Best Spots to Fish in New York City

The state of New York is a haven for anglers. With an extensive coastline for saltwater fishing and 7500 lakes and over 70,000 miles of river for freshwater fishing, there are options for every fishing style, level of skill, and taste.

Fortunately, getting to the best fishing does not require driving to the Catskills or Lake Ontario. Much of the top fishing in New York can be found in New York City, and is accessible via a subway ride or quick drive from wherever you live.

These top fishing spots are ideal for everyone from beginner fishermen to recreational anglers to professionals, and have plenty of variety to keep you fishing nearly every weekend of the year. Check out the list below for some of the best fishing spots in and around NYC.

Freshwater Fishing in NYC

The many ponds and lakes in parks around NYC provide no end of freshwater fishing options. Every borough has at least one body of water that is well stocked with a variety of fish. Favorite parks in each neighborhood include:

  • Central Park – The primary fishing spots within Central Park are Central Park Lake, located between 71st and 78th Streets, and Harlem Meer on the east side of Central Park between 106th and 110th Streets. Central Park Lake is 18 acres and Harlem Meer is approximately 9 acres. Together, they offer some of the most diverse fishing in NYC with bass, sunfish, carp, catfish, and perch. Central Park also offers programming for kids, including free rods for rent, giving you a great place to take younger anglers for their first trip out. The easy to get to location and opportunity to enjoy the other features that Central Park has makes this a top fishing spot for locals and tourists alike.
  • Prospect Park Lake – The south side of this park in Brooklyn has plenty of shady trees and several wetlands in which anglers can hook bluegill and largemouth bass.
  • Crotona Park – Located in the Bronx, Cortana Park contains more than 100 acres of park space and a 3 acre lake that has bluegill sunfish and largemouth bass. This park is known for being quieter and providing a more natural retreat from the busy city. Anglers there can cast from the deck along the lake or follow the path along the lake to find a more secluded location.
  • Kissena Park – Containing the 8.4 acre Kissena Lake and located in Queens, the lake has abundant carp, sunfish, and brown bullheads. It also has many turtles that you will want to avoid. The park has extensive trees for a well shaded and relaxing fishing experience.
  • Cloves Lake Park – This park in Staten Island has several different lakes and ponds to choose from for fishing as well as fitness facilities to complete your day out.

As with many of the parks in NYC, freshwater fishing in these locations is catch and release only. You will need to use a barbless hooks and return all fish to the water. Anglers 16 years and older will also need an NYC fishing license to cast their line.

Estuary Fishing in NYC

Hudson River Park offers some of the best fishing spots in NYC. The river itself contains over 70 different fish species including striped bass, largemouth bass, American shad, and river herring, blue crab, catfish, yellow perch, and more.

Some of these fish are catch and release, but many can be kept for eating in accordance with the Department of Environmental Conservation’s fishing regulations.

Because the Hudson River empties into the Atlantic, you can find many saltwater fish here at different times of the year either as they come up the river to lay eggs. Striped bass can bring out new and experienced anglers between April 1 and Number 30th for a chance to hook this trophy fish.

The Hudson River Park spans 4.5 miles, giving you many different spots to fish from, including options to get away from the crowd if you wish. Programs in Hudson Bay Park also include the RIver Project for kids that sometimes offers fishing events for kids and the Big City fishing program which offers free fishing on Sundays during the summer in certain areas of the park.

North of Hudson River Park is Riverside Park, also with Hudson River shorefront. Riverside Park offers fishing from Pier 1. The 715 foot Pier 1 is built atop an old wooden pier, creating a great hiding spot for fish. The pier has plenty of seats for relaxing while you wait for the fish to bite.

Another option is Brooklyn Bridge Park. Located at the confluence of the East River and Hudson River New York Harbor, this estuary contains several different species of fish. Most anglers come here for bass, bluegill, pumpkinseeds, yellow perch, and other panfish. The park has a little over a mile of waterfront from which you can cast your line, and while waiting for fish to bite, you will have a beautiful view of the NYC skyline and Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge Park also offers various fishing workshops throughout the year for adults and kids where you can get guidance on fishing from professional anglers. All equipment is also provided for a convenient day of fishing.

Saltwater Fishing Spots in NYC

The many beaches and coastal areas around NYC for great fishing. Different migratory fish in the Atlantic means that there is saltwater fish activity throughout the year and many opportunities to catch them at various spots around NYC.

The DEC considers many saltwater fish in NYC gamefish that you can catch and kill within the daily fishing limits.

There are multiple options for saltwater fishing around NYC. The varied coastline around NYC offers options for surf fishing, as well as casting your line from jetties, docks, piers, bridges, and rock formations to catch the many species of bottom feeding fish that collect in those areas.

The other option for saltwater fishing in NYC is to head out on a boat, giving you a chance for deep sea fishing and access to fish that live in offshore waters, all with less competition from other anglers.

Top Shore Fishing Locations in NYC

Many of the best shore fishing spots in NYC are only a quick walk from the subway, making it possible to spend an enjoyable morning or full day of fishing there. Favorite local spots include:

  • Sheepshead Bay – This fishing hotspot in Brooklyn is located just off the B and Q subway lines. The bays serves as a shelter for striped bass, fluke, and bluefish. In many years, you can hook stripers right in Sheepshead Bay. You can fish directly from the piers around Sheepshead Bay, or head out on one of the many fishing boats that dock there, such as Marilyn Jean, to get access for offshore fishing for blackfish, fluke, porgy, ling, and more.
  • Jamaica Bay – Jamaica Bay is an estuary and salt marsh so it has a wide variety of species that thrive in this unique environment, including menhaden, stripers, bluefish, fluke, and others. You can fish from many of the piers and beaches around Jamaica Bay.
  • Rockaway Beach – Bordering the eastern side of Jamaica Bay, the narrow strip of land that contains Rockaway Beach offers Atlantic shoreline and great spots for some of the area’s best saltwater shore fishing.
  • City Island – City Island offers saltwater fishing in the northern part of NYC in the Bronx. It is possible to catch fish from shore, or head out on one of the many boats that dock around the island.

With the expansive coastline around NYC, you have many options for fishing and a chance of a great catch from many different locations, especially as fish migrate throughout the year, whether you go to the local bays, estuary, and coastlines. Many anglers in the area will even have a favorite pier or stretch of shore from which they like to cast that provides dependable fishing.

But currents, weather, and seasons cause fish to move around, making it possible for many different shore fishing spots to offer prime fishing throughout the year.

Deep Sea and Offshore Fishing in NYC

Another option for saltwater fishing in NYC is to sail out to where the fish are. You will need a boat for any of these trips, but many companies around NYC offer fishing charters and public fishing excursions. Depending on the fish they are targeting, these trips can take you off shore in popular NYC fishing spots like Jamaica Bay, Rockaway Beach, and Sheepshead Bay, as well as to Coney Island, Sandy Hook, and other locations off the New Jersey coast.

Marilyn Jean Fishing is one of the most popular boats for saltwater fishing trips in NYC. We sail throughout the year to catch striped basslingcodflukeblackfishporgy, and a range of other fish.

The Marilyn Jean departs almost daily from Sheepshead Bay In Brooklyn with half day, full day, and evening trips. The convenient dock makes it easy to go saltwater fishing while still getting far enough offshore to get a more varied fishing experience.

Joining us for party boat fishing aboard the Marilyn Jean also gives you additional benefits when it comes to saltwater fishing. Whether you are a novice angler or a more experienced one, saltwater fishing generally requires extensive gear bait and a lot of luck to be able to find and catch fish. An experienced fishing charter boat captain can take you right to the heart of the action and put you over a school of fish to increase the chances that you will have success.

On the Marilyn Jean, we also include rods, reels, and bait with tackle available for purchase so you also do not have to invest in saltwater fishing rods and carry around fishing equipment if you prefer not to.

Another benefit to party boat fishing is that this is one of the only fishing experiences in NYC that does not require anglers over the age of 15 to have their own fishing license as our commercial license will cover you onboard the boat. This makes this a great option for first timers as well as visitors to NYC.

Best Fishing Trips Outside of NYC

While NYC offers fantastic fishing that can be reached via a subway ride, the rest of the state is also home to many great fishing experiences. These are some of the top places for those who want to get further away from the city and take a weekend or more to experience the great fishing in New York:

  • Catskill Mountains – The Catskills are known for fly fishing, although you will be able to find many different kinds of fishing available here. The drive can take just over 3 hours from NYC, so it is ideal for a long weekend to enjoy fishing and the other nature opportunities the Catskill Mountains have to offer
  • Montauk – Located at the eastern rip of Long Island, Montauk offers legendary saltwater fishing and the largest commercial and recreational fishing fleets in New York. The area also has an array of state parks, shops, and resorts to complete a weekend, all located approximately 3 hours from NYC.
  • Lake Ontario – Although a long drive of more than 6 hours, Lake Ontario is a great trip for the avid freshwater fishermen. This is one of the largest freshwater lakes In the world at over 200 miles long, and is a great spot to fish for coho salmon, steelhead trout, lake trout, and chinook, as well as bass and yellow perch.
  • Lake Champlain – Often cited as one of the best freshwater fishing locations in New York, this upstate lake is near the New York-Vermont border in the Adirondacks. The lake itself is a beautiful retreat and fishermen can often find salmon, trout, pike, and other freshwater fish.

Plan Your Next NYC Fishing Trip Today

With so many options for fishing around NYC, there is no end to the number of fishing experiences you can have in the area, whether you are an NYC local looking to try a new hobby, have been fishing for years and looking for new places to go, or a visitor wanting to take advantage of NYC’s fishing.

Finding the best fishing around the city can be as simple as packing up your rod, reel, and fishing license (or renting equipment when you get there) and finding a body of water to drop your line in. Or you can seek out impressive trophy fish and intense fishing action with a saltwater fishing trip in NYC aboard the Marilyn Jean.