While Times Square, Broadway, and the Statue of Liberty are Big Apple mainstays, you may be surprised to hear that there are quite a few places in and around New York City where you can fish.
Manhattan may not have any blue-ribbon trout streams like Montana or world-class bass lakes like the Southeast, but it does offer plenty of places to chase that peaceful easy feeling that only fishing can provide.
Before going fishing, download this awesome map from I FISH NY, detailing the following fishing spots and many, many more.
Where to Go Fishing Near New York City
1. The Hudson River
- Location: Hudson River Park — 59th Street South to Battery Park on the Hudson River
- Fish: American eel, largemouth and smallmouth bass, striped bass, American shad, hickory shad, river herring, blue crab
- Highlights: Skyline views of Manhattan, easy access, kids’ programming available, no license required for blue crabbing
Perhaps the most apparent fishing destination in New York City is the Hudson River — making up the western border of Manhattan Island.
The river itself is filled with over 70 different types of fish, and within are a variety of game species that are regulated for catch-and-kill. There are various places to cast a rod into the river, making Hudson River Park hard to beat. This park stretches for 4.5 miles from 59th Street South to Battery Park in Manhattan. It’s also the second-largest green space on the island behind Central Park.
Also, if you’re interested in getting your family into fishing, the park’s estuary lab has programs designed specifically for kids.
2. Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Location: Brooklyn — on the east shore of the East River
- Fish: Many species, but bass and panfish are targeted
- Highlights: Easy access away from Manhattan, spectacular views, excellent green space
Brooklyn Bridge Park is located exactly where you would expect — nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn side of the East River. The park itself has more than a mile of Brooklyn’s waterfront on the East River and boasts spectacular views of New York Harbor, the city beyond, and the Brooklyn Bridge.
As for fishing, many different species call these waters home. Anglers are particularly keen to target striped and largemouth bass and a variety of panfish.
3. Crotona Park
- Location: The Bronx (adjacent to the Crotona Park East and Morrisania neighborhoods)
- Fish: Largemouth bass, bluegill, and pumpkinseed sunfish
- Highlights: Quiet location, plenty of places to cast, beautiful surrounding park space
Crotona Park is a great option for anglers looking to get out of the city’s busier parts and test their luck with the largemouth bass, bluegills, and pumpkinseed sunfish that call the 3-acre lake home.
The park itself is nearly 130 acres, and the lake has both a deck to cast off and a walking path that will lead you to many more secluded places to fish. As a bonus, Crotona Park is home to 28 different tree species, creating a surprisingly beautiful backdrop in an otherwise hectic city!
4. Kissena Park
- Location: Flushing neighborhood in Queens
- Fish: Bluegills, sunfish, black crappie, carp, and brown bullheads
- Highlights: Good variety of fish, very lush and green surroundings, beautiful park
Located in Queens, Kissena Park is a great escape for many New York citizens and is also home to Kissena Lake. The 8-acre freshwater lake is surrounded by so much beautiful vegetation that you’ll soon forget you’re in one of the world’s largest cities.
Fishing from shore is a great option, as the vegetation provides ample cover for all of the lake’s aquatic species. Anglers can expect to find bluegills, sunfish, black crappie, carp, and brown bullheads under the surface. Many turtles also call this lake home, though, so be careful when you set your hook!
5. Central Park
- Location: Central Park
- Fish: 9 different species including perch, bluegill, crappie, sunfish, bass, catfish, pickerel, and carp
- Highlights: Fishing and aquatic education programming available for kids, poles to borrow, three bodies of water to choose from, and it’s Central Park!
We would be remiss to discuss fishing in New York City and not mention Central Park. Since its opening in 1859, Central Park has been a favorite destination for New Yorkers and tourists alike, and it just so happens to be a great place to fish as well.
Anglers can cast into Central Park Lake, Pond, and Harlem Meer — the latter being preferred by many. The waters in Central Park support the most diverse array of freshwater fish in Manhattan — including yellow perch, bluegill, black crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish, chain pickerel, catfish, bass, carp, and more.
All fishing is catch-and-release, and the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center has poles to borrow and youth educational programming.
6. Fishing the Atlantic Salt
- Location: Popular spots for saltwater fishing include Sheepshead Bay, City Island in the Bronx, Montauk, and Great South Bay
- Fish: Striped bass, bluefish, fluke, black sea bass, blackfish, porgy, American eel, and many marine species
- Highlights: Who doesn’t love fishing the salt?
Folks known to fish the NYC salt are reporting growing opportunities for all sorts of big saltwater game fish, in addition to sighting the humpbacks that have been coming closer to the city as the water quality has increased.
Stripers and bluefish are hit-or-miss, but when they come in, prepare for a ton of fun and meat for your freezer. You can, of course, charter a boat and head into open water. But shore opportunities abound in various spots of the city and on Long Island. This map holds a ton of great options for fishing the salt, as well as many of the popular species you’re likely to catch with a little bit of effort.
Fishing Near New York City
People from all over the world travel to New York City for a variety of reasons. The food, the nightlife, the shows, the culture, the energy — no matter what the motivation, the Big Apple always has been and always will be a premier tourist destination.
Amidst all the hustle and bustle, you can find some familiar solace on the shores of any number of lakes and rivers in this urban metropolis. From first-time anglers looking to try their hand at fishing to lifetime enthusiasts looking for ways to keep the passion alive in an urban center, there are perhaps more places to cast a line than one would initially think in the city that never sleeps.
We’re not saying you must bring a fishing pole next time you visit NYC, but we are saying it may not be a terrible idea.