The Best 5 Fish to Catch in New York This Summer

Written by Crystal
Updated: January 23, 2023
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New York has over 165 fish species, and summer is the peak season for a lot of them. Trout and salmon are among the most popular game fish, but that’s not all you’ll find swimming around in New York.

What are the best 5 fish to catch in New York this summer? Read on to find out!

1. Summer Flounder

Fluke fish close up
The best baits for summer flounders include sardines, mullet, mud minnows, crabs, shrimp, and shad.

©Shutterstock Media/

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There’s no better time than the summer to target summer flounders. These fish have completely flat bodies. Rightfully dubbed “the chameleons of the sea,” they can change colors to match their environment. They’re also referred to as flukes.

What Does It Taste Like?

Summer flounders have a sweet taste and delicate texture. There’s minimal wateriness, and they’re not oily fish. They taste slightly fishy but are not as strong as other species. Since they’re full of B vitamins, flounders are a nutritional choice too. They’re also low-fat fish, and they contain helpful niacin. Overall, they’re a smart seafood choice and fun fish to target.

Angling Tips

You’ll get the most bites using live bait for summer flounders. The best baits include sardines, mullet, mud minnows, crabs, shrimp, and shad. You’ll want to start fishing right after sunrise and in the late afternoon. If you can find a shipwreck site or area with reefs, you’ll be in the best spot for flounders. They’re also active at high tide. Look for them in the channels, grasses, and mouths of creeks.

2. Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch
Yellow perch have light vertical bars on their sides.

©RLS Photo/

Another of the best fish to catch in New York this summer is yellow perch. These highly sought-after game fish have an oval shape and vibrant fin colors. Their body is usually olive-colored, with their bellies sporting a cream coloration. Yellow perch have light vertical bars that fade towards the stomach.

What Does It Taste Like?

Pan-fried perch is a favorite throughout the country. However, yellow perch taste great in a lot of recipes. You can grill, poach, bake, sauté, or try making perch chowder. These fish have a distinct flavor, but it’s not overwhelming. You won’t need a lot of seasoning to create the perfect meal.

Angling Tips

The best baits for perch fishing include maggots, lobworms, and prawns. Start by spreading maggots around the area you want to fish. But don’t put too many. These are small fish, and you don’t want them to get full. Instead, focus on creating a feeding frenzy. Once the perch start going after the maggots, they’ll be more likely to take your bait. You can also try night fishing in 6-20 feet deep waters.

3. Bluefish

Bluefish has a strong fishy flavor.


One of the most exciting saltwater species to target is bluefish. Sporting vibrant green-blue colors, these fish have silvery undersides. Along with their blue colors, bluefish are famous for having large mouths with razor-sharp teeth. Their lower jaw sticks out, and they have a deep fork in their tails. Their muscular swimming muscles help them reach high speeds, and they’re tenacious predators.

What Does It Taste Like?

Some best ways to eat bluefish include baking, poaching, or smoking the meat. You won’t enjoy eating bluefish if you don’t like fishy-tasting fish. On a scale from 1-10 of fishiness, with 10 being the fishiest tasting, bluefish are a hard 10. If you don’t mind fishy flavors, then eating bluefish can be good for you! The meat is full of omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re a good source of potassium.

Angling Tips

To catch a large bluefish, try fishing on Long Island. Right around mid-July is when the summer bite gets into full swing. Get ready to catch as many bluefish as possible until your arms wear out! Since they’re aggressive feeders, catching them is easier than you might think. There’s a lot that bluefish will eat shrimp, lobsters, and larval mollusks. Try using a variety of bait and fish at dawn and dusk. Lowlight conditions give you an advantage, mainly if you target shallow water structures.

4. Black Sea Bass

Black Sea Bass
Black sea bass are hermaphroditic fish.


True to their name, larger black sea bass are usually completely black with hints of dark blue. The smaller specimen typically have dark brown or dark gray colors. Their bellies have lighter colors, and their fins sport dusty spots. Black sea bass can weigh as much as 8 pounds; however, 4-pound catches are more common. They’re hermaphroditic fish, with the males being larger than the females.

What Does It Taste Like?

Black sea bass make for good food. They have a light, flaky texture and require minimal seasonings. You won’t have to worry about an overpowering fishy flavor. Their white meat tastes a lot like grouper, mahi-mahi, and snapper.

Angling Tips

There are a lot of techniques that work on these fish. However, one of the most successful techniques involves using bait rigs. They’ll also respond to hit lures and bucktail jigs. If you’re going to eat your catch, bleed them out after you land them. Use a sharp knife and cut off two of the gill rakers. Put the fish in a bucket of seawater, and wait as they bleed out. Then you can put them on ice for 24 hours before filleting them.

5. Weakfish

Weakfish have a square-shaped tail.

©Northeast Fisheries Science Center, Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; uploaded by Gdr / public domain – License

Last on our list of the best fish to catch in New York this summer is weakfish. These fish have a white belly, dark green black, and light iridescent blue colors on their sides. The dorsal fin has a deep notch, and the tail is square instead of forked. Don’t let their name fool you; these fish are anything but weak. They have strong, muscular bodies and usually grow to weigh 6-8 pounds. However, you could catch a lunker weighing well over 10 pounds!

What Does It Taste Like?

A lot of the fish on this list have a mild flavor. Weakfish is a bit stronger tasting and makes for high-quality table fare. Statewide, it’s highly sought after. The taste has a salty tang and is the perfect choice for a fish fry. If you don’t want to fry it up, try broiling it.

Angling Tips

Start off tipping your jigs with strips of squid. You can also use crab or bloodworms. Once you get bites, stay put, you’ve found a weakfish hot spot!

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About the Author

Crystal is a curious writer who's always looking to learn more. When she's not out in nature, she's writing about it. Animals, plants, survival tips, and more. It'll be exciting to watch this author grow and learn with her along the way.

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