Cayuga Lake Specs: 
Length: 38 miles
Depth: 435 feet


Cayuga Lake is the longest of the Finger Lakes. It extends through three counties: Tompkins, Cayuga and Seneca county. At the north end of the lake, a shallow weedy area extends south for approximately 6 miles and expands 5800 acres. The southern part of the lake, towards the town of Ithaca is known for its beautiful waterfalls and gorges.


The northern and southern ends of Cayuga Lake feature shoals that make for great fishing. Check out the area around the southern end of the lake (April/May for Atlantic salmon, Rainbow trout, Brown trout and Northern Pike), especially the waters near Ithaca and Cayuga Lake State Park. You’re likely to find plenty of pike, bass, bullhead and perch. 


Complete list of what you may catch:

  • Trout- Brown Trout, Lake Trout and Rainbow Trout

  • Bass- Large-mouth bass and Small-mouth bass

  • Chain Pickerel

  • Atlantic Salmon

  • Bluegill

  • Pumpkinseed

  • Black Crappie

  • Yellow Perch

  • Channel Catfish

  • Brown Bullhead

  • Freshwater Drum

  • Common Carp

  • Longnose Gar

  • White Sucker

  • Longnose Sucker

  • Alewives

  • Rainbow Smelt

  • Gizzard Shad

  • Round Goby

  • Lake Sturgeon



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


Cayuga Lake Trout

Cayuga Lake is the longest of the Finger Lakes, covering several counties and featuring numerous state parks that offer launch sites and marinas to accommodate any size boat. Trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon are abundant in this lake.  


In October and November, trout congregate around the several stream mouths on the lake preparing to spawn.  In the summer months, you are likely to find   a healthy trout population by scouting out the bait pods and fishing those depths at usually 70-90   feet of water.  Jigging with a one or two-ounce bucktail jig tipped with a live or dead mooneye is very  effective.  If you like to troll, use a dipsy diver rig with a silver paddle fisher and silver and/or green flies. For downrigging, use small spoons like needlefish spoons, as there are rainbows and landlocks that you can pick up by trolling.  

Cayuga Brown Trout


If you are a beginner or have children, launch for free from Frontenac Park off of Route 90 on the east side of Cayuga Lake in the village of Union Springs, and head west toward Frontenac Island. The area in and around this small island is loaded with fish, including perch, largemouth bass, and pickerel in the summer. The pickerel are so abundant, casting any kind of live bait or spinner bait will likely catch a fish.  For the more serious bass fishermen, there are many weed beds in this area, as well as in the northern part of Cayuga Lake, where largemouth bass will wait to ambush prey.  A six to ten-inch worm with a bullet weight and rubber worm hook work well if you bury the tip of the hook into the worm to avoid catching weeds.  

If you cannot get into a boat, Mud Lock fishing area on River Road in Cayuga County, north of the lake and the town of Cayuga, is a great spot.  A variety of species can be caught here, including a lake sturgeon that was caught and released several years ago.  The launch access across from the nearby Montezuma Refuge also offers a good spot for shore fishing.