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Fish River in Baldwin County

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Fishing the Fish River, Baldwin County

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Fish River is coastal river that is located in southwest Baldwin County, Alabama. The entire 158 square mile of watershed is bounded between the communities of Stapleton on the north and Magnolia Springs to the south. Fish River is a major drainage of Weeks Bay, an estuarine embayment that ultimately drains into Mobile Bay. The Fish River is a tidal system with an average daily fluctuation of 1- to 1.5-feet. Its tidal nature also affects salinity levels that fluctuate substantially, from 0 to 25 ppt., depending on time of day and rainfall patterns.

kayakers on Fish River, AlabamaFish River is a small waterway with nine miles of navigable water that lies primarily between County Road 32 to the north and U.S. Highway 98 to the south. Two access ramps are available to accommodate anglers and boaters. One is located at the mouth of Fish River below the U.S. Highway 98 bridge, and the other is approximately 5 miles upstream off Honey Road and County Road 9, near the community of Marlow.

Anglers enjoy Fish River because it has a wide variety of fish species. Freshwater anglers have greater success in the upper portions of this river catching largemouth bass, bluegill, shellcracker, and black crappie. Bass anglers are most successful with small spinnerbaits, jighead grubs, and small plugs fished close to aquatic plants or structures off the stream bank. Bass in this river tend to be small and quite scrappy, though they can be caught in good numbers, especially during the spring and fall. Anglers should be aware of a fish consumption advisory for largemouth bass harvested from the Fish River. Please see the Alabama Department of Public Health website at: www.adph.org/tox/index.asp?ID=1360. Crickets are among the most popular baits for bream through the summer and crappie bite best on minnows in the early winter months. Some anglers also capture grass shrimp which is excellent live bait for all smaller freshwater and saltwater fish.

Because Fish River is estuarine in nature, it also has a seasonal variety of popular saltwater species, such as flounder, redfish, and speckled trout. These fish are usually caught using somewhat larger gear and baits. Flounder are best caught using live bait, such as a bull minnow, fished slowly on the bottom. Redfish and speckled trout are enticed to bite by using flashy spinnerbaits and soft plastic baits in a variety of colors and styles. Live shrimp fished under a popping cork are also very popular during winter and spring months.

With its small watershed, the Fish River tends to fluctuate wildly after a rainfall event. Consult the United State Geological Service water level gage for current water levels on this river, which is available online at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/al/nwis/uv/?site_no=02378500&PARAmeter_cd=00065,00060 Other information about the watershed can be found on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency site online at: http://cfpub.epa.gov/surf/huc.cfm?huc_code=03160205 For more information about research, education, and recreation in the Fish River area, contact the Weeks By National Estuarine Research Reserve at: http://www.outdooralabama.com/public-lands/stateLands/WeeksBay/

Links (disclaimer):

Fishing license information may be found at: Licenses. Instant licensing is available via Internet (2% fee) or telephone 1-888-848-6887 ($3.95 fee). Youth age 15 and younger fish for free. Alabama residents age 65 or older are not required to purchase a fishing license.
Fishing limits and regulations can be found at our website: www.outdooralabama.com/fishing/freshwater/regulations/ for freshwater fish and for saltwater fish.

The Fish River has been determined to be navigable in Baldwin County at Township 3S, Range 3E, Section 32 and all downstream of there. Upstream of there, the land on the bottom of the stream and land adjacent to the stream may be privately owned, and permission must be obtained from the landowner prior to crossing or wading these areas. Limited access can be obtained from county road bridge right-of-ways crossing Fish River.

The US Geological Survey gives water discharge estimates and gage heights.

Also see David Rainer's article from 2007, www.outdooralabama.com/oaonline/fishriver07.cfm

If you have any questions about fishing opportunities on Fish River, please contact the District V Fisheries Section's Office in Spanish Fort at 251-626-5153.

Fish River Cowpen Creek and Polecat Creek have fish consumption advisories. The Alabama Department of Public Health posts information about their f ish consumption advisory at their Web site, www.adph.org. Consumption advisory information is found in "A-Z Contents" under "Fish Consumption Advisories."

It shall be unlawful to intentionally stock or release any fish, mussel, snail, crayfish or their embryos including bait fish into the public waters of Alabama under the jurisdiction of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries as provided in Rule 220-2-.42 except those waters from which it came without the written permission of a designated employee of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources authorized by the Director of the Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries to issue such permit. The provisions of this rule shall not apply to the incidental release of bait into the water during the normal process of fishing.


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Prepared by: Fisheries Section, Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. This site is presented for information only the Fisheries Section cannot be responsible for the quality of information or services offered through linked sites, disclaimer. To have your site included, send your URL, email address, or telephone number to the Fisheries Web Master, doug.darr@dcnr.alabama.gov. The Fisheries Section reserves the right to select sites based on relevant and appropriate content of interest to our viewers. If you discover errors in the content or links of this page, please contact Doug Darr. Thank you.

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