If you are an angler, you are sure to find plenty of prime fishing spots in the Finger Lakes, and the local experts are generally more than willing to share their expertise and point you toward what’s biting and where. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation stocks some of the Finger Lakes annually to maintain fish population.


Otisco Lake is the site of the annual Fishing Derby that marks the start of bass fishing season, drawing anglers from all over. While boats fill the lake on more popular fishing days, another prime fishing spot on Lake Otisco requires no boat. The causeway that extends across the lake near the southern end of the lake is a popular casting spot. According to local history, this rocky trail was once an old wagon road used to cross the lake, but today it serves mainly to divide the lake into two distinctly different water basins, with a small channel near the western bank for boat passage . The larger northern basin is deeper, with clear water, while the smaller, southern basin is more shallow and murky. Lake Otisco is especially good for walleye, trout and tiger muskellunge (tiger musky) fishing, and sunfish, perch, crappie, large-mouth bass, small-mouth bass and white bass are also abundant.


Owasco Lake is much more shallow than the other major Finger Lakes, and as a result, the water is warms faster. Atlantic Salmon, Black Crappie, Bullhead, Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Rainbow Trout, Yellow Perch and Smallmouth Bass are all plentiful on Owasco. Lake trout, in particular, is good all year. If you’re putting in at the south end of the lake, you’re most likely going to use the South Shore Marina as your point of access, unless you are using a private boat launch. There are several spots in the southern waters that anglers enjoy. Enesmore Point, on the southwestern shore, is particularly good for lake trout and brown trout. And in the winter, this is among the best spots for ice fishing. At the north end of the lake, all the way from Martin Point to Long Point, you’re likely to find excellent bass fishing.

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The warmer water of the more shallow northern and southern ends of Skaneateles Lake makes for great fishing, especially for pickerel, large-mouth bass, small-mouth bass, walleye and panfish.  The boat launch at Pine Grove, located on State Route 41A, about 2 miles south of town on the west side of the lake, is free and offers a good spot for cold water fishing.  Another great fishing spot is the nearly 4-acre lot of public land at 2880 West Lake Road, about 2.7 miles from downtown Skaneateles, along the western shore of the lake. Boaters make good use of it as well. This spot is open to the public, but parking is limited. Accessible by water.

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Cayuga Lake is particularly good for brown trout, lake trout and rainbow trout. Pickerel, large-mouth bass, small-mouth bass, and northern pike can be found in the warmer waters of the more shallow areas of the lake. 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, especially the waters near Ithaca and Cayuga Lake State Park. You’re likely to find plenty of pike, bass, bullhead and perch.

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Catherine Creek, at the southern tip of Seneca Lake , is a particularly favorable spot for trout fishing, though trout (especially brown trout and rainbow trout) is a prime catch all over Seneca Lake. Perch, pike and bass are also abundant. Small-mouth bass are especially good in the warmer waters of the more shallow areas of the lake.


Keuka Lake is famous for its fishing, especially lake trout, rainbow trout, brown trout and landlocked salmon. You can catch some big brown trout here—one fisherman landed a 22 pound brown on Lake Keuka, setting what was then a state record that has long since been eclipsed.


Canandaigua Lake is especially good for lake trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout, but you’ll need a fishing license. You can get a license at City Hall on Main Street in Canandaigua or at the local Wal-Mart. There is a fishing pier in Canandaigua that is a popular place to drop a line. At the south end of the lake, Naples Creek is a favorite spot for locals and anglers in the know. For the off-season visitor, a good ice fishing spot is in Onanda Park.