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Harriman State Park Fishing | Throwing a Line |

Harriman State Park fishing, in its 36 lakes, ponds and reservoirs, can yield lunkers or simply breakfast panfish — you just have to know where to go.

Cold underground springs feed the lakes of Askoti, Skannatati, Island Pond and Queensboro Lake, making these well-stocked lakes a magnet for trout fishermen.  The clear, swift, sun-warmed waters of Stony Brook feed Lake Sebago.  Like other warm-water lakes, Sebago holds a variety of panfish, bass, aggressive pickerel and perch.

Harriman State Park’s fishing lakes and streams are wonderful places for non-anglers to enjoy the simple pleasures of easy days and mellow nights under the stars.

Some facts to get you going:

The Facts:

According to the Palisades Interstate Parks Commission, fishing is not allowed in the following lakes: Upper or Lower Cohasset, Upper or Lower Twin, Queensboro, Summit or Turkey Hill Lakes, Breakneck or Cedar Pond, Doodletown, First, Second, or Third Reservoir.

You’ll need a New York State fishing license to fish anywhere in Harriman, including the streams, if you’re 16 or over.  You can pick up a license at most sporting good stores.

If you fish in Harriman State Park, please, please pick up your stuff afterwards.  It’s not just that white styrofoam bait cartons are ugly when they’re reclining in the weeds, or that your Snapple bottle looks gross when it’s empty.  Fishing refuse is dangerous, to wildlife and to domestic creatures (humans and dogs).  Ever try to remove a hook from a dog’s paw?  Or pull fishing line off a turtle’s neck?  Think of that when you leave, and just kindly pick up. :0)


The Lakes, Ponds, Reservoirs and Streams of Harriman State Park

Askoti (Middle of Harriman, GPS: 41 14.533, -74 6.035)

Cold water, trout fishing.  43 acres, 1.2 miles of shore, Askoti is accessible by using the parking lot on the opposite side of Seven Lakes Drive, next to neighboring Lake Skannatati.  Trout fishing is permitted year-round.  Stocked with 780 brown trout in March, weather permitting.  Other fish present are largemouth and smallmouth bass, panfish.  Ice fishing permitted.  No minimum size on the trout; bag limit is five.

Crystal-clear and shallow at the edge but deeper in the middle, Askoti calls for shoreline exploration, or take a boat to explore the lily pads and weeds for bass.  From shore, a beautiful spot for both fishing and just enjoying the view exists at the northern end of the lake, where the Red Cross Trail skirts the lake, and a large rock juts out into the water.

Because Askoti is easily accessible for boats and cars, it can become crowded — a couple of boats on the water means a crowd.  It’s a small lake.

Barnes (Northern Section, GPS 41 19.547, -74 4.857)

Fishing at beautiful, secluded Barnes Lake, in Harriman State Park.  Dogs hike into the lake from the parking area at the eastern shore.

Fishing in little Barnes Lake, Harriman State Park. Left, the lake; right, the woods road along the eastern shore of Barnes Lake. ©

Between Long Mountain Parkway and Route 293, warm-water Barnes Lake is fed by the Popolopen Creek, and dammed to enlarge it slightly at the northeast end.  Access is via a woods road from the parking lot on the eastern side, or a roadside spot on 293.

Barnes is a small, easily-accessible lake (verging on pond) that offers panfish fishing from several spots on the eastern end, as well as off the dam to the north.  No boats.

Breakneck Pond (Southern Section, GPS 41 12.262, -74 5.952):

Fishing is not allowed.

Brooks Hollow (Northern Section, GPS 41 20.055, -74 3.668):

Warm water.  Brooks Hollow is a widening of a stream that cuts through a valley (Brooks Hollow) at the northern end of Harriman State Park.  It’s a warm-water feature in a shaded valley.  It has no easy accessibility, as the closest trail is the Long Path at its southern end.  Where the Long Path crosses a stream, an angler may bushwhack following this stream (stay on the eastern side of the stream to avoid swampland).  Roadside parking is on Route 293, near Barnes Lake, about 1/4 mile south of where the Long Path intersects with the road.

Cohasset (Upper and Lower):

Fishing is not permitted in either of the Cohassets. :0(

Doodletown Reservoir:

Funny name; no fishing allowed.

Green Pond:

Cold water. Beautiful Green Pond is a cold-water emerald gem in the middle of Harriman.  If Tiorati is Yellowstone, Green Pond is a pocket park, with only .15 miles of shoreline surrounded by boulders that rise up directly from its edges, ringed with tall vegetation that would make a clean cast nearly impossible.

Access is hike-in, via the Nurian or Dunning Trail, which skirts the northern end of the pond.  It’s a tiny but beautiful pool of water.  I’ve never heard of anyone fishing it, but I wonder what it would yield.  In any case, it’s worth the hike in — continue north on the Nurian for the picturesque “Valley of Boulders”.


Island Pond:

Note: Arden Valley Road, and vehicle/boat access to Island Pond, will be closed for the entirety of 2013.  No gate keys will be sold. 

Stealth campers ring the shores of Island Pond, in Harriman State Park, where a closed road has led to more privacy (and stealthiness!)

Island Pond, Harriman State Park. Stealth campers wake on the grassy shore of Island Pond in 2013, in a year when vehicle access to the lake, along Arden Valley Road, is closed. Stealth campers love Island Pond for its beauty and remoteness — especially now that Arden Valley Road is closed. It’s about a 1.5 mile hike from the parking lot at Elk Pen to the pond.

Beautiful, serene, natural Island Pond.  This is a special place in Harriman — maybe that’s why you’ll need to purchase a special key, separate from the key that “unlocks” the other lakes.  And you’ll need to have a boat to get the key (since the main purpose of the key it to give you access to launch your boat!)

The key allows you to open the padlock that holds a wire rope across Arden Valley Road, and drive directly to the boat launch at the edge of Island Pond.  Or, if you don’t have the key/boat, you can park at the Elk Pen parking area off Arden Valley Road and hike in to the pond, via the road or the (uphill) Appalachian Trail.

The key for Island Pond is only sold from March 15 to April 1, or until they run out.  You can pick it up at Harriman State Park, Tiorati Circle only. (845) 351-2568

NY State fishing license, PIPC permit is required to launch a boat (cartop only).  Electric motors are fine (no gas motors).

Island Pond is ringed with boulders on the northern end and marsh on the south shore, mini-cliffs for stealth swimming hole jumpers, and the campfire rings of secret campers and overnight fishermen (none of which is legal or sanctioned — so do it quietly!).  An island, located approximately mid-point, gives the lake its name.

Kanawauke (North and South): 

Note: South Kanawauke is NOT open to fishing or boating between the third Saturday in June to Labor Day.

Four and a half miles of shoreline encircle this warm-water lake.  One of the “Seven Lakes” of Seven Lakes Drive, Kanawauke is actually two lakes, formed when Little Long Pond was dammed in 1915.

According to the DEC, Kanawauke “offers exceptional largemouth bass fishing”.  You’ll also find a variety of panfish (sunnies and pumpkinseed, rockies, perch).

Carry-down access is via the parking area on Route 106, where it bisects the lake.  There are no boat lauch ramps, so you’ll need a canoe or car-top boat (no gas motors, but electric motors are OK).

Ice fishing is allowed when frozen.

Lily Pond:

Lily Pond is almost too peaceful a place to disturb with fishing.  It’s located in the northern section of

If you fish there — as anywhere else in Harriman — pick up your stuff.


Brook and vegetation draining into Silvermine Lake in Harriman State Park.

Vegetation in the brook connecting Lakes Nawahunta and Silvermine. The Harriman State Park lakes were formed — many of them — by damming rivers and streams in the early 1900s.




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