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Finger Lakes Fishing

The 11 glacially formed Finger Lakes of central and western New York are some of the most beautiful and unique lakes found in the state. The lakes; Otisco, Skaneateles, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Honeoye, Canadice, Hemlock, and Conesus Lakes; range in size from Canadice Lake's 642 acres to the Seneca Lake at 43,342 acres. The lakes also vary greatly in maximum depth from 30 feet in Honeoye Lake to 650 feet in Seneca Lake. Most of the Finger Lakes are considered two-story fisheries, containing both cold water (trout) and warmwater (bass) fisheries. And just as the fishing techniques (from sitting on shore fishing with a bobber to handlining copper or deep trolling with down-riggers) are varied, so are the fisheries of the Finger Lakes.

Cold Water Fishing

Featured species in the cold water fisheries of the Finger Lakes include brown trout, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, and lake trout. Lake trout is the "bread and butter" species in most of the lakes' coldwater fisheries and may be caught in Skaneateles, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Canadice and Hemlock Lakes. Skaneateles and Keuka Lakes host natural reproducing lake trout. Rainbow trout are very abundant in Skaneateles lake, and also available in Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Canadice, and Hemlock Lakes. Although elusive in many of the lake fisheries, they avail themselves to anglers during the spring tributary fishing in Naples Creek, Catharine Creek, Grout Brook, Cayuga Inlet, Owasco Inlet, Cold Brook Stream (Keuka Lake Inlet), and Springwater Creek. Rainbow trout have become naturalized in Cayuga, Skaneateles, Owasco, Seneca, Keuka Hemlock, and Canandaigua Lakes with natural reproduction supplemented by stocking. Brown trout can be found in all the Finger Lakes except Conesus and Honeoye Lakes. Try shore fishing or surface trolling in the spring for browns. Atlantic salmon can be found in Skaneateles, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, and Hemlock Lakes.

Warm Water Fishing

The warm water fisheries of the Finger Lakes are as varied as the lakes. Popular fisheries include black bass (smallmouth and largemouth), walleye, yellow perch, northern pike and chain pickerel, with tiger muskies and panfish thrown in to round things off. The Finger Lakes produce some of the best bass fishing in the State. Try the shallow weedy areas of Cayuga, Otisco, Conesus and Honeoye for largemouth action and the slightly deeper areas of Seneca, Canandaigua, Cayuga, Keuka, Skaneateles, Otisco, Owasco and Hemlock for smallmouth. Walleye can be found in Honeoye, Conesus, Owasco and Otisco Lakes with spring being an excellent time to fish for them. Yellow perch can be found in Canandaigua, Seneca, Cayuga, Skaneateles, Owasco, Honeoye and Otisco lakes. Panfish abound in all the Finger Lakes with Honeoye and Conesus noted for their large-sized fish. For something different, try pickeral fishing on Cayuga (north end), Hemlock, Canadice, and Skaneateles (south end) lakes and pike fishing on Owasco (south end), Cayuga (south end) Seneca, and Conesus. Tiger muskies are also available in Conesus and Otisco lakes.

Public Fishing Rights (PFR) on Finger Lakes Tributaries

Catherine Creek (PDF)

Cayuga Inlet (PDF)

Dutch Hollow Brook (PDF)

Grout Brook (PDF)

Guyanoga Creek (PDF)

Hemlock Creek (PDF)

Keuka Lake Inlet (PDF)

Naples Creek (PDF)

Owasco Inlet (PDF)

Salmon Creek (PDF)

Springwater/Limilkiln (PDF)

Other Public Fishing Rights and Stream Access Information

DECinfo Locator- Interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map (DECinfo Locator is best viewed on a desktop computer).
Trout Stream Fishing Map User Guide ("How to" instructions for using the fishing map on DECinfo Locator).

Fishing the Finger Lakes

Canadice Lake

Canandaigua Lake

Cayuga Lake

Conesus Lake

Hemlock Lake

Honeoye Lake

Keuka Lake

Otisco Lake

Owasco Lake

Seneca Lake

Skaneateles Lake