NYC regularly draws visitors from all over the world to its sights, museums, theaters, corporations, and more. Another memorable experience in the city is fishing at the dozens of freshwater lakes and saltwater coastline for over 150 species of fish.
New York is home to hundreds of miles of coastline, 7500 lakes, and more than 70,000 miles of rivers, providing ample opportunities for even the most avid anglers. Fishing in NYC can be part of a larger vacation plan or you can fill your itinerary with fishing experiences throughout NYC and beyond.
This guide outlines some of the leading fishing excursions in NYC with options for every skill level, budget, and length of time.
Planning an NYC Fishing Vacation
Because there are so many different options for fishing in NYC, you have extensive options for customizing a dream fishing vacation. Your range of options can include a short trip for some freshwater fishing while you are in the city for a family vacation or work trip. Or you can turn your entire trip into a fishing vacation, filling your days and evenings with all of the best fishing and fishing related activities NYC has to offer.
Our list of top destinations for NYC visitors looking to plan a fishing vacation has options for several different kinds of fishing, including freshwater catch and release fishing, saltwater fishing, deep sea fishing, and fly fishing. Fishing season in NYC is best between April and October, but the variety of local fishing options means it is possible to find fishing throughout the year.
Professional anglers will find great opportunities for sport fishing, but we also suggest options that will work for families with children. Be sure to use some of the ideas from our guide when planning your next vacation focused around fishing in NYC.
Where to Fish in NYC
The good news is that, in NYC, almost any lake, pond, river, or coastline can provide an opportunity for fishing. Many of these spots are already extremely popular with NYC locals for the number and variety of fish, as well as the retreat they offer from a busy city.
For those who have not yet experienced fishing in NYC, many first timers are surprised by the vast number of parks and idyllic retreats located within each of the city’s five boroughs. If you want to fish within city limits, you have options for freshwater and saltwater fishing.
Top Freshwater Fishing Spots Around NYC
Freshwater fishing on your NYSC vacation is going to be more relaxing than other fishing styles. This makes it a great option if you need a break from a busy sightseeing or work schedule, at which point you can take your rod and reel to almost any of the city’s parks for a few hours of catch and release fishing.
Some favorite locations include:
- Harlem Meer in Central Park in Manhattan
- Crotona Park in the Bronx
- Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn
- Kissena Lake in Queens
- Clove Lake in Staten Island
NYC’s freshwater lakes and ponds are best for fishing between May and October when they will contain a large variety of fish including perch, largemouth, smallmouth bass, bluegills, carp, catfish, and more.
Fishing at all of these parks is catch and release only, and you will need to choose a barbless hook for easy release of fish. Also be sure that you follow up any posted directions regarding bait requirements and disposal of monofilament fishing line to minimize your ecological impact on native wildlife.
Estuary and Shore Saltwater Fishing
Depending on where you are visiting from, the oceans and rivers around NYC offer exciting fishing that is often not available in other parts of the country. Many of the saltwater fish in the area are migratory species that travel up and down the Atlantic coast and use local rivers, bays, and inlets during the fish spawning season.
The best NYC saltwater fishing locations for locals and tourists alike include:
- Hudson River Park and Riverside Park on the Hudson River.
- Brooklyn Bridge Park at the confluence of the Hudson River and East River
To fish from shore, try casting your line from the beaches, piers, and jetties in areas such as:
- Sheepshead Bay
- Jamaica Bay
- Rockaway Beach
- Coney Island
- City Island
In these locations, you can find saltwater fish species like striped bass, catfish, perch, walleye, largemouth bass, blue crab, American shad, and more than 70 other species of fish. You may keep a limited amount of certain fish species for eating per the NYC DEC guidelines if you have the means and desire to have to prepare your own fresh cooked fish while you are on vacation.
Boat Fishing in NYC
Fishing from a charter boat in NYC or party boat is one of the top experiences for visitors who love fishing. Marilyn Jean Fishing offers half day, full day, and evening trips departing from Sheepshead Bay year round and almost daily throughout the spring, summer, and fall.
Fishing aboard the Marilyn Jean is the top choice when you want to experience exciting fishing with an abundant catch. We provide rods, reels, and bait while you are aboard our fleet so you can travel light and leave your equipment at home.
We also take you directly to the best fishing locations, saving you time of having to look up fishing reports or try multiple locations to find good fishing. With our experienced captain and crew, we can put you right over the hotspots, giving you the potential to catch trophy striped bass, porgies, lingcod, blackfish, and fluke.
We are located in Brooklyn and our dock is easy to get to from wherever you are staying in NYC via subway or taxi. We offer walk-up tickets, but to secure your spot aboard during your vacation, we recommend purchasing your ticket online in advance for your intended sailing date.
Other Fishing Experiences Near NYC
Those who are most enthusiastic about fishing and are coming to NYC solely to fish, there are a number of experiences that you must try, in addition to deep sea on an NYC fishing boat. These excursions will take you out of the city a ways, and it may be best to plan them as a multi-day excursion on your NYC vacation. These locations include:
- Montauk – This resort town, located at the eastern tip of Long Island, offers many fishing opportunities for visitors. The town itself has long been known for its commercial and recreational fishing. Many of the resorts there will offer fishing trips to take you to some of the area’s top locations and the surrounding state parks are ideal for a fishing day trip.
- Catskills – Located north of NYC, the Catskill Mountains are a natural escape for New York City residents, but they are also a prime spot for fly fishing. Many visitors choose to stay locally in the Catskills for a few days to enjoy a wide range of fly fishing and bass fishing, as well as the beauty of the mountains.
With a thriving fishing scene, many locations around New York, both in the city and further away, will also have fishing events and festivals throughout the year. Many of these events are worth traveling to New York for on their own, but there are also options for heading up to an event that coincides with your time in the city.
NYC Fishing Vacation Ideas Off the Water
In a fishing town like NYC, your fishing experience does not have to end when you are away from the water. There are a range of other opportunities you can enjoy while on vacation.
Stock Up on Fishing Equipment
If you are going to be doing any fishing while in NYC that does not provide equipment, you will need to have your own rod and reel. Fortunately, there are several great bait and tackle shops throughout the city. They can supply what you need. Even if you did not bring your own gear, these different shops have the various equipment necessary for both freshwater and saltwater fishing.:
- Bernie’s Fishing and Tackle in Brooklyn
- Stella Morris Bait and Tackle in Brooklyn
- Urban Angler in Manhattan
- Corona Bait and Tackle in Queens
If you prefer not to bring or buy equipment while you are in NYC, be sure to stick to fishing experiences where rods and reels are provided, such as fishing aboard the Marilyn Jean, organizing a trip through a resort in Long Island, or finding places from which you can rent equipment.
For those traveling with children, there are several locations throughout the city that will rent rods to fish in local lakes and ponds, often with lessons included.
Learn About NYCs Fishing History
Situated on the Atlantic seaboard surrounded by many bays and the Long Island Sound, New York City has been a fishing hub from its earliest days with a large commercial fishing industry and thriving recreational fishing.
Learn more about the history of seafaring, shipping, and fishing around NYC at the South Street Seaport Museum in Manhattan. This local museum offers multiple exhibits and tours of historic ships and is appropriate for all ages.
Enjoy a Meal of Fresh Caught Fish
For those who like to eat fresh seafood as much as they like to fish for it, or for those in your party who like good food but do not have the patience for fishing, plan to enjoy the local seafood at some part of your trip.
Catching your own fish and cooking it can be a delightful experience, but it is not always possible or what you want to do while you are on vacation. Instead, try some of the local seafood restaurants around the city:
- Greenport Fish and Lobster – This moderately priced seafood restaurant in Brooklyn serves a range of imported and local fish. Enjoy fish and chips, fish tacos, and more, all prepared fresh.
- Johnny’s Famous Reef Restaurant – Located in the Bronx, Johnny’s has a cafeteria vibe where you can get almost any fish or shellfish friend. Johnny’s is more than 45 years old and a staple on City Island.
- The Fulton – In Manhattan, the Fulton is an option when you want a fancy night out on your NYC vacation. Many of these seafood selections use local fish from NYC and other fish from throughout the east coast.
With NYC as much of a restaurant mecca as it is a fishing destination, these are only a few of the popular restaurants. Fresh caught fish and a wide variety of restaurants ranging from world renowned chefs to decades old mom and pop restaurants, you have an option to fit every taste.
Regulations and Guidelines for Visitors Fishing in NYC
Before you pack your rod and head to NYC, you will want to be familiar with the various regulations regarding fishing.
All anglers 16 years or older need to have a fishing license for both saltwater and freshwater fishing anywhere in NYC. You can purchase these online for an affordable price and there are options for day long and week long licenses for the length of your vacation.
If you are planning to fish for saltwater fish and migratory fish, you will also need a marine fishing registration, which is free.
The exception to the licensure rules are fishing on free fishing days in NYC during which times you can fish in particular parks without a license, or on a boat such as the Marilyn Jean where you are covered under our commercial license.
If you want to keep fish you catch for eating, you should also familiarize yourself with DEC’s regulations that explain when, where, and how many fish you can keep.
Plan Your Next Fishing Trip in NYC
Locals and visitors love NYC for the nearly endless array of activities that they can enjoy in the city. This also means that many of the state’s best fishing opportunities are located in the city as well.
Whatever brings you to NYC, start planning now for a memorable fishing vacation. Learn what fish are active this time of year, search out some of the best local spots, book your tickets on the Marilyn Jean, and plan what equipment you need to pack or purchase to take advantage of as many fishing opportunities as you can in NYC.