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Where to Fish This Summer in the New York Metro Area

Where to Fish This Summer in the New York Metro Area

These fishing spots are open—cast your line and have a great time with the family!

You've unburied your pole from the farthest reaches of the closet and psyched your kids up for digging up some worms. Now it's time to pick your perfect watering hole. Read on for state fishing regulations and prime spots throughout our region, and get ready to reel 'em in.


Where to Go Fishing in Brooklyn

Check out Prospect Park’s 55-acre, 7-foot deep lake, which offers a variety of warm-water fishing opportunities, including what is probably the best largemouth bass fishing in NYC, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation. You can also catch black crappie, yellow perch, chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed carp, and golden shiner. Fishing in Prospect Park is catch-and-release only, so anyone looking for a grilled bass dinner might want to choose a different spot. Barbed hooks and lead fishing weights are not allowed (use needle-nose pliers to flatten the barb). Littered fishing lines can entangle birds and other wildlife and result in injury or death, so fishers are asked to discard fishing line fragments and hooks in marked fishing line bins or trash cans. The Marilyn Jean is a 70-foot party fishing boat where crew members help passengers catch Striped Bass, Weakfish, Bluefish, Porgies, Blackfish, Ling, Cod, and more, depending on the season and time of day. The ship sails twice a week during peak season. You can also board the Sea Queen VII from Sheepshead Bay, an 85-foot, family-friendly fishing ship with a full-service galley and bathrooms. Bait is free!

Where to Go Fishing in Queens

If you're looking for largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, common carp, American eel, or yellow perch, the 8½-acre Kissena Lake might be your watering hole of choice. This fishing post is catch-and-release only. Don't be too surprised if someone reels in a turtle—the lake hosts a large population of the sea creatures, and they're infamous for taking almost any bait on the line. Barbed hooks and lead fishing weights are not allowed (use needle-nose pliers to flatten the barb).

Where to Go Fishing in Manhattan

Finding great fishing in the Big Apple seems unlikely, but the Harlem Meer offers an intimate setting for parent-child bonding at the north end of Central Park, though it’s currently closed due to the coronavirus. Other than the usual carp and largemouth bass, The Meer also houses chain pickerel, golden shiner, and a variety of sunfish. If you have a valid ID, but no fishing pole or supplies, a limited number of free bamboo poles are given out daily, along with corn kennels or dough balls for bait. 

Where to Go Fishing in Nassau County

One of Long Island's most popular beaches doubles as one of it's best fishing destinations. Jones Beach State Park not only has an area for surf fishing located on its West End, but it also boasts a bait shop, multiple saltwater fishing piers, and stations designed to organize fishing tours complete with boats and equipment. Although you should anticipate a possible fee to fish on top of the $8-$10 vehicle entrance fee in the summer, off-season fishing is free. Species at Jones Beach include flounder, striped bass, fluke, weakfish, porgy, sea bass, and blackfish. Want to fish later in the day? A special Night Fishing Permit is required for fishing after sunset. Captain Lou Fleet, which leaves from Freeport, is a 110-foot cruiser that will begin offering half-day fishing trips May 4.  

Where to Go Fishing in Suffolk County

For a day of fishing that spans sunrise to sunset, visit Blydenburgh County Park's Stump Pond. Freshwater species such as pumpkinseed sunfish, largemouth bass, and perch populate the water. Rowboat rentals are also available from mid-May to Labor Day, and hand-launching of personal boats is allowed when the park is open at the boat dock located at the south end of the lake. The fishing follows the New York State standards, so it’s catch-and-release only. 

Where to Go Fishing in Rockland County

For outdoorsy adventures mixed with a plethora of flora and fauna, make the trip to Piermont Pier and Marsh on the Hudson River. Although the river's striped bass tend to congregate more in the spring, visitors love to fish off the pier in the summer too—you can try your hand at catching blueback herring, white perch, and banded killifish. Boats, canoes, and kayaks can be rented if anyone wants to laze along the river while waiting for bites. Visitors who are unfamiliar with the area should head directly to Piermont Pier for the ultimate fishing opportunities. While taking in breathtaking views, visitors can enjoy a pleasant day sitting by the water, even if they aren't having any luck with the fish. 

Where to Go Fishing in Westchester County

If trout fishing tickles your fancy, head over to the Cross River Reservoir. Among the yellow perch, chain pickerel, and large and smallmouth bass, the reservoir offers prime brown trout fishing. The reservoir is stocked annually with more than 6,000 brown trout. It is common for anglers to even catch ones weighing more than 5 pounds. Anglers have success targeting browns trolling spoons or using sawbellies. Although boating constitutes the only other activity available at this site, the area boasts lush vegetation along the shoreline and remains a perfect spot for families looking to lay back and enjoy a quiet afternoon on the river.

Want the up-to-the-minute scoop on where the fish are biting and what types of fish you'll find where in New York? Check out the DEC's fishing hotline.

Where to Go Fishing in Fairfield County, CT

Drop a line in one of the largest manmade lakes in the United States (it’s 5,400 acres!). Candlewood Lake, which is surrounded by Brookfield, New Milford, Sherman, New Fairfield, and the city of Danbury, houses a large variety of fish, including small- and largemouth bass, crappie, perch, trout, carp, catfish, and rock bass. If you opt not to release the fish you've caught, be sure that you are not in violation of Connecticut's marine recreational fishing regulations


Staying Safe & Healthy While Fishing

As with any activity out of the home these days, it’s important to follow proper social distancing guidelines, and wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible. Another important health safety factor? Protecting yourself from the sun.

“Fishing is about spending time outdoors. And more often than not, most people enjoy fishing when the weather is nice and the sun is at its strongest. That puts many of America’s 50 million anglers at risk for skin cancer,” says Sam Economou, M.D., who leads Plastic Surgery Consultants, Ltd., a plastic and reconstructive surgery practice located in Edina, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. “The more time you spend outdoors fishing, the greater risk of exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation and sunburns.

Apply sunblock. Always apply sunblock lotion at least 30 minutes before going out into the sun, before you start to perspire, allowing the sunblock to soak into your skin. Apply sunblock lotion frequently throughout the day. Use a sunblock with a SPF rating of at least 30 an arms, legs, face and neck and a water-resistant SPF of 50 or higher on your nose and the top of your ears.

Wear a hat. The most susceptible place on your body for skin cancer is your head and face. Whether it’s sunny or cloudy out, at the very least, wear a cap with a front bill. Ideally wear a cap with both a front bill and a back bill to cover up the back of your neck. 

Use polarized UV-blocking sunglasses. Wear sunglasses to protect your retinas from harmful UV rays. Sunglasses that wrap around your face offer the best protection. Polarized lenses help cut the glare, help you see more fish, and protect your eyes from flying fishing lures.

Wear protective clothing. If you have a high risk or history of skin cancer you should look into protective clothing. Wear shirts and pants that are specially made to block the sun, and wick away moisture to keep you cool while out on the water. Look for shirts and pants that offer a UPF rating of at least 30, as recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, to protect against harmful UVA/UVB rays. Remember, UV rays are present even on cloudy days.

Avoid sunburns. Repeated sunburns over time can cause significant damage to your skin. That’s why it’s important to avoid them. Take extra care to prevent your kids from getting sunburned. Severe sunburns as a child are a leading risk factor in developing skin cancer as an adult. Sunburns happen though, despite our best intentions. If you do receive a severe sunburn, treat the sunburned area with an aloe-based lotion, take cool showers, and if you’re experiencing headaches, take a pain reliever.

Stay hydrated. To maintain healthy skin, don’t forget to stay hydrated while fishing by drinking plenty of water. When your skin dries out or is not hydrated properly, it’s more susceptible to sunburn and long term skin damage.

Getting a Fishing License in NY & CT

New York State Fishing Licenses

There are two types of licenses for fishing in New York:

Freshwater Anglers: Fishers ages 16 and older need a sporting license for freshwater fishing. Cost for NY residents are $5 for a 1-day fishing license; $12 for a 7-day fishing license; $25 for an annual fishing license ($5 if you’re 70 and older. Lifetime fishing licenses in New York, which are only available to residents, are $380 for children younger than 5; $525 for children ages 5-11; $765 for ages 12-69; and $65 for ages 70 and older.

Saltwater Anglers: Recreational marine fishing licenses are not needed in New York. Instead, those who wish to fish in salt water need to register for free at a Sporting License Issuing Agent.

For frequently asked questions, regularly updated info about fishing conditions, and license fees for nonresidents, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.

Connecticut Fishing Licenses

For fishing in Connecticut, three different licenses exist depending upon location (both are a must for any anglers 16 or older). 

Inland: Purchase an inland license if you'll be dropping a line in freshwater only. For residents, inland licenses are $14 ages 16-17; $28 ages 18-64; and free for anyone ages 65 and older.

Marine: Purchase a marine license if you’ll be fishing exclusively in saltwater (this license also covers those "landing marine fish or bait species in Connecticut from offshore waters"). For residents, marine licenses are $10 for Connecticut residents ages 16-64 and free for residents ages 65 and older.

All Waters: This is the one to buy if you’ll be fishing in both fresh and salt water (or if you just want to cover your bases). For Connecticut residents, all water licenses are $16 ages 16-17 and  $32 ages 18-64.

For more information (and license fees for nonresidents), visit the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection website.

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