Re: this weekend and the Westport river
Hi there!! Are you fishing from a boat or from shore? I think high tide this weekend in the river is between 3am & 4am, so if this is your first trip in the river by boat and you're launching at 9pm, I'd wait until the tide comes in a bit before attempting the run up river. Near low tide like that, the river channel goes from about 6 feet deep to less than 12 inches deep very fast, and unless you know the channel like the back of your hand you'll run aground pretty quick if you try to go up river at low tide. If you have a chart, don't trust it, the channel changed a bit over the winter. Go by the buoys and follow them closely, something that's much easier to do in the day. Hitting the river for the first time, at night, near low tide probably isn’t the wisest thing to do. Most of the river bottom is mud or sand, but there are plenty of rock piles that will mess your prop up nicely enough to ruin an evening.
I would strongly recommend that, if you have a GPS, you hit the river at low tide during the day, and make a slow careful run from the Rt. 88 bridge to Hixbridge Landing, and from Rt. 88 bridge to the mouth, following the buoys and save those tracks in your GPS. That way even in the pitch black you'll have a path to follow that you know is fairly safe even at low tide,,,, at least until the next big rain when the sand bars move again.
Now,,,,, on to fishing. Because the vast majority of this small river system is so shallow, the water warms very fast on a sunny day, and stays warm well into the night. I've already seen water temps of 85 degrees in the river this spring, at night. Because of this, your best bet anywhere in the river for stripers this time of year, especially after a sunny day, is an early AM incoming tide. Let that warm water flush out of the river at night and the fish will come in the river on the cool water of the early morning tide. Granted there are some deeper holes that will hold fish most of the time, which I'll keep under my hat for now, but generally this rule applies to this river. If you're fishing in the early evening after a sunny day,,, good chance you'll get skunked or just be playing with ol' razor lips bluefish who don't seem to mind the warm water.
The FIRST thing I do when I get to the river, before I even unload the boat, is go down and check the water temp. If it's much more than 75 degrees, I go somewhere else, cooler water is too close by for nice bass to hang around in those temps. On an incoming early morning tide, I like to start near the mouth and follow the cooler water up the river. It’s amazing how that temperature break moves up river. You can be in 60 degree water at one place, and 15 feet upstream you’ll be in 75 or 80 degree water. That temp line is like a wall that our striped friends don’t usually like to go through. I like to troll eels or tube & worm on the cool side of this temp break as it goes up the river.
You can also do well working sluggos or other lures around the rock piles and along the edges of the channel. In the shallower sections when the water is cool enough, top water lures can be killer. The key to fishing this river is watching the water temps. Live eels would be my bait of choice right now, but drifting mackerel chunks around the rocks has been pretty good lately too.
And hey,,, if the water in the river is too warm for good fishing, the ocean is close by and there’s tons of good spots out there that I’ll guarantee you are holding good fish right now.
I’m fishing up north all day Saturday, but might hit the river or out front on Sunday night. Shoot me a PM if you plan to be out Sunday night and maybe we can hook up.