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Book Your Fishing Trip in Central Park, NY

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Complete your New York City experience by casting a line at Central Park. Most travelers probably have no idea that it is possible to fish without leaving Manhattan, but it’s entirely possible as long as you make your way towards Central Park, one of the country’s biggest and most visited public parks.

Built and opened in the late 1800s as a response to the city’s rapid urbanization, Central Park is one of the first American parks designed with landscape architecture in mind. This is evident in the diversity of the park’s terrain. The designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux envisioned the park as a tribute to the natural landscape on which the park was built, so within its grounds, you can experience grassy flats and slopes, glens, and even steep ravines. 

But that’s not all. The park offers a wide range of attractions and activities that you can easily spend more than a day exploring its grounds. It has its own zoo, art museum, and even an open-air theater. And not to mention its lakes and ponds. Not all are fishable, but the three that are open for anglers are well-stocked regularly and have proven to be a favorite not just for expert anglers but for beginners as well.

Fishing in Central Park: A Lovely Fishing Destination for the Whole Family

There are three freshwater bodies in Central Park that are open for anglers: the Harlem Meer, the Central Park Lake, and the Central Lake Pond. All three are great places to fly fish or tenkara fish. They are all stocked with largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, grass carp, pumpkinseed, golden shiner, catfish, chain pickerel, brown bullhead, and green sunfish, though the Harlem Meer seems to be the most popular among regulars who fish in the park.

The important thing to note about fishing in the park is that it is strictly catch-and-release and prohibits the use of barbs on hooks, lead sinkers, and overhead casting rods. Beginner anglers or children learning to fish can borrow bamboo poles at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center. This is also where you should also get your prescribed bait, as the park has strict regulations on the type of bait that can be used in the water bodies.

 Harlem Meer, the most popular of the water bodies, is located north of the Conservatory Garden. Just look for the lake surrounded by cypress, oak, ginkgo, and beech trees. This is where the youth fishing program happens starting spring and where you can have the best chances of catching largemouth bass.

Another big body of water worth checking out is Central Park Lake, sitting right at the heart of the park. Do note that it also gets crowded not just with anglers but with rental boats, though. It is quite a picturesque place to cast a line. But if you want to get away from the park crowd, your best bet is the Central Park Pond which is located on 102nd Street below street level. It may not be as big as the other two, but it’s a great place not just to fish but to bird watch as well.

Fish species
Brown Bullhead 
Brown Bullhead  fish

Habitat: Lake, River, Backwater

Weight: 1 - 5 Pounds

Length: 8" - 22"

Chain Pickerel
Chain Pickerel fish

Habitat: Lake, River, Pond, Bogs, Swamps

Weight: 3 - 5 Pounds

Length: 14" - 39"

Bluegill  fish

Habitat: Lake, Pond, River

Weight: 1 - 2 Pounds

Length: 6" - 16"

Largemouth Bass
Largemouth Bass fish

Habitat: Lake, Pond, Rivers

Weight: 2 - 22 Pounds

Length: 15" - 32"

Pack Your Itinerary with the Best of New York Right Inside Central Park

1. Be a Culture-vulture

Watch some Shakespeare in the park and then take a stroll like the fairies at the Shakespeare Garden, then fall in love with art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All three are possible inside Central Park.

2. See Nature and Wildlife in a Different Way

Watch the cherry blossoms in spring, or visit the animals at the Central Park Zoo. You can do all these on foot, or by joining one of the many diverse tours the park has to offer.