Central Park provides an oasis for fishing enthusiasts despite the hustle and bustle of taxis, tourists, and traffic. Visitors are welcome to fish the Harlem Meer for pumpkinseed and bluegill sunfish as well as chain pickerel and largemouth bass; free pole rental is provided by The Conservancy’s Charles A. Dana Discovery Center to facilitate catch-and-release fishing at this unique venue.
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I FISH NY
New York State offers world-class fishing opportunities, featuring 7,500 lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, 70,000 miles of waterways, and coastline. I FISH NY promotes these opportunities throughout the state by encouraging people to go fishing or learn how to fish – this program forms part of Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing initiative.
I FISH NY provides educators with various educational resources, such as lessons for formal (in-classroom) and informal (out-of-classroom) classrooms aligned with state standards. These lessons allow participants to explore topics relating to fishing, aquatic science, and the environment.
I FISH NY also provides free fishing equipment and instruction through its library lending program – providing beginner anglers an ideal opportunity to try the sport before committing to buying their gear. Donations help support this worthwhile program!
I FISH NY offers online educational resources for people interested in fishing and aquatic science, with lessons suitable for formal and informal classroom settings ideal for grades K-12. Furthermore, its website hosts the Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing, available for download.
Parks across NYC provide various fishing opportunities. Some are ideal for family outings, while others allow anglers to fish alone in tranquility. Here are a few great spots for both scenarios:
Harlem Meer (“meer” in Dutch means “lake”) is a picturesque water body in Central Park’s northeast corner, just north of Conservatory Garden and near North Woods. Its rocky bluffs and wild shoreline provide a tranquil sanctuary from the city’s bustle. Home to an adorable little boathouse and picnicking, swimming, bird-watching, fishing, etc, The Harlem Meer is a vibrant destination.
Olmsted and Vaux’s original design for Central Park extended beyond 106th Street, thus expanding its boundaries further. Its location was chosen for practical reasons because it already featured a low-lying, semi-brackish wetland that gradually drains into the East River; plus, it divides Harlem from Manhattan and provides an escape for residents and visitors.
Visitors of the Meer will discover it an excellent spot for taking leisurely walks along its path-lined banks, picnicking, and relaxing under its many benches in the sun. Birdwatchers will delight at finding that it serves as a bird sanctuary; plus, it provides prime viewing of ducks and geese!
Fishing is another activity popular at the Meer, with fishing poles available to rent from the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center on its northern shore. A picture ID and instructions will be required. In the summertime, visitors can also experience family-friendly pumpkin flotas. Furthermore, late June through September sees a seasonal performance festival on the grounds.
The Meer is a catch-and-release fishery where bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, and largemouth bass are the most prevalent species. The ideal times to fish here are early morning or late afternoon; barbless hooks should be preferred since they rust faster and dissolve quicker, leading to fewer injuries among fish.
Dana Discovery Center
Dana Discovery Center is located at Central Park’s northern end, adjacent to Harlem Meer. This environmental education and visitor center was named in honor of Charles A. Dana, editor of The New York Tribune and mediator between General Grant and Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War. Featuring various workshops and community programs throughout the year for children and lending out fishing poles for catch-and-release fun in Harlem Meer during fishing season – it makes an ideal spot for learning while having fun outdoors in NYC!
The Discovery Center is home to many of the Conservancy’s free family and community programs, exhibits, and holiday celebrations. Visitors may explore its historic map collection or enjoy outdoor lawn games such as croquet or volleyball on its lawns. Additionally, its Great Hall hosts seasonal exhibits, often in collaboration with City cultural institutions.
The Center provides free, family-friendly outdoor performances in the summertime at its plaza near the Meer. Fishing poles for children aged six or above with photo ID can also be borrowed here, along with Discovery Kits that include binoculars, field guides, pencils, sketch paper, and more to aid your park explorations. There are also opportunities for teens and adults to help clean up our parks!
The Dana Discovery Center has been featured on television and radio programs and reviewed by national publications like USA Today and Travel + Leisure. Families and school groups alike can enjoy discovering the natural features of Upper Park and Harlem Meer at this center, open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. For more information, visit its website.
In the 19th century, Americans didn’t require fishing licenses to enjoy themselves on the waters. People quickly took their poles and bait to any nearby body of water and pulled trout, bass, or walleye out until their hearts’ content. Unfortunately, as populations increased rapidly, overfishing people started dwindling rapidly, resulting in state governments mandating recreational fishermen purchase fishing licenses to ensure native species’ survival.
New York boasts more than 7,500 lakes, ponds, and 70,000 miles of streams and rivers where freshwater fishing can be enjoyed. The Hudson River boasts smallmouth bass, while Lake Erie boasts brook trout. Central Park and Prospect Park provide fantastic freshwater fishing opportunities like New York City’s public piers.
Fishing in New York State waters requires a valid fishing license from freshwater and saltwater environments unless exempt, which you can purchase online through the Department of Environmental Conservation website. There are different kinds of claims depending on residency, age, and other considerations – special regulations exist for certain types of fish species or bodies of water; you must familiarize yourself with all rules before heading out fishing!
An appropriate fishing license permits you to take freshwater fish by angling, spearing, hooking, using longbows and tip-ups, and collecting certain baitfish species. Furthermore, it entitles you to assist others in fishing and participate in free fishing days. Residents can purchase one-day licenses at $5 each or an annual fishing permit at $70, while non-residents will incur higher fees.
Licenses may be obtained through the Department of Environmental Conservation or from licensed fishing equipment vendors or sports retail stores. Online ordering through DEC’s website for an added fee also offers convenience – this website also outlines rules and regulations specific to each area within the state.
New York offers hunting and trapping licenses as an alternative to fishing licenses, and to qualify, you must provide proof of New York residence and pass both written and field test exams. Full-time students may also apply by providing their current school ID and an official statement from either their institution’s registrar or financial officer.