Fishing in Central Park

Fishing at The Lake
Fishing at The Lake – Photo: Geff Rossi

Believe it or not, you can fish in Central Park in a number of places. The best fishing in the park is at Harlem Meer on the North East corner of the park. During operating hours, 10am to 3pm (1pm on Sunday), they will even provide you with a free pole and bait. Below we’ve included a map of all locations where fishing is permitted. It is important to know that you may not fish in The Resevoir or Turtle Pond.


Harlem Meer

This eleven acre lake contains over 50,000 fish including carp, golden shiners, large mouth bass, chain pickerel, and shiners. It’s also the most fisher friendly. Between 10 am and 3 pm (1 pm on Sundays), you can get free bait or even borrow a fishing pole from the Dana Discovery Center, located at the Meer.

The Lake

There are fish a plenty in the Lake though it is likely to have boaters in it at peak hours so you’ll want to be careful not to get close.

The Pond

A calm area considering it’s near one of the most popular entrances to the park. Fishing is permitted here.

The Pool

A lesser known and rather small body of water off of 104th Street on the west side of the park. Fishing is permitted here.



  • Catch and release: If you’re planning to have dinner, you’ll have to find somewhere else to fish. Anything caught in from a freshwater source in a city park, has to be immediately released.
  • Be gentle: You want the fish to live once you release it. do, you know, Don’t toss it around. The park asks that you use wet hands to protect the fish’s scales and to release them underwater rather than throwing them back into the water.
  • No traps: Kind of obvious, right?
  • Safe fishing gear: Anglers are not allowed to use lead weights or barbed hooks.
  • Ignore those other animals: The park doesn’t want you to disturb or feed turtles, birds, squirrels, raccoons, or anything else you might encounter while fishing.
  • Bait: In recent years there has been a push to use corn as bait so as worms or artificial baits can affect the ecosystem of the park. Fish with bread or hot dogs, is very frowned upon and while you might not get a ticket, consevancy staff will surely ask you to stop. If you’re fishing at Harlem Meer, you  can obtain complimentary bait from the Dana Center.
  • Have a license: Remember that anyone over sixteen years old who fishes in New York State is required to have a fishing license. These can be obtained from the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Harlem Meer
Harlem Meer