This 218 acre raised great pond has a maximum depth of 53 feet and an average depth of 18 feet. Transparency is very good, extending to 13 feet. The bottom is composed of silt and clay and supports abundant aquatic vegetation, which extends outward from most of the shoreline areas to depths of 6 or 8 feet.
Richmond Pond fills a depression scraped from the limestone-and-marble bedrock by advancing glaciers thousands of years ago. It lies at about 1,100 feet elevation in a narrow valley just east of the Taconic Mountains that rise to about 1,700 feet near the pond. To the west, the elevated ridge of Lenox Mountain climbs to an elevation of about 2,000 feet. The western half of the lake is shallow, with an average depth of less than ten feet. See Depth Chart.
Much of the southern and western shoreline is heavily developed, with approximately 182 seasonal cottages and year-round dwellings around the pond, some a road or several back from the shoreline but with shared shore access. There are two camps on the lake - Camp Russell (Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires) and Camp Arrow Wood (Mill Town Capital). The northwest shore harbors the public access concrete boat launch, which is suitable for car top and shallow draft trailer boats, with a separate canoe/kayak launch dock installed during the summer; the parking lot can hold up to 30 vehicles. Please visit the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers link for information on how to prevent invasive species from invading the pond. The closest boat wash station to the Richmond Pond boat launch is V's Car Wash at 730 West Housatonic St., Pittsfield; directions to this facility are posted on the boat launch kiosk or are available from boat ramp monitors.
At the far end of the northwest shore is the Richmond town beach, with a large tract of undeveloped wetland and forest in between. The town beach is gated and is staffed by lifeguards in summer, but is accessible off-season by walking from the public boat launch. Dogs and smoking are not allowed at the town beach. There is a public access fishing trail accessed at shoreline from the north end of the town beach parking lot.
Railroad tracks run the length of the northwest shore a few yards from the lake. To the southwest of the lake is an extensive wetland, Nordeen Marsh, covering about 250 acres. It can be reached from the pond by canoe or kayak with an easy portage over the road.
Fishery - The main draw for anglers at this pond is the excellent trout fishing which is produced by the MA Department of Fish and Wildlife through stockings of catchable trout several times each year. Rainbow trout are the bread and butter of this fishery, but brown trout and even brook trout are sometimes stocked as well. Trout can survive here throughout the year, with some individuals attaining weights of 5 or more pounds. In general, however, most trout are caught within a month or two of their release.
Bluegill and largemouth bass are naturally prevalent. The chain pickerel and yellow perch provide some ice fishing action, but the pickerel aren’t large and the perch are not very plentiful. Pumpkinseed and black crappie are present in such low numbers they are incapable of supporting a fishery. A fish survey conducted in June 2012 found 10 species present: yellow perch, chain pickerel, largemouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, common shiner, bridle shiner, and killifish. As the trout often stay deep during the day, they did not show up in the survey.
The Pond is used for swimming, fishing, boating, birding, walking and hiking, camp waterside activities, ice skating, bird and fish habitat and visual enjoyment.
(Note - Some of above text was adapted from mass.gov and Trails.com.)
In summer of 2015, in response to a request from the Richmond Pond Association, the MA Department of Environmental Protection collected samples of the fish in Richmond Pond and tested them for Mercury contamination. All of the fish sampled tested well below the MA Department of Public Health fish consumption advisory "trigger level" for Mercury in fish, which is 0.5 mg/kg. Fish tested included rock bass, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead and largemouth bass (12" to 15"). Therefore, NO generic or species-specific fish consumption advisories are in place for Richmond Pond.
Please note: No trout were tested, but most Richmond Pond trout are stocked, so their Mercury levels are known to be very low. Also, PCB contamination is not a concern for Richmond Pond fish, as our water flows into, not from, the Housatonic River.
Predator fish - Since predator fish (bass and pickerel) bio-accumulate Mercury as they grow larger, the Mercury levels in the much larger bass and pickerel could exceed the consumption trigger level for Mercury. Therefore, it may be wise not to eat the trophy size bass and pickerel.
Pregnant Women & Children - There is a state-wide special caution, however, for pregnant women and children. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Fish Consumption Advisory for Marine and Fresh Water Bodies starts by stating that, "Fish is good for you and your family." However, they have issued generic safe eating guidelines for pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and children under 12 years old, which state in part, "Do not eat freshwater fish caught in streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds in Massachusetts. Safe to eat are fish that are stocked in streams, rivers, lakes and ponds in Massachusetts."
For more information, see the complete Guide to Eating Fish Safely in Massachusetts, available at: www.mass.gov/dph/fishadvisories