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 Finger Lakes are Canandaigua, Seneca, Keuka, Cayuga, Skaneateles, Otisco, Owasco, Honeoye, Canadice, Hemlock, and Conesus Lakes; ranging 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.
The Finger Lakes offer outdoor enthusiasts a unique fishing experience. Open year round for fishing, shore and boat anglers can target Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Land Locked Salmon, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Perch, Walleye, Pike, Pickerel, Sheepshead, Carp, Catfish and a variety of other species. The key to catching these fish is to locate points, drop-offs, structure and other areas where the bait fish gather, and the game fish will be there to eat them, usually at points of land that extend into the lakes, stream mouths or other discharges into the water, off-shore weed beds and ledges where there is a change in water-depth.
Species in the Finger Lakes cold water fisheries of include brown trout, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, and lake trout.
- Lake trout can be caught in Skaneateles, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Canadice and Hemlock Lakes. Keuka and Skaneateles Lakes host natural reproducing lake trout.
- Rainbow trout are very abundant in Skaneateles lake, and also can be caught in Seneca, Cayuga, Keuka, Canandaigua, Owasco, Canadice, and Hemlock Lakes. They can be found during the spring tributary fishing in Naples Creek, Cayuga Inlet, Owasco Inlet, Cold Brook Stream (Keuka Lake Inlet), Catharine Creek, Grout Brook, 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. For Brown Trout, try shore fishing or surface trolling in the spring.
- Atlantic salmon can be found in Skaneateles, Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, and Hemlock Lakes.
Popular warm water fisheries include black bass (smallmouth and largemouth), yellow perch, walleye, northern pike and chain pickerel, and also tiger muskies and panfish. Some of the best Bass Fishing in New York State is in The Finger Lakes.
- Largemouth bass can be found in the shallow weedy areas of Cayuga, Otisco, Conesus and Honeoye.
- Smallmouth bass– try the slightly deeper areas of Canandaigua, Cayuga, Keuka, Seneca, Skaneateles, Otisco, Owasco and Hemlock.
- Walleye can be found in the spring in Honeoye, Conesus, Owasco and Otisco Lakes.
- Yellow perch can be found in Canandaigua, Honeoye, Skaneateles, Seneca, Cayuga, Owasco and Otisco lakes.
- Panfish can be found in all the Finger Lakes with Honeoye and Conesus noted for their large-sized fish.
- Pickeral fishing is good on the north-end of Cayuga, the south-end of Skaneateles, and also Hemlock, Canadice lakes.
- Pike fishing is good on the south end of Owasco, the south end of Cayuga, and also Seneca, and Conesus Lakes.
- Tiger muskies can be found in Conesus and Otisco lakes.