Fishing in or near Ulster County, NY?
June 18, 2014 5:41 PM   Subscribe

Looking for some suggestions for fishing spots near to Kerhonkson, NY, in late June. Snow flake details inside.

Our family of four (two adults, and two kids -- a 13 year old and a 10 year old) will be in Kerhonkson, NY, at the end of the month for a family reunion/get together. We do this every year, and often we're only there for the weekend. This year, however, we're making a longer trip of it, and will be staying in the Kerhonkson area after the reunion so I can do a little fishing, then going to NYC for the rest of the week. Yay me! The time we've set aside for me to fish will be from a Sunday afternoon to a Tuesday morning. My wife has offered to amuse the kids while I fish, so this question really just about me finding a place to fish in that general area.

However...I know nothing about fishing in that area, and trying to Google this info is only making me more confused. Ideally, I'd love to find a lake or pond where I could rent a small boat and putter about, fishing for bass or crappie (any fish caught would be released). At least that's what I'd do if I were looking to fish in my home waters in California. However, my Google-fu is failing me, and while I can find descriptions of reservoirs in that area, so far I haven't been able to find one that rents boats, or sounds accessible to someone without a boat. I have found lots (!!!) of regulations about what I'd need to do if I were trying to bring my own boat into some of these bodies of water, but that isn't my plan. I just want to fish a pond or lake for bass; small bodies of water are fine, and may even be preferred. I'll have a light action rod and reel with me, and as much/little tackle as I can fit in a small hip pack. I'm not looking for an epic fishing experience, just a chance to get my line wet and fish some place different. Shore fishing is also possible, but unless it's a pond I can hike around I'd probably prefer to fish from a boat. I'm a "work a lure, explore cover" kind of fisherman, not a "cast bait, open beer" sort of fisherman, though that's a perfectly valid way to spend one's time...

Given the above, can anyone point me to a decent body of water in this area that I can fish on a Sunday afternoon and/or Monday? You can memail me if you don't want to publicize a secret fishing hole, I promise I won't tell anyone. I'm just a bit lost, as the area we're going to is thousands of miles away from my familiar fishing grounds and doesn't seem to cater to non-locals.

Additional info, FWIW: I've already purchased a 7 day non-resident NY State Fishing License, but it looks like I may also need a NYC Public Access Permit if I fish from a boat?? (The linked regulations are confusing and seem to contradict themselves.) Also, if there's a better body of water within a few hours of Kerhonkson, I'm all for going there, especially if lodging is also an option. The resort we'll be staying at for the weekend reunion is being pissy about lodging for Sunday night, so I'd be happy to go somewhere else it makes sense to do so.
posted by mosk to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Otsego Lake is a very pretty couple hours' drive from Kerhonkson, and has the added bonus of hosting the lovely village of Cooperstown (home of baseball), which is well worth a visit. Don't know much about fishing, but boat rentals are definitely available; you could try contacting the fellas at Sam Smith's Boat Yard to see what they have to say:

Only catch is that lodging may be a little tough to find in late June (although Sunday night may be more doable), but you should be able to swing something. The drive from Cooperstown towards NYC through the Catskill Mountains on Route 28 is really nice.

I don't know if Otsego Lake is the answer for you, but there has to be something in the area. That area is SERIOUS fishing country (primarily fly fishing, but still). I wonder if you could call one of the "sportsmen's" stores--places that sell fishing equipment--and ask if they have any recommendations. Or try calling the local and state tourism offices. Somebody has to know something.

That said, the NYC reservoirs (especially Ashokan) are beautiful. I'm almost certain that you'll need a DEP permit to fish them, but it looks like they have an expedited process for getting a permit, here: So you might want to get the ball rolling on that.
posted by Leatherstocking at 8:19 PM on June 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks, Leatherstocking. I don't mean to threadsit, but I do appreciate the info. FWIW, we visited Cooperstown a year ago after the 2013 family weekend, so I don't see us getting back there this year. But one of my thoughts last year was, "Damn, this lake looks great. I wish I had brought some fishing gear with me." So it's good to know I was right about that.

Thanks for the tip on the DEP permit. The online process was simple, and I've now taken care of it.
posted by mosk at 8:50 PM on June 18, 2014

You can fish all of the reservoirs. But you can't use a motorized boat on any of them. Nor are there any lake side boat rentals. You best bet would be to rent a canoe/kayak/rowboat in one of the towns.
There is a bunch of good trout fishing in the area. The Esopus is a really well known trout river that wouldn't be that far from you.
posted by JPD at 5:23 AM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I was just sitting here watching the Yankee game when an "I Love NY" advertisement for NY's world class fishing came on. Here is a link to the site. It has a fishing spot locator on the bottom of the page.

Also, it is my experience with the NYC reservoirs, that you cannot just bring a non motorized boat to the water. You need a permit for the boat itself. The permit is specific to that reservoir.
posted by 724A at 6:36 PM on June 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Update: Thanks for all the good suggestions. After weighing everything, including our lodging choices and activities for the kids, we've decided to leave the Kerhonkson area and head to Poughkeepsie instead. I'll do some fishing in the Hudson and/or some of the local parks there, the kids can play in the hotel's pool or the local parks, we'll see a movie or two, etc. Finding a place to fish and a boat to rent near Kerhonkson while simultaneously keeping the kids and spouse happy was getting overly complicated. This looks like it will be a better fit for all of us, and even if it isn't exactly perfect I'm sure I'll have a good time. Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions.
posted by mosk at 12:02 PM on June 21, 2014

Follow up: I ended up fishing Morgan Lake in Poughkeepsie a few times because it was public, had easy access, and, uh, it was the best I could do. It was so-so, mostly due to the large amount of surface "debris" on the water. 60%-70% of the lake's surface was covered with either grass clippings or blown off tree blossoms from the nearby golf course. It was like fishing in a bowl of chowder. There were fish, however, and I caught one and got several bites, but it wasn't a particularly great experience. I am sure I could have done better, especially if I had a boat (not for Morgan Lake, which prohibits boats, but in the general area).

Still, we had a good time and I did get to fish, so I am not going to complain too strenuously, but if we ever find ourselves there again I'd find a better spot to fish.
posted by mosk at 10:24 AM on July 7, 2014

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