C-MAP Featured Hotspot: Deer Island

Deer Island is a peninsula that marks the northern edge of Boston Harbor. It is the location of the Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant, whose 150-foot-tall egg-like sludge digesters are major harbor landmarks.

Deer Island hi-res bathymetric map

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Since 1996, it is part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Two-thirds of the island’s area is taken up with the waste water plant, while the remainder of the island is park land surrounding the treatment plant, and offers excellent shore fishing opportunities.

For boat fishermen, the waters around Deer Island are loaded with structure in the form of flats, drop-offs, current-swept coves and a significant tidal rip.

Deer Island hi-res vector map

Use your electronics to locate areas of consistent depth that are holding flounder.
Click on map for custom hi-res vector map provided by C-MAP

On the south/west side of Deer Island, the Deer Island Flats (A) are a vast area popular with flounder fishermen who drift the area with seaworms and clams on flounder rigs from May through June. Use your electronics to locate areas of consistent depth that are holding flounder. The edges of the flats can also hold schools of stripers and bluefish, and blitzes often erupt in the fall when bait begins moving out of the inshore waters between Winthrop and Logan Airport.

Deer Island hi-res 3D map

Deer Island Light is a good spot to cast for bass and bluefish at first light.
Click on map for custom hi-res 3D map provided by C-MAP

At the tip of Deer Island is Deer Island Light (B), a good spot to cast for bass and bluefish at first light. A significant current rip sets up here. It can be a difficult spot to fish, but it has produced many big bass over the years, especially to nighttime fishermen who swing big plugs or live eels in to the rip.

Deer Island hi-res custom map

Use your chartplotter to locate the deeper area in the middle of the bar, which often holds bass on a moving current either side of high tide.
Click on map for custom hi-res custom map provided by C-MAP

On the north/east side of Deer Island is the famed fishing grounds of Great Faun Bar (C). This is a popular area for striper fishing. Use your chartplotter to locate the deeper area in the middle of the bar, which often holds bass on a moving current either side of high tide. The tip of the bar, to the south of the “6A” buoy, is another striper hotspot. The area is popular with anglers who troll tube-and-worm rigs along the Bar and along the shore back toward Winthrop.

  1. kb

    Any word on this place for small boat anglers? I have a 16ft starcraft/20hp and curious if this is a practical spot on a nice day.

    Reply
    • Kevin Blinkoff

      Definitely, just use caution as there are strong tides and large ships that move through the channel into the Harbor. The inside of Deer Island, from the Flats to Snake Island, is a protected area and a great place for a small boat. It’s popular with kayakers too.

      Reply
    • Sean

      I fish here in a 14 ft Starcraft with an 8 hp. It is a great spot for a small boat. If you are out at first light and off early you can easily fish the flats and around the point to Faun bar. Surprisingly it is often calmer on the ocean side than the harbor. Just watch the weather and get back in before the weekend brigade arrives.

      Reply
    • scott

      red white and blue near 5 sister winthrop slaming 50 inch striper 10 feet of water live mack

      Reply
  2. SmoothC

    I fished that area in my 15 foot whaler for years, stripers and flounder, made the trip from Hull, no problem, caution when crossing channels. And there are rocks around the faun bar.

    Reply
  3. t carm

    Any tips on where to launch on all tides to get to Deer Island with a twenty ft boat? Parks or parking?

    Reply
  4. fishnphreak

    I basically have the same question as t carm as I have never fished this area. I’m usually on the Cape. Where is the best place to launch a 16-19ft trailered boat?

    Reply
    • Ted

      Charlestown has public boat ramp up the inlet past Mystic Fuel (by the new Spaulding Rehab building), plenty of trailer parking area. Check the tides, low tide is no-go. Also, the Super-Duck Boats use that ramp every 15 minutes in season, so you gotta be quick.

      Reply
  5. fishnphreak

    Another question. About flounder fishing. those Deer I. flats appear to be at 15 ft. then drop off to 40 feet and cover a large area. If one were to be flounder fishing in June, would the flounders more likely be in the 15 ft. area or 40 ft. area?

    Reply
  6. Capt. Ron Murphy

    This brought back fond memories of my Dad and I anchored up at night inside the Deer Island light rip back in the 50’s. At that time Deer Island was the home of a military installation, Ft. Dawes as well as an underground radar installation where my dad worked.

    Reply
  7. Crappieman

    Thanks for all the questions/comments on fishing this area with around a 16ft trailered boat. I was planning a trip here and have the same concerns kb and fishnphreak had. I’ve got a 16.5′ Alumacraft with a 20hp 4 stroke Mercury.

    Reply

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