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Fishing
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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.

Written 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

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.

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  • 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.

Bronx River Greenway
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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  • 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. 

  • 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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  • Parks and gardens
  • The Bronx
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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 Waterfront
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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