West Side Rag » Why are we posting about fishing in Central Park in the dead of winter?

Posted February 11, 2022 8:47 AM by West Side Rag

Photographs by Seth Fera-Schanes.

Because spring is in the air and now is the time to get your fishing license if you want to cast your line in the lake, pond or lake.

By Seth Fera-Schanes

Did you know that fishing is allowed in designated bodies of water in New York City parks? If not, this spring or summer, when you’re strolling near Harlem Meer in Central Park, or the lake at 72nd Street, or the pond on West 59th and CPW, take a break. a moment and scan the shore. You might just see a handful of people with rods and reels casting in the water.

Now imagine this scenario. The work was incredibly hectic; your inbox kept filling up; and your boss had a thousand questions at the end of the afternoon. Your stress level in New York is high and you need to decompress.

Now imagine yourself standing by the lake on a warm evening. The sun is starting to set and New York photographers are there to capture the golden hour. But you are in the park for another purpose; fish for an hour before going home. Birds take up residence in the surrounding trees and looking up you see construction lights illuminating the evening sky. You are simultaneously in the middle of a chaotic urban environment and yet removed from the chaos as you gaze out at the water. You begin to calm down when you cast a decoy under a tree branch stretched above the water.

Fishing in Central Park isn’t just relaxing, it’s also a way to find community in the city. I founded The Central Park Fishing Group in 2018 for this reason: to encourage more people to enjoy this outdoor activity. And that’s why I wrote this story. The group organizes its events through the meetup.com website and membership is FREE. All skill levels are welcome, from individuals who have never fished to experienced professionals. The group can provide rods, reels and tackle for anyone without equipment and offer lessons for participants.

With over 100 members, the Central Park Fishing Group begins meeting in the spring and continues with events through late fall. We are starting to plan spring events now. Fishing sessions are scheduled during the week and weekends to give people plenty of opportunities to attend. A typical event lasts an hour and a half, but individuals can attend as long as they wish, depending on their availability. Group leaders are happy to provide free lessons on different fishing styles, how to use various tackle, and can also help identify fish species.

The group follows all park and state fishing rules. In the park, barbless hooks are mandatory and all fishing is catch and release. No live bait is allowed and it is important that fishing areas are clear of any debris. If anyone is over 15, a New York State fishing license is required. Licenses can be obtained from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

If you want to find out more, you can join the Central Park Fishing Group and contact their organizers here with any questions.

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