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Fishing in New York

New York fishing is some of the most varied in the country. Lakes, rivers, bays, bluewaters, NY fishing charters comb every inch of the Empire State on the hunt for trophy fish. And it’s worth using a fine-tooth comb, because you can find awesome angling in the most unexpected places. Whether it’s a pond in the middle of the city, or a scar in the edge of the continental shelf, you’ll never be short of hard-fought hookups or delicious fillets around here.

Saltwater

Many of the ocean’s top predators migrate right along the Empire State’s coastline, and you can land enough tasty food fish to feed an army if you know where to look. Where you fish will define your trip as much as what you target, so pick the place that suits you and enjoy.
 

Long Island

Long Island is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a drive along its hundred-mile coastline. Visit historic ports and fishing towns. Hit the beach on a summer’s day. There’s a lot to love about the area. Don’t get too lost in the sea views and woodlands, though, because Long Island is also home to incredible sportfishing.
 
The island sticks out into the Atlantic, right into the path of the East Coast’s most important fish migrations. Long Island fishing charters take full advantage of this. Montauk is the island’s most famous sportfishing spot. The town is known for its epic big game bite, with monster Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna, and terrifying Mako, Blue, and Thresher Sharks, some weighing well over 500 pounds! Closer to the mainland, Babylon and Freeport are both steeped in fishing tradition and are a great option if you’re not set on breaking records.
 
The biggest deep sea fish are caught way out at the canyons, almost 80 miles offshore. These underwater valleys are the perfect hunting grounds for the world’s biggest pelagics. This also makes them the summer home of the world’s most ambitious anglers. Closer to shore, reefs and wrecks hold plenty of smaller Tuna and Sharks, as well as groundfish like Cod and Pollock.
 
And that’s just the offshore action. Long Island also has great inshore and nearshore fishing for Fluke, Striped Bass, Seabass, Tautog, and much, much more. Port Washington is a great spot if you’re into this kind of angling. Hidden deep in the Long Island Sound, it’s a haven for trophy Stripers and tasty Blackfish (Tautog). Otherwise, head to literally any port on the island and you’ll find a captain able to put you on fish.
 

New York City

Most people know New York City for its skyline, stockbrokers, and rental prices. What a lot of folks don’t realize is that the Big Apple is bursting with fish. New York Harbor is an amazing place to fish for Striped Bass and Flounder, and the experts say even the fish in the Hudson River are safe to eat. There are very few experiences as exciting and surreal as battling trophy Stripers in downtown Manhattan.
 
If you want more variety in your catch, the best fishing charters in NYC launch out of Brooklyn. Stay in the bays to bring in Seabass, Tautog, Stripers, and Scup (Porgy) or head into the bight to battle Bluefin and Makos. Again, the best bite is out at the canyons, but monster pelagics can follow the path of the Hudson almost as far as the Lower Bay sometimes.
 
And the best part? You step from your ocean adventure right back onto the busy streets of Brooklyn! It’s hard to find a place where you can fit more into your day, which makes sense when you’re running on a New York schedule.

Freshwater

If you think the Empire State’s saltwater fisheries have a lot going on, just wait till you see what’s happening inland. Take your pick of two great lakes, with endless smaller ones to explore as well. As if that wasn’t enough, NY river fishing is some of the best in the Northeast. Even the pond in your nearest park is probably full of gamefish!
 

Lakes

The entire US side of Lake Ontario is part of the state of New York. You can launch from Oswego, Pulaski, and a dozen other towns along the southern shore. Wherever you start, you’ll be in for some of the best Salmon fishing NY has to offer. Atlantic, Chinook, and Coho Salmon can all be found in Lake Ontario, and make for great fishing all summer long. Then you have Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Lake Trout… you’re not going to get bored, is what we’re saying.
 
And if for some reason you do, head over to Buffalo or Dunkirk and enjoy a great day on Lake Erie battling Walleye, Yellow Perch, and Smallmouth Bass. Erie doesn’t have the big Salmon populations that most of the great lakes are known for, but you still have a dozen gamefish to choose from.
 
Then you have Lake George and Lake Champlain. These may not officially be “great” but they’re still pretty darn good! Again, you’ll have the choice of Bass, Trout, Salmon, and plenty of other fighty fish. These spots are much more remote, and are surrounded by wilderness preserves. They make for some seriously-scenic fishing, even by upstate standards.
 

Rivers

Before you decide to spend your whole summer lake fishing, give a thought to NY’s incredible rivers. Anglers flock to the banks of the Hudson each year to take on the monster Stripers that make their way inland. Forty-inch cows are a common sight when the season’s at it’s best. Then you have the St. Lawrence River with its monster Muskellunge, Pike, and Carp, and the Salmon River with – you guessed it – a huge fall Salmon run, as well as plenty of Trout.
 

Ponds & Reservoirs

But wait, there’s more. The ponds in the heart of NYC are full of Black Bass. The reservoirs surrounding the city have the best bass fishing NY can offer, but even Central Park has a great catch-and-release Largemouth fishery. You can wet a line in just about every puddle and pothole in the state and expect at least a Crappie or two.

Need to Know

About the only thing connecting New York’s many fisheries is that the vast majority of them are seasonal. During the winter, the migratory fish move on and the lakes freeze. A lot of the rivers and streams hold fish year-round, and some inshore species are actually best in the winter, but the fishing season for most gamefish runs spring-fall. 
 
Decided where to fish? Now you just need to know what to pack. You’ll need a fishing license to enjoy any of New York’s freshwater spots, but licenses are usually included on saltwater trips. Other than that, most New York fishing trips include everything you’ll need.
 
There are a hundred different fish you can catch in New York, and there’s a trick to every one of them. The most iconic fishing techniques are chunking for Tuna and Sharks or trolling for Salmon with spoons and downriggers. You can also fly fish for Bass, live-line for Linesiders (Striped Bass), jig for Walleye, and ice fish for a ton of different species.
 
If you’ve got a favorite technique, you can find a guide who has spent their life perfecting it. After a certain species? Pick the most obscure way to bring it in and chances are someone offers it. Fishing is such a big part of life in New York that you really can’t go wrong no matter what you do.
 
New York
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Based on 19457 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

New York Fishing Seasons

January

Kick off the year with great freshwater fishing. Hit the rivers and streams for Rainbow Trout, or cut through the ice in the lakes for Brown Trout, Muskellunge, and much, much more.

February

This is a great time to try ice fishing NY’s lakes in search of Walleye, Perch, Muskies, and more. You can even sign up for an ice fishing tournament, like the Northern Challenge Fishing Derby.

March

Enjoy some catch-and-release Striped Bass action or load up on tasty Brown and Rainbow Trout. Smallmouth Bass start to come into season in March, and the first few Lake Trout show up, too.

April

April is a great month for fly fishing NY’s ponds and lakes, with both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass in season. Saltwater charters start heading out for Flounder and Striped Bass.

May

The LOC Derby opens on Lake Ontario, drawing competitive anglers from across the country. Scup, Stripers, Flounder, and Bluefish are all around in the bays, as the first Sharks show up offshore.

June

Summer Shark season is some of the best fishing in New York. The Freeport-Hudson Anglers, Star Island, and Montauk Marine Basin Shark Tournaments kick off in the deep waters off Long Island.

July

It’s easier to count the fish you can’t target in July. Hit the lake for Salmon, head offshore for Sharks and Tuna, fish the shallows for Striped Bass. The only thing off the cards is Tautog.

August

Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna hit their prime, joining monster Mako and Thresher Sharks to give you the fight of your life offshore. August also spells some of the best Trout fishing NY sees all year.

September

Tautog are finally open for harvest, joining Seabass on the menu to make for the year’s best food fishing. Coho and Chinook Salmon start to make their way upstream, so break out your fly gear.

October

October is a great time to fish the rivers and lakes, with Muskie, Pike, Perch, and Trout all on fighting form. In the rivers, the Coho and Chinook runs are in full force. Fish on!

November

Long Island fishing charters wind down to the end of Shark season while inshore anglers stock up on Blackfish and Seabass. You can also catch the last of the Black Bass this time of year.

December

Many migratory fish have moved on, but there are still some trophies around! Freshwater anglers enjoy great Steelhead fishing and bay charters pull tasty Tautog ahead of the long closed season.

New York Fishing Calendar

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Reviews of Fishing in New York

Half day trip AM
Craig L. fished with Push The Limit Sportfishing on September 26, 2020
Diamond jigs are killer . Stick with the lighter tackle . Trawling is no fun
A Half-Day With Captain Barry
Kevin R. fished with Schultz Sportfishing Charter on September 17, 2020
The fishing is plenteous and exciting. However, prepare for swift currents, a tremendous undertow, and do not take the river and lakes lightly.
Fishing with Paul
Natalie T. fished with Niagara River Guide Service on August 18, 2020
Be prepared to deal with the mighty waves of Lake Erie
Amazing experience
Michael C. S. fished with LATER ON Charters on August 17, 2020
I would recommend anyone that love to fish. Please get to OSwego and enjoy this amazing experience!
Full day trip!
Frank P. fished with Fishlander Charters on July 22, 2020
Book with Captain Jim and Jerry! Oh! and bring a cooler for all the fish!
Excellant trip
Cindy G. fished with Dreams Come True – Drift Boat on January 25, 2020
Be prepared for the weather, the Captain is great with instruction if you listen and the fish are biting you will catch fish. I listened learned and had a great experience despite the weather,
6 hour trip
Brad S. fished with SunMoon Adventures LLC on August 19, 2019
Just book and show up, you’ll have a great time!
First time on the Great Lakes... full day of fishing & fun
Jodi P. fished with Stalker Charters – Lake Ontario on July 30, 2019
The King Salmon were biting, so 11 of our 12 fish were those, but our 11-year-old also caught a nice Lake Trout.

Top Targeted Species in New York