Credit: David Conlan
Credit: Leigh Campbell
Credit: David Conlan

Fishing in the Catskills

Cast a Line in New York State's Angling Mecca

Home to a variety of trout species, shad, bass, pike, pickerel and more, the Catskills have a long history as one of America's ultimate angling destinations. From the area's vast reservoirs that compose the New York City Watershed, to numerous lakes, rivers, streams and ponds, angle across the Catskills and fish the region's varied waterways.

Popular Catskills Fishing Haunts

If you're not visiting the Catskills for the region's prime fly fishing, angling the stillwaters of a reservoir or lake, or casting a line from shore will still yield some incredible catches. Try these popular Catskills fishing haunts:

  • Wilson Lake – Located in Mt. Tremper, anglers can access Wilson Lake via the Kenneth L. Wilson Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) campground. There is a strict "no gas motors" policy, but rowboats, kayaks and canoes are permitted. Species include everything from Largemouth Bass and Blue Gills, to Chain Pickerel and Yellow Perch.
  • Alder Lake – Located in the Balsam Lake Mountain Wild Forest, Alder Lake is home to some of the best stillwater trout fishing in the Catskills region. Fish Alder by shore or paddle out, and cast with small spoons or in-line spinners at this revered spot for outdoor recreation.
  • Cannonsville Reservoir – One of four reservoirs in the Catskills , 12-mile long Cannonsville Reservoir is stocked annually with 6,000 to 7,000 Brown Trout, but anglers will also find species including Alewife, Common Carp, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, among others. Accessible via designated NYC Department of Environmental Protection boat launches.
  • Big Pond – Located in the town of Andes, anglers can access Big Pond at the southwest end of the Lake via Big Pond Road to fish for species including American Eel, Rainbow Trout, and White Sucker. Big Pond is also a hotspot for ice fishing during the winter.
  • Lake Superior – Spend the day in Lake Superior State Park and fish the waters of Lake Superior, located in the town of Bethel. Popular species include Largemouth Bass, as well as a variety of Panfish. After a fishing outing, enjoy the arts and culture scene of Bethel, including a show at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, site of the 1969 Woodstock Festival.
  • Crystal Lake – Just south of 'Trout Town USA,' Roscoe, Crystal Lake offers anglers opportunities for camping and hiking in addition to fishing. And as for which species you might get a strike from here? Crystal Lake is haven for anglers seeking out Brookies.
  • North-South Lake – Located in the town of Hunter, North-South Lake is a no-motors lake filled with Panfish and Bullhead, and one of the Catskills' most family-friendly fishing spots. Stocked annually with Tiger Muskellunge.
  • Green Lake – A popular year-round Catskills fishing haven for Trout and Panfish, Green Lake in Athens is stocked annually with Brown Trout and is also home to a variety of other species including American Eel, Alewife, White Crappie, Golden Shiner and Banded Killifish.

Before setting out on your next fishing outing in the Catskills, please remember to refer to the DEC's rules and regulations to ensure you're following protocol, obtaining the correct license, and fishing within season. Trout season runs from April 1 to October 15, while Bass season runs from the third Saturday in June to November 30.

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