Cayuga Lake/Seneca Lake/Owasco Lake/Skaneateles Lake/Keuka Lake/Lake Ontario - Add them together and we have:

The Fishing

Keep in mind that "The Fishing" varies from year to year. The weather is the #1 variable on how things will shape up.


Winter open-water fishing in the Finger Lakes region is available on Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. During a typical winter the only open launch on Cayuga Lake will be at Taughannock State Park. This launch is kept open via a bubbler system which operates throughout the winter. The tranquility of a winter day out on the lake is something any fisherman would appreciate. Fly-fishing with baitfish patterns is a great way to hook up with pike and pickerel, as well as landlocked salmon, brown trout and lake trout. Fish can also be caught with jigs and stickbaits if you prefer to fish with spinning gear. Over the past couple years, winter casting for lake trout on Cayuga Lake has been terrific. 

This is all typically spur of the moment fishing dependent upon breaks in the weather and if you’d like to get out, give me a call or email. Flexibility is the key to success during the winter and windows of opportunity are usually short but sweet. Seneca Lake fishes well for pike as well as some landlocked salmon at this time. Lake trout jigging can be productive as well. Open water launching is available at the south-end of the lake in Watkins Glen and up on the southwest shore at Severne Point. Skaneateles Lake usually offers rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. Keuka Lake features lake trout jigging during milder winters when the Branchport Arm doesn't freeze.


This is a time of numerous opportunities in this region. Skaneateles Lake fishing starts and is generally good for rainbows and lake trout as well as landlocked salmon. Cayuga and Seneca Lakes are usually in peak form for salmon fishing through at least mid-May (Seneca remains tough for salmon as of this update on 1/19 but should bounce back soon.)  Pike season is closed in April but good pike fishing starts with the season opener on the 1st. Saturday in May and continues throughout the month. I start fishing Owasco Lake in May and the fishing is good to excellent for a variety of species. In April and May, lake trout fishing is usually good to excellent in nearly all the Finger Lakes and fish can be taken by casting and jigging.  Another fun option is big bluegills and pickerel in Cayuga Lake. This is a fun one for the kids. Don’t miss May fishing! This is THE time for fly-fishing.


This is a good month for lake trout fishing. Pike action varies depending on the spring temperatures, though Seneca Lake can be a good bet.   Bass season opens up on the 3rd. Saturday in June and fishing is excellent throughout the region. New York State offers legal catch and release angling for bass during their closed season. Freshwater drum fishing is often good on Sodus Bay. They are strong fish!

July through mid-August:

Summertime is the time for largemouth bass fishing in Cayuga Lake. Panfish are abundant as well. Largemouth fishing is usually good in Sodus Bay and on Keuka and Otisco Lakes. If you want to tangle with longnose gar, there’s no better time to do it in Sodus Bay. The gar fishing is best through August. Hot, windless days are best for gar-fishing. Smallmouth bass fishing is also typically very good on Skaneateles and Keuka Lakes. Lake trout jigging is excellent in Cayuga Lake.  Owasco Lake usually offers some good AM fishing.  These fish usually start off fairly shallow in early July but will typically move out deeper as the summer progresses. It usually isn't necessary to have to fish more than 90' deep in these lakes - even in August!

Mid August-September:

This is the time for hot pre-spawn lake trout fishing! Lakers are at their heaviest and are migrating towards spawning areas and are feeding fairly heavily. Each Finger Lake has a different time-table and peak fishing can be had throughout the season! Surface temps are cooling down and baitfish move in again! Gar fishing tapers off. Smallmouth and largemouth bass start activating as the shallows cool down and weedgrowth starts diminishing. We catch "bonus fish" including big brown trout, rainbows and smallmouth bass while targeting lake trout.   Late September often features good pike action on Seneca Lake out of Watkins Glen.


This is a good to great month for largemouth and smallmouth bass and pike are just starting to hit well again. Mixed bags are the rule rather than the exception and everything from jumbo perch, bass and trout can show up at the end of your line! Cayuga Lake's north end features top-notch fishing for pickerel and bonus largemouth bass.  Owasco Lake's lake trout action really comes alive at this time. The colors are in full swing and being out on the lakes is like living in a dream!


Superb fishing is usually happening everywhere in the Finger Lakes region: Bass, large pike, trout, salmon – you name it, they’re hitting! Lake trout are stacked on points on Skaneateles and Owasco Lakes and the mixed bag fishing is beyond compare. Fly-fishing and conventional fishing are both excellent. Weather becomes a factor now and flexibility is the key to a successful outing. Another terrific time for fly-fishing and spin casting for pike, brown trout and landlocked salmon! Lake trout on Cayuga Lake move shallow and gorge on round gobies.  Don't miss out on late season fishing in the Finger Lakes!