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Central Park Lake

Central Park Lake has transitioned from a warmwater, largemouth bass fishery, to one where carp are prevalent. The meandering shoreline of this 18-acre water body varies from rocky to grassy to treelined and creates a variety of aquatic habitats for at least eight different species of freshwater fish with common carp being the largest in size.

Physical Features:

Area: 18 acres
Approximate average depth: 4 - 6 feet


Shoreline access is available at many locations around the lake. Central Park Lake is very popular, so take care when casting your line to avoid interfering with other anglers and pedestrians.

Fish Species:

Largemouth bass, black crappie, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, common carp, brown bullhead, and golden shiner. For more information on these fish species, visit the page on Freshwater Fishes.


To catch one of the many common carp, check out the page, "Let's Go Carp Fishing". To catch a good-sized largemouth bass, try a soft plastic bait like a plastic worm or a hard plastic bait such as stickbait (plastic fish with treble hooks). Panfish, including the top-sized yellow perch of this lake, can be caught using a bobber and worm. Remember to tamp down all barbs on hooks as New York City regulations require the use of barbless hooks.

Central Park Lake offers an opportunity to experience nature within NYC


Special regulations apply. See Special Fishing Regulations for NYC.

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

Central Park Lake Angler Creel Survey 2015

A creel survey of anglers at Central Park Lake was performed from May 5 - October 31, 2015. The survey was used to characterize both angler activity and those who fish. Information collected included fish species targeted and caught, types of gear used, and anglers' perceptions about fishery-related issues. Over 70% of anglers at Central Park Lake fish for carp. The catch rate (fish per hour) at the lake is 0.43 with a catch rate of .36 for carp. The most common comment from Central Park Lake anglers concerned stocking fish. Conclusions and management recommendations are included in the full Angler Creel Survey Report (PDF).

Fisheries Survey:

Largemouth bass catch per hour as determined during an April 2019 boat electrofishing survey, was found to have decreased since a 2010 survey. The common carp population, however, has increased significantly. More findings can be found in the Central Park Lake Technical Brief (PDF).

Largemouth Bass Catch/Hour for Ten New York City Water Bodies
Waterbody 8" and over 12" and over 15" and over year
100th Street Pool 50 37 0 2022
Baisley Pond 10 6 6 2021
Central Park Lake 9 5 0 2019
Harlem Meer 102 78 37 2021
Kissena Lake 55 20 4 2022
Oakland Lake 55 20 2 2021
Prospect Park Lake 51 19 1 2021
Van Cortlandt Lake 41 15 0 2021
Willowbrook Lake 17 17 8 2020
Wolfe's Pond 31 9 0 2021