Owasco Lake

This lake offers some good fishing for a variety of species and it has really improved as a fishery after some setbacks in the 2000s. (It’s a great place to fish on any occasion, but especially when the winds are too high for the larger lakes.) Anyways, the lake trout population really fluctuated a lot here back then.   In the mid to late 2000s there were too many lakers here.  The fish were thin and topped out around 26″.   Now the fishery is balanced again and the lakers are showing some real improvements in their growth rates.  Lake trout action was good to excellent for us in 2021 and we had some big fish.  Rainbow and brown trout are bouncing back quickly here.

The smallmouth bass fishery here runs fair to good and there have been bass caught in this lake over 7lbs.  A 20″ smallmouth bass weighing over 4lbs is not an uncommon catch on this lake!   That being said, smallmouths aren’t necessarily easy to catch here.   The right weather and wind conditions make a big difference.    Fall fishing for smallies here can be great.

Nice Owasco Pike!

Josh and Wayne with a couple great fish

During the summer, many smallmouths move “offshore” to feed on pelagic bait., though we still catch them conventionally.   We also catch bass while targeting lakers out in open water!    I can gear vertical trips towards smallies, but having lakers as the main target usually works out better.

Yellow Perch are also found in this lake. The lake is completely loaded with yellow perch.   There are probably more perch here per acre than any other Finger Lake, although finding large ones can be tough.  Keepers are abundant though!

The pike fishing here has been very good over the past few years and it’s well worth keeping an eye on.  We had some good to very good pike fishing here in 2020 with some bonus walleyes in the mix.   In 2021 I landed a 40″er here when fishing with John Sander.  It’s a top early and late season pike fishery. It’s certainly in the conversation when discussing best pike fisheries in Central NY.

Largemouth bass fishing is also getting better and better on this lake.  There are some big ones around and they can turn up just about anywhere on the shoreline.

I have a very high rate of success on this lake – mainly in May/June and October/November.  This lake has yielded trophy northern pike, monster brown trout and lake trout in the past.  Other species found here include a few crappies, rock bass and some bonus large, old walleyes.

What I like about Owasco Lake is both its size and structure.   This is the only Finger Lake that offers the potential for great smallmouth bass, lake trout and northern pike virtually year ’round all within a few miles of each other.   The lake is only around 11 miles long!  So it’s usually pretty easy to run around.   This lake has classic Finger Lakes structure – flats on both ends and sharp drop-offs and nice points throughout it’s length.   This lake can be fished comfortably in all but the strongest winds.   We’ve seen a ton of bait on the lake this year and I expect to see trophy fish come out of this lake in the future.

Chris with an Owasco Beauty!

Species Index

Freshwater Drum

Freshwater Drum

Freshwater Drum are the most underrated gamefish in freshwater. They check all of the boxes any gamefish would.

Black Crappie

Black Crappie

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.

Hybrid Pike/Pickerel

Hybrid Pike/Pickerel

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

Longnose Gar

Longnose Gar are one of my favorite fish to chase on a fly-rod. The have been around for millions of years!

Chain Pickerel

Chain Pickerel

Chain pickerel are common in Cayuga, Canandaigua, Honeoye, and Keuka Lakes.  They are also found in Seneca, Canadice, Hemlock and Skaneateles Lake.

Tiger Musky

Tiger Musky

Tiger Muskies are the sterile hybrid of a pure-strain musky and a northern pike.  Occasionally they are called "norlunge" as well. 

Carp

Carp

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

Channel Catfish

Channel Catfish are found in pockets throughout the region. To the best of my knowledge, none of the Fingerlakes have large populations of them.

Walleye

Walleye

Walleyes are common in Conesus and and uncommon in Owasco Lake. Other Finger Lakes having populations of them include Honeoye and Otisco Lakes.

Rock Bass

Rock Bass

The ubiquitous lowly rockbass. Is there any fish that anglers catch in freshwater that gets less respect? I shall think not.