Fishing is allowed in several of Central Park’s water bodies including the Lake and the Harlem Meer. All fishing is on a “catch and release” basis only, meaning that all fish caught must be put back into the water immediately. The use of barbs on hooks and lead anchors is strictly prohibited.

Location : The best place to fish is at the Harlem Meer, located at the northeast corner of the Park. The Meer is stocked with a wide variety of fish, including golden shiner, largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill sunfish, carp, and chain pickerel. Bamboo fishing poles are available free of charge (if you have a valid picture I.D.) from mid-April to mid-October at The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, located on the north shore of the Harlem Meer at 110th Street between Lenox Avenue and Fifth Avenue. The poles are issued Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 3:00 p.m.and must be returned by 4:00 p.m. Bait (corn kernels) is free with the poles. The use of bread dough or bread products is discouraged as it has been found to be harmful to both the wildlife and the water bodies. Groups of up to 20 may reserve poles by calling the Dana Center (212-860-1370) at least two weeks in advance.

When : Daily from 6:00 am to 1:00 am when the Park is open. The catch and release program at the Dana Center runs from mid-April to mid-October.

Permit Requirement : No permit is required for fishing in Central Park (except for groups of 20 or more).