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Prospect Park Lake

One of New York City's more popular places to fish is Prospect Park Lake in Brooklyn, located entirely within Prospect Park. This 55-acre 7' deep lake has a very sinuous shoreline with several islands in the main body of the lake. A long arm of the lake stretches to the northeast, the latter part of which is called the Lullwater. The lake has an abundant submergent plant community composed mostly of coontail, curly leaf pondweed, elodea, yellow floatingheart and floating water primrose.

Physical Features:

Area: 55 acres
Shoreline Length: 2.5 miles
Maximum depth: near 7 feet

Access:

There are plenty of places to fish along the shoreline of Prospect Park Lake. Many of those areas are accessible to people with disabilities. In addition to the lake, there is parking, lighting, and other family friendly features to the park. Mass transit is available by both bus and subway. Ride the F or G train to 15th Street - Prospect Park to access the lake from the west. The Q train to Parkside Avenue/Oceanside Avenue is the closest subway access to the east side of the lake. The Q, B, and Franklin Avenue Shuttle stop at Prospect Park/Empire Boulevard - Flatbush Avenue, a short walk from the park. For bus access to the west side of the lake, take the B69 bus to 15th Street and 8th Avenue or the B68 bus to Prospect Park SW and 10th Avenue. The east side of the lake can be accessed by taking the B16 to Parkside and Ocean Avenues, the B12 to Ocean and Woodruff Avenues or the B41 to Flatbush and Parkside Avenues.

Fish Species:

Largemouth bass, Black crappie, Yellow perch, Chain pickerel, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed Carp, Golden shiner. For more information on these fish species, visit the page on Freshwater Fishes.

Fishing:

Prospect Park Lake offers a variety of warmwater fishing opportunities, including what is probably the best largemouth bass fishing in NYC. Two to three pound largemouth bass are fairly common, and the possibility of a memorable five pounder exists. Bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish are plentiful in the 4 to 7 inch range. Black crappie and yellow perch are present in the lake, but are not plentiful. However, the crappie and perch you do catch are usually larger than 8 inches. The largest crappie caught during a 2008 DEC electrofishing survey was an impressive 15 inches long! Carp are not plentiful, but there are enough to provide good sport for anglers that wish to catch Prospect Park Lake's largest fish.

When fishing in Prospect Park Lake, concentrate on the weed edges where fish congregate. Areas along the edges of Phragmites can be very productive, especially if targeting bass. When fishing with artificial lures, use weedless lures because of the dense weed growth in the lake. Using topwater lures such as weedless frogs can produce exciting strikes. Those lures can be dragged across dense areas of weeds where larger fish might be lurking. Just make sure you have heavy enough fishing line to get the bass out of the weeds once you hook one.

Make sure to bring a camera! Fishing is catch and release only, but you might be able to capture a lifelong memory before you release your catch back into the water.

Image of fishermen at Prospect Park Lake
Prospect Park offers accessible fishing opportunities

Regulations:

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

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation rules require the use of non-lead weights and barbless hooks.

Fisheries Survey and Technical Brief:

The most recent boat electrofishing survey of Prospect Park Lake was executed in October, 2019. Fish species captured and observed were largemouth bass, bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, black crappie, golden shiner, yellow perch, American eel, and common carp. Size indices suggest a well-balanced predator-prey population and those for largmouth bass, black crappie and yellow perch suggest good-sized fish of these species may be caught by anglers. Results of this survey can be found in the Prospect Park Lake Technical Brief (PDF).

Largemouth Bass Catch/Hour for Eight New York City Water Bodies (table updated 2018)
Waterbody 8" and over 12" and over 15" and over
Baisley Pond 17 10 10
Central Park Lake 9 5 0
Harlem Meer 111 63 29
Indian Lake 20 20 1
Kissena Lake 35 2 2
Oakland Lake 27 12 0
Prospect Park Lake 85 33 12
Van Cortlandt Lake 22 5 0
Willowbrook Lake 10 10 10

2014 Prospect Park Lake Creel Survey

A creel survey of shoreline anglers was performed at Prospect Park Lake from May 5 - November 4, 2014. The survey was used to characterize both fishing activity and those who fish. Collected information included fish species targeted and caught, types of gear used, and anglers' perceptions about fishery-related issues at Prospect Park Lake. Angler effort was estimated to be 16,761 hours and 305 angler hrs/acre. Anglers reported catching 0.94 fish of any species/hr and 0.57 Largemouth Bass/hr with highest catch rates observed in July. Most anglers were male, lived in Brooklyn, and between 19 and 49 years of age. Ethnic composition reflected that of the borough of Brooklyn. The most heard comments from anglers (43%) regarded the amount of trash in and around the lake. Almost all anglers (81%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of fishing at Prospect Park Lake. Results from this creel survey were compared with those from a 2001 survey and while angler effort was comparable, catch rate for all fish in 2014 was greater than twice that in 2001. Largemouth Bass catch rate was approximately 20% greater in 2014 than in 2001. This lake has fish refuge areas, inaccessible to anglers, which likely contribute to healthy fish populations and could serve as a model for improving fish habitat in other NYC lakes. Read the full report (PDF)