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Freshwater Fishing In Nassau

Wishing you tight lines and bent rods
While our region is famed for its salt water opportunities, Long Island also boasts some decent freshwater fisheries. Most people fishing in New York need a New York State fishing license. There are three ways to get a fishing license in New York. You can visit an official license issuing agent, order over the phone, or order online through the DEC website. A license is required for anyone over the age of 16. While statewide limits and regulations apply, there are some spots that also have their own rules. Be sure to check before you go out.
Please help prevent the spread of invasive species. After visiting a water body, take an extra moment to remove any plant debris that you see on your clothing or fishing gear. If you use waders in a water body where invasive species exist, wash them and allow the waders to dry completely before wearing them in another water body.
Before keeping fish for eating, be sure to check the DEC website for health advisories.
Here is a selection of freshwater fishing spots in Nassau county. More information can be found at dec.ny.gov under “places to go.”
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Forest City Park Pond
Forest City Park Pond in Wantagh is one of Nassau County’s lesser known bass-sunfish ponds. Shoreline access is limited, and steep drop offs make wading a challenge, but patient anglers could be rewarded with some decent largemouth bass catches.
Town: Hempstead

Access:
Access is through Forest City Community Park (Town of Hempstead).

Shoreline access only (boats are prohibited)

Forest City Park Pond is located just west of the Wantagh State Parkway, north of Jerusalem Avenue, and south of the Southern State Parkway.

Fish Species:
Largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, carp, brown bullhead, American eel

Fishing:
The pond has a plentiful largemouth bass population dominated by fish less than 12 inches in length. The bass population is a slow growing, stunted population. Pumpkinseed sunfish are also plentiful, but also tend to be smaller, averaging under five inches in length. Other species are present, but in lower densities.
Hempstead Lake
Located in Hempstead Lake State Park, this lake is the largest freshwater body in Nassau County.
Town: Hempstead

Access:
New York State Park. Access to the lake is via many dirt footpaths located around the perimeter of the lake.

Directions: Take the Southern State Parkway to exit 18 off the Southern State Parkway. Make a right at the stop sign on the end of the exit ramp (coming from either the east or the west) to enter the park.

Restrictions: Canoes, car top boats and electric trolling motors are permitted; however, a boat permit must first be obtained from the park. For more information call the park at (516) 766-1029. Additionally, boat must be hand launched, no trailers are permitted. Park closed from dusk till dawn.

Fish Species:
Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, yellow perch, carp, goldfish

Fishing:
Historically, Hempstead Lake was one of the top fisheries on Long Island. In the summer of 2002 Hempstead Lake completely dried up due to the extreme temperatures and low precipitation levels. The Region 1 Fisheries Unit restocked the lake in 2003 with black crappie, yellow perch, bluegill sunfish, pumpkinseed sunfish, banded killifish, golden shiners, and chain pickerel. In 2004 largemouth bass were stocked. In 2012 a fisheries survey was conducted to assess health of the fish community eight years after stocking. Juveniles were caught from all of the stocked species except golden shiner and banded killifish, indicating continued natural reproduction. Common carp were not stocked by DEC, but were also captured during the survey. Anglers wishing to target larger fish should try for carp, as the other fish species in the lake are typically small.
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Lower Twin Pond, Wantagh
Town: Hempstead

Access:
Access is through a Town of Hempstead Preserve.

Directions: Lower Twin Pond is located immediately west of the Wantagh State Parkway just north of Sunrise Highway. Take the Wantagh State Parkway south to Exit W5 (Sunrise Highway) west. At the first traffic light make a right onto Old Mill Road. Go past one stop sign and make a right onto Park Avenue. Park on the south side of the road. Lower Twin Pond is south of Park Avenue.

Restrictions: Boats are prohibited, but shoreline access is available.

Fish Species:
Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, brown bullhead, American eel.

Fishing:
Lower Twin Pond is well known as a great chain pickerel fishing spot in Nassau County. Some fish are reported over 24 inches long. This is also a good place to target largemouth bass. During the most recent survey of Lower Twin Pond in 2014, the catch rate of Largemouth bass above 15 inches was more than 10 fish per hour. Anglers can also enjoy a plentiful sunfish population if the bass and pickerel are not biting. This pond has dense aquatic plant life in the summer, so be prepared for weeds when you fish it. Lower Twin Pond also holds one catch and release angler achievement award for a largemouth bass measuring over 20 inches long.
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Massapequa Lake, Massapequa
Town: Oyster Bay
Access:
Nassau County Park

Directions: Massapequa Lake is located in the Massapequa Preserve just north of Merrick Road. Take Merrick Road a few blocks east of Route 107. The lake will be on the north side of Merrick Road.

Restrictions: Boats are prohibited, but shoreline access is available.

Fish Species:
Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, brown bullhead, common carp, white perch

Fishing:
Massapequa Lake has a no-kill black bass regulation which was implemented in 1998. Since then the Largemouth Bass population in the lake has improved greatly. Patient anglers will have a chance at bass over 15 inches long. The lake also supports a very strong bluegill and yellow perch population. During the most recent survey of Massapequa Lake, the catch for both species was over 80 fish per hour. Good sized panfish are abundant in the lake, but anglers should expect to catch many more small fish. The lake becomes difficult to fish during the summer due to heavy growth of spatterdock and water chestnut, an invasive species. These plants grow out of the water creating dense mats of vegetation that anglers cannot fish through. Targeting the edges of these mats should reward bass anglers with a few large fish. Common carp also grow very large in Massapequa Lake, with fish over 10 pounds reported often.
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Massapequa Reservoir, Massapequa
Town: Oyster Bay

Access:
The entire reservoir is located inside a Nassau County Preserve. Public access is via foot paths around the reservoir.

Directions: The reservoir is located just south of Clark Street and north of Sunrise Highway (Route 27) with Lake Shore Drive and Parkside Boulevard bordering to the east and west. Park on Lake Shore Drive or in a dirt turnoff area off Sunrise Highway just east of the Massapequa Train Station. This lake is easily accessible by train from the LIRR Babylon Branch at the Massapequa Train Station.

Restrictions: Boats are prohibited, but shoreline access is available.

Fish Species:
Naturally reproducing: largemouth bass, pumpkinseed, bluegill, brown bullhead, carp, American eel
Stocked:
Brown trout and rainbow trout are stocked in the spring and fall

Fishing:
Massapequa Reservoir is a very popular fishing spot in Nassau County that may be the most heavily fished pond on Long Island. Located within a Nassau County Preserve, it is stocked with trout in the spring and fall, which draws heavy crowds of people, especially on the weekends. The reservoir is one of the better largemouth bass fishing locations in Nassau County. The eastern half of the pond is dominated by coontail and spatterdock (aquatic plants) that make it very difficult to fish, but is worth it if you can. Water chestnut is also present here. The western half of the pond is more open, making it an ideal spot to try to catch sunfish or bass during the summer. Carp are plentiful as well,
and provide a good tug on the line
when hooked.
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Oyster Bay Mill Pond,
Oyster Bay
Oyster Bay Mill Pond is one of the few public freshwater fishing spots on the north shore of Nassau County.
Town: Oyster Bay

Access:
Pond is located on a United States Fish and Wildlife Preserve.

Directions: Located in the village of Oyster Bay south of West Shore Road. Park on the south side of West Shore Road east of the pond or in Roosevelt Memorial Park and walk to the pond.

Restrictions: Boats are prohibited, but shoreline access is available.

Fish Species:
Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, carp, brown bullhead, American eel, brown trout, rainbow trout.

Fishing:
Most people fish Oyster Bay Mill Pond for the trout that are stocked in the spring and the fall. There is also a good population of largemouth bass in the lake, but they tend to be small (less than 12 inches). A few carp are present. There are also a few bullhead in the lake up to about 15 inches. The lake can become difficult to fish during the summer due to heavy growth of water chestnut. Water chestnut grows out of the water creating dense mats of vegetation that anglers cannot fish through. Targeting the edges of these mats should reward bass anglers with some fish.
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Ridders Pond, New Hyde Park
Located in a small suburban park in the Town of North Hempstead, Ridders Pond has a stone bulkhead and is surrounded by a manicured lawn, shrubs, bushes, and trees.
Town: North Hempstead

Access:
Town of North Hempstead

Directions: Take either the Long Island Expressway or the Northern State Parkway to New Hyde Park Road. Go south on New Hyde Park Road to Marcus Avenue and make a left. Make the next left onto Meadow Farm Road and park in the designated parking.

Restrictions: Boats are prohibited. However, the entire shoreline is accessible.

Fish Species:
Pumpkinseed, carp, brown bullhead, goldfish

Fishing:
The primary fish in Ridders Pond are carp and goldfish which can reach 18 inches in length. There are a few brown bullheads that can reach 10 inches. Any sunfish present are small, less than four inches in length. It is a good pond for the neighborhood kids to enjoy a little fishing.
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Upper Twin Pond, Wantagh
Town: Hempstead

Access:
Access is through a Town of Hempstead Preserve.

Directions: Upper Twin Pond is located just west of the Wantagh State Parkway and north of Lower Twin Pond. Take the Wantagh State Parkway south to Exit W5 (Sunrise Highway) west. At the first traffic light make a right onto Old Mill Road. Go past one stop sign and make a right onto Park Avenue. Park on the south side of the road. Upper Twin Pond is north of Park Avenue.

Restrictions: Boats are prohibited, but shoreline access is available. Preserve closed from dusk to dawn.

Fish Species:
Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, yellow perch, carp, brown bullhead, American eel, brown trout, rainbow trout

Fishing:
Upper Twin Pond is the second most fished water in Nassau County. It gets a barrage of anglers during the spring and fall due to the trout stockings. Largemouth bass are plentiful in the lake. Since the Nassau County catch and release only black bass season went into effect (1998), the bass population has responded and is now the best bass fishing lake in Nassau County. Bass in the 15 to 18 range are common with some elusive 20+ inch fish thrown in. The sunfish are plentiful with many fish larger than six inches. There are chain pickerel in the pond, but they tend to be on the small side with few fish reaching over 15 inches. Like Lower Twin Pond, just to the south, be prepared to fish around the weeds through the summer months.
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Wantagh Mill Pond, Wantagh
Previously called Jones Pond, Wantagh Mill Pond is a popular fishing spot. A paved path winds its way along the shoreline, providing easy fishing access to most of the pond.
Town: Hempstead
Access:
Nassau County Park

Directions: Wantagh Mill Pond is located in Wantagh just to the west of the Wantagh State Parkway on the north side of Merrick Road.

Restrictions: Boats are prohibited, but shoreline access is available.

Fish Species:
Largemouth bass, chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, yellow perch, white perch, carp, brown bullhead, American eel, black bullhead.

Fishing:
Wantagh Mill Pond has one of the most diverse fish communities in Nassau County. Anglers can target bass, pickerel, or the abundant bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish. Most of the fish in the pond tend to be smaller than other Nassau County waters. For the largest fish, target carp near the edges of spatterdock (an aquatic plant) which grows out of the water in dense clusters. Use heavy line, as these fish will try to get you tangled in the weeds. One special note about Wantagh Mill Pond, is that it was the home of a New York State record fish! In August, 1993 a state record 7lb. 7oz black bullhead was landed here. The record still holds today.
—List compiled from NYS DEC

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