Discover 7 of the Best Lakes in NY State

Are you planning a lakeside vacation to the beautiful state of New York? The Finger Lakes are expansive, but the right choice for you does not have to be confusing! Read on to find the best lakes in NY State and start planning your trip to the Upstate! 

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Stay on the Shores of the Best Lakes in NY State

When deciding which lake to stay near, it’s important to think about what type of vacation you’d prefer. Would you rather stick close to your vacation rental, enjoying the water in the best swimming lakes in New York State? Or would you rather explore the town, visit wineries, and attend fun events in the Finger Lakes region? Your preference will inform the perfect Finger Lake for you!

Have a Quiet Vacation on Conesus, Honeoye, and Owasco Lake

Does a quiet stay in a beautiful rental home sound perfect? Then browse our selection of homes on Conesus, Honeoye, and Owasco Lake. Each of these lakes has ample fishing, with walleye and bass found in both.

In the winter, Conesus and Honeoye freeze over, making it a great place for ice skating, snowmobiling, ice boating, and ice fishing. Owasco is known as one of the best lakes in New York for swimming. Due to its location, the water in Owasco Lake warms up quickly, making it the perfect late-spring, early-summer destination.

Have an Adventurous Vacation on Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, or Cayuga Lake

Canandaigua Lady, 19th-century replica paddleboat

If you’re looking for some fun activities, events, or festivals, stay on the shores of the bigger lakes: Canandaigua, Keuka, Seneca, and Cayuga. Due to their size and location, these lakes are perfect for hosting family reunions or getaways with friends. If you’re a fan of wine, Keuka and Seneca both boast fantastic wine trails. There are numerous wine festivals and events throughout the year, and these lakes are the best place to stay to enjoy the festivities!

Canandaigua Lake is known for being one of the cleanest lakes in New York State, perfect for swimming and exploring. Iconic actor Humphrey Bogart spent summers in a cottage along this lake during his youth. If you are looking to recreate history, ride aboard the Canandaigua Lady, a 19th-century replica double-decker paddleboat.

Cayuga Lake is the longest of the Finger Lakes and the second largest in surface area/volume. Named after the indigenous Cayuga people, Cayuga Lake is home to the city of Ithaca, NY making it a popular getaway for Ithaca College and Cornell University students.

Stay with Finger Lakes Premier Properties

If you’re staying on the shores of the best lakes in NY State, you’ll want to stay in the best vacation rentals in the Finger Lakes region! Finger Lakes Premier Properties has an incredible selection of homes, from luxurious estates to quiet cottages. Plus, our 24-hour customer service is top-notch. We are dedicated to making sure that you have the best vacation possible.

Check out our full list of rental properties and book today! We look forward to having you.

Best Kept Secrets of Fishing in the Finger Lakes!

The Finger Lakes are known for their stocks full of yellow perch, trout, northern pike, bass, panfish, rock bass and so much more! Read below for the inside scoop on fishing the Finger Lakes from an award-winning local angler. Finger Lakes fishing seasons, what bait to use, and where all the secret spots are.

If you are new to the Finger Lakes and want to learn more, read our vacation guide for local insight on the best restaurants, attractions, and things to do while you are here!

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Finger Lakes Fishing Seasons for Smelt and Crappie

Smelt runs from the beginning of March to the middle of April. Have an NYS fishing license and there’s a flowing creek by your lakefront rental? Head out there after dark with a dip net, bucket, and flashlight and start dipping for smelt. Smelt may be dipped in a net not exceeding 14 inches in diameter anytime between 7 pm to 2 am and the daily limit is 8 quarts per person. Smelt taste the best deep-fried.

Crappie fishing is open all year with a daily limit of 25 crappie per person. The colder the water the better they are to eat so fishing for these in the late fall, winter and spring is ideal. Large crappie can be up to 3-4 lbs.

crappies caught along sugar creek flowing into keuka lake in the spring

Yellow Perch, Trout, and Bass Season

Yellow perch is a favorite fish to eat in the Finger Lakes. On the market, they go for at least $15.00/ lb. Known for their tiger stripes with yellow bellies these feisty fish will put on a quick fight and taste delicious. Yellow perch season is open all year and the daily limit is 50 yellow perch per person. They are typically caught on minnows, worms, or small plastics. Perch is great for fish chowder, fried, pan-seared, and my favorite; blackened and made into fish tacos. Considered a large yellow perch: 2-3 lbs.

monster yellow perch caught on keuka lake with small plastic bait

Trout season in the Finger Lakes is open year-round. Rainbow trout run the streams in April and a popular spot to get in on that action is at the base of Canandaigua Lake in Naples. Watch as anglers wade in the stream and hook on a trout, that runs their line nearly out of the reel. If you haven’t witnessed this it is an amazing spectacle. If you prefer to fish in the lake you can jig and troll for lakers with flies, spoons, or stick baits. You can purchase locally made flies specific to the Finger Lakes from Cme Trolling and spoons from The Sutton Company. Considered a large trout: 10+ lbs.

lake trout caught on Cayuga lake with a fly by local business owner of cme trolling

Bass season opens on the 3rd Saturday in June to November 31st. To catch these you are best using a topwater bait or Rapalas. They gather in coves, under docks, around pilings and shoals. Bass is okay to eat and put up quite a fight but we encourage catch and release. Considered a large bass: 4-10 lbs.

Best Places for Bait and Tackle

If you are looking for fresh bait or are in need of some new equipment, these are a few of our favorite places to visit while in the area! Many places are opened seasonally so make sure to check their website or Facebook page before visiting!

Bait and Tackle

  • Fishy Business – Live bait and tackle, great resource for Keuka Lake. (Branchport, NY)
  • Cme Trolling – Hand tied fishing flies, meat rigs and handmade bullet heads. Great resource for fishing Cayuga, Owasco, and Skaneateles Lakes. (Virgil, NY)
  • Beverage Baron – Live bait supply , Fishing licenses, and snacks for boat. (Penn Yan, NY)
  • The Sutton Company – Home to the world famous Sutton Spoons. (Naples, NY)
  • Kleins Archery – Live bait Shop. (Dryden, NY)
  • Fuzzy Guppies – Fishing Tackle. (Waterloo, NY)
  • Bears Bait & Tackle Shop – Live bait shop. (Trumansburg, NY)
  • Ted’s Tackle – Bait and tackle. (Lakeville, NY)
  • The Bait Barn – Live bait and supply store. (Naples, NY)

Fishing Tournaments

NYS summer and winter classic fishing tournaments
  • NYS Summer Classic Fishing Tournament – 2 Month long Tournament where you can fish any body of water in NYS. 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winners for the Rock Bass division and 1st & 2nd place for the Yellow Perch division were caught in the Finger Lakes for the 2019 summer tournament.
  • NYS Winter Classic Fishing Tournament – 2 Month long Tournament where you can fish any body of water in NYS. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners for the Yellow Perch division were caught in the Finger Lakes for this past winters tournament.

Whether you are coming to the Finger Lakes for a month, a week or just one day you can participate in this state wide tournament. click here to find the perfect lakefront rental to stay at while fishing the Finger Lakes. Many homes come with docks and or boat hoist to keep your boat safe while you rest up for the next day of fishing.

Fishing Regulations

Before you head out on your day of fishing, be sure to check the regulations for the Finger Lakes fishing seasons. If you’re traveling in from out-of-state, make sure to purchase a fishing license ahead of time! Or you can take advantage of the state’s free fishing days, which allows anyone to fish the fresh waters of New York without a license.

For more information on fishing in the Finger Lakes click here!

Celebrate the Holidays with Some of the Best Finger Lakes Christmas Events

Celebrate holiday in a winter wonderland! During the colder months, the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York transforms into an idyllic snowy paradise. There are few places better to enjoy this festive season than our cozy region. Discover the best ways to enjoy this special time of year with the best Finger Lakes Christmas events! Download our free Vacation Guide for a full list of events in the region.

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Shop Small Business in the Finger Lakes

Small Business Saturday is November 27! Change up your shopping routine this year and support your favorite local Finger Lakes businesses. Our small town shops are full of handcrafted goods, unique art, and highly personal gifts for anyone on your list – especially the Finger Lakes fan in your life!

Here are a few promos and events you won’t want to miss this Small Business Saturday:

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