Westchester offers everything you need for a day of family fishing. Within the county, you’ll find small streams and ponds fit for young anglers, and larger lakes, reservoirs, and coastal fishing for more serious fishers-in-training. While this list doesn’t include every fishing area, it will help you to know where to start. A few things to remember before you head out. Anywhere you fish in the county requires a New York State fishing license, available from your local town clerk’s office, select sporting goods stores, or from the Westchester County Clerk’s Office (914) 995-3086. Licenses cost $19 annually. Visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at www.dec.state.ny.us for more information. County residents should also consider purchasing a Westchester County Park Pass, which costs $40 per individual and allows the holder entrance and discounted parking rates at county facilities. The pass is good for up to three years. Visit www.westchestergov.com for details.
Many fishing spots in Westchester are easily accessible and perfect for learning to fish. These are not the spots to find large fish, nor would you want to eat your catch. Instead, enjoy a fishing hole nearby where you can catch and release.
Bronx River Reservation, (914) 723-4058. This 807-acre linear park runs parallel to the Bronx River Parkway fromValhalla to Yonkers. There are several spots to fish, including Bronxville Lake and Crestwood Lake where you’ll find free off-street parking.
Tibbetts Brook, (914) 231-2865. Featuring an upper and lower lake and plenty of walking trails, Tibbetts Brook Park, located off Midland Avenue in Yonkers, includes calm waters for fishing. Parking rates are $4 per car with a county pass, or $8 without.
Willson’s Woods, (914) 813-6990. As one of the oldest parks in the county, the 23-acre Willson’s Woods Park holds definite charm. Located at East Lincoln Avenue in Mount Vernon, the park charges a $4 parking fee with a county pass, and an $8 fee without.
Woodlands Lake, (914) 946-8133. Although this park is right off the Saw Mill Parkway in Irvington, it is worth a visit. The park’s exit is only accessible going northbound. There are several paths throughout the area. Free parking.
Twin Lakes, (914) 864-PARK. Off California Road in Eastchester, Twin Lakes contains thick woods, marshlands, fields, and, of course, the two lakes which give it its name. Free off-street parking.
Silver Lake Preserve, (914) 864-PARK. Tucked away on Lake Street in East White Plains, the Silver Lake Preserve is a serene setting. You won’t have to pay to park at the 236-acre locale.
Fishing Spots for the More Adventurous Angler
Blue Mountain Reservation, (914) 862-5280. You’ll find two large ponds ripe for fishing right off the parking area. Although you’re not likely to catch huge fish, you will find over 1,500 acres to explore at the park located off Welcher Avenue in Peekskill. Parking fees apply: $4 with a county pass, $8 without.
Oscawana, (914) 734-1050. Find the perfect fishing spot off the Hudson by taking a 10-minute hike from the parking area to the shoreline. Not many people make the trek so expect some solitude at this beautiful fishing area off Furnace Dock Road in Cortlandt. Free parking.
Wampus Pond, (914) 273-3230. Known as one of the premier freshwater fishing spots in the county, Wampus Pond is located on 102 acres off Route 128 in Armonk. There is no fee for parking, and boat rentals are available on weekends and holidays from 7am to 5pm. Call for details.
Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, (914) 864-7317. As the county’s largest park, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, at Routes 35 and 121 South in Cross River, features sparkling streams, shallow pools — everything you need for a perfect day of fishing. Parking fees apply: $4 with a county pass, $8 without.
Bring the Boat or Rent One
Glen Island Park, (914) 813-6720. Enjoy fishing in Long Island Sound from the shore or from your boat. The launching ramp holds boats up to 21 feet in length at the park located on Pelham Road in New Rochelle. Fees for car-top-carried boats are $4 and trailer-carried boats are $15 (both fees include parking). The ramp operates from 6am to dusk, seven days a week. A county park pass is required.
Playland Park, (914) 813-7010. Another great place to fish Long Island Sound is off the pier at Playland’s boardwalk. Car-top-carried boats can be launched at the park. If you want more adventure, kayaks are available for rental, priced according to size; call (914) 921-3437. Prices start at $12 for the first hour and at $38 for the day. Boating is available from noon until dusk during amusement park operating days, Tuesday through Sunday. Parking fees are $5 Tuesday through Friday, $7 Saturday and Sunday, and $10 on holidays. For more information, visit www.ryeplayland.org.
George’s Island Park, (914) 737-7530. If you’re interested in fishing the Hudson River, visit this park located off Dutch Street in Montrose. There is a boat launch available for boats up to 21 feet in length. The launching fees for car-top-carried boats are $4 with a county park pass, $8 without; for trailer-carried boats, fees are $15 with a county park pass, $25 without (both fees include parking). The ramp is open from 8am to dusk, seven days a week.
Croton Point Park, (914) 862-5291. South of George’s Island Park, Croton Point Park offers another fishing and boating site along the Hudson at Croton Point Avenue in Croton-on-Hudson. Canoes and car-top-carried boats can be launched from the beach. The fee is $4 with a county park pass, $8 without (parking included). Launch boats from 8am to dusk, seven days a week.
Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, (914) 245-4434. Plan on renting a boat or bringing your own if you want to fish here, off Crompound Road in Yorktown Heights. The two lakes within the park, Mohansic Lake and Crom Pond, are known for great bass fishing. Rowboat rentals are available for $5 an hour or $20 for the day; a $25 refundable cash deposit is required. Boats hold a maximum of 4 people and you must be over the age of 18 to rent. Paddleboats are available for $5 for every half-hour with a 2-hour maximum. The boat launch holds car-top-carried boats and smaller trailer-pulled boats; you need to buy a $15 decal for your boat. No motorized boats are allowed. A $6 parking fee applies to each car entering the park.
Still want to know more about fishing in our area? Check out www.nybass.com and Trout Unlimited’s website at www.tu.org.
Fishing the Reservoirs
Ask diehard anglers for their favorite place to fish and you’re likely to get a reaction akin to asking their ATM access code. While you might wiggle out of them a favorite reservoir, they’ll probably give vague replies as to their exact fishing spot. Reservoir fishing tends to be dominated by serious fishing enthusiasts. If you’re a beginner, don’t let that stop you from fishing Westchester’s gorgeous reservoirs — just come prepared.
1) You’ll need a watershed permit (also called access permit) to fish in the reservoirs, which are owned by New York City. Find an application at www.nyc.gov/watershedrecreation. Follow the directions for filing your free application. It takes at least 2 weeks, sometimes up to a month to receive your permit, which comes by mail and lasts for 5 years. 2) Parking along the reservoirs is not marked or paved. Park along the shoulder of the road and remember to display your car tag, issued along with your watershed permit, in the car window. 3) Since these areas are meant to be kept as undisturbed as possible, expect to make your own trail down to the shoreline. Also, bring a bag to carry out any trash. 4) Everyone over the age of 16 is required to have a permit to access the area. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 5) There are strict requirements for boats on the water. For more information, call (800) 575-LAND or refer to the City of New York’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website at www.nyc.gov/watershedrecreation. 6) Since 9/11, the DEP has taken great steps in ensuring the safety of these waters. Don’t get caught without your permit!
Reservoirs in Westchester County that allow fishing and boating include: Cross River, off Route 35 in Bedford; New Croton, off the Taconic Parkway in Cortlandt; Kensico, off Route 22 in Valhalla; Muscoot, off Interstate 684 in Bedford; Titicus, off Interstate 684 in North Salem; Amawalk, off Route 35 near Somers; and Croton Falls, just barely in Putnam County off Interstate 684 near Somers.