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Charles River

Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Charles River midpoint in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Charles River ends in Boston, Massachusetts.

81.46 miles long (131.10 kilometers)

3721690.40 miles (5989481.97 sq kilometers)

About The Charles River

Charles River is a River located in Suffolk County, MA. Starting in Hopkinton, MA the Charles River flows 42 miles through Wellesley, MA before ending in Boston, MA. Find maps, fishing guides, weather and recreation information at Guidesly.

 

About Charles River

Charles River is the longest river that remains entirely within Massachusetts, stretching more than 80 miles (130km) in the eastern portion of the U.S. state. It follows a winding course beginning at Teresa Road to the north of Echo Lake in Hopkinton until it divides Cambridge and Boston on the western side of Boston Harbor, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout its journey, it’s fed by around 80 streams and aquifers, traveling through 23 cities and towns. Despite its length, the distance from its headwater to its mouth is only 26 miles (42km) and only lowers in elevation by 350 feet (107m). The Charles River’s watershed covers more than 8,000 acres (3,237ha) of wetlands which are a protected area called the Natural Valley Storage, which hinder flooding downstream and create a rich ecosystem for wildlife to thrive in. The river has a dam located near its mouth, where the water creates a natural border between downtown Boston, Cambridge, and Charlestown. The well-known universities of Harvard, Brandeis, and Boston as well as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are all situated along the course of the Charles. This river was originally named Massachusett River by English explorer Captain John Smith after the Native American tribes inhabiting the area. However, King Charles I later changed this and named it after himself. Charles River was a victim of the rapid development of Boston as one of the first European settlements in the early 1600s and suffered from high concentrations of pollutants. However, organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency have been working since 1995 to reverse these effects and have successfully restored the river’s health to allow for a diverse ecosystem to thrive once again.

Charles River Fishing Description

All About Fishing in Charles River 

The Charles River has both freshwater fish and a few diadromous or migrating species. The resident fish include largemouth bass, golden shiner, yellow perch, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, black crappie, common carp, white sucker, chain pickerel, redfin pickerel, smallmouth bass, and pumpkinseed. The migrating fish, on the other hand, are river herrings (alewife and blueback), American shad, white perch, rainbow smelt, and striped bass. Several species of catfish are also present in the Charles, as well as the American eel. These fish co-exist within the system with more than 30 square miles (78 square km) of wetlands, which host a diverse mix of wildlife. Rare species of plants such as the laurel rhododendron, dragon’s-mouth, and river bulrush can be found here. It’s also common to spot beavers, great blue herons, and red-tailed hawks, and sometimes a rare blue-spotted salamander or spotted turtle will make an appearance. Underneath the river's surface, the abundance of minnows, crustaceans, and insects serve as food for smaller prey fish such as alewife herring, American shad, pumpkinseed, redfin pickerel, and black crappie. On the other hand, the larger species in the Charles such as striped bass, largemouth bass, and chain pickerel all prey upon the smaller fish although they may also feed on insects, clams, mussels, worms, and even small amphibians. 

To navigate this rich ecosystem,  you'll need a boat or a kayak to effectively anchor or troll on the Charles River. Anglers can try soft-plastic baits in different styles and colors such as creature baits, crayfish imitations, and ribbontail worms on a weighted hook to hook striped bass. Topwater baits are best used in the evenings for largemouths near the shoreline structures. On the other hand, bright-colored shallow-diving crankbaits and spinnerbaits are usually effective near downed trees while dark-colored jigs are better used along the many bridges and pilings. In deeper waters, spoons along with weighted and lipless crankbaits are more effective where the river's depth fluctuates. Some notable stretches and areas include Brighton to BU Bridge, Elliot Street Bridge, BU Boathouse, the Lower Basin, Massachusetts Avenue Bridge, the Museum of Science, and Charles Esplanade. Since the Charles River barely has any current, you can easily kayak down its waters or use a cruiser, but if you prefer you can cast your line from the banks of its long shores as well. 

Charles River Seasonal & Other Description

Fishing Seasonality

Local anglers agree that fishing is best in Charles River in the early morning before the sun hits its peak and in the evening unless the sky is overcast. The wider waters of the Lower Basin, especially along the bridge pilings that provide shade and ambush points for feeding, are often spots to look for. During the summer, the temperature of the water can easily get warmer than 80°F (26°C), so following the fish as they search for deeper water is best.  Anglers should search for underwater holes and ledges where depths can abruptly change, sometimes by as much as 30 feet (9m). Algal blooms can also occur during the warm summer months, blocking out light from the surface, so anglers typically avoid these areas and fish when the climate is cooler.  Fishing is typically best from April to June when striped bass fill the river as they feed on the arriving alewife herring which also coincides with the spawning season of American shad. However, if you’re after chain pickerel, they're available all-year-round for your angling pleasure.

Charles River Fishing Charters & Fishing Guides

address

Boston, MA

34ft - 6 guests

Starting as low as

$800

Temperature and Optimal Seasons

Fishing Seasonality

Local anglers agree that fishing is best in Charles River in the early morning before the sun hits its peak and in the evening unless the sky is overcast. The wider waters of the Lower Basin, especially along the bridge pilings that provide shade and ambush points for feeding, are often spots to look for. During the summer, the temperature of the water can easily get warmer than 80°F (26°C), so following the fish as they search for deeper water is best.  Anglers should search for underwater holes and ledges where depths can abruptly change, sometimes by as much as 30 feet (9m). Algal blooms can also occur during the warm summer months, blocking out light from the surface, so anglers typically avoid these areas and fish when the climate is cooler.  Fishing is typically best from April to June when striped bass fill the river as they feed on the arriving alewife herring which also coincides with the spawning season of American shad. However, if you’re after chain pickerel, they're available all-year-round for your angling pleasure.

Charles River Weather Forecast

Fri

77°F

Clouds

Highs

77

Feels 77

Winds

4mph

Humidity

63

03:04

05:36