Catch-and-Release Fishing

Borrow fishing poles for catch-and-release fishing at the Harlem Meer.

Borrow fishing poles for catch-and-release fishing at the Harlem Meer.

Catch-and-release fishing at the Harlem Meer has become a favorite community pastime in Central Park. Some of the fish living in the Meer include largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill sunfish, carp, and chain pickerel.

The Conservancy has fishing poles for Park visitors to borrow available at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, located on the north shore of the Meer. Instructions and bait (corn kernels) are provided with poles. To make group reservations, please fill out this Dana Center Group Reservation Request form.

Fishing Rules

  • Participants 16 and older must have a valid NYS fishing license.
  • 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 in the Dana Discovery Center to avoid harming wildlife. Line, hooks, and trash left behind or improperly discarded can injure or kill wildlife, so please be careful and considerate.
  • 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, hot dogs, and other similar food as bait is discouraged as it is harmful to both the wildlife and the water bodies.
  • Don't feed the wildlife. Feeding wildlife and digging for worms is strictly prohibited.

Stay on paths, 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, which creates poor living conditions for plants, fish, and other Meer dwellers. The Conservancy works to restore the Harlem Meer as a healthy habitat for many species of plants and animals.

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