Fishing

A man in waders holds a fishing pole and stripped bass near the breach.
Fishing at the beach near Old Inlet

NPS/Ryley

 

Fishing Fun for Everyone

Though some of the best fishing is during spring and fall, fisher folk over the age of 16 can enjoy casting a line anytime on Fire Island with a free, New York State recreational marine fishing registry. (New York State recreational saltwater fishing seasons, size and possession limits apply. Commercial fishing is not allowed within the boundaries of Fire Island National Seashore.)

Surf-fishing is an activity you can enjoy throughout the year on Fire Island. When ferry service is limited or the boating season is over, you may still drive to either end of the island for access to the beach. (Parking fee or recreational driving permit may be required.)

Those who are new to the sport, or have children who are learning to fish, can join surf-casting clinics, seining programs, and the Annual Snapper Derby at National Park Service sites on Fire Island. Be sure to check the calendar of events for fishing programs before you visit.

Where can I fish?

Striped bass, bluefish, and fluke are the most sought after species and there are plenty of places to fish. Fishing is allowed on private vessels; ocean beaches outside of designated lifeguarded areas; on the bay shoreline; and authorized docks and piers outside of NPS marinas, including Patchogue Headquarters, Patchogue Ferry Terminal, and Talisman Dock. However, fishing is not permitted on the Lighthouse Pier or on a vessel within 300 feet of the pier.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation maintains two artificial fishing reefs in the Great South Bay, and several in the Atlantic Ocean south of Fire Island. Nearby Captree State Park-on the eastern end of Jones Beach Island and north of the Fire Island Inlet-offers access to several charter fishing boats. Boat ramps for private vessels are also available at Captree and several other nearby state parks, and at Smith Point County Marina.

 

Know Before You Go

The following are prohibited:

  • Commercial fishing, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law.

  • Fishing by the use of drugs, poisons, explosives, or electricity.

  • Digging for bait, except in privately owned lands.

  • Failing to return carefully and immediately to the water from which it was taken a fish that does not meet size or species restrictions or that the person chooses not to keep. Fish so released shall not be included in the catch or possession limit: Provided, that at the time of catching the person did not possess the legal limit of fish.

  • Fishing from motor road bridges, from or within 200 feet of a public raft or float designated for water sports, or within the limits of locations designated as swimming beaches, surfing areas, or public boat docks, except in designated areas.

  • Introducing wildlife, fish or plants, including their reproductive bodies, into a park area ecosystem. This includes the discarding and/or dumping of bait and bait buckets.

  • The use or possession of fish, wildlife or plants for ceremonial or religious purposes, except where specifically authorized by Federal statutory law, or treaty rights.

Except as otherwise designated, fishing with a net, spear, or weapon in the salt waters of park areas shall be in accordance with State law.

The following regulations apply only within Fire Island National Seashore

  • The harvest of horseshoe crabs is prohibited within Fire Island National Seashore.

  • Possession of fish traps and nets is permitted in salt water only in accordance with requirements stated in New York State regulations when engaged in fishing activities in the Seashore.

 

Fish Consumption Advisories


The Environmental Protection Agency, states, territories, and tribes provide advice on fish and shellfish caught in the waters in their jurisdiction to help people make informed decisions about eating fish. Advisories are recommendations to limit your consumption of, or avoid eating entirely, certain species of fish or shellfish from specific bodies of water due to chemical or biological contamination.

Fish is part of a healthy balanced diet, but eating wild fish and shellfish caught in park waters is not risk free. Parks are “islands”, but the much larger “ocean” that surrounds them affects the natural resources inside a park. Other aquatic toxins are the result of natural biological processes. Also, chemical contaminants that originate outside of park boundaries can come into parks.

Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.

To learn more about fish consumption advisories in New York visit the New York State Department of Health website.

To learn more about this topic, the National Park Service maintains information about Fish Consumption Advisories and Mercury and Toxins in Nature.


Aquatic Invasive Species


Imagine your favorite fishing spot and the wonderful memories. Things may look fine but underneath the surface there is a serious threat. Everything you remembered is now cemented together in a sharp, smelly mess. Invaders have wiped out the fish species you used to catch.

Aquatic invasive species are not native to an ecosystem. Their introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm to the economy, the environment, or to human health. Aquatic invasive species are a growing risk to parks and their values. In the United States alone, there are more than 250 non-native aquatic species.

For many centuries, humans have contributed to spreading non-native species around the globe. You can make a difference.

To learn more about aquatic invasive species in New York visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website.

To learn more about Aquatic Invasive Species in the National Park Service, visit the Fish & Fishing website.

Fishing Throughout the National Park Service

We invite you to visit the Fish and Fishing website for more information about fish and fishing in the National Park Service. You will learn about conservation, different fish species, and parks that offer fishing.

Last updated: April 13, 2021

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120 Laurel Street
Patchogue , NY 11772

Phone:

631-687-4750

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