Reel in the Fun at Lake Ontario, Salmon River, The Finger Lakes & More
You can hardly cast a line without hitting water in New York, where endless miles of streams and rivers connect thousands of lakes and ponds, while downstate shores trace a vast ocean coastline. There’s fish in all those waters, and every season finds them hungry for your hook.
Spring fishing in New York arrives when late winter thaws raise stream levels. Now we head to the nearest creek for plenty of famished fish, or shore fish for Finger Lakes trout with Rapalas or bass minnows. In March, the trout begin their runs from Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes, smelt begin to make their way up smaller streams and, as soon as the ice is off, bullheads come looking for a meal.
Summer fishing vacations in New York offer trophy chinook and coho salmon, steelhead, rainbows
and brown trout in hot spots like the Salmon River, a top fly-fishing destination. Speaking of fly fishing, some claim its birthplace as the Catskills, and it’s easy to believe when you fish crystal streams at places like Eldred Preserve, a year-round fishing resort that Sports Afield called one of the 25 super places to fish in the USA.
From tiny Canadice to vast Seneca, the Finger Lakes are home to cold- and warm-water fisheries that beckon bobbers and down-riggers. Lake trout teem in Canandaigua, while Atlantic salmon lure visitors to Cayuga. Salmon and lake trout are the catch of the day on the Susquehanna River, whileguides like Niagara River Fishing Charters help you bullseye salmon, steelhead and lake trout on the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.
Ocean fishing never stops, and Long Island’s is second to none with salt water adventures from calm bay fishing to challenging deep sea jaunts. Shore fishers can access many state park beaches. Up north, world-class fishing can be found on the St. Lawrence River, watershed of the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, where deep waters and strong currents grow fat walleyes.
In winter, the ice shanty villages pop up across the state. Just drill a hole and pull in your limit of steelhead, northern pike, perch and bluegill. All you need is an ice chisel, skimmer, simple tackle and a license to get started. Or try a charter service like Lockhart Charters in Lake George where lessons, tips and heated shanties come in handy.
NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation: Places to Fish
NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation: Fishing License Information
New York State Parks
Take Me Fishing (boating and fishing in New York)
New York State Outdoor Guides Association