Milford Harbor, CT - The Fisherman

Milford Harbor, CT

2018 4 Milford Harbor
Milford Harbor offers local anglers everything from shellfish to weakfish with ample shore access and a public boat ramp. (Photo courtesy of Navionics)

Milford Harbor, called “The Gulf,” is a square bay measuring one mile by one mile. It’s bounded by Gulf Beach and Welches Point to the northeast, Trumbull Beach and Silver Sands State Park to the north, and a half-mile-long tombolo (called “The Bar”) ending at Charles Island to the southwest. You can walk and fish the entire spit at low tide, but use extreme caution because strong currents rush over it at high tide and can sweep you into deeper water, especially on a full moon. Wear an inflatable life vest, particularly when casting at night. Expect striped bass, bluefish, flatfish, porgies and weakfish along the Bar.

The Gulf is plenty deep for motorboats, averaging 5 feet near shore to 20 feet a mile out. A channel, about 100 feet wide and 8 feet deep at its midpoint, runs into Milford Harbor. Unlike most harbors and bays to the east, there aren’t any rocks to worry about in the Gulf, which has a mud and sand bottom.

Milford Harbor isn’t the large bay (the Gulf) itself, but rather the mouth the lower end of the Wepawaug River, which is rimmed with marinas and one of the best menhaden hotspots in the Sound. At first and last light, the harbor is usually dimpled with bunker schools, and predators hang nearby. Swim a live bait for bluefish, stripers and weakfish here.

A wide peninsula bounds the east side of Milford Harbor, with Gulf Pond comprising the east-side tributary into the Gulf. Although no shellfishing is permitted in Gulf Pond, rod-and-reel fishing is allowed in this tidal preserve. It’s a favorite spot for kayakers pursuing schoolie stripers, snapper blues and menhaden. If shore-bound, you’ll have a shot at blues, bass, flatfish, weakfish and menhaden by casting from either side of the breakwalls at the harbor entrance.

To the southeast, Welches Point offers a cluster of tidal rocks, which break immediately southeast of the point, but the dangerous boulders are well inside Nun 2. A small, tide-swept reef runs south from the nun, and is a great place to anchor for porgies, blackfish and sea bass. Striped bass and bluefish are caught here by casting or drifting, especially during low light. Fishing the flood tide produces the most favorable current conditions due to the bottom contour.

On the southwest corner of the Gulf, boulders surround the 14-acre Charles Island, a nature preserve for nesting birds, but none protrude too far from its shoreline and all offer structure to work surface plugs or live eels during a high tide at low light. You can slowly work inside Buoy 1 on the east corner of the island to cast to the boulders and idle around the island. This structure is densely covered with buoyant rockweed, so be wary of hang-ups at low water.

A small reef protrudes from the south side of Charles Island, which ends just south of Buoy 16. Inside the bell is 11 to 16 feet deep, and a good spot to try for blackfish and porgies. You can also drift live bait, diamond jig or troll a tube-and-worm rig for bass and blues along the small rip where it rises from depths of 25 to 28 feet deep.

Inshore and just west of the Bar is an area that legally allows public oystering, one of the few such spots in Connecticut. Restrictions include using hand tools only, no trespassing on private property and a limit of a half bushel (about a 5-gallon bucket) per day. For more information, check the website.

Milford Town Dock launch is located near Milford Landing at the head of Milford Harbor. Daily and seasonal fees may apply to non-residents.



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