Rushford Lake is a 585 acre man-made reservoir located in northwest Allegany County. The privately owned lake was built by Rochester Gas and Electric in the late 1920s and then sold in 1981 to the Rushford Lake Recreational District. The lake is drawn down about 40 feet each winter and ice fishing is not permitted.
Elevation: 1,320 feet
Area: 585 acres
Shoreline Length: 5.3 miles
Max Depth: 115 feet
Town: Rushford, Caneadea
Anglers have access at 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 State Road. Launching is free (seven days a week) for boats that are 25 horsepower or less and are engaged in fishing only. Shore fishing access is also available on the north side of the Caneadea Dam, from the picnic area at the end of Lake Road (Formerly Dam Road).
The lake provides angling for smallmouth bass, walleye, several species of panfish, as well as stocked rainbow and brown trout. Due to heavy recreational boat traffic during the summer months, many anglers prefer to fish early or late in the day.
Smallmouth Bass: Rushford Lake provides good fishing for smallmouth bass. 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 target smallmouth bass. The lake's main forage for bass are emerald shiners and crayfish, so live bait and lures imitating these foods are your key to success.
Trout: The Lake is stocked annually with both brown and rainbow trout yearlings. Rushford Lake's 115-foot depth provides adequate cold, well-oxygenated water to support trout through the summer. As a result, 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.
Walleye: Walleye were introduced to the lake in the late 1980s from an unknown source and have since become established. A 2005 survey showed good growth rates, with walleye reaching legal size (15 inches) by age 3. 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 are also good offerings for walleye.
Panfish: Rushford Lake provides fishing for several species of panfish, including rock bass, yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed and brown bullhead. Panfish are generally not abundant and have slow growth rates. The lack of perennial weed beds due to the annual winter drawdown limits panfish abundance. Live baits such as worms and minnows produce well, as do jigs and small lures.
Special Fishing Regulations apply. Ice fishing prohibited.