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.
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.
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
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.
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!
The entire US side of Lake Ontario
is part of the state of New York. You can launch from Oswego
, 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.
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.