I haven’t fished here over the past seven years. I’ll leave this lake profile up for those interested.
Smallmouth bass fishing has reportedly been tough here since a major fish kill a few years ago. Numbers of young smallmouths are very encouraging here now. Rainbow trout and lake trout fishing has been good to excellent. Brown trout fishing has been decent too from what I’ve heard anecdotally.
Canandaigua Lake offers some good to excellent fishing for lake trout, smallmouth bass and yellow perch. The lake has a lot of nice largemouth bass in it, as well as some decent rainbow trout. It is fished fairly heavily for perch in the fall and spring. I enjoy visiting this lake during the “off season” – basically before July 4th weekend and after Labor Day. Its location is close to Rochester and some other heavily populated areas, so this lake receives heavier boat traffic than any of the other large Finger Lakes.
The State boat launch at the north end of the lake can get extremely busy on a hot weekend day during the summer or even on a nice weeknight. That being said, the southern end of the lake generally features lighter boat traffic. If you fish this lake in the summer, it’s best to start early in the morning. The same can be said for the other Western Finger Lakes – especially Honeoye and Conesus Lakes. They have wall-to-wall cottages and plenty of jetskiis and other pleasure boaters.
The lake trout in this lake average around 18″ to 20″. There are decent numbers of bigger fish around and a 30″+ laker isn’t out of the question. Most lake trout in this lake are hatchery fish – approximately 85%.
The water quality of this lake is kept top-notch and it shows in the taste of the fish. The lake trout here are just superb eating – as good as they get. There is a very proactive lake association and the water quality here is amongst the best in the Finger Lakes.
Many area bass fishermen had considered this lake to be their favorite or at least in their top 2 or 3 for smallmouths. I’ve seen some big smallies cruising around the shallows in the summertime. Smallmouths relate to typical smallmouth habitat here, as well as largemouth habitat. Some of the big smallmouths suspend out in open water, chasing bait fish. In the fall, the jerkbait bite can be a lot of fun here. Again – we’ll see what happens in light of the fish kill from a couple years ago here.
Freshwater Drum are the most underrated gamefish in freshwater. They check all of the boxes any gamefish would.
Black Crappie are the most common crappie species in the Finger Lakes. A few white crappie can be found in Otisco Lake. They are most often targeted in the spring and through the ice.
Is it a pike or is it a pickerel? It's both! Hybrid pike/pickerel show up on occasion in Seneca, Cayuga and Keuka Lakes. They are a gorgeous fish.
Longnose Gar are one of my favorite fish to chase on a fly-rod. The have been around for millions of years!
Chain pickerel are common in Cayuga, Canandaigua, Honeoye, and Keuka Lakes. They are also found in Seneca, Canadice, Hemlock and Skaneateles Lake.
Tiger Muskies are the sterile hybrid of a pure-strain musky and a northern pike. Occasionally they are called "norlunge" as well.
I think fishermen take carp for granted. They are so abundant in the area (and throughout the country) that many people don't value them.
Channel Catfish are found in pockets throughout the region. To the best of my knowledge, none of the Fingerlakes have large populations of them.
Walleyes are common in Conesus and and uncommon in Owasco Lake. Other Finger Lakes having populations of them include Honeoye and Otisco Lakes.
The ubiquitous lowly rockbass. Is there any fish that anglers catch in freshwater that gets less respect? I shall think not.