The first trick to kayaking at Natick’s Fisk Pond is figuring out where to drop in your watercraft.
I did a bit of reconnaissance and wound up rejecting a little clear-out and path down to the pond near the intersection of Rte. 135 and Speen Street kind of across from CVS. It could work, if you have better balance than I do.
I settled instead on a clearing a couple hundred feet into the Henry Wilson Trail off of Rte. 135. To get there, I parked in the Middlesex Path lot, near the new dog park, on the other side of Rte. 135. So I then had to lug my kayak across the Rte. 135 crosswalk, which proved simpler than I though it would…a kind driver stopped to let me pass.
Are there are public access points I overlooked? firstname.lastname@example.org
I looked around for signs just to make sure I wasn’t going to pollute an off-limits reservoir (I’d already looked on the town website but didn’t find much on Fisk Pond at all). Once satisfied I wasn’t going to get in trouble, it was a snap to slide the kayak into shallow water and I was on my way onto Fisk Pond.
As an aside, the body of water is referred to as Fiske Pond on the state pond map and some past Natick annual reports. (Apparently there’s a bit of controversy over the name.) Fisk Pond is an extension of Lake Cochituate and part of the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord watershed.
My inspiration for the paddle was actually to go from Fisk Pond to Lake Cochituate, which sits just across Rte. 135 (See also: “Kayaking Lake Cochituate in (mostly) Natick”). For some reason I had it in my head that I’d be able to go from one to the other via a culvert under the road. But as I quickly discovered, there’s no tunnel there, it’s dammed off in that area where the old fishing pier stood.
That was my second mistake. Turns out that wasn’t even technically a fishing pier, but rather remnants of a maintenance access platform for the horseshoe dam at that point of the Pond, according to helpful souls on a local Facebook page. Not to say it wasn’t extensively used for fishing over the years, and even is still, with nimble anglers skirting the fencing around the dilapidated wooden structure.
While scenic enough, Fisk Pond wasn’t quiet. Traffic roared even on an early July Monday afternoon.
But I tried to keep my focus on what was around me on the pond.
The day I kayaked there it teemed with skittish painted turtles, quick to plunk off their logs whenever I came near. A few waterfowl swam around, one making quite a ruckus by splashing dozens of feet at a time. While I didn’t bring a fishing rod, I could see plenty of fish through the water, a translucent brown close up.
Beavers have built an impressive lodge, too.
Fisk Pond was definitely worth a look, but it’s onward to the much larger Lake Cochituate for my next outing.
(Thank you readers for setting me straight on a few facts in this post (re: native vs. invasives, beaver lodge vs. dam, etc. Love the crowdsourcing!)
Dennis McCormick says
Never knew it had a name other than Cochituate extension. Our kayaks are with our son in Maine, so thank you for exploring for us. You will enjoy the lake where you can go under Rte 30 (I think). To a smaller pond where I was lucky to be on the day folks were flying model airplanes overhead. Great fun.
The purple wildflowers are pickerelweed, and they are native, and much loved by wildlife. Purple loosestrife, which is the invasive aquatic plant with similar flowers, has very different leaves.
Interestingly, the whole of Fisk pond was once Fisk meadow, a wet meadow with an average depth of 5 feet, but had been flooded for the now inactive Cochituate reservoir.
Bob Brown says
Thanks Lucian, I appreciate the crowdsourcing on this post. I’m going to update it to reflect this good info. I thought there was another purple flower too, beyond loosestrife, that is also abundant around here and invasive
Amy Harris says
What a nice paddle. Thank you for sharing. As a teacher/ naturalist, I do have to correct one thing. The beaver dam you refer to is actually a beaver lodge, their home. If the lodge is built on a lake or pond, beavers do not need to build a dam. The purple flower was probably either Pickerelweed, which is native, or Purple loosestrife, which is invasive. Both are blooming now.
Bob Brown says
Thanks for that correction on the dam vs. lodge Amy. I feel like I had that knowledge somewhere in my brain, but it didnt make it into my fingers when I wrote that piece. I needed my wife with me to ID the flowers, she’s the plant expert in our home (I’m the insect guy). Am updating now…Bob
Stephen Vance says
Thank you for exploring our local pond! You found the best put in location in my experience, short of actually living on the pond.
Course Brook is not very navigable, the degree varying based on time of year, water level, and growth density.
You should enjoy Lake Cochituate. It’s certainly a more technical paddle with stronger chop, larger open stretches, the presence of power boats in the summer, and restrictions at places like the Army labs. However, it’s well worth it with the transitions between the three sections, some small beaches (you can’t put in at the municipal ones), and the variety of microclimates.
Bob Brown says
Thanks Stephen. In fact, I hit Cochituate today and it was great. I did put in at the cartop lot in Wayland and paddled up to around the Army labs. Water was pretty choppy up there. Lots of watercraft today, but not obnoxiously so. Just a lot of people out having fun.