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Fishing at Harlem Meer

Central Park Celebrates Spring: Fishing at the Harlem Meer

Date: March 20, 2019, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm (poles available until 3:00 pm)
Location: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

Date: March 20, 2019

Central Park Celebrates Spring with special events on March 20, the first day of the season! Start your morning off in the dirt, or settle in by the Meer for catch-and-release fishing — it’s all happening right here in Central Park.

All events are free! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @centralparknyc for behind the scenes access and stories from Conservancy staff.


9:00 AM — Volunteer Drive
Help our amazing volunteers prepare the Park for spring! Groups will take part in a weeding project in Central Park’s north end. Can’t make it for this project? Stop by any visitor center or information kiosk to learn about other ways to get involved throughout the year. Weather permitting, advance registration required. Register now >

10:00 AM — Birding Basics: The Ramble
Central Park welcomes more than 270 migrating bird species each year. Prepare for peak migration season with a free tour of the Ramble and learn the basics of bird identification along the way. Advance registration recommended. Walk-ups welcome. First-come, first-served. Register now >

11:00 AM — Fishing at the Harlem Meer
Join us at the Dana Discovery Center for catch-and-release fishing on the Harlem Meer. Fishing poles, bait, and instructions will be provided. Weather permitting, no registration required. Learn more >

2:00 PM — Stroll to Strawberry Fields — Dogs Welcome!
Bring your furry friends for an exploration of Central Park’s southwest corner. From a planned military parade ground to the site commemorating John Lennon, some of the most-visited spots in the Park have secrets to share with even seasoned Park-goers. Advance registration recommended. Walk-ups welcome. First-come, first-served. Register now >

3:00 PM — Chess Strategies and Tips
Join us for a free chess talk and open play at Chess & Checkers House. Chess expert Ed Feldman will share tips and techniques, and then stick around to answer questions and give advice during open play. No registration required. Learn more >

All-day events

Join us for a morning of catch-and-release fishing at the Harlem Meer! Some of the fish living in the Meer include largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill sunfish, carp, and chain pickerel.

Fishing poles are available to borrow at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, located on the north shore. Picture ID required; instruction and bait (corn kernels) are provided.

Conditions permitting. This event is free; registration is not required.

Fishing Guidelines:

  • Release fish gently. All fishing is on a "catch-and-release" basis only, 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.
  • Use safe fishing equipment. The use of barbs on hooks, lead sinkers and overhead casting rods is strictly prohibited. Monofilament line should be properly discarded of in the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center to avoid harming wildlife.
  • Respect the turtles and waterfowl. If you see a turtle or bird near your hook, please move to another spot to avoid catching it.
  • Please fish with complimentary fish bait (corn kernels) from the Dana Center ONLY. The use of bread products and hot dogs as bait is discouraged as it has been found to be harmful to both the wildlife and the water bodies.
  • Don't feed the wildlife. Feeding any other wildlife and digging for worms is strictly prohibited.
  • Stay on pathways, ramps and steps next to the water. Excessive trampling of the natural shoreline and wading in the water kills the grass and causes soil erosion and compaction. This creates poor living conditions for plants, fish and other Meer dwellers.
  • Visitors over age 16 using their own fishing equipment must have a fishing license. Visitors using equipment from the Dana Center do not need a fishing license.