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Everything you need to know about fishing in NYC

Yes, you can fish in NYC and some of us can even eat our trophy fish. So get your rod and reel ready and take to the water!

Where can I fish in NYC?

Fishing is popular all over the city, from
Photo Credit: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Fishing is popular all over the city, from freshwater rivers and ponds to the East and Hudson rivers to Jamaica Bay.

Some popular ponds:

Baisley Pond in Baisley Pond Park, Jamaica, Queens (pictured)

Central Park Lake

Indian Lake in Crotona Park, Tremont, Bronx

Prospect Park Lake, Brooklyn

Clove Lake, Staten Island

To see more freshwater fishing locations, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.

To know: All ponds in NYC parks are catch and release.

Saltwater fishing

New Yorkers can fish from certain piers along both the East and Hudson rivers, as well as in the Rockaways and other open ocean areas. This guide from the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation shows on a map each place to fish in each borough.

To know: Saltwater fishing regulations in NYC are not catch and release, but what you can keep varies depending on the species. The fishing limits are updated regularly and can be found at dec.ny.gov.

Find fishing locations via Google Earth or download the DEC Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife App.

What will I catch?

What you might catch will depend on where
Photo Credit: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

What you might catch will depend on where you get your line wet. Melissa Cohen, Regional Fisheries Manager at the state Dept. of Environmental Conservation, briefed us on the most common fish found in city waters:

In freshwater: large-mouth bass, two types of sunfish (blue gill, pumpkinseed), catfish and yellow perch.

In saltwater: striped bass (pictured), bluefish, weakfish, blackfish, porgy (scup), black sea bass, winter flounder, summer flounder (fluke), striped sea robin, American eel and spiny dogfish.

Can I eat what I catch?

Well, it depends. The New York State Department
Photo Credit: FLICKR/ jpellgen

Well, it depends.

The New York State Department of Health has an extensive list, which is updated often, by body of water and type of fish. In general, women under 50 (of childbirthing age and who plan to give birth) and children under 15 are advised not to eat most of the fish caught in city waters, while men over 15 and women over 50 are permitted.

Do I need a permit?

Yes, though there are different regulations for freshwater
Photo Credit: FLICKR/ atomicity

Yes, though there are different regulations for freshwater and saltwater fishing.

If you want to fish in the East or Hudson rivers, or any saltwater fishing spot in the city, you must register in the Recreational Marine Fishing Registry. (Exceptions: You're on a chartered fishing boat or you are already registered to fish in marine waters in Connecticut or Rhode Island. Also, different permits/ licenses are required for shellfishing. More info at dec.ny.gov/permits. It is free to register and you have to renew after 1 year.

Want to fish in lakes and ponds and freshwater rivers? You need a fishing license. An annual license is $25 for a resident, $5 for a resident over 70 and $50 for a non-resident. 7-day and 1-day licenses are also available. Find locations and more info at dec.ny.gov/permits.

How can I learn how to fish in NYC?

The state DEC and its I FISH NY
Photo Credit: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The state DEC and its I FISH NY program have made teaching New Yorkers to fish a priority in recent years.

"It's really exciting when I see people being surprised that there's actual fish in the water, and they really do look surprised when they see fish!" said Melissa Cohen of the DEC. They say " 'I never knew there were fish in there!' "

The I FISH NY program focuses specifically on NYC residents and provides free fishing programs for schools, social service organizations, summer camps and the general public. Equipment, bait and instruction are included. For a list of upcoming free fishing clinics, check the dec.ny.gov/outdoor site.

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