Fishing at Gateway National Recreation Area

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Lone fisherman on the beach

What comes to mind when you think about fishing? Patience, relaxation, challenge, and memories are a few words often associated with fishing. You will find all that and a sense of stewardship, conservation, and preservation on this page. We want you to have an enjoyable time during your visit, and for those who come after you to fish. Take some time to explore, learn what the park has to offer and learn your responsibilities before casting a line or flicking a fly into the water.

Licenses and Permits

Saltwater fishing is the only type of fishing allowed at Gateway. No license is required for saltwater fishing, but there is a saltwater registry for both New York and New Jersey.

Permits are required to park in many places throughout the park. Permits are also required to park after hours at any part of the park.

Permits are only being sold online at this time. Permits cannot be picked up in person, they will be mailed out. Fishing/parking permits are $50 with a $5 processing fee. These are not 4x4 permits. Breezy Point Tip Off Road Permits (4x4) are not on sale at this time.

Breezy Point Tip Off Road Permits are a specialized fishing/parking permits necessary to access the sand road, sand lot and Breezy Point Tip in the Jamaica Bay Unit. These are available in limited numbers. . A 4-wheel drive vehicle is required. All-wheel drive vehicles are not recommended. The Off Road Permit is valid anywhere in the park where the fishing/parking permit is honored. Off Road Permits are $50. 2021 permits are not on sale yet.

The operator must present the following equipment at the time of purchase and carry each item at all times when driving off road at the Breezy Point Tip:

  • 7-foot (minimum) fishing pole
  • reel and tackle
  • shovel
  • tow chain or rope
  • jack
  • jack support board
  • tire pressure gauge
  • appropriate spare tire
  • trash container
  • portable toilet

Please note that between March 15 and September 15 there is no vehicle access to Breezy Point Tip. All vehicles must park at the sand lot during this time, which is piping plover season.

Permits are required at the following sites or the following times.

Sandy Hook Unit

Permits are required for after hours fishing. (April 1 - Oct. 31 9 pm - 5 am, Nov. 1 - March 31 8 pm - 5 am)

Staten Island Unit

  • Permits are required at all times to park in Crooke's Point (Great Kills Park)

  • Permits are required to park after hours in any Staten Island Unit. (9 pm - 5 am April 1- Oct. 31 and 8 pm - 5 am Nov. 1 - March 31).

Jamaica Bay Unit
Permits are required at the following Jamaica Bay Unit sites:

  • A permit is required for parking at Bay 3 Lot (Riis Park East) from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day. A permit is required dawn to dusk other times.
  • A permit is required for parking at Shore Road Fisherman's Lot and Yacht Club Lot from dawn to dusk. A permit is required at all times from May 15 through Sept. 15.
  • A permit is required for parking at Shore Road East (formerly known as Adaptive Aquatics Parking Lot) from dusk to dawn year-round. From May 15 through Sept. 15 permit is required from 4 pm to 9 am. No vehicle access at other times.
  • A permit is required for parking at 222nd Street Fisherman's Lot from dusk to dawn Sept. 16 through March 14. A permit is required at all times from March 15 through Sept. 15.
  • A permit is required for parking at Floyd Bennett Field from dusk to dawn year-round, except to visit concessions in designated areas.
  • A permit (or whale watching pass from the ferry operator) is required for parking at all times year-round at Riis Landing.


Fishing Regulations

Fishing regulations for Gateway National Recreation follow 36 CFR 2.3 and those set by the States of New York and New Jersey.

Additional restrictions have been established:

  • Fishing is prohibited in non-tidal waters. Non-tidal waters include all fresh waters in the park.
  • The shoreline under the Verrazzano Bridge and adjacent to Battery Weed and the Torpedo Pier is closed to fishing.
  • Fishing is prohibited on lifeguard protected beaches when lifeguards are on duty. This includes 50 yards up the beach from the red lifeguard flags marking the ends of the protected swim areas.
  • Fishing is prohibited within 150 feet of posted shorebird nesting areas.
  • Due to health concerns, shellfishing is prohibited in all park waters. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and New York Department of Environmental Conservation has closed and "condemned" certain waters to the harvesting or collecting of shellfish. The waters around the park are included in this closure.
  • Net fishing is prohibited on swimming beaches and within 100 feet of swimming beaches.

Fish Consumption Advisories in National Park Waters

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.

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: January 19, 2021

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Staten Island, NY 10305


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