Rainbow Trout are found in all of the cold water Finger Lakes. Traditionally, the best fishing for them was found in Skaneateles and to a lesser extent Canandaigua Lake. Numbers of rainbows in Skaneateles have declined considerably over the past few years likely due to an expanding walleye population. Canandaigua Lake remains a solid bet for ‘bows and they get big there. 2020 and 2021 were excellent years for rainbow fishing on Cayuga Lake. We’ve never caught more while jigging and I expect some excellent runs up the lake’s tributaries in the spring of 2022.
Owasco Lake is a good rainbow trout fishery and so is Seneca when the lampreys are under control. Rainbows are still struggling in Keuka Lake due to heavy predation by lake trout, but some nice ones were caught here in 2021.
Rainbows seem to tolerate or prefer warmer temperatures than the other salmonids, so they are occasionally taken while bass fishing. We encounter a few while lake trout jigging or casting for salmon/browns, but I consider them a bonus fish. They are versatile feeders and can be at home feeding throughout the water column from the surface on down to the bottom. Rainbow trout naturally reproduce in all the Finger Lakes that have them. They are a spring spawner so the eggs hatch quickly. Their varied diet helps their egg viability. They do not depend on alewives as much as Landlocked salmon do.