Top 7 Places to Fish in Upstate New York

Aug 5, 2023

The diverse geography of New York makes it an excellent place to find various freshwater and saltwater species. You’ll find great coastal and offshore fishing around New York, which boasts over 7,500 ponds and lakes, along with 70,000 miles of streams and rivers.

It’s no wonder the state offers world-class fishing for trout, bass, and various freshwater fish. Regardless of the kind of fishing you enjoy, you’ll find it in New York. You’ll find the state is renowned for its trout waters, particularly for huge brown trout.

Whether you’re an expert angler or an amateur looking to enjoy fishing in Upstate New York, here’s a look at the top spots.

Fish Species

Most of New York’s lakes and rivers hold some combination of largemouth or smallmouth bass, muskies, and northern pike. While the Salmon River hosts Chinook salmon, Lakes Erie, and Ontario have great populations of walleyes and smallmouths. If you’re looking to fish on trout waters, we recommend New York where you’ll especially find huge brown trout. If you’re the kind that enjoys long trips, you want to make sure you invest in our marine fuel bladder to avoid running out of fuel.

What to Know Before Fishing in New York

If you’re thinking of participating in freshwater fishing, we recognize that a license is necessary, unless you’re on a licensed preserve. We recommend the purchase of a lifetime fishing license for residents or a lifetime hunting and fishing license. These licenses typically come in the form of a paper document and it’s possible to have your endorsement included in your state ID or driver’s license for convenience.

It’s worth noting that it will take about two weeks to obtain a copy of any license if the purchase takes place online or via the phone. Nevertheless, you’ll receive a printable permit or a number demonstrating you have a license.

If you buy a license from a participating vendor, you’ll obtain a physical copy instantly. If you’re using a fishing charter to engage in saltwater fishing, you won’t require a registration or a license. Beware that a federal permit is necessary if want to catch tuna or shark. A marine fuel bladder will come in handy if you’re planning a long fishing trip.

Top Spots

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario

When you think of fishing in New York, this spot might not come to mind. However, it should. The angler hotspot ranks among the best in New York. If you’re looking to catch salmon and trout, you’ll enjoy a memorable experience.

Make sure you adopt safety measures while fishing. For instance, we recommend a boat that can withstand rough waters as well as a fuel bladder for boats to conserve fuel.

Beaver Kill

You might want to try the legendary, world-renowned, historic trout destination, which has a lower and upper section, both of which support wild brown trout. The river’s upper section supports wild brook trout that increasingly move upstream.

Local experts assert that terrestrials can generate excellent catches in June while beetles, grasshoppers, and comparable imitations will take fish during daylight hours regardless of the weather condition. One accessory you want to carry with you is a marine fuel bladder for boats for an enjoyable trip without interruptions.

Salmon River

You’ll find the world-renowned river in Oswego County. You’ll find that Coho and Chinook salmon start staging off the River’s mouth in late August. The fish range in size from 15-30 pounds and salmon are territorial and aggressive at this point.

Typically, the peak of the spawning run occurs in the latter half and first half of September and October respectively. We find fish generally spread throughout the river and you can catch most fish on plastics, egg sacs, and streamers. It’s worth noting that the River has two steelhead strains and egg-imitating flies or egg sacs are the best choices.

Bowman Lake

If you’re seeking a great place for kids to learn fishing, we recommend this spot. You’ll find it situated in a stunning landscape approximately 60 miles on the south side of Syracuse. The small lake, which measures about 34 acres, has Bowman State Park sited next to it.

The park has campsites and welcomes RVs of any size or kind are welcome. You’ll access a boat ramp for easy water access and you’ll find the lake stocked annually with rainbow and brook trout. Other fish species you’ll come across include black crappies and bluegill. Just remember to carry a fuel bladder for boats for convenience purposes.

Chautauqua Lake

Situated in Western New York, the lake accommodates sports fishery that includes smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and numerous panfish species. You’ll find weed beds in the shallow bays of the north basin, which is also known for several kettle holes.

This lake ranks among the top for bass fish in New York. In particular, the shallow, weedy regions provide great cover for largemouth bass. You’ll have success catching fish using plastic worms, crank baits, and live bait, for instance, shiners and crayfish.

Valentine Pier

If you enjoy fishing in New York but are concerned about the regulations, you might want to consider this spot. We like the spot because you can easily find the guidelines around the pier. Furthermore, numerous areas along the pier permit fishing.

You’ll require a fishing license, barbless hooks, a lead-free fishing sinker, and a marine fuel bladder to save fuel. We recommend the use of non-stainless hooks because they disappear quicker than stainless ones.

St. Lawrence River

If you’re seeking a fishing adventure, we recommend this spot, which flows for 700 miles before it reaches the Atlantic Ocean. We find that this recreational fishery is one of the most popular. Anglers enjoy the diversity of fish habitats and the broad range of species. Here, you’ll find the highly sought-after pikes, panfish, and perch. The best part is that you don’t need to be a professional to enjoy the experience. We find that this kind of spot suits whatever challenge you’re seeking.

When you think of New York, you’re likely to concentrate on New York City, Niagara Falls, or the Adirondacks. However, we find that the Empire State offers great fishing opportunities. If you’re thinking of saltwater fishing on New York’s coast, you’ll find it provides opportunities to catch everything from tuna to sharks.

Once you move inland, you’ll come across New York’s river and lakes, which offers freshwater fishing and the chance to catch trophy fish, including trout and bass. If you’re seeking the best fishing in New York, there are abundant options for you. Just remember to carry our marine fuel bladder with you on your fishing trip for convenience.

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