Silver Lake had its origins several thousand years ago when retreating glaciers left western New York. The 836-acre lake is located north of Letchworth State Park, in eastern Wyoming County. The lake provides angling for largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike and several species of panfish. Beds of aquatic vegetation, particularly at the north and south ends, provide excellent habitat for bass and other predator and prey fish species. Anglers should note that the lake experiences oxygen depletion below depths of 20 feet from June-September.
Public access for trailered launching of boats and canoes is provided at Silver Lake State Park, located at the south end of the lake off West Lake Road. Ice anglers have additional access at the Village of Perry Park and Public Beach. The site is located on the northeast side of the lake, near the intersection of Walker Rd. and Euclid Ave. (42 Walker Rd.). This site was improved by the Village of Perry in October 2010 for ice anglers with a grant from the DEC Habitat/Access Stamp Fund.
Panfish provide plenty of action for the angler on Silver Lake. The most common species are bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, black crappie and brown bullhead. Panfish are caught year-round and ice fishing is a very popular activity. Live baits such as minnows or worms usually produce the best catches, but small jigs and lures also work well. When sunfish are on their spawning beds in the spring, try using an 8-foot 3-4 weight fly rod with surface poppers or wet flies. They can provide some fast and fun action. Bullheads are most active after sunset and can be taken using nightcrawlers or scented baits, especially in the spring.
Northern Pike and Walleye
Northern pike, which reproduce naturally, provide anglers with the opportunity for a true trophy. Northern pike in Silver Lake can exceed 35 inches in length, although fish 18 - 25 inches are much more common. Large, live minnows and 8 - 12 inch imitation baitfish lures will take some nice fish.
Walleye, nearly nonexistent in the lake in the late 1970s, were brought back in good numbers through the stocking of fingerlings and fry. The population is now self-sustaining and no additional stocking is necessary. Walleye up to 8 pounds are taken in the lake with 15 - 25 inch fish more commonly caught. Walleye tend to be tough to catch in Silver Lake, despite the decent numbers that show up in DEC surveys. Popular lures for walleye in Silver Lake are floating minnow imitations or jigs tipped with bait. Try casting into shallow weedy areas at night. Trolling with a minnow imitation lure or a worm harness is also a good technique.
Largemouth bass in Silver Lake are fairly abundant and exhibit good growth rates, with good numbers of bass in the 12 - 15 inch size group. The lake's extensive aquatic vegetation beds offer excellent cover for largemouth bass and anglers should not pass up these areas. Bass anglers frequently have success with spinner baits, surface plugs, plastic worms, crank baits and live bait, such as crayfish and shiners.