Fishing in New York State

New York State has some of the best fishing spots in the U.S. It features all types of water sources from Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, to the Finger Lakes, to Lake Placid and the lakes of the Adirondacks, and even the Atlantic Ocean that touches the New York City and Long Island areas – not to mention all of the rivers, creeks, and streams that feed to those water sources.

New York also has some of the most die-hard fishermen. Whether it’s fly fishing, salmon fishing, trout, or some other type of fish, anywhere you go, if you’re near a public body of water, you’re likely to see someone fishing.

Where to Fish

In New York, the options for fishing span the entire State. Freshwater fishing can be found almost anywhere, whereas saltwater fishing would be done in and around the New York City area on the Atlantic Ocean.

You may want to decide where to fish based on the type of fish you are looking to catch, or the type of fishing you are looking to do. For example, there are several locations in New York that are recommended for fly fishing. There is also the option for cold vs. warmwater fishing, which again will depend on the type of fish you are looking to catch. And, if you’re looking for both, the Finger Lakes is said to be a two-story fishery which has both cold and warmwater fishing.

You can also get up-to-date fishing reports to see how the fishing is in any given area at any given time in order to determine the best fishing spots.

Make a Trip of It!

The I Love NY website has a great fishing section that allows you to search by region, city and also amenity, such as fishing guides, fishing charters, boat launches, etc. And, if you select a particular location to visit, you can then click on “What’s Nearby” under the map of the location and easily find campgrounds and other local amenities that are close by if you are looking to extend your stay.

In addition, if you are looking to stay at a campground that offers fishing, use the “Find Your Park” selector in the upper right corner of this page and use keyword “fishing”.

What You’ll Need

In most cases, if you are 16 years of age or older, you will need a fishing license to fish in New York State. There are some exceptions, but the majority of both residents and non-residents need to have a fishing license before fishing in New York.

This year, there are some free fishing days in New York State. The first was the weekend of June 27-28 that recently passed, the second will be on Wednesday, November 11 (Veteran’s Day).

And, if you’re fishing on your own, you will need a fishing pole and bait. Though, if you’re looking to fish with others, there are many charters that have equipment available.

Not Just for the Warmer Months

Fishing is most popular during the spring, summer and fall months, but New York State also offers the opportunity for ice fishing once waterways have frozen over. If you’re looking for some fun, there is an annual New York State Crappie Derby (most years) that takes place on Whitney Point Lake sometime in the winter, depending on the thickness of the ice.

Creating Lasting Memories

Whether you're an avid fisher or not, fishing trips, especially when teaching young children how to fish often become a favorite memory. You may even inspire someone to develop a lifelong love for fishing. 

There are many benefits to fishing and teaching a child to fish, not the least of which is the quality time you'll have with that child. While learning to fish, kids will be exposed to the outdoors including wildlife in the water and at the shore. In addition, kids can learn valuable skills while going fishing such as patience, perseverance, and coordination.

If you are introducing a child to fishing, often a smaller body of water is better for teaching as it is less intimidating and more manageable. There are some campgrounds that offer ponds or small lakes on their property for panfish fishing. Because these bodies of water are on private property, you may not need a fishing license. Contact a campground directly to see if a campground offers fishing on-site and whether or not you'll need a fishing license.

Whatever your preference when fishing - or even if you're completely new to fishing - New York State offers plenty of fishing options when you're ready to cast your line.

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"Why Fishing in New York State is a Must"

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