Most people associate fishing with peaceful rivers and mountains; however, great fishing opportunities also exist in cities and towns.
Urban lakes are typically stocked by city parks to offer anglers a diverse selection of fish to target, so make sure that you check on any applicable regulations before visiting an urban lake.
Why Go Fishing in Cities and Towns?
Most people envision fishing as being limited to idyllic riverbanks surrounded by towering mountains or sailing over crystal-blue seas, but the sport of angling spans far beyond this stereotype, and many cities contain surprisingly productive fisheries.
Urban fishing can be an engaging family activity that gets everyone outdoors and participating in nature. Kids can learn the ropes of casting and reeling while experienced fishermen can test their mettle in waters they might otherwise never explore. Furthermore, urban angling’s accessibility and affordability enable all types of anglers to join the action!
Many of the same species found in natural, wilderness waters can also be found in urban waters, including bass, carp, trout, and catfish. Urban fisheries may even offer unique species unique to each region like salmon & steelhead in Seattle; sea-run cutthroat in Cleveland; or striped bass in Boston.
Manmade structures provide some of the best urban fishing spots, including bridges, piers, waterfront walls, canals, culverts, docks, and jetties. Experienced urban bassers know these structures provide prime habitat for largemouth and smallmouth bass; therefore they target them using finesse tactics such as finesse worms, grubs or wacky-rigged stickbaits.
Municipal or public ponds are another popular urban fishery, often located close to homes or businesses for easy fishing before or after work hours. While these lakes may not have as much fish species to catch as those found in nature, they still produce quality trophies for anglers to bring home as trophies! Many anglers take advantage of them to relax before or after their workday begins or ends.
Finding the best spots in your city requires doing your research. A simple internet search can reveal local fly or tackle shops offering guided fishing trips in the area as well as forums and communities dedicated to sharing urban fishing knowledge. Speaking with fellow anglers is also a great way to hear about new spots and gain the latest techniques; one such group serving NYC urban fishermen is the Brooklyn Fishing Club.
Finding a Place to Fish
People tend to associate fishing with idyllic mountain streams and ocean scenes under an overcast blue sky on a balmy summer day, yet great fishing can take place anywhere – even cities! Some of the finest fishing opportunities can be found right outside these cities.
Urban fishing can take place in rivers, stocked lakes and municipal ponds as well as manmade structures like bridges, piers, waterfront walls canals and culverts. Wastewater treatment plant outflows can often serve as excellent fishing spots.
Numerous cities run extensive stocking programs and hold regular tournaments to bolster their fisheries. These events provide invaluable information about fish populations, regulations, including protected species protection and bag limits; contact your local fish and game department to gain more knowledge.
Many urban parks also provide opportunities for fishing in their waters, such as Central Park in New York City and Harlem Meer in Harlem. Anglers can fish for largemouth bass in Central Park and brook trout at Harlem Meer respectively; other popular species include crappie, sunfish, pike, and carp.
Prior to heading out fishing, always double-check local regulations. Your local fish and wildlife agency should have a list of lakes in your area with stocks as well as information on licenses, protected species, and more.
Don’t forget your fishing equipment when traveling abroad. A rod and reel are essential, but don’t forget bait, tackle boxes, and waders, depending on how cold the climate becomes – as well as polarized sunglasses to cut through any potential glare on the water!
Wear comfortable footwear and bring an extra layer of warmth; walking through buildings and structures may be tough on your feet. Also, remember to be considerate of other fishermen while out fishing; leaving loud music and honking horns at home will only annoy other anglers more; keep noise levels down as much as possible, and dispose of trash appropriately.
Avoiding the Crowds
Most people think of fishing as being something you must do in an idyllic riverbank setting or aboard an open ocean boat; but great fishing can also be had right in our own cities and towns, provided we know where to look for it.
Urban fishing is becoming an increasingly popular pastime. This makes perfect sense given that our largest cities were often established around bodies of water – such as New York’s Hudson River and Manhattan Island, Chicago’s Lake Michigan or Detroit’s Detroit River, and inner-city lakes – serving as shipping ports or industrial centers at one time or another. Industrial pollution may have damaged these waters, but strong regulations and community support often revitalize them to become viable recreational fishing locations again.
If you’re planning to fish in urban environments, here are a few strategies for avoiding crowds:
Avoid being overwhelmed when fishing is to fish during off-hours or weekdays, bring your own bait and tackle, rather than depending on a local bait shop for bait purchases; this will save both money and reduce how much gear needs to be transported. Alternatively, invest in plastic storage boxes with adjustable dividers so your gear fits easily inside a regular backpack.
Crowds may still be an issue in urban areas, but asking experienced fishermen in the area for advice about where and what to bring can often ease crowding issues. When visiting well-known public waterbodies that get overrun with anglers, remember that everyone has an equal right to enjoy that body of water while doing their part to reduce environmental impacts caused by their activities.
If the environment is important to you, consider taking a course at your local university or community college that teaches citizen scientist techniques. Such work is crucial as it can reduce pollutants entering urban waterways that harm native fish populations; furthermore, citizen scientists work alongside their communities in devising plans to prevent future pollution episodes.
Many people imagine fishing as something done only at remote riverbanks with majestic mountain backdrops or aboard large vessels plying the open waters. Yet anglers can experience the thrill of fishing right in their own backyards–an activity known as urban fishing that is becoming increasingly popular.
Urban fishing can be an immensely satisfying experience but requires planning and preparation. Before planning to fish urban waters, be sure to contact your local government and ascertain what regulations exist as well as research the species available there and their reactions to various baits or lures.
Common urban lake fish species include channel catfish (stocked in many cities), largemouth bass, and carp. Some of these fish can be tricky to catch, but once caught they will provide ample rewards!
Urban angling offers beginners a fun and easy way to enter the sport of fishing. One way beginners can do so is through taking classes from reputable fishing schools or joining an urban angling club; both groups provide beginners with friendship opportunities as well as build their skillset.
New York is home to the Brooklyn Fishing Club, an intimate collective of fellow anglers dedicated to fighting for fishermen’s rights and keeping cities clean. On this week’s Fish Strong podcast we spoke to its president about NYC turf wars, snakehead invasion, and more.
New Orleans offers urban anglers an exciting blend of French culture and Cajun cuisine and access to the Mississippi River for fishing trout, catfish, and red drum. Furthermore, many parks and canals can provide ample opportunity for largemouth bass fishing as well as crappie or even spooky carp fishing opportunities.