The Best Spots for Urban Fishing in Boston

You don't need a boat to wrangle fish in these waters.


urban fishing in Boston

Photo via Getty Images/Serhii Sobolevskyi

If you know anything about fishing, you know what a process it can be. For the fully dedicated fishermen, and women, out there it requires hundreds, and seriously I mean hundreds, of different lures, hooks, and lines as well as multiple different rods. It’s pretty intense. And while Boston is a great launching spot for extravagant boating excursions to catch stripers and massive tuna, there are also some pretty great low-key places right in our backyard to cast a line. Just make sure you have a license and that you release what you catch.

1. Charles River: How could we not start this list off with the Charles? With over three miles of waterfront available for fishing this spot is a gem in the middle of the city. The Esplanade Association even hosts a bunch of free outdoor activities, including fishing, so you can get a fishing pole from them and cast a line off one of the docks. Or, if you want to make a day out of it rent a kayak or canoe and float down the river. Be sure to cast your line under bridges and towards the sides of the river though—that’s where the fish like to hang out.  

2. Jamaica Pond: The largest standing body of water in the Emerald Necklace, Jamaica Pond is a good go-to for Jamaica Plain dwellers for not only walking, sailing, and rowing but also fishing. There’s a 1.5-mile path around the pond and it is teeming with trout, sunfish, and largemouth bass. It’s a great area to get some fly rod action in.

3. Castle Island: You’ll find cunner, striped bass, bluefish, winter flounder, and more in the waters right off of Fort Independence in South Boston at Castle Island. The L-shaped pier looks out onto the Harbor and you’ll get to watch airplanes come in and out of Logan Airport. And if nothing’s biting you can head over to Carson Beach, M Street Beach, or Pleasure Bay and swim or lay out in the sand and grab a snack from Sullivan’s.

4. Harbor Islands: More Harbor fishing and more chances to catch a striped bass await you after a quick jaunt on a ferry out to the Harbor Islands. Plan a camping trip to Peddocks or attend a sailing class on Spectacle, and don’t forget your fishing rod. During the summer, the islands are great for family outings on the weekend and each one hosts different activities and events all summer long, including fishing. Off the many different islands throughout the Harbor you’ll be able to find striped bass and bluefish as well as flounder fishing on the bottom and sea worms. The area is great for kiddos and first timers. Make sure to pack a few steel leaders July through September becaue the bluefish have teeth and will chew through the lines.

5. Spot Pond: Easily accessible via the Orange Line and a quick bus ride, Spot Pond is nestled in the heart of Middlesex Fells Reservation and is home to some pretty big bass. The reservation even has a family fishing festival at the beginning of June where you can go to rent equipment and learn how to fish. And when you get bored of angling from land, you can hop in a rowboat or canoe from the boathouse and try your luck from the water.

6. Hammond Pond: A little on the smaller side, but just a stone’s throw away from Chestnut Hill, Hammond Pond has some largemouth bass, catfish, and sunfish swimming in its waters. There are also dozens of hiking trails and canoeing and kayaking, plus if you want to set the rod down for a minute the area is known for rock formations fit for climbing.  

7. Mystic River: Although the Mystic is undergoing extensive cleanup, there are still some great places to fish for the day. The Lower Mystic River area, below the Amelia Earhart Dam and the Chelsea Creek, is one of them. The river stretches seven miles from Chelsea to Arlington and joins the Charles River to form the inner Boston Harbor. The area is great for pulling in largemouth bass as well as carp (throw in some corn, dough balls, or worms to catch these guys), and some areas have sunfish and bluefish. River herring spawn here mid April-late June (main forage for striped bass) but they are a protected species. Bluefish and bass tend to be closer to the river locks.

fishing in boston

Lures that work well in these waters/Photo by Garrett Hauck