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Hempstead Lake, Hempstead Lake State Park

Hempstead Lake, located in Hempstead Lake State Park, is the largest fresh water body in Nassau County.

Physical Features:

Elevation: 25 feet
Area: 167 acres
Shoreline Length: 2.85 miles
Maximum depth: 10 feet
Town: Hempstead


New York State Park. Access to the lake is via many dirt footpaths located around the perimeter of the lake. Seasonal parking fees may apply. Call (516) 766-1029 for details or visit the New York State Parks website.

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
Black Crappie
Yellow Perch


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.


Special regulations apply. See the Freshwater Fishing Regulation Guide (PDF).

Health Advice on Eating Fish You Catch:

Visit NYS Department of Health website (link leaves DEC's website) for health advice on eating fish you catch. Scroll to the bottom of the page for Long Island freshwater waterbodies.