How to Find Out About Urban Fishing Lakes Near Me

As someone who grew up in an urban area and cultivated a lifelong interest in fishing, I can relate to someone who asks “how can I find urban fishing lakes near me?” In my case, being born and raised in New York City, there were limited bodies of water that contained fish when I was young, and the Hudson River was then so polluted that you didn’t want to be near it. When I was old enough to travel on my own, I went to the large interconnected system of reservoirs and streams that formed the city’s water supply system, and found many species to whet my angling appetite.

So, if you’re asking yourself if there are urban fishing lakes near me, or, for that matter, any opportunities for urban fishing near me, you need to pursue several avenues of research to find out what waterbodies exist, where to access them, what species of fish they contain, and how to fish at those locations.

1. Attend a Local Outdoor Sports/Fishing Show

Outdoor sport shows and boat shows are held at various times of the year, but primarily in winter in and around major population centers. Attend one and focus on exhibitors and seminars that have information (as opposed to products or services to sell). Examples include a booth staffed by representatives of the state fish and game department or local recreation-oriented organizations like fishing, boating, or paddle groups.

2. Join a Local Fishing/Outdoors Club

Look for a a local fishing club that has an emphasis on families and mutual education (as opposed to being only or primarily about having contests/tournaments). It’s especially good if they put out a newsletter periodically, host an informational website, and have regular meetings with instructional guest speakers.

3. Contact Your State Natural Resources Agency

Especially the regional office for your area. See if they’ve have a list of urban fishing sites. Perhaps their state publication, if there is one, has published articles about urban fishing, public fishing lakes, stocked fishing ponds, and the like.

4. Visit a Local Bait & Tackle Shop

If there’s a local retailer that sells fishing tackle, you must visit it, check out their website (if they have one), and learn what you can from their employees. Larger urban fishing retailers may periodically host seminars on local angling topics. They may be your best source of local information.

5. Find a Mentor

My family did not fish, and I had no adult mentors, so I know that it’s possible to learn what you need to on your own. But if you know someone who fishes in your urban area, see if they’re willing to help educate you. Many anglers don’t want to reveal their hotspots or personal tricks, so be mindful of the need to keep a confidence.

6. Read Everything You Can That is Locally Relevant

Look through local bookstores, tackle shops, and sport show booths for pamphlets, booklets, or guides that detail fishing opportunities in your area. Even if they’re outdated, there will still be worthwhile things to glean from them. Look elsewhere, including your local library or old magazines, for topical info, and do a search of the sports section (outdoors section if there was one) of your newspaper for previously published articles about local fishing.


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Ken Schultz

Ken Schultz

Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of ESPNoutdoors.com. He’s written and photographed nineteen books on sportfishing topics, plus an annual fishing tips calendar., and his writing has appeared on various websites for nearly two decades. His author website is kenschultz.com.