How to Fish in NYC

How to Fish in NYC

Fishing is a unique outdoor experience. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should. Whatever your reasons behind trying it, it has some great health benefits. 

Being out on the water gets you a good dose of fresh air and vitamin D. Casting and reeling fish in can give you a bit of a muscle workout. It’s a great mix of sporting exercise and meditation. 

If you’re planning on doing some fishing around NYC but you aren’t sure where to go, what you need, or how to get started, you’re in luck! 

This is our complete guide on how to fish in NYC.

fishing gear

Image by TheDigitalWay from Pixabay.

Where to Fish 

There are plenty of opportunities for urban fishing in New York City, for both freshwater and saltwater fish. Harlem Meer is situated in the northeast corner of Central Park, and you’ll find many urban anglers catching fish here. 

If you’re in Brooklyn, head to Prospect Park where the warm water will have fish biting. Note that lead fishing weights and barbed hooks aren’t allowed here. For saltwater fishing, try Valentino Pier or Brooklyn Bridge Park. 

Those living in Queens will find plenty of shoreline to fish from at Baisley Pond Park, with a 28-acre lake. Anglers can visit Alley Pond Park, which is fed by a natural spring. Here you’ll also be able to enjoy the variety of birds and waterfowl in the area. For those who want to do some saltwater fishing, the best place is Broad Channel American Park.

To test your urban fishing skills, head to Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and fish the rocky shoreline. For freshwater fishing, try the flat grassy areas of Van Cortlandt Park. 

Staten Island has a great freshwater fishing spot at Clove Lakes Park. It also has an interesting history as being a water source for milling operations. Enjoy a sunny day out at Ocean Breeze Park, where you can do some saltwater fishing. 

Urban Fishing Gear 

When looking for fishing gear, make sure that it’ll all fit in a backpack. For a tackle box, you can use a plastic box that has dividers to keep your lures, hooks, swivels, weights, and needle-nose pliers in. 

Get an ultra-light fishing rod and small spinning reel so you can walk or cycle to your fishing spot. Use a monofilament line. The weight capacity would depend on the type of fish you want to catch. For urban fishing, you can get a line with a weight capacity between 6 and 20 pounds. Urban fishing will require smaller bait, like 6-inch finesse worms, pop-ups, or boilies. 

Anglers who are brave enough to face the cold can try ice fishing. However you’ll need to make sure that you layer your clothing to keep warm. You may need to get a pair of waterproof shoes that will insulate your feet from the cold, especially when you’re sitting on the ice. You can always pop in to Shoe Parlor and have a look at their outdoor shoes, as they’re bound to have a pair you can use on the ice. 

What Fish to Target 

If you're going to be freshwater fishing, you’ll be able to catch a wide variety of fish, like Largemouth Bass, Pumpkinseed, Bluegill, Yellow Perch, and Black Crappie. If you’re looking to catch a specific fish, like Perch, then Prospect Park would be your best bet. 

Harlem Meer would be a great spot for catching Bluegill and Largemouth Bass. If you want to catch the Common Carp, then you’ll find plenty of them at Baisley Pond Park. 

There’s also a variety of saltwater fish like Striped Bass, Sea Bass, Bluefish, and Flounder, to mention a few. If you're fishing at Ocean Breeze Park, there’s a good chance of you catching Striped Bass, Weakfish, or Bluefish. At Valentino Pier you’ll be able to catch fish that include Fluke, Bluefish, Weakfish, and Striped Bass. 

What You Need to Know 

In the state of New York, anyone 16 years or older has to have a freshwater fishing license, which you have to keep on you. When freshwater fishing in New York City, you’ll find that most areas are only catch-and-release, as well as only allowing barbless hooks. 

Most spots will also have specific fishing trash cans for you to dispose of fishing line or old hooks. 

Check the regulations regularly for any changes and updates to license information, on the DEC Fishing web page


fishing new york harbor

Solmaz Zohdi/Flickr.

Now that you know how to fish in NYC, it’s time to get out on the water and catch yourself some fish! 

Before you head out to a lake or river of your choosing, make sure you’re familiar with rules and regulations so you aren’t caught unaware. Also make sure that you and your fishing buddies or family members all have a valid fishing license. 

Just because you live in the city, it doesn’t mean you need to go far to find a tranquil outdoor spot to fish in NYC. Get yourself some gear, find the closest body of water, and cast your line! You may just find that you fall in love with it. 

About the Author

Kenneth Reaves is an outdoor guru who loves fishing. He has been exploring nature and having great fishing adventures since he was 5 years old. Currently, he is busy sharing his passion for exciting adventures and fishing to amateur anglers through his blog,

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