What comes to mind when you think about fishing? Patience, relaxation, challenge, and memories are a few words often associated with fishing. You will find all that and a sense of stewardship, conservation, and preservation on this page. We want you to have an enjoyable time during your visit, and for those who come after you to fish. Take some time to explore, learn what the park has to offer and learn your responsibilities before casting a line or flicking a fly into the water.
Licenses and Permits
Saltwater fishing is the only type of fishing allowed at Gateway. No license is required for saltwater fishing, but there is a saltwater registry for both New York and New Jersey.
Permits are required to park in many places throughout the park. Permits are also required to park after hours at any part of the park.
Breezy Point Tip Off Road Permits are a specialized fishing/parking permits necessary to access the sand road, sand lot and Breezy Point Tip in the Jamaica Bay Unit. These are available in limited numbers, and only at the Ryan Visitor Center. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is required. All-wheel drive vehicles are not recommended. The Off Road Permit is valid anywhere in the park where the fishing/parking permit is honored. Off Road Permits are $50.
Please note that between March 15 and September 15 there is no vehicle access to Breezy Point Tip. All vehicles must park at the sand lot during this time, which is piping plover season.
Jamaica Bay Unit
Fishing regulations for Gateway National Recreation follow 36 CFR 2.3 and those set by the States of New York and New Jersey.
Fish Consumption Advisories in National Park Waters
The Environmental Protection Agency, states, territories, and tribes provide advice on fish and shellfish caught in the waters in their jurisdiction to help people make informed decisions about eating fish. Advisories are recommendations to limit your consumption of, or avoid eating entirely, certain species of fish or shellfish from specific bodies of water due to chemical or biological contamination.
Fish is part of a healthy balanced diet, but eating wild fish and shellfish caught in park waters is not risk free. Parks are “islands”, but the much larger “ocean” that surrounds them affects the natural resources inside a park. Other aquatic toxins are the result of natural biological processes. Also, chemical contaminants that originate outside of park boundaries can come into parks.
Mercury is an example of a toxin originating outside a park that can find its way into a park. Mercury exists naturally in some rocks, including coal. When power plants burn coal, mercury can travel in the air long distances before falling to the ground, usually in low concentrations. Once on the ground, microorganisms can change this elemental mercury to methyl mercury. This type of mercury can build up in animal tissues, and it can increase in concentration to harmful levels. This high concentration can occur in large predatory fish - those often pursued and eaten by anglers. Studies have shown that fish in some National Park System waters have mercury levels that may be a concern to people who regularly eat a lot of fish.
Fishing Throughout the National Park Service
We invite you to visit the Fish and Fishing website for more information about fish and fishing in the National Park Service. You will learn about conservation, different fish species, and parks that offer fishing.
Last updated: September 17, 2020