Rushford Lake is a reservoir built by Rochester Gas and Electric in 1929. In 1981, the lake was sold to the Rushford Lake Recreation District, and is now privately owned. Anglers have access to the lake in two spots. On the north side of the lake, the Balcom Beach area provides shore fishing access and a trailered boat launch. From Route 243, take Balcom Beach Road to Old Road. Launching is free (seven days a week) for boats that are 25 horsepower or less and are engaged in fishing only. Near the dam, an area off South Dam Road provides shore fishing access. Rushford Lake is 585 acres in size and has a maximum depth near the dam of 115 feet. The lake is drawn down 40 feet each winter and ice fishing is not allowed.
The lake provides angling for smallmouth bass, walleye, several species of panfish, as well as stocked rainbow and brown trout. During the summer months, the lake receives heavy recreational boat traffic, so many anglers prefer to fish early and late in the day.
Rushford Lake provides good fishing for smallmouth bass. The bass have good growth rates, reaching 12 inches by age 4 or 5. Many areas of the lake have steep drop-offs which are excellent areas to fish for smallmouth bass. The main forage for bass in the lake is emerald shiners and crayfish, so live bait and lures imitating these foods are your key to success.
The Lake is stocked annually with both brown and rainbow trout. Because of Rushford Lake's 115-foot depth, when the lake stratifies in the summer there is adequate cold, well-oxygenated water to support trout through the summer. Because of this, two, three and four year old trout are caught by anglers, with some reaching 20 - 25 inches. Trout can be caught near the surface in the spring and fall, but you need to fish deeper in the summer months. Trolling with spinners and deep-diving minnow imitations works well for taking trout.
The walleye population in Rushford Lake is increasing since they were introduced to the lake in the late 1980s. Like many expanding fish populations, walleye in the lake are growing well with fish reaching the legal length of 15 inches by age 3. Fish of 8-10 pounds have been taken, although 2-3 pound fish are the average size. As with bass, the walleye's main prey in Rushford Lake is emerald shiners, so casting or trolling minnow imitations is a good technique. Worm harness rigs also will produce good catches of walleye.
Rushford Lake provides fishing for several species of panfish, although they are not abundant and their growth rates are slow. The most common species are black crappie, rock bass, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed and brown bullhead. Live baits such as worms and minnows produce well, as do jigs and small lures.