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Long Island, NY Fishing: Experience the Northeast's Best Fishing

Long Island, NY Fishing: Experience the Northeast's Best Fishing
Published: Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
Updated on: Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Long Island is the largest island adjacent to the contiguous United States, and it provides some of the best access to top fishing spots in the northeastern United States. Divided into four counties Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, Nassau, and Suffolk Long Island is densely populated, with over 7 million residents of various ethnic backgrounds. 

Most people refer to Nassau and Suffolk when talking about Long Island -- two of the country’s most expensive counties to live in. The North Shore of Long Island itself has a history of attracting the wealthy. Back in the Gilded Age, the rich and famous built luxurious estates in the area. It is no longer as wealthy as it used to be, but many of its grand estates remain and have been turned into cultural centers, parks, and golf courses.

The island itself is an easy day trip from New York City. It has fantastic fishing charters, vineyards, white sand beaches, and a thriving arts and culture scene. If you want a view of the ocean by the beach and want to try pier fishing, you should go to the Robert Moses State Park, a family-friendly destination filled with ample opportunities for fishing, a great view of the ocean, a golf course, and a trail that leads to the famous Fire Island Lighthouse.

Long Island was once called Paumanauke by its original native inhabitants. This name meant “a tribute to the sea” because of how rich its salt waters were. Surrounded by water on all sides, Long Island offers great opportunities to all sorts of fishing spots both inshore and offshore.

Long Island Fishing

With over 400 miles of coastline, Long Island is indeed a dream for saltwater anglers. The Atlantic Ocean bounds it in the east and south, so that should clue you in on how amazing it is for anglers. It offers a great variety of saltwater fishing opportunities: pier fishing, surf fishing, wade fishing, bay fishing, inshore fishing, and deep-sea fishing. You will find that its waters are home to a diverse variety of fish species because of its unique geographic location.

Long Island's freshwater fishing opportunities are also noteworthy, although under-appreciated. Long Island has over 500 lakes and ponds, after all, and they are well-stocked with largemouth bass, perch, trout, and even the occasional walleye

East Hampton, Suffolk, Long Island, NY
East Hampton, Suffolk, Long Island, NY

If you're going to pick one spot to fish on Long Island, it should be Montauk Point.  The self-proclaimed “Sport Fishing Capital of the Northeast” is located in East Hampton in Suffolk County. Montauk Point, or more specifically Montauk Point State Park, boasts the county's best surf fishing. It's known for its one-of-a-kind striped bass population and renowned blitzes. From here, you can get a glimpse of the Atlantic Ocean. Approaching the point, you will find various fishing hotspots such as the Turtle Cove, the Browns, False Bar, and North Bar, which are brimming with striped bass from spring until winter. 

The rest of Montauk is just as rich, and from here, you can access other fantastic fishing spots such as Block Island and Long Island Sound. Block Island itself is known for its trophy-striped bass, the population of which has exploded in recent years in the island. On the other hand, Long Island Sound is teeming with over 100 fish species, including striped bass, bluefish, and black sea bass.

Fire Island is yet another surf fishing haven on Long Island. Its 31-mile beach, plus its many access points to bays, inlets, and the Atlantic Ocean itself, means its waters are filled to the brim with many fish species, including striped bass, white marlin, lingcod, bluefin tuna, weakfish, bluefish, cod, blue shark, black sea bass, swordfish, sharks, and wahoo.

Bay fishing is a relaxing fishing alternative that you can try on Long Island. At Moriches Bay, you can target both flounder and fluke, of which there are plenty, especially during spring. In the Great South Bay, anglers can catch many fish species, including skates, bluefish, sand sharks, dogfish, and porgies.

"A beautiful giant black seabass" by king damus is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Giant black seabass

Offshore fishing is an exciting experience for anglers looking to cut their teeth in some deep-sea fishing. Inshore fishing is hot as well, and you can catch black sea bass, fluke, and blackfish off the Fishing Line Reef on the old McAllister Grounds just 3 miles south of Long Beach. 

Aside from saltwater fishing opportunities, Long Island is a freshwater fishing hotspot. Its biggest freshwater lake located in Western Suffolk, Lake Ronkonkoma, is a great place to start. It is notable for its irregular basin, which can get as deep as 65 feet, though most of the lake has less than 15 feet. To access the lake, anglers should head to Lake Ronkonkoma County Park because most of the lake shoreline is a beautiful scenic park. The lake is home to many freshwater species, including yellow and white perch, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass, carp, black crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and stocked walleye.

Head over to Nassau County’s Hempstead Lake State Park, where anglers can access several freshwater bodies, including the Hempstead Lake, South Pond, and McDonald Pond. While you can only go by boat on Hempstead Lake, you can try shore casting and wade fishing in South Pond, which is stocked with brown, rainbow, and brook trout during fall.

Long Island has a long list of fishing tournaments all year round. There are plenty of striper, fluke, and shark fishing tournaments every year.  The Freeport Hudson Anglers Shark Tournament is one of the island’s oldest shark tournaments regularly held in the Jones Inlet.  The Long Island Bassmasters are a premier bass fishing club that hosts annual freshwater bass fishing tournaments on the island. 


Top 10 Fish Species in Long Island, New York

The top 10 fish species you can catch in Long Island are striped bass, bluefish, black sea bass, winter flounder, summer flounder, mako sharks, thresher sharks, Spanish mackerel, blackfish, and Atlantic cod.

Long Island, NY Fishing: Experience the Northeast's Best Fishing Fish species
White Marlin 
White Marlin  fish

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 45 - 65 Pounds

Length: 50" - 118"

Walleye fish

Habitat: Lake, River

Weight: 1 - 10 Pounds

Length: 12" - 42"

Wahoo  fish

Habitat: Nearshore, Offshore, Reef

Weight: 15 - 35 Pounds

Length: 8" - 100"

Striped Bass
Striped Bass fish

Habitat: River, Lake, Onshore, Near shore

Weight: 10 - 81 Pounds

Length: 20" - 55"

White Weakfish
White Weakfish fish

Habitat: Offshore, Nearshore, Coral Reefs, Estuaries, Bays, Kelp Forests

Weight: 7 - 88 Pounds

Length: 28" - 65"

Blue Shark
Blue Shark fish

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 60 - 121 Pounds

Length: 72" - 157"

Bluefin Tuna 
Bluefin Tuna  fish

Habitat: Offshore

Weight: 200 - 600 Pounds

Length: 78" - 180"

Bluefish fish

Habitat: Nearshore, Onshore

Weight: 3 - 15 Pounds

Length: 15" - 51"

Long Island, New York Seasonal Fishing

Fishing in Long Island is fruitful all year round, particularly for fish species such as striped bass, sharks, Atlantic cod, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, weakfish, and flounder. Montauk has spring and fall runs of fish, particularly stripers, but the summer months also boast consistent fishing for huge bass. Fluke are plentiful throughout the year from spring to fall, and the black sea bass heats up sometime between June to August and then again around September towards the end of November. Be sure to check the regulations on all the top fish species as there are have specific open seasons for each.


Things to Do in Long Island, New York

1. Fishing Charters

"Summer day at Port Jefferson Long Island N.Y" by mhester is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Port Jefferson Long Island 

Long Island has many well-equipped fishing charters and party boats specializing in a variety of fishing techniques and species. Find the best fishing charters for striped bass, tuna, sharks, and black sea bass on Guidesly.

2. Beaches

Miles and miles of beaches with fine white sand and endless surfing opportunities — that’s what tourists can expect from Long Island. The island is certainly New York City’s favorite beach destination.

3. Golf

Long Island has several public golf courses that golfers of every level will find worthwhile and challenging. This great list includes the fantastic Bethpage State Park, where the renowned Black Course, designed by the famous architect A.W. Tillinghast, is located. 

4. History, Arts, and Culture

Long Island has a long and rich history that has given birth to a thriving arts and culture scene. Visit the so-called Gold Coast and walk through mansions that inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald to write The Great Gatsby, heritage sites from the Gilded Age and the Revolutionary War, and even art museums such as the Nassau County Museum of Art, where you can find works by pop artist Lichtenstein, the Heckscher Museum of Art where you’ll find works by Georgia O'Keeffe, and the Parrish Art Museum where there a few Pollocks and de Koonings as well as other works by both classic masters and contemporary artists.

5. Wineries, Breweries, and Vineyards

Long Island is home to over 60 breweries, wineries, and distilleries. And at the East End on the North Fork, you’ll find many of them, including the Long Island Wine Country, a community of 57 wine producers from the North Fork, South Fork, and Western Suffolk County. 


Top Long Island Beaches

1. Coopers Beach in Southampton

Considered one of America's best beaches, Coopers Beach boasts white sands and a unique vantage view of historic mansions from the Gilded Age. What’s even better about this beach is that it’s open to non-residents, unlike other beaches in the county.

2. Main Beach in East Hampton

Close to the downtown area of East Hampton, Main Beach may get crowded because of how accessible it is, but it does offer a great view of the Atlantic Ocean.

3. Orient Beach State Park

The Orient Beach State Park was named a National Natural Landmark in 1980 for its renowned natural beauty. It is a fantastic place for the entire family, with many water activities to choose from, including swimming, kayaking, and canoeing.

Fishing Techniques
Drift Fishing
Drift Fishing
Deep Sea Fishing
Deep Sea Fishing