The Complete Guide to Fishing on Long Island

The Complete Guide to Fishing on Long Island

One of my favorite spots to go fishing is on Long Island, New York. For anglers like me, Long Island is a sanctuary in terms of saltwater and freshwater fishing. It is a heaven, considering the variety of fishes that call it home. If Long Island fishing is something you think, this is the right place for you. I’ve prepared an easy to follow guide that will help out in our conquest to rule the fishes in this place. This article is the complete guide to Long Island Fishing.

Long Island is famous for having the best saltwater fishing experience in New York. Contrary to popular belief, however, it also has the best place for freshwater fishing opportunities. The fact that it has over 500 lakes and ponds, plus around 30 miles of free-flowing streams, really puts joy in my angler heart. Aside from shoreline fishing, I get to enjoy what ponds and lakes have in store, like the trouts in Laurel Lake and the basses in Artist Lake.

In this guide, I’ll give you an overview of Long Island, things to know before you can fish in this area, and the best places to go fishing, categorized by municipalities. Let’s go!

A Brief Overview of Long Island and the Fishing Activity

Long Island is a part of the New York State, known for its incredible beaches, like the Hamptons, the luxurious Gatsby houses, and, most of all, the fishing opportunities. With approximately 1,401 square miles and a population of 7.9 million, this historic island houses one of the best fishing spots in the New York state. The place is home to multiple fishing spots. If I’m in the mood for some saltwater fishing activity, I’d consider places like Montauk for some cod, or maybe some big blackfish around the Orient Point. With almost a hundred species of fish found on the Long Island Sound, anglers like me can enjoy the best quality striped bass, hickory shad, tautog fish, black sea bass, and many more varieties.

If the day calls for a freshwater experience, I’d consider the lakes, ponds, and streams scattered all around Long Island. These freshwater bodies are stocked with the best bass, carp, walleye, bullhead, trout, and many other types of fish, waiting for us. Long Island, along with New York City, is well-known for providing the best freshwater fishing experience.

I’d consider Long Island a haven for fishers, whether it be for food or recreation. The waters of Long Island are potent enough to grow the best types of fish, from the saltwater striped bass of the Hempstead Bay to the freshwater carps of the Peconic River. Long Island is the best place for anglers like us.

boat on long island

Things to Consider Before We Go Fishing on Long Island

There are a few things we need to consider before considering fishing on any water bodies on Long Island. Long Island has specific rules and regulations for recreational fishing, sports fishing, and commercial fishing. We need to ensure that we equip ourselves with the best equipment and proper information on how, where, and when to fish.

These are some things to note down, ranging from fishing regulations and fishing gears to types of fish and the proper season when fishing. I also add some additional notes to make sure that we’ll have the best fishing experience on Long Island, New York.

Regulations to Follow Before Fishing on Long Island

All fishing activities must comply with Long Island’s environmental protection protocol. These kinds of contracts exist to ensure the fishes’ economic interest on Long Island is protected. That’s why anglers on Long Island are required to follow fishing regulations to continue.

The rules between saltwater and freshwater fishing are different, so being attentive to these rules would be wise. Not only does it make sure that the fishes get protected, but it also ensures maximum enjoyment for anglers who live inside or outside the Long Island. Also, be sure to check New York State’s website for the updated LI fishing regulations, by the department of environmental conservation.

Long Island Saltwater Fishing Regulations to Observe

Before I went fishing in the saltwater areas around Long Island, I made sure that I registered myself to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation first, since they’re the one who regulates all the rules to follow. Registration is free, and can get accomplished in multiple ways: online, through the DEC hotline 1-844-332-3267, or by going to any DEC authorized registration locations. A quick tip: when I registered online, I printed out my registration form, since I reckon I won’t receive one in the mailbox (newsflash: I didn’t!)

If we’re from the Marine and Coastal Districts, then we are not required to register, as long as we’re aboard a licensed boat, if we possess a New York State fishing license, or if we own a charter boat. As long as anglers have their permission from their respective states, they’re good to go!

As for shellfishing, there isn’t any requirement for us to register as well, although we’ll be under a plethora of conditions. Fishing for clams, oysters, mussels, lobsters, scallops is permit-free, as long as we don’t go mechanical. Crabs are exceptional cases. Crab collections are for particular seasons, and some towns require a local permit before allowing anglers like us to go shellfishing.

Long Island Freshwater Fishing Regulations to Observe

Freshwater fishing is slightly different from saltwater fishing. Before we’re allowed to fish legally inside the state of New York, we’re required to obtain a freshwater fishing license. All anglers starting from age 16 are required to do so. If I catch a fish, even if I release it or not, I still need to obtain a license. This condition is the same for us who are assisting another angler, or fishing inside private waters.

Annual licenses have 365 days of validity, starting from the date of purchase. There is a reason why the New York state fishing license is considered one of the cheapest ones in the northeast. It’s because the Department of Environmental Conservation does not require anglers to take special permits and tags; plain old’ fishing license will do the trick! The best thing about it is that all the funds from these kinds of payments directly goes to the marine conservation efforts the Department of Environmental Conservation does. By doing this, the department doesn’t just ensure the welfare of the fishes and the population of the wildlife; they also, in some way, maximize the experience we get from fishing on Long Island’s waters.

We can purchase our fishing licenses at license issuing agents (around 300 of them). These agents include tackle shops, discount stores, primary sporting goods, and the nearest town clerk’s office. Moreover, just like the saltwater license, freshwater fishing licenses are purchasable online through their website, and through phone, by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS. Just make sure to give them our working email-address to receive reminders when we need to renew our license.

Fish Seasons to Follow to Maximize Our Catch

Fishing on the right season dictates the quality of catch we make. Here, we’ll see the seasons where inshore and offshore species are plentiful and ripe with the game. Aside from that, not following the regulations for fishing seasons will remove a hefty amount of dollars from our pockets and significant jail time. So if you want to catch some fish, whether you’ll release it or not, make sure that you’ll strictly follow the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations when it comes to seasonal fishing.

  • Winter Flounder – April to May
  • Striped Bass – April to November
  • Porgy – All Year
  • Summer Flounder – September to October
  • Black Sea Bass – June to August, September to December
  • Oyster Toadfish – July to May
  • Tautog – April, October to December
  • American Eel – All Year 
  • Atlantic Cod – All Year
  • Atlantic Menhaden – All Year
  • Bluefish – All Year
  • Cobia – All Year
  • Haddock – All Year
  • Hickory Shad – All Year
  • King Mackerel – All Year
  • Monkfish – All Year
  • Pollock – All Year
  • Red Drum – All Year
  • Spanish Mackerel – All Year
  • Weakfish – All Year
  • Yellowtail Flounder – All Year
  • River Herring – All Year
  • Fluke – All Year
  • Blackfish – All Year

Most crabs, lobsters, and whelks are available all year. Other fishes like sharks and tunas, however, are highly migratory species; it means fishing them requires special permits. There are other things to consider when fishing, such as possession limit, minimum size limit, and regulation as to what you can do to our specific catches during and after the catch.

Boats, Baits, and Gears to Suit Our Needs

If we want the best of the catch, then we need the best of the gears. Having a sound and quality equipment ensures the quality of our fishing experience. Imagine using a faulty reel connected to an unstable rod with a weak line while sailing on an old, leaky boat. Yikes! To maximize the fun and enjoyment, let us make sure that we can get the best ships and gears that we can find – or at least half-decent.

Let’s go over some essential fishing gears 101:

  • Rods – in a nutshell, a rod is a stick connected to a line with a fishing hook at its end, used to reel in a fish.  Simple right? Usually, rods go from 5 to 15 feet and get labeled according to their power capacity. 
  • Reels – a reel will allow you to cast your bait and retrieve your catch (line and lure we didn’t catch anything). There are three types of coils: spin-cast reels, spinning reels, and baitcasting reels. Our choice depends on the level of fishing difficulty we can take. We recommend you read our post on the best spinning reels for the money.
  • Line – this will be the connecting link between our catch and us. Having a rough estimation of the fish’s size will help in choosing what fishing line is fit for the job. There are three types of fishing lines: monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided.
  • Hook – this is where our catch will bite. The size of the hook and the size of the fish must be closely correlated.
  • Lure/Baits – this is something we can use to attract fishes. It can either be natural (worms, food, crickets, etc.) or artificial ones. 
  • Tackle Bag or Box – we must keep things organized, or else we’ll lose our sanity! Unorganized gears lead to unnecessary stress, so holding all of our paraphernalia and equipment in a bag or a box would be extremely wise.
  • Fishing Pliers – this will come in handy when we need to cut off lures and hooks from our catch. 
  • Nets – This is optional if we ought to catch a more significant number of fishes.

To be a master at fishing, we need to master the basics, right?

As for the boats, whether it is a flatboat or a convertible ship that we are looking for, the local piers and ports are sure to provide you with the charter boats that we need, relative to the amount of budget we have. The same goes for the supplies and outfits we need. 

Since Long Island is a fishing state, there’s no need to worry about procuring the right tools. Whether it’s a specific type of boat that we want, the right amount of baits, the right outfit to wear, or even the chums to use for luring, the nearest shop/fishing boat charters will supply what we need. And oh, make sure to buy beef jerkies: we’ll need it. Trust me on this one.

The Best Places to Fish on Long Island Municipalities

Living on Long Island means access to a lot of fishing grounds, whether inshore or offshore. In this Long Island guide to fishing, I’ll give you the places where you can cast your lines and catch some games. Since Long Island is composed of almost 500 lakes and ponds and miles of free-flowing stream, I’ll give you the best places to fish per municipality.  

1. North Shore

The North Shore has a chest filled with literary history that will surely enlighten us with the important things that happened in the past. This place is the home of the mansion used in the set of The Great Gatsby (it’s a grand one!). We don’t need to be as luxurious and posh as F. Scott Fitzgerald claimed for us to fit in; with just the right reel, rod, and an insatiable thirst for fishing, we’ll do just fine!

This place is also a home for numerous fish species, such as stripers, blackfish, and winter flounders. The best place to cast your lines in North Shore are the following:

  • Little Neck
  • Hempstead Bay
  • Lloyd Neck
  • Cold Spring Harbor
  • Center Island

2. South Shore

Have you ever heard of the sentence, “Meet me in Montauk.”? The film The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind may have been talking about the most famous fishing ground on the South Shore: the Montauk Point! People worldwide go to this place just to fish and enjoy what they can offer. One of my personal favorite locations is the Fire Island Inlet, which connects the Great South Bay to the Atlantic Ocean. Be sure to read our article if you want to learn about the different fish in the Great South Bay. If we’re looking for some bass and bluefish, I’d suggest the following hottest fishing spots on the South Shore: 

  • Montauk Point
  • Shinnecock Bay
  • Fire Island Inlet

3. North Fork

The North Fork is the coastal escape we deserve after grueling years of work. It is a 30-mile long peninsula that houses over 30 vineyards. The fishing scene here is beautiful too! If our angler hands crave some seabass, porgy, bluefish, or some fluke, these hottest fishing spots in the North Fork will give us the thrill of the catch.

  • Mattituck Inlet, 
  • South Jamesport
  • Orient Point

4. South Fork 

The South Fork is a little part of the South Shore that covers the East and South Hamptons. For an average tourist, the Hamptons would be the best place to tour around and enjoy, but for us anglers, we crave for something more adventurous. If catching striped bass, porgies, blackfish, and many other types of fishes are what we’re interested in, then these places in South Fork would be the best fishing grounds to spend time with:

  • Peconic Bay
  • Fort Pond Bay
  • Montauk Point
  • Cartwright Shoals 

5. Long Island Sound

Long Island Sound is probably the most famous fishing spot on Long Island. It is an estuary, a special place where saltwater that came from the ocean meets fresh water that came from the rivers. Aside from marine vessels that use the seas for transportation, the Long Island Sound is also used for commercial and recreational fishing, especially if our hands itch to catch fishes like tautog, weakfish, bluefish, and striped bass. The best spots to go fishing in the Long Island Sound are the following:

  • Manhasset Bay
  • Oyster Bay
  • Port Jefferson Harbor 
  • Smithtown Bay

6. Barrier Islands/Outer Barriers

Barrier Island, in its literal sense, is a barrier. Such landforms reduce the energy that wild waves have, turning them into somewhat peaceful waters. The Long Island, Outer Barriers beaches, teem with fishes of numerous proportions, more than enough to satisfy our needs for sport and recreation. If I were in the mood for some flukes, bluefish, tautogs, and winter flounders, I would go the Outer Barrier islands.

  • New York City Islands
  • Long Beach Barrier Island
  • Jones Beach Island
  • Fire Island
  • Westhampton Island

7. Great Neck Peninsula

Living in the Great Neck may be incredibly expensive, but it surely has its havens for fish. The Great Neck Peninsula extends from Lake Success to the Kings Point at the north. This vibrant and picturesque part of New York is home to crappies, sunfish, yellow perch, pickerel, etc. These are the best places to throw out your fishing line in the Great Neck Peninsula.

  • Oakland Lake
  • Alley Creek Pond
  • Paper Mill Pond
  • Hempstead Harbor
  • Manhasset Bay

For more detailed information about the rules, regulations, violations, penalties, and anything that must be put into mind when fishing in the Long Island, check out the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation website. There, we can inform ourselves of what to do and not do. Aside from that, we can also get free reading materials to educate us on how to fish more efficiently! Also, be sure to do your part as a responsible angler by helping the department reduce the number of invasive species. How? Check out their website for more details!

Harbors and beaches are also great places to go fishing. If we want to be alone and enjoy the peace, the island’s shores can offer, let’s grab a stool, sit on the harbor, and cast our fishing line. It’s an incredible experience!


In conclusion, the waters of Long Island are potent and teeming with life. Whether it’s saltwater or freshwater, Long Island has something special for each and every one of us. Anglers are well taken care of in this place! To fish with no stress and hassles, let us make sure that we follow every regulation, the Department of Environmental Conservation has. We can maximize the enjoyment that we can get in catching those fish. Fishes on Long Island are bountiful in a particular season, so let’s make sure to optimize those seasons so we can get a bountiful catch! Long Island also has numerous recreational fishing places, so before hopping on to our fishing boats, let’s plan on where we’d want to go and what species we want to fish.

Happy fishing!

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