We've come up with 36 great places in New York to go fishing year 'round. Now all you need to do is decide where and when you want to go! (February 2007)
The arrival of January means there are another 12 months ahead for New York's avid angling community.
This year, where are we going to go to pull pike or trout through cleanly chiseled auger holes, catch hungry spring brookies in rippling streams, or fish for lunker smallmouth bass or lake trout in the cool summer depths?
No matter what kind of angling action you're looking for, the Empire State has plenty of it!
Special regulations apply on many waters statewide. For details, be sure to check the New York Department of Environmental Conservation Web site at www.dec.state.ny.us.
Here's a look at 36 top-rated waters to keep anglers busy all through the coming year:
Fish this Washington County lake in Argyle with minnows or small suckers to tempt tiger muskies on tip-ups!
Cossayuna Lake also has pike, bluegills, pumpkinseeds, and yellow perch.
Access is off Route 40 at the Hamlet of South Argyle, east on county Road 49 to East Shore Road.
This great lake gives up record-class coho salmon, Atlantic salmon, brown trout and rainbows.
Lake Ontario is also home to abundant steelhead trout, lake trout, Pacific salmon, walleyes, pike and smallmouth bass. One or more of those species may be taken all winter.
The shoreline is accessible via the region's numerous state parks. For a complete listing of them, simply visit http://nysparks.state.ny.us and select "Thousand Islands Region."
Great Sacandaga Lake
This southern Adirondacks lake gives up king-sized pike, including the current state-record fish, a 46.2-pound lunker.
Great Sacandaga is also home to walleyes, bass, yellow perch, pumpkinseeds, black crappies, carp, rainbow trout and the occasional brown trout.
Access is off county Route 110 three miles northeast of Broadalbin, off Conklinville Road five miles north of Edinburg beside the Saratoga County Park, or via Route 30 in Northville.
Chateaugay Lake in Dannemora (upper) and Chateaugay (lower) has lake trout, rainbows, yellow perch and pike in addition to catch-worthy landlocked salmon.
Try live baits on a long leader, fished about 10 feet below the ice.
Ice-fishing is allowed from Nov. 15 through April 30 for most species. But this is one of many special-regulation waters that close March 15 for pike, pickerel, tiger muskies and walleyes.
Access is at Chateaugay Narrows on Route 374, one-half mile north of Merrill.
It would be impossible to write about fishing in the Empire State without giving a bow to the "Walleye Capital of the World."
Access to the big lake is easy. Try the Buffalo Boat Harbor off Buffalo Skyway at Furhman Boulevard, or the Erie Basin Marina along Erie Boulevard Mall, both in Buffalo; or go to Sturgeon Point off Longshore Road about four miles north of Angola.
West Caroga Lake
West Caroga Lake in the town of Caroga is a great destination for splake. This hybrid, a cross between brookies and lake trout, grows faster than either parent species, providing quality opportunities for ice-anglers.
The lake is also home to yellow perch, pumpkinseeds and whitefish.
This Hamilton County lake offers excellent lake trout action and also holds plenty of rainbows, brookies, landlocked salmon, rock bass, yellow perch and pumpkinseeds. Try tempting big lakers with egg sacs.
Access is from Route 28 about 10 miles east of Old Forge, or through Alger Island State Campground eight miles northeast of Old Forge on South Shore Road.
This big lake spans Ontario, Yates, Seneca and Schuyler counties and is an excellent two-tiered fishery that offers largemouth bass, yellow perch, pike, rainbows, brown trout and landlocked salmon.
Access is through Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva, or at Sampson State Park, Lodi Point State Marine Park and Severne Point about eight miles south of Dresden.
This Warren County lake gave up the current state-record 'gill, a whopping 3.12-pounder!
The lake and Brant Lake Mill Pond, both in the town of Horicon, have plenty of hungry yellow perch, chain pickerel, pumpkinseeds, brown trout and rainbows to keep anglers busy, too.
Access is from Route 8 one mile northeast of the Hamlet of Brant Lake.
Esopus Creek in Phoenicia is known for its excellent brown and rainbow trout fishing. Try a beadhead caddis this spring.
Esopus (which flows into Ashokan Reservoir) is part of New York City's water supply system.
Access is east of the Phoenicia Plaza, or west of the Shandaken cemeteries on Route 28, or via old Route 28 off Route 42.
This famous Catskills trout-fishing stream runs through Delaware and Sullivan counties. The Beaver Kill is home to wild brookies and rainbow trout, as well as stocked and wild brown trout.
Access is easy, with 33 miles of public fishing rights easements, 20 angler-parking areas and miles of state forest surrounding the stream.
Cartop boat access abounds along most of this 17-mile-long creek in Greene County. Anglers report good luck fishing for bullheads here with good, old-fashioned night crawlers. The c
reek is also home to trout, bass, and yellow and white perch.
Each spring, American shad migrate upstream here. Try small spinners, jigs, shad darts and streamer flies.
The Delaware is also noteworthy for its smallmouth bass and walleyes downstream of Lordville, and for rainbow and brown trout upstream of Lordville and in the branches below the Cannonsville and Pepacton reservoirs.
Woodland Valley Stream
Woodland Valley Stream offers rainbows, brookies and brown trout. Turn onto Woodland Valley Road from Route 28 west of Phoenicia to reach the stream, which has public fishing rights along its length, or fish from the Woodland Valley Bridge.
Lake Ontario is also home to abundant steelhead trout, lake trout, Pacific salmon, pike, walleyes and smallmouth bass. One or more of those species may be taken all winter.
Try live minnows in this Sullivan County water. The state-record bowfin, a 12.13-pound Basha Kill fish, was caught on live bait.
Access is at Basha Kill Wildlife Management Area. From Route 17 near Wurtsboro, head south on Route 209 about six miles to Westbrookville, and then east on Otisville Road and turn north on South Road.
The West Branch Ausable is one of the best-known trout fisheries in the East and is teeming with rainbows and brown trout in the 18-inch range.
Just four miles outside Lake Placid, the West Branch has a five-mile catch-and-release zone. On hot days, stick to early morning or evening trips for best success.
Lower Saranac Lake
Lower Saranac Lake in Harrietstown is home to smallmouth bass, pike, walleyes, yellow perch, bullheads and pickerel in addition to lunker largemouths. Try morning fishing with spinnerbaits.
Access is off Ampersand Bay Road in the village of Saranac Lake. Or reach Saranac by way of Second Pond (and a series of locks interconnecting several water bodies) by taking Route 3 about three-and-a-half miles southwest of the village of Saranac Lake for a hard-surface ramp and parking for 75 cars and trailers.
Put out at Oyster Bay and try to beat the state record set here for a 492.4-pound swordfish. Saltwater anglers here can also expect to land stripers, bluefish, tautog, tuna, cod, pollock, scup, wahoo, weakfish and the occasional shark.
The Harry Tappen Beach Boat Basin, Theodore Roosevelt Beach and Marina, Tobay Beach and Boat Basin and the public access at John J. Burns Park offer boat launch and shoreline access in the vicinity of Oyster Bay.
Lunker lake trout are evening feeders during hot weather. Try fishing spoons 40 feet down, where the water is cooler.
Access is off Route 86 in the Village of Lake Placid on Mirror Lake Drive.
This Livingston Manor pond is the largest in the Catskills, aside from the NYC reservoirs. Anglers can try their luck using non-motorized boats only.
Largemouth bass still bite in this Oswego County pond despite the summer heat -- especially if anglers fish in the evenings and after dark with surface lures.
This Northville reservoir is one of the state's best carp-fishing destinations. Use canned corn, night crawlers or dough balls. Carp balk at the slightest resistance, so bobbers are generally a bad idea.
Access the lake at the Saratoga County Boat Launch five miles north of Edinburgh.
Action for late-summer lake trout starts 60 to 100 feet down. Troll with spoons, flashers and flies, or use alewives in the lake's central and southern portions.
Access is through the Cayuga Lake Wildlife Management Area on the northern end of the lake. Take Demont Road off state Route 89, or use the boat launch at Cayuga Lake State Park two miles south.
A special permit, obtained from the City of New York Board of Water Supply, gives anglers access to record-sized smallmouth bass and brown trout.
This watery border between New York and Vermont offers access to some of the best fishing in either state. Tempt whopper walleyes on minnow imitations, or try night-fishing with crankbaits.
Port Henry off Route 9N is a great access point, with several hard-surfaced ramps and plenty of parking.
This Downsville pond is stocked with brown trout, and is convenient to Bear Spring Mountain State Park, which has a stream with several nice fishing holes.
Access is through the Bear Spring Mountain Public Campground. From Route 17 to Exit 90, take Route 30 north to Shinhopple, and then turn left on East Trout Brook Road. The campground is five miles ahead on the right.
Long Island Sound
Head to Smithtown Bay for access to the heart of Long Island Sound. Launch ramps are plentiful. Hook a lively herring through the top of the head, since stripers target the head of their prey when taking a bite.
Access can be had at the Nissequogue River Boat Ramp on Old Dock Road, at the Otto Schubert Boat Ramp on Long Beach Road and at the Long Beach town marina on Long Beach Road. In Brookhaven, access may be had at Stony Brook, Port Jefferson or Mt. Sinai harbors.
The Mohawk River gave up a 45-pounder one fine October a few years back.
Access is at Moss Island Park in Little Falls, adjacent to Lock 17 of the Barge Canal, in Herkimer on East Washington Street; or at Lock 22 of the Barge Canal on Wood Creek Road off Route 49 west of New London.
Salmon are abundant in the three-mile stretch of the Saranac River in Plattsburgh, from its mouth to the Imperial Dam.
This is also a first-class brown trout fishery and has excellent populations of rainbow trout and bass.
The West Branch Ausable is one of the best-known trout fisheries in the East and is teeming with rainbows and brown trout
in the 18-inch range.
Boats may be launched near the river's mouth in Lake Champlain. Much of the riverbank is open to the public, but some portions are private, so proceed accordingly.
Plan to fish from shore or small cartop boats for excellent smallmouth bass action. Brook trout, yellow perch and chain pickerel are also plentiful here.
Access is at the picnic area about five miles north of the Hamilton-Warren county line, along U.S. Route 8.
Muskie action is particularly good on the upper river this month. Anglers here can also catch pike, walleyes, smallmouth and largemouth bass. The lower portion of the river offers good fall fishing for chinook salmon and steelhead trout.
Come back this winter for excellent lake trout fishing.
The Niagara River flows 35 miles through New York from Lake Erie at Buffalo to Lake Ontario at the historic Fort Niagara site in Youngstown.
This St. Lawrence County lake in Harrietstown produced the state-record smallmouth bass in 2005. The champion fish tipped the scales at 11.5 pounds.
Try plastic worms, curly-tailed grubs or spinnerbaits here to hook award-worthy smallmouths.
Access is adjacent to Hammonds-Edwardsville County Road, two miles west of the Hamlet of Edwardsville in Morristown.
At 1,308 feet above sea level, Chautauqua Lake is one of the highest navigable water bodies in North America.
Fishing is exceptional for walleyes, muskies (stocked annually) and yellow perch.
Bemus Point divides the lake into two basins of nearly equal size.
Access may be had at the Prendergast Point and Bemus Point boat launch areas and through Long Point State Park.
In addition to catch-worthy walleyes, this Tupper Lake pond is home to northern pike, yellow perch and pumpkinseeds, which will keep winter anglers' flags flying all day!
Try a jig and minnow combination to draw in the biggest walleyes.
Minnows will elicit lively strikes from big Saratoga County pickerel. Moreau Lake also has decent numbers of rainbow trout, yellow perch and pumpkinseeds.
Access is through Moreau Lake State Park, one mile south of exit 17S of the Northway (Interstate Route 87).
Eagle Lake lies in the towns of Crown Point and Ticonderoga. Anglers report good catches of whitefish here, and the lake is also home to pumpkinseeds, yellow perch and brown trout.
Access is on Route 74 one mile west of the Hamlet of Eagle Lake.