Owasco Lake Fishing

Tips from a local Finger Lakes fisherman


By: Frank Petrosino, a fisherman in the Finger Lakes for over 40 years.

To fish by boat on Owasco Lake, you have a choice of two public launches, one on the north end of Emerson Park and one at the south end at South Shore Marina.  Both locations charge a fee to launch. 

Boat Launch--South Shore Marina

Owasco Lake inlet is accessible from the South Shore Marina and in spring, is abundant with northern pike and spawning largemouth bass that take cover there in the downed timber and weeds.

Northern Pike on Owasco Lake

You can catch and release bass before season usingartificial baits only and will need a trolling motor to get near the mouth of the inlet, but it is well worth it.  There are also several fishing spots along the banks of the inlet if you do not have a boat.

Boat Launch--North End of Emerson Park

If you choose to launch at the north end of Emerson Park, you will see a pump house on the east side as you are going toward the lake in the outlet or channel.  The area in front of the pump house is a great fishing spot for beginners or children.  Rock bass, perch, bluegill and small mouth bass are abundant here.  If you have a depth finder, several species of fish typically gather near the intake pipe for the pump house, which is located approximately 43 feet out from shore.  Sinker bait or vertical jig may work well to attract fish there.  In the spring or early summer, adventurous folk may enjoy fishing off of either pier at night, throwing stick baits for walleye. The walleye try to group bait fish against the walls of the pump house when feeding.  A slow retrieve works best to lure a catch. 

West side of Owasco Lake

On the west side of the lake, Buck Point also offers a good location to find bass, perch and walleye.  Farther south on the west side, there is a rocky and tremendous drop off in front of Fay’s Point, a large brick home with a flagpole in front, where you can fish shallow (15-25 feet) for bass.  It is also a great spot for lake trout fishing.  Slip sinking mooneyes or jigging in this area to depths of 60-85 feet to find a good source of fish.

Smallmouth Bass

East side of Owasco Lake

On the east side of the lake, Martin’s Point and the Yacht Club sit side by side.  This whole area, with rocky points and deep drop-offs, is abundant with several species of fish.  In the spring, work the buoy lines with small bucktail jigs tipped with a fat head minnow for the large schools of perch that invade that area.  Trolling in deeper water along that area will also produce lake trout, as well as the occasional brown or rainbow trout.  If you like to troll, use a dipsy diver rig with a silver paddle flasher and silver and/or green flies, or use small and large spoons and assorted stick baits for downrigging.  For jigging, a one or two-ounce bucktail jig tipped with a live or dead mooneye is recommended.

Several points down on the east side of Owasco Lake, the mouth of the Dutch Hollow Creek empties into the lake.  Drift the buoy lines with live bait or throw spinners to attract bass, perch, northern pike, and trout in this area, or use a trolling motor to go into the mouth of the creek.  In this location, there is a dramatic drop in depth, taking you from 15 to 80 feet in a few seconds of drifting.  Fish are often suspended on this ledge.