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Cast a Rod: The Best Fishing Spots in Nassau County

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or casting a line for the first time, Nassau County offers a diverse fishing experience with stunning scenery and a chance to reel in some serious catches. 

This guide will explore the best fishing spots Nassau County has to offer, from the sprawling waters of the Atlantic Ocean to serene inland freshwater havens. We’ll cover what kind of fish you can expect to find, the best times to visit, and tips to make your Nassau County fishing adventure a success.

Saltwater Fishing in Nassau County

Nassau County boasts miles of coastline along both the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound, providing ample opportunity for saltwater fishing enthusiasts. Don’t forget your Marine Fishing Registry before heading out. Here are some of the top spots to cast a line:

Jones Beach State Park This iconic park on Jones Beach barrier island is a haven for surfcasters. Field 10 features four “finger” piers jutting out into the ocean, perfect for year-round fishing and crabbing. Target striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish abound in the spring and fall, while winter brings cod and flounder. (A regional Night Fishing Permit is required after sunset.)

Matinecock Point Sticking off the east end of Hempstead Harbor near Pryibil Beach, Matinecock Point offers a rocky shoreline perfect for surfcasting. 

A 41-acre artificial reef sits in ~40 feet of water northeast of the point. During the spring and fall migrations, you can target fluke and porgy, as well as weakfish from June. There are also Green, Asian, and hermit crabs. Be aware of currents and tides, as this area can be challenging for beginners.

Nickerson Beach Park This park in Lido Beach offers a long stretch of sandy shoreline with some rocky outcroppings. This varied structure makes it a good spot for surfcasting throughout the year. Here, you can target striped bass, bluefish, fluke, and porgy in the summer months.

Manhasset Bay Wedged between Kings Point and Manorhaven, this sheltered bay on the north coast of the island offers calmer waters compared to the open ocean. It’s a great spot for beginners or families with young anglers. You’ll find a mix of saltwater and freshwater species, with a good chance of catching fluke, sea bass, and tautog depending on the season.

Freshwater Fishing in Nassau County

One of the best things about Nassau County is that just a stone’s throw from either coastline you can find an inland network of freshwater lakes, ponds, and streams. These tranquil spots offer the chance to catch a variety of fish species, and oftentimes a quieter experience than one can find on the more popular coastlines.

Hempstead Lake State Park This expansive park houses the largest freshwater body in Nassau County and boasts two great fishing spots: South Lake and McDonald Pond. With 2.85 miles of shoreline, there’s plenty of space for fishers at Hempstead. Fish species here include trout, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, carp, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, and goldfish. 

The park also hosts family-friendly fishing clinics, a great way to introduce kids to the sport. Canoes and electric trolling motors are permitted, but a boat permit must first be obtained from the park and boats must be hand-launched.

Massapequa Lake Massapequa Preserve is home to both an eponymous lake and a man-made reservoir, as well as a long creek running between them, and all are great spots for fishing. The lake is around 40 acres wide, and features species including largemouth bass, brown bullhead, common carp, chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and white and yellow perch. 

NOTE: This lake is extremely difficult to fish in the summer due to the dense clusters of water chestnut and spatterdock that tend to grow in the waters.

Massapequa Reservoir Less than a half-mile north from Massapequa Lake along the Bethpage bikeway, this reservoir has nearly a mile of shoreline. Fishers can find largemouth bass, carp, American eel, brown bullhead, pumpkinseed, and bluegill, and the reservoir is also stocked with brown and rainbow trout in spring and fall. 

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation notes that this 20-acre reservoir might be “the most heavily fished pond on Long Island,” so be prepared to share the water!

Beaver Lake The third-largest lake in Nassau County, Beaver Lake runs out to Mill Creek and West Harbor in the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Beaver Lake is a little over 60 acres wide, and home to yellow perch, pumpkinseed, American eel, carp, and a variety of frogs. 

Heading upstream leads to Shu Swamp and Upper Francis Pond, though no fishing is allowed in these preserves, which are home to—among other species—the rare American brook lamprey. 

NOTE: These aren’t the only spots for freshwater fishing in Nassau County! Other popular fishing holes include Oyster Bay Mill Pond in Oyster Bay, Ridders Pond in New Hyde Park, and Twin Lakes, Forest City Park Pond, and Wantagh Mill Pond in Wantagh.

Tips for a Successful Nassau County Fishing Trip

  • Know Before You Go: Regardless of where you choose to fish, always check fishing regulations and licensing requirements. New York State requires a Marine Fishing Registry for saltwater fishing and a traditional fishing license for freshwater for anyone over the age of 16. Also, while statewide limits and regulations apply, there are some spots that also have their own rules. Be sure to check before you go out.
  • Mind the Seasons: Different fish species are active at different times of the year. Research your target fish to understand when they are most likely to be biting.
  • Gear Up: The right gear can make all the difference in your fishing experience. Choose a rod and reel appropriate for the fish you’re targeting and the fishing environment.
  • Bait Wisely: Live bait like worms or minnows are a popular choice, but consider using artificial lures that mimic the natural food sources of your target fish.
  • Respect the Environment: Practice catch-and-release techniques when required, and always dispose of fishing lines and other waste properly.

With its diverse freshwater and saltwater options, stunning scenery, and convenient location, Nassau County is a perfect destination for anglers of all skill levels. So, grab your rod, reel, and a sense of adventure, and head out to explore the many fishing spots Nassau County has to offer.

Just remember, fishing isn’t just about catching a trophy fish; it’s about the entire experience. Take in the stunning natural beauty of the coastline or the serenity of a freshwater lake. Pack a picnic lunch, enjoy the fresh air, and make memories that will last a lifetime. 

 

Reel in the big one? Share your favorite fishing pics with @VisitNassauCountyLI and be entered to win special prizes! 

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