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Fish River boasts fresh, saltwater inshore fare

The vast Mobile-Tensaw Delta may have the corner on notoriety in terms of outdoors activities, but when it comes to cool-weather fishing there is another spot in Alabama that deserves credit. Fish River lives up to its name in the fall and winter for anglers who love to catch the inshore saltwater species, as well as freshwater fish.

Fish River is a small, spring-fed, coastal river in Baldwin County with relatively deep water that runs into Weeks Bay, which flows into Mobile Bay at Viewpoint ramp.

The thing Jay Gunn, a biologist aide with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources&8217; Marine Resources Division and avid inshore angler, likes about Fish River is its size. Unlike the Delta, where an angler may have to search for days to find the fish, Fish River&8217;s dimensions makes it much easier to locate the target species.

The fare this time of year in Fish River include: speckled trout, white trout, flounder and redfish for the saltwater species. Saltwater striped bass are also caught in the river at times.

When Gunn and I backed his boat into the water at the Weeks Bay Reserve boat ramp at Highway 98, we didn&8217;t start catching fish right away. We had to do a little exploring before the first speckled trout was landed.

Unlike the summertime, when the fish can be especially finicky about what they&8217;ll hit, the fish in the fall are aggressive.

At times there are larger trout caught in the deep holes, but most of the fish this time of year will be from 12-18 inches long. Every trout under 14 inches must be immediately returned to the water.

After frying up a platter of trout fillets the night after our trip, I&8217;ll testify to that.

David Rainer is with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.