Fishing in NYC: Do You Need a License? Find Out Here!

Fishing in New York City is not just a pastime; it’s an adventure. With over 500 miles of shoreline, inland lakes, rivers, and a variety of fish species, the city offers a world of opportunities for both freshwater and saltwater sport fishing. But before you cast your line into the waters of the Big Apple, there’s one crucial question you need to answer: Do you need a license to fish in NYC?

Do You Need a License to Fish in NYC?

The answer is yes; most people fishing in New York need a New York State Fishing License. If you are 16 years and older and fishing for freshwater fish species by angling, spearing, hooking, long bows, and tip-ups, you need a license. However, there are exceptions. For instance, you don’t need a license if you’re fishing on a permitted fishing preserve, during free fishing days, at a free fishing clinic that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has approved, or if you’re a resident landowner who primarily engages in farming.

How to Get a Fishing License in New York

There are three ways to get a fishing license in New York. You can visit an official license issuing agent, order over the phone, or order online. Here’s a step-by-step process to get a fishing license online:

  1. Sign in or register.
  2. Complete the form.
  3. Get a screen confirmation (make sure to write down your DEC-LS confirmation number).
  4. Print the license and/or have it sent to your email.

Contact Information for Fishing License

  • Phone: 1-800-575-LAND
  • Email:
  • Website:
  • DEC Region 3 (Hudson Valley and the southern Catskills): (845) 256-3161
  • DEC Region 4 (Northern Catskills and the Capital Region): (607) 652-7366.

Fishing License Types & Fees

The cost of a fishing license in New York varies depending on whether you are a resident or a nonresident and the duration of the license. For instance, an annual license for residents aged 16–69 costs $25, while for nonresidents it’s $50. There are also 7-day and 1-day licenses available for both residents and nonresidents.

Fishing Regulations and Seasons in NYC

The DEC regulates fishing in New York by establishing fishing seasons, size restrictions, and catch limits for various fish species. For example, the season for black bass (largemouth and smallmouth) runs from June 15 to November 30, with a minimum length of 12 inches and a daily limit of 5. It’s important to check the DEC’s regulations before you go fishing to ensure you are in compliance.

Best Fishing Spots in NYC

New York City offers a variety of fishing spots, from the Hudson River to Central Park. Here are some of the best places to fish in NYC:

  1. Lake Ontario: Known for its trout and salmon, Lake Ontario is an angler hotspot.
  2. Hudson River: Home to over 70 different types of fish, the Hudson River offers a variety of game species.
  3. Central Park (Harlem Meer): This lake is popular among both seasoned and amateur anglers who fish for largemouth bass, black crappie, golden shiners, and carp.
  4. Hudson River Park: This park stretches for 4.5 miles from 59th Street South to Battery Park in Manhattan and is home to a variety of fish species.


Fishing in NYC is a rewarding experience, but it’s important to follow the rules and regulations set by the DEC. Whether you’re a seasoned angler or a beginner, remember to get your fishing license before you cast your line. Happy fishing!

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