Boston Harbor fishing

A traveller’s guide to Boston Harbor fishing

Boston Harbor is one of the busiest ports in the country, and it’s also a great place to fish. There are plenty of spots to cast your line, and you’re likely to catch a variety of fish. Here are some tips for fishing in Boston Harbor:

1. The best spots to fish are near the piers and inlets that are deeper than 20 feet, where the fish are naturally congregated. These spots include Black Bay, Spectacle Island, Long Island, Inner Harbor Cove, and Peddocks Island.

2. If you want to catch mackerel or striped bass, head for Spectacle Island during high tide. Use live eels or clams for bait, and cast out a few hundred feet. Striped bass tend to be in the deeper sections of the harbor, about 20-30 feet down.

3. If you want to catch cod or flounder, try North Point Park or Fort Independence at Castle Island. Cast about 200 yards off shore, and use squid or clams as bait.

4. During summer, you’re likely to catch sunfish at Fort Independence and Long Island. Use worms as bait, and cast just a few feet off shore into the shallow waters of these areas.

5. To catch bass or bluefish, head for Black Bay off of Moon Island during high tide. Cast 200-300 feet off shore, and use clams or bunker chunks for bait.

6. To catch shrimp, go to the mouth of the harbor near Deer Island in late spring when they’re in season. Use a cast net to catch them!

7. If you want to fish from a kayak or canoe, try Moon Island or Peddocks Island. However, be sure to stay at least 1000 feet from commercial fishing boats.

8. Don’t forget about the North and South Rivers – you’re sure to catch a variety of fish there!

9. If you want to go bottom fishing, try using eels or squid for bait, and cast into deeper water (about 200 feet).

10. When fishing in Boston Harbor, try to cast along the edges of channels where fish are more likely to congregate, and drop your bait into the deeper parts of the harbor. Be sure to check your local regulations!

11. Always bring a net for safe release of smaller fish!

12. Try using bloodworms as bait for larger fish like cod and bass – they’re sure to bite!

Boston Harbor is a great place to fish, and with a little bit of knowledge, you’re sure to catch some big fish. Be sure to check your local regulations before casting your line, and have fun fishing in one of the busiest ports in the country!

Boston Harbor whale watching

Looking to go whale watching in the Boston Harbor? Here’s how.

Since the Massachusetts Bay made its way into Boston Harbor, whales and other water-based life have been sighted during their migrations. Because of this, there has been a long tradition of whale watching in Boston. From those taking lunch breaks to those looking to take an educational trip, there is no wrong reason to go out and see these magnificent creatures.

If you’re interested in seeing these mammals for yourself, here’s how to get started:

1) Plan ahead

It is important to figure out if you truly want to go whale watching before actually spending money on the trip. If you are only considering it, chances are you will change your mind later. To help with this process, use sites like Google to see what other people are saying about these trips. This will help you decide if it is right for you.

2) Check out the different whale watching options

There are multiple places in Boston that offer opportunities to go whale watching. The most popular of which include the New England Aquarium and Sail Boston . Both of these locations offer different trips at different prices, so it is important to do some research before settling on a choice.

3) Go during the right season

Whale watching is available year-round, but some seasons are better than others. The best time to go is usually in the spring or fall when the whales are migrating. This means that they are more likely to be seen. Also, because these are off-peak times for the attractions, prices are usually cheaper.

4) Sign up early

Because whale watching is a popular activity, it is best to sign up as soon as possible. This will allow you to get on the boat that you want and ensure you have a spot on the trip. Even if your plans are slightly flexible, it is recommended to sign up early.

5) Bring food and water

Though some trips include snacks or drinks, it is always a good idea to bring your own. This is especially important if you are going on a longer trip. Not only will you be able to save money, but you’ll also have the chance to eat what you want.

6) Dress appropriately

The weather in Boston Harbor can change quickly and it is important to dress appropriately. Make sure to bring a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses if needed. In addition, it is best to dress in layers so you can be comfortable in any situation.

7) Expect the unexpected

Though whale watching trips are usually very successful, there is always the chance that you will not see any whales. This could be due to many different reasons, such as the weather or the time of year. Do not let this discourage you, as there are still many things to see in the harbor.

8) Have fun!

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so make sure to enjoy it! Whale watching can be a very educational experience, but it is also important to have some fun. Talk to the people around you, take pictures, and just enjoy the view.

Boston Harbor Islands

How To Use The Boston Harbor Islands Ferry

If you have no plans for Labor Day, the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area is a great place to go. You can spend all day on the islands or just take a ride on the ferry between them.

The Ferry Trip

The first stop is Long Island where you will find hiking trails, beaches and picnic areas. The next stop is Spectacle Island which is known for its swimming beaches, nature walks and great views of the city. The third stop is Georges Island which has a visitor center, historic fort and beach. The fourth stop is Peddocks Island which has a small beach, picnic areas and hiking trails. The fifth stop is Lovells Island which is only accessible by private boat or commercial tours. The sixth stop is Grape Island which has a small beach and trails. Trident Pier is the next stop which provides ferry service to all the islands in Boston Harbor including Bumpkin Island, George’s Island and Thompson Island. Finally, you will reach Little Brewster Island where you can visit Fort Warren for a small fee.

How To Get There

There are three ways to get to the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area: by car, by bus or by ferry. The easiest way is by ferry. You can take the MBTA Silver Line 4 subway to the World Trade Center stop and then take the water taxi to the islands. The cost for a one-way trip is $3.00 for adults and $1.50 for seniors and children. You can also take the ferry from Long Wharf in downtown Boston. The cost for a one-way trip is $15.00 for adults and $7.50 for seniors and children.

If you are driving, the closest parking lot is at Lovells Island. The cost is $20 to park for the day. If you have a bus, there are three parking lots: Spectacle Island ($50), Long Island ($35) and Peddocks Island ($25).

What To Do Once You’re There

Once you get there, you can do as much or as little as you please. There is also a fee for visiting some of the islands. Fort Warren on Little Brewster Island is the most popular destination and costs $7 for adults and $5 for seniors and children. The other destinations are free to visit.

If you’re looking for a place to swim, the best beaches are on Spectacle Island, Georges Island and Peddocks Island. If you’re looking for a place to hike, the best trails are on Long Island, Spectacle Island and Peddocks Island. If you just want to relax, there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the view.

Ready For Adventure?

The Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area is a great place to spend Labor Day or any day in the summer. There is something for everyone no matter if you only want to go once or are planning to spend all day. All you need is a way to get there, some money for the ferry and enjoy yourself!


There is something truly spectacular about the essence of feeling like a local. Soaking up the history, yet exploring the ever-changing world around you. Boston’s newest piece of culture-in-the-making lies at 12R Ericsson St, the Boston Harbor Distillery. This brand new business is located in a building with culture as rich as its spirits. The beautiful brick facade once was home to other local institutions, like the Putnam Nail Factory, the George Lawley & Sons Shipyard, and Seymour’s Ice Cream. The Boston Harbor Distillery continues to honor the history of these past businesses with the names of their first three brands: the Putnam New England Rye Whiskey, the Lawley’s New England Spirit, and the Seymour’s Local Roast Coffee Liqueur.

The brick exterior of the distillery provides a rustic feel, inviting visitors inside for a taste for more. After a tour of the space and a sampling of the spirits, it is impossible to not feel like a long time local of Boston, drinking in the culture surrounding you. Manning the stills were two young distillers who you meet by first name. In speaking with them, it is clear the passion they have for their craft. Upon entering the great room, you’re instantly made to feel at home and greeted with warm smiles by the barkeep – a young transplant from Texas who makes a mean Old Fashion and other craft cocktails with spirits produced just a few feet away. Behind her, stacks of crystal drinkware sparkle on shelves fashioned from belts and reclaimed wood. The modern, yet cozy interior is filled with honey-colored wood and plush plaid fabrics, whisking you away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

In fact, the distillery itself is nestled in a part of Boston that is off the beaten path, but within earshot of the gentle hum of the highway. “The Port”, as the owner of the distillery refers to it, has been a home to local craftsmen for hundreds of years, and with the addition of this latest venture, the neighborhood continues its legacy of homegrown goods. The Boston Harbor Distillery carries on the tradition of past commerce and culture, while redefining American spirits. You’ll come for the drinks, and stay for the experience that truly captures the history and local spirit of Boston.

Tours are $10
Thursday & Friday 4-8
Saturday 12-8

12R Ericsson St
Boston, MA 02122
617.533.7001 (p)


Hello everyone, my name is Rebecca Herst. I recently joined the Boston Harbor Association team to work on climate preparedness work. I am managing our outreach work and speaking with community members and leaders in coastal neighborhoods that are vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal flooding.

I have a background in community organizing and social and economic development. While in business school at Boston University, I fell in love with the field of climate preparedness. I started working at the Urban Land Institute as a Resilience Fellow while I finished my coursework and managed their climate preparedness initiatives. While I was there we released the Urban Implications of Living with Water Report which compliments the work happening at TBHA nicely. I also worked at Harvard University in their Office for Sustainability managing the Boston Green Ribbon Commission Higher Education Working group before coming to TBHA.

My work at TBHA brings together my passions for environmental sustainability, relationship building and resilience cultivation. I am excited about the opportunity to think creatively with residents across the City of Boston about what they value in their communities and what they hope for their neighborhoods in the future. I would love to hear your thoughts! Please get in touch with me at


Thu, 2015-10-15 18:06 — Rebecca Herst

The City of Boston has officially kicked off its neighborhood engagement campaign for Imagine Boston 2030 with the launch of the Textizen mobile platform. This is an opportunity for everyone who lives, works and plays in the City of Boston to help shape its future.

This platform will allow people to use mobile technology to engage from anywhere. To participate, simply text the letter of your top choice in response to the question below to (617) 860-3745:

My life in 2030 will be better with (pick your top choice)…

A: Housing I can afford

B: Safer neighborhoods

C: Better transportation options

D: Quality education for all

E: A more environmentally friendly city

F: Great parks and public space

G: A more innovative and creative city

H: Expanded job opportunities

I: More vibrant neighborhoods

There are also other ways to be a part of the conversation:

Take the Imagine Boston 2030 survey and sign up for email notifications on their website.

Follow the project on social media (TwitterFacebookInstagram) and post comments and suggestions using the hashtag #ImagineBoston.

Look for suggestion boxes around the city where you can submit your ideas on paper. Suggestion boxes will be at libraries, City Hall, on the City Hall To Go truck and more!


For over 20 years, The Boston Harbor Association has taken students out to Deer Island to visit and tour the wastewater treatment plant and bring engagement into the subject of Environmental Science for area students. This fall, members of the TBHA staff will once again lead hundreds of students on this interactive learning exercise.

Students will have the opportunity hop a ride on the ferry provided by Mass Bay Lines from Rowes Wharf for Deer Island, and then join a staff-led tour of the facilities while receiving instructions and background of the historic island. Topics covered during the tour will often depends upon the students level of understanding, but will range from engineering, science, and mathematics. Often the history of the city of Boston and its city planning will be covered during the tours. 

Harbor Bound is made possible by generous support of the Massachusettes Water Resource Authority, MIT Alums, Mass Environmental Trust and other federal and private grants. The Boston Harbor Association offers Harbor Bound tours twice a year: during the Fall and the Spring semesters. 


Next month, I become President and CEO of Riverlife, an organization which works to reclaim, restore, and promote Pittsburgh’s riverfronts.  Riverlife’s vision calls for a grand, 13-mile continuous system of riverfront parks and trails, and large numbers of visitors and residents are already enjoying the existing riverfront open spaces and amenities.

As I prepare to leave The Boston Harbor Association after 24 years, I am reminded of the dedicated efforts of so many people to help transform Boston’s waterfront.  During that time, we have been fortunate to have had the strong support of each Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President, as well as Boston Mayors Ray Flynn, Tom Menino, and Marty Walsh.  Bipartisan political support, and the efforts of Judges Garrity, Mazzone, and Stearns and of public agency staffs, helped to make possible the clean up of Boston Harbor, restoration of Boston Harbor beaches, and enhancement of Boston Harbor Islands.  The 41-mile HarborWalk public access network through Boston’s six waterfront neighborhoods, constructed by waterfront property owners in response to state tidelands requirements, is used and enjoyed by thousands of people every day.

The transformation of Boston’s waterfront is extraordinary, and is a model for other waterfront communities. Thank you to all of you for your support of our efforts in the revitalization of Boston Harbor. 

The Boston Harbor Association’s Working Port Priority

The Boston Harbor Association is committed to preserving and promoting Boston Harbor as a Working Port. In the last five years, as Boston’s waterfront has become more inviting to the public, efforts have intensified to utilize land once dedicated solely to maritime uses for non-water dependent uses. Escalating real estate values continue to threaten the displacement of small businesses and maritime users from the waterfront in favor of non-water dependent residential, commercial and office uses. The Boston Harbor Association’s Board of Trustees has made the promotion and protection of the Working Port and Designated Port Areas in Boston a top priority.

Thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Managers of the Boston Port & Seamen’s Aid Society, The Boston Harbor Association is the leading advocate, together with the Society and the Massachusetts Port Authority, in promotion of Boston’s Working Port. As part of the initial effort, The Boston Harbor Association is working on the development of a coalition of maritime industrial and related users to promote the Working Port.

In June 2003, TBHA released its comprehensive Designated Port Area (DPA) study, entitled Inside the Working Port: A Study of Boston’s Designated Port Areas. This report is intended to provide a framework for discussions about current and future waterfront development. It also indicates the importance of marine industry to the Greater Boston region and highlights the necessity of further incentives to promotion of the Working Port. For a free copy of the DPA report, please contact The Boston Harbor Association at 617-482-1722.

Boston Harbor’s Working Port

Designated Port Areas were first created in 1978 by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management to encourage and promote maritime industrial interests. These unique waterfront locations boast characteristics such as deep-water access, established land transportation links, and a significant public utilities infrastructure. Four of the state’s eleven Designated Port Areas are found within Boston’s Working Port in Chelsea, East Boston, South Boston, and along the Mystic River.

Long the focus of New England’s trade and economy, Boston’s Working Port generates $8 billion in economic impact and provides 9,000 jobs annually. Current industries in the Port of Boston includes energy facilities, fish processing, automobile imports, cruise ship terminals, boat building, ship repair, and tugboat operations. Many of these industries have tremendous tradition and economic importance for Boston and the surrounding region. Massport’s Fish Pier in South Boston, the oldest continuously working fish pier in the country, is currently fully occupied, with twenty fish processors, admiralty law firms, seafood brokers, and a popular seafood restaurant. Between twelve and fifteen fishing boats dock at the Pier daily. The Fish Auction, held at 6:30 a.m. on days when fishing boats unload their catch, often sets fish prices for the New England area. More than 23 million pounds of fish are processed annually at the Fish Pier, of which 8 million arrive by fishing vessels which dock at the Pier.

Did you know that in 2002… 

  • More than 830 ships brought more than 17 million tons of cargo to the Port of Boston? 
  • Over 75,000 automobiles came by ship to the Port of Boston for the region?
  • More than 93 cruise ships and 200,000 passengers passed through the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal in South Boston? 
  • Boston was served by direct weekly outbound and inbound cargo service to Asia.
  • Top New England imports included beer & ale, wine, footwear, furniture, paper, plastic products, and fish. 
  • Top New England exports included scrap metal, waste paper, lumber, metal ware, medical equipment, and grocery products.

Chelsea Creek

Chelsea Creek is a critical component of Boston’s Working Port. The relatively small, 2.6-miles of waterfront is the entryway for nearly 70% of the fuel oil coming through Boston Harbor. The area provides storage for 100% of the jet fuel used at Boston’s Logan International Airport and is also the gateway for the road salt used by more nearly 200 communities in Massachusetts and the state-owned roadways. To accommodate these maritime-dependent industrial uses, much of the Chelsea Creek waterfront is in a Designated Port Area (DPA).

Beginning in 2001, The Boston Harbor Association helped to bring public attention to the maritime industrial uses along Chelsea Creek. At a Working Port Forum in 2001 and through free Chelsea Creek Cruises for the general public during the past two years, TBHA has successfully brought together diverse stakeholders to examine the complex issues surrounding the current and future uses of Chelsea Creek in order to create a balanced approach to planning processes. These stakeholders include harbor users, industry, citizens, environmentalists, community activists, developers and policy makers.

During Summer 2003, The Boston Harbor Association organized two free public boat cruises of Chelsea Creek and the Lower Mystic River. Over 225 attendees received unique waterside perspectives on these two waterways, highlighting maritime industrial uses and Boston’s newest Urban Wild. Guest speakers included representatives from maritime industry, energy, and open space and community organizations. To learn more similar opportunities in the future, please call TBHA at (617) 482-1722.

In addition to this public education effort, The Boston Harbor Association’s three-year old partnership with Eastern Salt Company, Inc., provided the only free trips for young people to leave from the Chelsea waterfront and travel directly to the Harbor Islands. Once on the water, participants learn about activities in Boston’s Port, basics of map use and navigation, and water quality issues. Chelsea Boys and Girls Club and the Chelsea YMCA participated in this year’s program.

The Chelsea Creek Action Group (CCAG), together with the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing and the Chelsea Green Space and Recreation Committee, has recently concluded a yearlong Visioning Process to discuss the future of Chelsea Creek. Community goals included requests for substantial open space additions and improved waterfront public access opportunities. Concerns included environmental conditions at current waterfront sites, increased local traffic, and the need for affordable housing. Additional information is available from the Chelsea Green Space and Recreational Committee at (617) 889-6080 or the Neighborhood of Affordable Housing at (617) 569-0059.


Events such as Superstorm Sandy highlight the growing relevance of climate change and draw attention to the importance of taking steps today to be prepared for the likely events of tomorrow.  Preparing for the Rising Tide provides policy makers, planners and property owners with site-specific examples of how to assess vulnerability and increase resilience to coastal flooding over time. 

Preparedness plans need to be robust enough to handle any future condition, and/or flexible enough to change over time to meet needs as they arise.  Ideally they include “no-regret” and co-benefit” solutions that extend beyond flood control goals.  Cost-effective preparedness plans will result in both “here and now” and “prepare and monitor” actions based on threshold triggers such as sea level rise.

Previous reports have described a range of large-scale adaptation strategies.  This report takes those recommendations and applies them to specific properties in Boston.  Some cities such as Seattle, WA and Charleston, SC are developing “floodable zones” that preserve the city’s access to its waterfront while minimizing damage when periodic flooding occurs.  This concept of “living with water” is an option to consider in Boston as well.