Time To Spring for 2023 Fishing & Access Permits
The Permits You'll Need
With the first day of spring just around the corner, it shouldn’t be long before we’ll all be on the water searching for our favorite early-season fish species including stripers, porgies, weakfish and perhaps even a fluke or two in saltwater environs, as well as panfish, trout, pickerel and bass on the sweeter side. No doubt, the vernal equinox signals it’s time to also get out clamming, hiking, biking, running and enjoying all there is to do outside as well.
Before you load up the car and head to you favorite fishing and outdoors recreation spots however, you’ll likely need a couple of permits to ensure access to local, state and federal parklands, as well as fishing licenses to cover both freshwater and saltwater options. No doubt it’s a hassle to assemble all the necessary permits and license items - plus pay the associated fees - but having them all on-hand to start outdoors season can make your experiences more pleasurable and less frustrating. Buying a license or obtaining an access card/pass/permit might also prompt you to get out more often – after all, you paid or at least cut through some red tape to ensure each opportunity.
Shinnecock East is a Suffolk County Park that offers "Outer Beach" 4x4 access. Photo by Jeff Lomonaco
Following is the listing of of the most necessary and popular fishing licenses and permits you’ll need to cover Long Island from end to end, and contact info on where/how to get them. Some require proof of residency, auto registration or a photo ID. Check requirements online, or by phone for licenses or permits that must be picked up in person so you don’t end up make two trips to complete the task.
DEC issued fishing licenses are available at most Town Clerk offices, select bait and tackle shops, 1-86-NY-DECALS (866-933-2257), or on-line at https://decals.licensing.east.kalkomey.com/.
Marine Recreational Fishing Registry
Saltwater anglers age 16 and older need to sign up for the New York State Marine Recreational Fishing Registry.
- Fee: Free.
NYS Freshwater Fishing License
This entitles you to fish in any legally accessible NYS freshwater environment.
- Fee: $25, ages 16-69, $5 age 70+. Reduced or free fishing licenses available for active duty military, veterans with 40% or greater disability, legally blind and non-resident full-time students attending a NY State college or university.
State Land Access Permit (For Public Lands Managed by DEC):
A seasonal access permit (valid for three years) is required for all activities on most New York State public lands on Long Island that are managed by the DEC, such as the Rocky Point and Otis Pike preserves. It is also required for access if fishing Deep Pond in Wading River. Note that this license is purchased from a different website than the Freshwater License and Marine Recreational Fishing Registery.
- Fee: Free.
- Available online only. Visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7815.html for purchasing info.
LONG ISLAND STATE PARKS
A variety of permits are available for access to New York State parklands on Long Island. Most can be obtained at Long Island State Park Headquarters, Permit Office, 625 Belmont Ave., W. Babylon, 631-321-3515, Monday—Friday, 9 a.m.—4:45p.m. For permits related to saltwater fishing, you’ll need proof you have already signed-up with the Marine Recreational Fishing Registry noted previously. A photocopy or cell phone photo of the registry will do.
Note that some Long Island State Park passes are on sale only from January 2 through March 31 and again from the Tuesday after Labor Day through December 31. These include the Four Wheel Drive Beach Vehicle Fishing Permits, Four Wheel Drive Beach Vehicle Surfing Permits, Night Fishing Permits, Camp Hero State Park Fishing Permits, and the Star Gazing permit. Act fast if you want to get any of these popular passes.
Most Long Island State Park permits have both New York State resident and non-resident pricing.
- To view a catalog and details for Long Island State Park dashboard and access permits, visit: https://newyorkstateparks.reserveamerica.com/posProducts.do?contractCode=NY.
- For more details on purchasing NYS Parks permits check out the full Permit Guide at: https://parks.ny.gov/documents/regions/LongIslandPermitsGuide.pdf.
Four Wheel Drive Beach Vehicle Fishing Dashboard Permit
Allows 4-wheel drive access for fishing select areas on Long Island State Park designated beachfronts including Hither Hills, Montauk Point, Napeague, Robert Moses, plus all privileges of the Night Sport Fishing Permit (see below).
- Fee: $80 resident; $125 non-resident.
- Contact: Jones Beach, Montauk Downs, Robert Moses and Sunken Meadow State Park offices, plus Long Island State Park Headquarters. Available only from January 2 through March 31, and again from the Tuesday after Labor Day through December 31.
Night Sport Fishing Permit
This permit allows anglers entry after sunset for the purpose of fishing at select areas within Captree, Hither Hills, Jones Beach, Montauk Point, Robert Moses, Sunken Meadow and Wildwood State Parks.
- Fee: $35 resident; $60 non-resident.
- Contact: Jones Beach, Montauk Downs, Robert Moses, Sunken Meadow and Wildwood State Park offices, plus Long Island State Park Headquarters. Available through March 31, and from Tuesday after Labor Day through December 31.
Camp Hero State Park Fishing Permit:
Allows access for fishing to select areas of Camp Hero State Park.
- Fee: $40 resident; $75 non-resident.
- Contact: Montauk Downs State Park or Long Island State Park Headquarters. Available through March 31 and from Tuesday after Labor Day through December 31.
The Camp Hero Bluffs at night - overlooking some prime striper territory. Photo by Jeff Lomonaco
Caumsett State Park Fishing Permit:
Permit holders can drive to and from the fisherman’s parking lot at Caumsett State Park.
- Fee: $40 resident; $75 non-resident.
- Contact: Caumsett State Park (631-423-1770) or Long Island State Park Headquarters. Limited to first 500 applicants.
New York State Empire Pass:
The wallet-sized Empire Pass Card provides unlimited day-use vehicle entry to most facilities operated by New York State Parks and the State Dept. of Environmental Conservation, including forests, beaches, trails and more. It is not assigned to a specific vehicle and can be used by parents, grandparents, caregivers, etc.
- Fee: $80 - 1 year; $205 - 3 year; $320 - 5 year; $750 – lifetime.
- Contact: https://shop.parks.ny.gov; State Park offices: 518-474-0458.
Nassau County - Leisure Pass:
Required for entry into many Nassau County recreational facilities, this pass proves residency and provides discounts to pools, rinks, golf courses, tennis courts, beaches, marinas and cabanas operated by Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums. For ages 13 and older, and those utilizing Nassau County-operated golf courses, regardless of age. Must be purchased in person, see contact webpage below for details:
- Fee: $36 - 3 years.
- Contact: https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/1790/Leisure-Pass.
Suffolk County - Green Key Card
Identifies the holder as a Suffolk County resident and entitles access to Suffolk County Parks and reduced fees for park activities. The Green Key card is also required to access the online reservation system for golf, camping and marina reservations. Must be purchased in person, see contact webpage below for details:
• Fee: $30 - 3 years ($15 for seniors)
• Contact: https://web1.myvscloud.com/wbwsc/nysuffolkctywt.wsc/iteminfo.html?Module=PM&FMID=70826.
Suffolk County Parks Outer Beach Access Permit
After you get your Green Key, you'll also be able to buy the Suffolk County Parks Outer Beach Access permit which gives you 4x4 and night fishing access to some prime fishing spots. This permit allows you to drive on a handful of Suffolk County Park beaches, namely Smith Point, Cupsogue, Shinnecock East, Cedar Point, and Orient Point.
Suffolk County Park Outer Beach 4x4 permits may be purchased year round at West Sayville, Blydenburgh, Cathedral Pines, Cedar Point, Indian Island, Sears Bellows, Smith Point, West Hills and online. In Season they are also available at Montauk, Cupsogue and Shinnecock East park offices. The Outer Beach 4x4 permit includes access to designated beach areas for access as well as night fishing in designated parks. Be advised that areas on the outer beach may be closed due to beach conditions, maintenance or bird nesting. Please check the Suffolk County Parks Facebook/Twitter page or call the park of your choice to get up-to-date outer beach access information.
- Bryce Poyer