Angling for a Great Spot: 12 Fantastic Places to Fish in New York

My 5-year-old, armed with his brand-new Spider-Man fishing rod, peppered me with questions about his first-ever fishing trip.

  • Could he put his own worm on the hook?
  • Could he catch enough fish for dinner?
  • On second thought, he might not catch enough fish. Would that be OK?

I reassured him that I wasn’t expecting a fish dinner that night. “Plus,” I advised him, “after catching a fish, you want to return it to the water. If not – the fish’s mommy and daddy would miss him.”

With this burden lifted off his young shoulders, my little guy left with his best friend and her dad on his first fishing adventure.

My son is probably a bit young to embrace the finer points of fishing, but that’s OK. He ended up having more fun running around and collecting discarded fishing gear on that trip.

I loved fishing as a child. You get to hang out in the middle of nature and learn how to (patiently) catch an actual real live fish. Maybe my son will one day join my husband, his little brother and me at one of the fishing hot spots listed below?

Fishing is Good for Body and Soul

Besides providing a healthy source of protein for your dinner — if you decide to keep and prepare what you’ve caught — fishing has many health benefits, says Janette Westman, workplace wellness consultant, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

For example, fishing can keep you active, especially if you paddle, bike or hike to reach your favorite spot. Spending time outdoors can help you boost your mood, reduce stress and relax.

Another way to reduce stress is to disconnect from technology while spending time outdoors, advises Westman.

“It’s so refreshing to do something so primitive that you don’t need any fancy technology to do it,” she says. “Try to leave your electronic gadgets at home, or at least silence your phone!”

And don’t forget the memories! When I asked my co-workers to share their favorite places to catch fish, many mentioned that fishing not only resulted in great catches, but a boatload of recollections of fun times with family and friends.

Go Fish!

Whether you’re a novice angler, an experienced fisherman or a kid looking to hook his or her first fish, here are some favorite places to catch fish in upstate New York as recommended by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield employees.

Erie County

  1. Sturgeon Point Marina in the town of Evans: “We never walked away without having caught at least one fish,” fisherwoman Stef Strosky tells us. “The most memorable time was fishing inside the harbor and catching a 9.5 pound rainbow trout with my best friend Kim when we were both 7 years old. We got to hold that over my brother and his friend for years to come!”

Delaware County

  1. The West Branch of the Delaware River from Deposit to Hancock and the main Delaware River from Hancock to Lordville: For fly fisherman Andrew Dober, this is the place to be. These spots in Delaware County, he says, provide some of the best dry fly- fishing on the East Coast.

    An 18 inch, brown trout caught by Dober (provided by Andrew Dober)

    An 18 inch, brown trout caught by Dober (provided by Andrew Dober)

Franklin County

  1. Fish Creek Pond Campground near Tupper Lake: “My family loves to camp there in the summer, and I spend many hours on the lake fishing with my wife and two boys,” shares Mike Tripp. “We catch sunfish, perch, smallmouth and largemouth bass and northern pike. We’ve created a lot of great memories!”

Jefferson County

  1. Eel Bay in Wellesley Island State Park: Mark Lemen has had lots of luck with northern pike and smallmouth bass.  “The pike aren’t huge, but when they’re hitting, it’s a lot of fun!”
  1. Chaumont-Three Mile Bay area located on the eastern end of Lake Ontario, also known as the “Golden Crescent”: Kevin Moriarty tells us the Chaumont Bay is known for being very family-friendly and a great spot for freshwater fishing

Oneida County

  1. At a stream and tiny falls behind the Fastrac in Camden: Alan Zyla takes his son there often. “We catch rainbow and brown trout fish.”

    Zyla's son, Xander, 6, shows off the fish he caught. (provided by Alan Zyla)

    Zyla’s son, Xander, 6, shows off the fish he caught. (provided by Alan Zyla)

Oswego County

  1. Redfield Reservoir (also known as Salmon River Reservoir): Catch rock, largemouth and smallmouth bass, panfish, northern pike and walleye, advises Jackie West. “To top it off, the sunsets are to die for!”
  1. Salmon River and Lake Ontario tributaries: “We don’t just fish, we also kayak and spend the day having fun in the sun,” shares Marcy Ariel. “Another great place to visit nearby is the Salmon River Fish Hatchery and the Salmon River Falls.”

St. Lawrence County

  1. Around the islands near Chippewa Bay: Walleye, northern pike and largemouth and smallmouth bass are plentiful in this part of the St. Lawrence River. Ellen Sorce extolls the virtues of panfish “for a proper river breakfast of scrambled eggs, fried potatoes and fried fish.Yum!”
  1. Jacques Cartier State Park: For pros and weekend warriors. You can catch smallmouth bass and walleye in the St. Lawrence River, suggests Sharlene Austin.
  1. Black Lake, north of Interstate 81: Although Roberta Burr and her husband fish all over the lake, they prefer Booth Island and Lower Big Bay. “We’ve caught crappie and bullhead fish and smallmouth and largemouth bass,” she says.

Wyoming County

  1. On Silver Lake near Letchworth State Park: Although he wouldn’t divulge the exact location, Russ Kuitems has a spot just south of the country club where he catches big northern pike and smallmouth bass.

    A beautiful day for fishing at Silver Lake. (provided by Russ Kuitems)

    A beautiful day for fishing at Silver Lake. (provided by Russ Kuitems)

3 thoughts on “Angling for a Great Spot: 12 Fantastic Places to Fish in New York

  1. John Killius says:

    You would be hard pressed to beat the sportfishing out of Henderson Harbor on Lake Ontario (Jefferson County)–just an hour north of Syracuse. Lake trout, brown trout, walleye and northern pike, smallmouth bass and salmon. It’s all there.

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