In the English language, nothing beats the phrase “gone fishin’.” Snag a little free time and take off with a rod and reel to cast your line at the most perfect places in New York. Get to work on that gone fishin’ sign, beg off for a mental health day from work and head out to one of these local fishing spots.
Van Cortlandt Lake
Van Cortlandt Park entrance at 242nd Street and Broadway
Bronx, NY 10462
In the deeply wooded section of Van Cortlandt park sits an 18-acre lake known for its high density of yellow perch. The shoreline here varies from flat gassy areas to more sloped, wooded sections where the fishing tends to be better. Other species found in Van Cortlandt Lake include largemouth bass, black crappie, carp and brown bullhead catfish. This is strictly catch-and-release, and a New York State Freshwater Fishing License is required for those 16 and older. Take the 1 subway train to 242nd Street and Broadway and walk east into the park. The lake is adjacent to the golf course.
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107th Street Pier
107th Street at the East River
New York, NY 10028
At the 107th Street Pier, New Yorkers may enjoy saltwater sport fishing right in Manhattan, just a little north of Gracie Mansion and Carl Schurz Park along the East River Esplanade. With a roof and electric lighting, the 270-foot-long pier is perfect for rainy day and night fishing. This is catch-and-release. Remember, these fish swim and feed in the heavily trafficked East River. Take Bobby Wagner Walk Way along the FDR Drive to 107th Street.
Baisley Pond Park
North Conduit Avenue, 116 Avenue between 150 Street, Sutphin Boulevard and Baisley Boulevard South
Jamaica, NY 11434
This 28-acre lake in Queens offers a great shoreline for plenty of angler action, and you may find a few surprises in its variety of fish. Largemouth bass have been recorded here, with some up to 20 inches in length. The scenic lilypads provide the perfect cover for both the hunter and the hunted — cast a scum frog as bait onto one of these pads, and see what happens. Other fish at Baisley Pond include bluegills, sunfish, a few crappies and occasional bullhead catfish. As in all New York City parks, fishing is strictly catch-and-release, and a license is required for those 16 and older. Take the J or E trains to Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer. Use the Q111 bus to get to Guy R. Brewer and Baisley boulevards. Ride the Q113 bus southwest to the park.
1 Aviation Rd.
Rockaway Parkway at Shore Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11234
Canarsie Pier, part of the the Gateway National Recreation Area system, is a renowned spot for bluefish and fluke. Crabbing off the pier is also a popular pastime. The park area, on the Brooklyn shore of Jamaica Bay, is surrounded by protected wetlands and marshes and is also a great site for picnicking and other outdoor activities, including kayaking. Take the L train to Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway, then the B42 bus to Canarsie Pier.
Sheepshead Bay Piers
Brooklyn, NY 11235
Fishing from the piers in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, is a great way to spend a day, but there’s plenty more to do in this quaint community, which feels like an oldtime fishing village. There are plenty of boats for charter for both fishermen and pleasure cruisers, and Emmons Avenue, which runs the length of the bay, offers an endless array of seafood and Italian restaurants, along with cafés, bars and other neighborhood businesses. Also nearby are Manhattan and Brighton Beaches and Coney Island. Parking is at a premium along the piers, however, due to all of the day trippers on fishing boats. Ride the B train to Sheepshead Bay, then walk down Voorhies Avenue to Sheepshead Bay Road, turn right onto Emmons Avenue.
Michael Browne is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City, specializing in travel and the hospitality industry. Browne is the former managing editor of Travel Agent magazine. His work can be found on Examiner.com.