Department of Environmental Conservation

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Van Cortlandt Lake

Van Cortlandt Lake supports a diverse warm water fish community that should provide quality fishing opportunities for largemouth bass and a variety of panfish.

Physical Features:

Elevation: 15 feet
Area: 18 acres
Shoreline Length: 0.81 miles
Approximate average depth: 4 - 8 feet


Shoreline access varies from flat grassy areas to steeper-sloped wooded areas. While the latter may be more challenging for first-time anglers your efforts to reach these areas could be rewarded with the catch of a decent-sized fish. For public transportation directions to Van Cortlandt and other New York City lakes see the related link, "Getting to NYC Freshwater Fishing Locations."

Getting to Van Cortlandt Lake via Mass Transit:
Take the 1 train to 242nd St and walk east into the park; the lake is located adjacent to the public golf course.
Take the BxM3 or Bx10 bus to Van Cortlandt Park S and Van Cortlandt Ave W. Walk north into the park; the lake is next to the public golf course.

Van Cortlandt Lake and the surrounding forests

Fish Species:

Largemouth bass, Black crappie, Brown bullhead, Bluegill, Pumpkinseed, Golden shiner, Common carp, White sucker, Yellow perch.


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:

A DEC electrofishing survey performed in June, 2017, yielded a variety of warm water fish species including: largemouth bass, bluegill, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead catfish, black crappie, yellow perch, golden shiner and white sucker. Specimens of both yellow perch and black crappie were recorded with sizes up to 12 inches. Brown bullhead catfish reached up to 15 inches in size. For more in-depth information on this survey, see the full technical brief.

Largemouth Bass Catch/Hour for Eight New York City Water Bodies (table updated 2019)
Waterbody 8" and over 12" and over 15" and over
Baisley Pond 17 10 10
Central Park Lake 18 15 9
Harlem Meer 47 35 14
Indian Lake 20 20 1
Kissena Lake 12 6 4
Oakland Lake 27 12 0
Prospect Park Lake 76 41 30
Van Cortlandt Lake 22 5 0
Willowbrook Lake 10 10 10