Fishing
Photograph: Shutterstock

The best spots for fishing NY families love

From catach-and-release in city parks to fishing off the piers, these are the best kid-friendly fishing spots in NYC.

By Oliver Strand
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There's nothing like a little quality time with the kiddos at one of the best spots for fishing NY families love the most. Our list includes all of the Big Apple's family-friendly spots, from catch-and-release freshwater ponds and lakes in city parks, to the waterfront piers that draw serious anglers from all five boroughs.

Many are in the best parks for kids in NYC, which means you're a short walk away from the best kids' playgrounds NYC families need to visit!

Fishing is a great way to spend time outdoors with the fam. Along with exploring the best hiking trails for NYC families and the best bike trails for families in NYC. Note that Fishing is regulated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and anybody 16 and older must have a fishing license—even in Central Park or Prospect Park. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the rules at I FISH NY before heading out!

Best NY Fishing

Harlem Meer in Central Park
Harlem Meer in Central Park
Photograph: Courtesy Central Park Conservancy

1. Harlem Meer, Central Park

NOTE: THE CATCH-AND-RELEASE PROGRAM AT THE HARLEM MEER IN CENTRAL PARK IS CURRENTLY ON PAUSE

The Harlem Meer in Central Park is the perfect place for your little one to get their feet wet, so to speak. Not only is the shallow pond is stocked with fish, there are playgrounds, ballfields and bike trails close by. You can work a little catch-and-release into a fun-filled day in the park.

Prospect Park
Prospect Park
Photograph: Prospect Park Alliance

2. Prospect Park Lake, Prospect Park

Home to largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill sunfish and more, Prospect Park Lake is a perfect first-time experience for catch-and-release fishing. The lake might be in one of the city’s great urban parks, but it can feel wild—a taste of nature in the middle of Brooklyn.

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creditmathewsnielson[3].jpg
creditmathewsnielson[3].jpg
Photograph: Mathews Nielson

3. Hudson River Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Chelsea

NOTE: THE BIG CITY FISHING PROGRAM IS ON PAUSE FOR 2020

Anybody who has wandered along Hudson River Park has seen anglers out on the piers trying to catch the fish that call the Hudson River Home. That’s because the fishing is good, and the location couldn’t be more pleasant: You have gorgeous river views, plus all the amenities of the park.

Concrete Plant Park, the Bronx, 2009
Concrete Plant Park, the Bronx, 2009
http://bronxriver.org/?pg=content&p=getinvolved&m1=40

4. Bronx River Greenway

The Bronx River Greenway has a dedicated community of anglers who fish at Hunts Point Riverside Park, Soundview Park and Concrete Plant Park. It’s strictly catch-and-release: The Bronx River is the cleanest its been in decades, but it’s best to play it safe.

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Willowbrook Park
Willowbrook Park
Photograph: Courtesy NYC Parks

5. Willowbrook Park

Sports and fitness Staten Island

The 215-acre Willowbrook Park in Staten Island is best-known for the Carousel for All Children, a Victorian-era merry-go-round with sideshow-style painted panels of island legends. It also has excellent catch-and-release fishing in Willowbrook Lake, one of the highlights of the Staten Island Greenbelt. 

Gantry Plaza State Park
Gantry Plaza State Park
Photograph: Beth Levendis

6. Gantry Plaza State Park

Attractions Parks and gardens Long Island City

Besides the spectacular views of Manhattan and the East River, this 12-acre Long Island City spot boasts an interesting piece of history. The manicured waterfront stretch is built around restored gantries, which were formerly used for loading and unloading barges. Not only is it one of the city’s nicest parks (with one of the best and playgrounds!), it's also home to excellent saltwater fishing. You can even make a maritime day of it, and arrive by NYC Ferry.

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Van Cortlandt Park
Van Cortlandt Park
Photograph: Courtesy NYC Parks

7. Van Cortlandt Park

Attractions Parks and gardens The Bronx

The 18-acre Van Cortlandt Lake in Van Cortlandt Park is home to yellow perch, brown bullheads, largemouth bass, black crappie and carp. It’s strictly catch-and-release. The freshwater lake has a shoreline that includes flat grassy banks that makes access easy for the little ones.

Red Hook Open Studios
Red Hook Open Studios
Photograph: Courtesy Red Hook Open Studios

8. Red Hook Waterfront

The Red Hook waterfront is known for its fishing, with anglers heading to Columbia Street Esplanade, the IKEA Quay, and Valentino Pier, at the end of Coffey Street. Bonus: You're just steps away from the $1 sticky buns or soft-serve ice cream at IKEA.

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Queensbridge Park
Queensbridge Park
Photograph: Courtesy NYC Parks

9. Queensbridge Park

Things to do Long Island City

The promenade under the Queensboro Bridge has excellent fishing—anglers like how the tides run along the shore. Fish not biting? No problem! There are grass ballfields and playgrounds to entertain the kids.

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