Fishing Lakes in New York

Calm lake in New York during fall. Trees are changing colors and the lake peeks through the trees
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Get ready to embark on a journey into the world of successful fishing in the stunning lakes of New York! Whether you’re an experienced angler or new to the sport, our comprehensive guide is here to provide you with valuable tips, tricks, and insights. Discover how to research the lakes, choose the right bait and lures, time your fishing adventures, and master the art of patience. Join us as we dive into the depths of New York’s lakes and uncover the secrets to a fruitful and memorable fishing experience.

Best Fishing Lakes in New York

New York is a haven for fishing enthusiasts, boasting a diverse range of picturesque lakes that offer exceptional fishing experiences. From the stunning Lake George to the expansive Lake Ontario, here are the top fishing lakes in New York.

  1. Lake George: Known as the “Queen of American Lakes,” Lake George offers pristine waters teeming with a variety of fish species, including bass, trout, and salmon. Anglers can enjoy both boat and shore fishing while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding Adirondack Mountains.
  2. Lake Ontario: As one of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario is renowned for its trophy-sized salmon and trout. With its vast expanse of water, anglers have ample opportunities to reel in impressive catches, especially during the salmon run in the fall.
  3. Lake Champlain: Spanning across the border of New York and Vermont, Lake Champlain is a paradise for bass fishing enthusiasts. Its rich biodiversity supports an abundance of bass, including smallmouth and largemouth varieties. The lake also offers excellent muskie, pike, and trout fishing opportunities.
  4. Finger Lakes: The Finger Lakes region comprises several picturesque lakes, including Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, and Keuka Lake. These lakes are known for their thriving populations of trout, salmon, bass, and panfish. Anglers can explore the tranquil waters while enjoying the stunning natural beauty of the surrounding vineyards and rolling hills.
  5. Lake Placid: Famous for hosting the Winter Olympics, Lake Placid is also a fantastic destination for fishing. This scenic lake offers opportunities to catch various species, including bass, trout, pike, and walleye. Anglers can enjoy a serene fishing experience surrounded by the majestic Adirondack Mountains.
  6. Saratoga Lake: Located near Saratoga Springs, Saratoga Lake is a popular spot for both recreational and competitive fishing. Anglers can target bass, pike, perch, and other warm-water species. The lake’s proximity to the vibrant town of Saratoga Springs provides plenty of amenities and entertainment options for visitors.
  7. Lake Erie: New York shares a portion of Lake Erie’s shoreline, providing fantastic fishing opportunities. This vast lake is famous for its exceptional walleye fishing, attracting anglers from far and wide. Lake Erie also offers opportunities to catch bass, trout, perch, and other popular sportfish.
  8. Lake Tiorati: Situated in Harriman State Park, Lake Tiorati offers a tranquil setting for fishing enthusiasts. Anglers can cast their lines for bass, pickerel, and panfish while surrounded by the park’s scenic beauty. The lake is a perfect escape for a peaceful fishing retreat.
  9. Lake Minnewaska: Nestled in the Shawangunk Mountains, Lake Minnewaska is a serene oasis for fishing and relaxation. Anglers can enjoy catching trout and bass while surrounded by the lake’s crystal-clear waters and stunning cliffs. The tranquil atmosphere makes it an ideal spot for anglers seeking solitude.
  10. Lake Ronkonkoma: Located in Suffolk County, Lake Ronkonkoma is Long Island’s largest freshwater lake and a popular destination for fishing. Anglers can target various species, including largemouth bass, pickerel, and sunfish. The lake’s proximity to nearby amenities and beautiful beaches makes it a favorite among local anglers.

Whether you seek the thrill of reeling in trophy-sized fish or simply wish to unwind in nature’s tranquility, New York’s best fishing lakes offer a diverse range of experiences for anglers of all skill levels. Explore these scenic waters and create unforgettable fishing memories in the vibrant state of New York.

Fishing Lakes in New York- Flushing Meadows

Species of Fish Can You Catch While Fishing New York Lakes

While fishing in the lakes of New York, you can encounter a wide variety of fish species. Some of the common species you can catch include:

  1. Bass: Both largemouth and smallmouth bass are prevalent in New York lakes. These game fish provide exciting angling opportunities and are known for their aggressive strikes and acrobatic fights.
  2. Trout: New York is renowned for its trout fishing, with species such as rainbow trout, brown trout, and brook trout being commonly found in many lakes. Trout are prized for their beauty and challenging fight.
  3. Salmon: Lake Ontario and its tributaries offer fantastic salmon fishing opportunities. Chinook salmon, coho salmon, and Atlantic salmon can be targeted by anglers looking for a thrilling battle with these powerful fish.
  4. Pike: Northern pike, with their predatory nature and impressive size, are popular targets for anglers in New York lakes. These aggressive fish provide thrilling strikes and challenging fights.
  5. Walleye: Known for their tasty flesh and elusive nature, walleye are highly sought after by anglers. New York lakes, including Lake Erie and the Finger Lakes, offer excellent walleye fishing opportunities.
  6. Panfish: Various species of panfish, such as bluegill, crappie, and perch, are abundant in New York lakes. These smaller fish are great for beginners and provide plenty of action.
  7. Muskie: Considered the “fish of 10,000 casts,” muskie are a challenging and prized catch. New York is home to some lakes that offer opportunities to target these elusive and massive predators.
  8. Carp: Carp fishing has gained popularity in New York, with several lakes offering opportunities to catch these powerful and hard-fighting fish. Carp angling can be a rewarding experience for those seeking a different kind of challenge.

These are just a few examples of the diverse fish species you can catch while fishing in the lakes of New York. The state’s waters provide a wealth of opportunities for anglers to pursue their favorite fish or explore new fishing experiences.

Best Time of Day and Months for New York Lake Fishing

The best time of day and months for lake fishing in New York City may vary depending on the specific lake and the target fish species. However, here are some general guidelines to consider:

Time of Day:

  1. Early morning and late afternoon: These are often prime times for lake fishing in New York City. During these periods, the water is typically cooler, and fish tend to be more active and responsive to bait or lures. However, it’s important to note that different fish species have their own feeding patterns, so it’s advisable to research the specific species you’re targeting for more precise information.


  1. Spring and fall: The months of spring and fall are generally considered excellent for lake fishing in New York City. In spring, as the water temperature starts to rise after winter, fish become more active and begin feeding. Additionally, many fish species, such as bass and trout, spawn during the spring, making them more engaged and willing to bite. Fall is another favorable time, as fish prepare for winter and often feed voraciously to build up their energy reserves.

That being said, summer can still offer good fishing opportunities, particularly during the early morning and evening when the temperatures are cooler. However, it’s important to note that fish may become less active during the hotter parts of the day, especially in urban lakes where water temperatures can rise significantly.

Lake Trout Fishing in New York

Best Gear for Fishing New York Lakes

When it comes to fishing in New York lakes, having the right gear can greatly enhance your fishing experience. Here are some essential gear recommendations:

  1. Fishing Rod and Reel: Choose a fishing rod and reel combination that suits the type of fishing you plan to do. For general lake fishing, a medium-rated rod and a baitcasting reel. This setup is versatile and can handle a variety of fish species.
  2. Fishing Line: Opt for a quality fishing line with sufficient strength and durability. Monofilament or fluorocarbon lines in the 8-12 lb test range are suitable for most freshwater fishing in New York lakes. Consider a higher pound test if targeting larger fish or fishing in heavy cover.
  3. Hooks: Carry a selection of hooks in various sizes to accommodate different bait and fish species. Aberdeen hooks are suitable for panfish, while octopus hooks or worm hooks work well for bass and other larger game fish.
  4. Tackle Box: Use a well-organized tackle box or backpack to keep your gear easily accessible. It should have compartments to store hooks, weights, lures, and other small accessories. Consider a waterproof or water-resistant tackle box to protect your gear from the elements.
  5. Fishing Accessories: Don’t forget to bring essential fishing accessories such as pliers or forceps for removing hooks, a fishing net to land fish, a knife for cutting line or preparing bait, and a fishing hat and polarized sunglasses for sun protection. Lastly, a good bug spray will help you avoid bites

Remember to adapt your gear selection based on the specific fish species you are targeting and the fishing techniques you plan to employ. Additionally, consider the recommendations of local anglers or fishing guides who have experience fishing in the specific New York lakes you intend to visit.

Best Baits and Lures for New York Fishing Lakes

When fishing in New York lakes, the choice of baits and lures can greatly influence your success. Here are some recommended baits and lures for fishing in New York fishing lakes:

  1. Live Bait: Nightcrawlers are a versatile and widely used live bait option. They are effective for catching a variety of freshwater fish, including bass, panfish, and trout.
  2. Minnows: Small live minnows are excellent bait for targeting predatory fish like bass, pike, and walleye. Hook them through the lips or behind the dorsal fin for a natural presentation.
  3. Worms: Soft plastic worms rigged on a worm hook or Texas-rigged are highly effective for bass fishing. Colors like green pumpkin or black and blue are popular choices.
  4. Senko-style Stick Baits: These versatile, slender soft plastic baits have a seductive fall and are effective for bass fishing. Rig them wacky-style or Texas-rigged.
  5. Inline Spinners: Mepps spinners in various sizes and colors can attract a wide range of fish species, including bass, trout, and pike.
  6. Spinnerbaits: Spinnerbaits with flashy blades and skirts are excellent for targeting bass and pike. Retrieve them at different speeds to mimic injured baitfish.
  7. Shallow Diving Crankbaits: Use shallow diving crankbaits to explore the upper water column and cover shallow areas. They are effective for bass and other game fish.
  8. Medium Diving Crankbaits: Medium diving crankbaits can probe the mid-depth range and attract a variety of fish species, including bass and walleye.
  9. Football Jigs: Football jigs with a skirt and a weed guard are ideal for bottom fishing, especially for bass.
  10. Swim Jigs: Swim jigs with a streamlined head and a soft plastic trailer are great for imitating baitfish and catching bass.

Match the bait or lure selection to the specific fish species you are targeting and consider the prevailing conditions and water clarity in the New York lake you’re fishing. Experimenting with different baits and lures can help you determine what works best on a particular day. Additionally, consider local fishing reports or seek advice from experienced anglers familiar with the specific New York fishing lakes you plan to visit.

Fishing Finger Lakes New York

Best Guides and Charters for Fishing in New York Lakes

There are several reputable guides and charters that can enhance your fishing experience. Here are some top recommendations:

  1. Reel Life Charters: Based in Lake George, Reel Life Charters offers guided fishing trips on Lake George and surrounding waters. Their experienced guides specialize in targeting bass, trout, salmon, and pike, providing an enjoyable and productive fishing experience.
  2. Ace Charters: Operating out of Lake Ontario, Ace Charters offers professional fishing charters for a variety of species, including salmon, trout, walleye, and bass. Their knowledgeable captains and crew ensure a memorable fishing adventure on the Great Lake.
  3. Eastern View Outfitters: Situated in the Finger Lakes region, Eastern View Outfitters provides guided fishing trips on several Finger Lakes, including Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, and Keuka Lake. Their skilled guides cater to all skill levels and target species such as trout, salmon, bass, and panfish.
  4. Dreams Come True Charters: Specializing in the waters of Lake Champlain, Dreams Come True Charters offers guided fishing trips for bass, northern pike, trout, and salmon. Their experienced guides have an in-depth knowledge of the lake’s hotspots and techniques to maximize your chances of success.
  5. Ultimate Upland: For those seeking a unique fishing experience, Ultimate Upland offers guided fly fishing trips on the rivers and streams of the Catskill Mountains. Their knowledgeable guides provide instruction and insight into catching wild trout and other freshwater species.
  6. Lake Erie Ultimate Angler: If you’re targeting the renowned walleye fishery of Lake Erie, Lake Erie Ultimate Angler provides professional charters. Their experienced guides specialize in walleye fishing and offer a personalized and productive fishing experience on this vast lake.

It’s always advisable to research each guide or charter service, read reviews, and check their availability and pricing to find the best fit for your fishing preferences and budget. Additionally, contacting local fishing organizations or visiting tackle shops near the desired fishing location can provide further recommendations and insights from the local angling community.

Popular Fishing Tournaments and Events in New York Lakes

New York lakes host several popular fishing tournaments and events that attract anglers from near and far. Here are some noteworthy fishing tournaments and events held in New York lakes:

  1. Bassmaster Elite Series: The Bassmaster Elite Series is a prestigious bass fishing tournament that includes stops at various New York lakes. Anglers compete for cash prizes and points in hopes of qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic, the pinnacle event in bass fishing.
  2. FLW Tour: The FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) Tour is another prominent bass fishing tournament circuit that features New York lakes as tournament venues. Anglers showcase their skills in pursuit of cash prizes and the opportunity to qualify for the FLW Cup championship.
  3. Lake Ontario Counties (LOC) Trout and Salmon Derby: Held annually on Lake Ontario, the LOC Derby is one of the largest and longest-running fishing derbies in the country. Anglers compete for prizes by catching trout and salmon, including prized species like Chinook salmon and lake trout.
  4. Oneida Lake Walleye Derby: Oneida Lake, located in Central New York, hosts the Oneida Lake Walleye Derby, a popular event for walleye fishing enthusiasts. Participants aim to catch the heaviest walleye to secure cash prizes and bragging rights.
  5. Sodus Pro-Am Salmon Tournament: The Sodus Pro-Am Salmon Tournament takes place on Lake Ontario and attracts both amateur and professional anglers. It features multiple divisions and offers substantial cash prizes for the heaviest salmon catches.
  6. Finger Lakes Derby: The Finger Lakes Derby is a multi-species fishing tournament that spans several lakes in the Finger Lakes region. Participants target species such as bass, trout, panfish, and northern pike, competing for prizes based on the weight of their catches.

These are just a few examples of the many fishing tournaments and events that take place in New York lakes. It’s recommended to stay updated on the schedules and registration details for these events by checking official websites, and local fishing organizations, or contacting the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for information on fishing events and regulations.

Secret Fishing Spots in New York

Fishing Regulations and Licenses for New York Lakes

Fishing in New York lakes is subject to specific regulations and licensing requirements set by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Here’s a general overview of fishing regulations and licenses for New York lakes:

  1. Fishing License: All anglers aged 16 and older are required to have a valid New York State fishing license. Licenses can be obtained online through the DEC website or in person at authorized license-issuing agents.
  2. Fishing Seasons: New York lakes have specific fishing seasons and open/close dates for various fish species. It’s important to consult the DEC fishing regulations guide or the DEC website for the most up-to-date information on the specific lake and the fish species you intend to target.
  3. Size and Creel Limits: Size and creel limits specify the minimum and maximum sizes of fish you can keep, as well as the number of fish you can possess or harvest. These limits vary depending on the species of fish and the specific lake.
  4. Special Regulations: Some New York lakes may have special regulations in place to protect certain species, preserve fish habitats, or manage specific fishing techniques.
  5. Tackle Restrictions: Some New York lakes may have specific tackle restrictions, such as limitations on the use of certain hooks, baits, or fishing methods. Ensure that your fishing gear and techniques comply with any applicable tackle restrictions.

To stay informed and ensure compliance, it is recommended to refer to the DEC’s official fishing regulations guide, available online or at DEC offices and authorized license issuing agents.

Best Places to Stay for New York Lake Fishing

There are several excellent places to stay that offer convenient access to the fishing grounds. Here are some recommended options for accommodations near New York lake fishing destinations:

  1. Lake George: Lake George is a popular fishing destination in the Adirondack region. There are numerous lakeside resorts, cabins, and campgrounds available for lodging. The village of Lake George offers a range of accommodations, including hotels, motels, and vacation rentals, providing easy access to the lake and its fishing opportunities.
  2. Finger Lakes Region: The Finger Lakes region is known for its beautiful lakes, such as Seneca Lake, Cayuga Lake, and Keuka Lake, which offer fantastic fishing. There are charming bed and breakfasts, lakeside cottages, and vacation rentals available in the towns and villages surrounding the lakes. The city of Ithaca, located near Cayuga Lake, also offers a variety of accommodation options.
  3. Lake Ontario: Lake Ontario provides excellent fishing opportunities for species like salmon, trout, and bass. Towns such as Oswego, Pulaski, and Sodus Point offer a range of accommodations, including hotels, motels, and cottages, catering to anglers visiting the lake.
  4. Thousand Islands: The Thousand Islands region, situated along the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, is renowned for its scenic beauty and outstanding fishing. Towns like Alexandria Bay and Clayton offer hotels, resorts, and waterfront cabins, providing a comfortable stay while exploring the abundant fishing opportunities in the area.
  5. Lake Champlain: Lake Champlain, located on the border of New York and Vermont, offers exceptional fishing for bass, pike, and other species. There are resorts, lodges, and campgrounds along the shores of the lake, including options in towns like Plattsburgh, Burlington (VT), and the historic city of Ticonderoga.

When choosing accommodations, consider proximity to the lake, amenities that cater to anglers (such as boat rentals or fish cleaning facilities), and the specific fishing location you plan to visit. Additionally, booking in advance, especially during peak fishing seasons, is advisable to secure your preferred accommodation.

New York Salmon Fishing

Tips and Tricks for Successful Fishing in New York Lakes

To increase your chances of successful fishing in New York lakes, here are some valuable tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  1. Research the Lake: Before your fishing trip, gather information about the specific New York lake you plan to fish. Learn about the fish species present, their feeding habits, preferred habitats, and seasonal patterns. This knowledge will help you target the right areas and choose appropriate fishing techniques.
  2. Check Local Fishing Reports: Stay updated on local fishing reports and conditions. Online forums, fishing websites, and local tackle shops often provide valuable information about recent catches, hotspots, and effective techniques. Use this information to fine-tune your approach and increase your chances of success.
  3. Use Native Bait and Lures: When targeting fish in New York lakes, consider using native bait and lures that closely mimic the natural prey of the fish species you are targeting. This can include using live baitfish, insects, or using artificial lures that resemble local forage species.
  4. Vary Your Presentation: Experiment with different presentations and techniques. Fish can be finicky, so be prepared to adjust your fishing style. This can include changing retrieval speeds, altering the depth at which you fish, or trying different bait or lure colors. Pay attention to the fish’s response and adapt accordingly.
  5. Time Your Fishing: Pay attention to the time of day and the seasons. Early morning and late evening are often prime times for fishing when fish are more active. Additionally, different seasons can affect fish behavior and feeding patterns. Adjust your fishing strategies accordingly.
  6. Practice Stealth and Patience: Approach fishing spots quietly and avoid making unnecessary noise that could spook fish. Be patient and spend enough time in a particular area to give the fish a chance to respond to your presentation. Sometimes, waiting for the right moment can lead to success.
  7. Observe Nature and Water Conditions: Pay attention to the surrounding environment and water conditions. Look for signs of fish activity such as feeding birds or jumping fish. Notice changes in water clarity, temperature, or currents, as they can influence fish behavior and determine the most effective fishing techniques.

Fishing is an activity that requires patience and persistence. Enjoy the experience and appreciate the beauty of New York lakes while respecting the environment and practicing responsible angling.


As we conclude our exploration of fishing in New York lakes, we hope this guide has provided you with valuable knowledge and inspiration for your upcoming angling adventures. Remember to research the lakes you plan to visit, stay informed about fishing regulations, and make use of the tips and tricks shared here to increase your chances of success. Whether you’re casting your line in Lake George, the Finger Lakes, Lake Ontario, or any other breathtaking New York lake, embrace the beauty of nature, savor the thrill of the catch, and create lasting memories amidst the tranquil waters.

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