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Is Fishing Allowed in Central Park

aerial view of the ny central park

Central Park, located in the heart of New York City, is a beloved oasis amidst the bustling urban landscape. It spans over 840 acres and offers a wide array of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy.

One popular question that often arises is whether fishing is allowed in Central Park. In this article, we will explore the fishing opportunities in Central Park, the rules and regulations that govern fishing activities, and provide a comprehensive guide for anglers who wish to cast their lines in this iconic park.

Can You Fish in Central Park?

Yes, fishing is permitted in specific areas of Central Park, such as the Harlem Meer and The Lake, with a focus on catch-and-release practices to maintain the fish population. To ensure the safety and health of the fish, anglers are advised to use barbless hooks and avoid live bait. Instead, options like worms or corn are suitable choices.

Handling fish with wet hands minimizes harm, and always checking current guidelines from the official Central Park or New York City Parks website ensures adherence to the latest regulations.

Fishing Rules and Regulations in Central Park

To fish in Central Park, anglers must adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the Central Park Conservancy, the organization responsible for managing and maintaining the park’s natural resources. The Conservancy’s guidelines aim to ensure the preservation of the park’s ecosystem and the safety and enjoyment of all visitors.

Catch-and-Release Policy

First and foremost, it is important to note that fishing in Central Park is strictly catch-and-release. This means that any fish caught must be promptly and carefully released back into the water. The catch-and-release policy is in place to protect the fish population and maintain the delicate balance of the park’s aquatic ecosystem.

Fishing License Requirements

Anglers must possess a valid New York State fishing license to fish in Central Park. Obtaining a fishing license is a straightforward process and can be done online or at designated license issuing agents. It is crucial to have a fishing license on hand while fishing to avoid any legal complications.

Fishing Equipment and Techniques

When it comes to fishing equipment, anglers are encouraged to use lightweight tackle suitable for freshwater fishing. Some commonly used fishing gear includes fishing rods, reels, fishing line, and a variety of lures. Soft plastics, such as worms and grubs, are particularly effective for enticing fish in Central Park’s waters. It is advisable to use monofilament fishing line and avoid heavy tackle to prevent any damage to the fish or the environment.

Fishing Spots in Central Park

Now, let’s delve into the specific fishing spots within Central Park. The Harlem Meer, located in the northeast corner of the park, is a popular destination for anglers. This picturesque lake is home to various fish species, including largemouth bass, bluegill sunfish, chain pickerel, and yellow perch. Anglers can find convenient fishing access points along the shoreline of the Harlem Meer, making it an ideal spot for casting a line.

The Central Park Lake, situated in the heart of the park, offers another excellent fishing opportunity. This iconic lake is known for its largemouth bass population, which provides anglers with exciting bass fishing experiences. Additionally, bluegill sunfish, chain pickerel, and other species can also be found in the Central Park Lake. Anglers can enjoy the serenity of the lake while trying their luck at landing a prized catch.

Fishing Hours in Central Park

It is worth mentioning that fishing is only permitted during designated hours in Central Park. The park’s official operating hours are from 6 am to 1 am, and fishing is allowed during these times. However, it is essential to note that fishing may be temporarily prohibited during certain events or maintenance activities. Anglers are advised to check the Central Park Conservancy’s website or contact the park’s visitor center for up-to-date information on any fishing restrictions or closures.


In conclusion, fishing is indeed allowed in Central Park, providing anglers with a unique opportunity to indulge in their favorite pastime amidst the urban landscape of New York City. With its beautiful water bodies and diverse fish species, Central Park offers an enjoyable and rewarding fishing experience for all skill levels. However, it is crucial to adhere to the fishing rules and regulations set forth by the Central Park Conservancy. By following these guidelines, anglers can ensure the preservation of the park’s ecosystem and the continued availability of fishing opportunities for future generations.

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