpike (Rt. 90)
  1. At end of the ramp, turn left at the stoplight onto Route 32 North towards Ware/Thorndike.
  2. Go under the Mass Pike.
  3. At mile 1.5, Slight left onto Stimson Street.
  4. At mile 2.7, turn left onto Gates Street.
  5. Make an immediate right onto River Street  then a immediate left onto Summer Street crossing over the Ware River.
  6. At mile 2.8, turn right onto Emery Street.
  7. At mile 4.4, the road becomes Babcock Tarern Road.
  8. At mile 6.1, the road becomes Monson Turnpike Road.
  9. At mile 8.4, turn left onto Route 9 West.
  10. At mile 9.5, turn right at the sign "Windsor Dam Quabbin Reservoir".
  11. At mile 10.0 arrive at the dam.  Park roadside and hike to the base of the dam at the Swift River outlet.
This small power plant releases cold frigid water from under the massive Windsor Dam into the Swift River.
The spillway water and the power plant water meet forming what is called "The Y pool.  As you can see here, it is very popular with fly fishers.  This is catch and release only and it only takes a moments time to see trout in this clear water.
[4] Upper Bondsville Dam - Portage - Mile 3.9
Position: 42-31.13 N 72-20.45 W
{cke_protected}{C}%3C!%2D%2DStartFragment%2D%2D%3EAltitude above dam: 356 feet
Altitude below dam: 349 feet
Boat Launch:
Take-Out above the barrier and chain-link fence on river-right.  Carry along the river for only 25 yards.  Put-In in the pool below the dam and fence.
Nearest Address:
3182 Main Street, Bondsville, MA
Put-In/Take-Out Directions (4.2 miles, 9 minutes)
  1. Follow Steps 1 to 6 in [2] above.
  2. At mile 4.1, pass the Bondsville Fire Station on your left.
  3. At mile 4.2, with the river is on your left, the dam will be just off the road.
Take out river-right just above the barrier and chain-link fence.
Put-In just below the dam and chain-link fence.