fishing in the harlem meerFishing in Central Park has become a favorite community activity, especially at the Harlem Meer which offeres a youth-focused catch-and-release fishing program.
The bodies of water in Central Park support a wide variety of fish including Black Crappie, Pumpkinseed Sunfish, Chain Pickerel, Catfish, Bass, Carp, Bluegill Sunfish, and Crayfish.
Catch-and-release fishing is allowed in Central Park at three locations:
Fishing is NOT ALLOWED at the Turtle Pond or the Reservoir.


The Harlem Meer is the preferred fishing area in the park.

Fishing poles are available to borrow as part of the catch and release program at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center. Instruction and complimentary fish bait are also provided. A picture ID is required.

Location: East Side, just west of the Discovery Center at 109th Street.

Season: April 1 - November 30

-Mon to Sat from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (poles available until 3:00 pm)
-Sun from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm (poles available until 1:00pm)
-Fishing poles must be returned within one hour of the close.

Cost: Fishing at the Harlem Meer is free, but groups of five or more (maximum of 20 people) must call 212-860-1370 in advance for reservations.


-Only catch and release fishing is permitted in Central Park, meaning that all fish caught must be put back into the water immediately. Please wet your hands before handling fish, and release while the fish is underwater if possible.

-The only bait permitted for use in the ponds in Central Park is corn kernels. Items like lunchmeats or worms are a threat to the natural ecology of the pond.

-Do not to disturb or feed turtles or other pond inhabitants.

-Refrain from wading into the water or digging for bait.

-Feeding the wildlife and digging for worms is strictly prohibited.

-The use of barbed hooks, weighted lures or overhead casting rods is strictly prohibited.

-Catch only the fish, not the turtles and birds. If you see a turtle or bird near your hook, please move to another spot to avoid catching it.

-Traps for crabs or other crustaceans are not permitted.

-Fishing License: Anyone over the age of 15 using their own fishing equipment must acquire a fishing license to fish in the city’s freshwater lakes and rivers. Get a fishing license here

Sponsored Links


Saturdays at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

Youth participants will learn new fishing techniques, such as baiting and casting, and enhance their fishing skills through small-group instruction. Program includes lessons in Central Park’s aquatic ecology and diverse fish species.  

Free: Children must be accompanied by an adult. Space is limited, advance registration required. 

For more information or to register for a session email:





Share or Bookmark

+ Sponsored Links

+ Events Calendar

+ Sponsored Links

+ Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in Central Park

Take a tour of Central
Park and go sightseeing
in New York City!

+ Sponsored Links

+ Search for Hotels

Top of Page Header Photo: © Rick Anderson 2017
Copyright © 2004 - 2017 Greensward Group, LLC. All rights reserved.
Recommended Article
Central Park Sports

Central Park offers many sports opportunities to participants of many ages, skill levels, and backgrounds. In a city that can b ... read more ›