Your Ultimate Guide to Winter Activities in the Finger Lakes

Our area is best-known as a summer vacation destination. After all, there’s nothing more idyllic than days on the lake under the summer sun. However, our quiet upstate New York region transforms into a beautiful snow-covered wonderland. Whether you’re taking a holiday vacation or visiting early in the new year, there are so many wonderful Finger Lakes winter activities and events to enjoy during this season. Peek at some of our favorite winter activities in the Finger Lakes below!  

When you’re ready to start planning your trip, download our Finger Lakes Vacation Guide. This free resource is filled with local insight into how to spend every season in the Finger Lakes region! 

Download our Free Vacation Guide

Continue reading Your Ultimate Guide to Winter Activities in the Finger Lakes

Everything You Need to Know About the Finger Lakes in the Fall

What’s your favorite season? If you love cool weather, pumpkin spice, and cozy sweaters, then fall is likely your favorite time of year. This season is a great relief from the summer heat and boasts some great things to do. Thinking about visiting the Finger Lakes in the fall? Let us help you plan with the family-friendly recommendations below. For more vacation inspiration, download our free Finger Lakes Vacation Guide! It’s filled with local insight into how to explore our area during each season! 

Download our Free Vacation Guide

Top 10 Things to Do in the Finger Lakes in the Fall 

Due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, some of the fall activities in the Finger Lakes may be adjusted or canceled to meet social distancing guidelines. We appreciate your understanding during this time! 

1. Fall Foliage 

The first two weeks of October are the peak time for leaf-peeping in the Finger Lakes region. You can enjoy the Finger Lakes fall foliage from the dock of your lakeside home or on an outdoor adventure. The chair lift at Bristol Mountain Fall Sky Rides is one of our favorite leaf-peeping experiences. While you’re there, you can take it to the next level by coasting through the trees on the zip line at their Aerial Adventures Park!  

2. Scenic Drives 

Explore more of our region of New York with a Finger Lakes scenic driveRoute 14S is one of our favorites! This scenic drive winds through the Seneca Lake Wine Trail and Watkins Glen State Park. Both destinations are especially beautiful in the fall!  

3. U-Pick Farms  

Nothing says “autumn” quite like the taste of a freshly baked apple pie or a spiced hot toddy. Get an unbelievably fresh taste of the flavors of fall with a u-pick experience in the Finger Lakes. Our area is home to several orchards and farms that are great for apple, grape, and pumpkin picking! 

4. Hiking Trails  

There’s no better time to explore the Finger Lakes by foot than on a crisp fall day. From picturesque gorges and waterfalls like those at Watkins Glen State Park to the gradual hiking trails of the Cummings Nature Center along Canandaigua Lake, there are trails to suit hikers of all skill levels. Along the way, take in the beautiful views of bright orange and yellow fall foliage! 

5. Wine & Grape Harvest  

Fall is one of the best seasons to visit the Finger Lakes. With more than 100 wineries throughout the region, you can taste a variety of award-winning wines during their peak harvest season. The grape harvest typically begins in the first week of September and lasts through the end of October as the different varieties ripen.  

6. Naples Grape Festival   

Located at the southern end of Canandaigua Lake, the town of Naples hosts an annual festival that celebrates the local grape harvest at the end of September. The Naples Grape Festival features live music, wine tasting, vendors, and, of course, a myriad of local grape fare. Enjoy this delicious event to kick-start the fall season! 

7. Corning Museum of Glass   

There are a variety of museums to explore throughout the Finger Lakes Region of New York. For the fall season, be sure to visit the Corning Museum of Glass for their glass harvest and glass pumpkin blowing events. 

8. Corn Mazes & Pumpkin Patches  

Pumpkin patches aren’t just for the little ones. Make a race out of a corn maze or see who can carve the best pumpkin for some fun off-lake activities during your fall stay. Many local markets now offer local wine and craft beers for a delicious fall pairing! 

9. Haunted History Trail of New York State 

The Finger Lakes has a long history of tales from the beyond. Fall is the perfect opportunity to get spooked by the history of the region. Here are a few of our favorite places to snag a scare: 

  • Haunted History Trail of New York State  
  • Mansion Mysteries at Sonnenberg Gardens 
  • Bristol Mountain’s Aerial Adventures  

10. Make Yourself at Home with Finger Lakes Premier Properties  

Need a place to stay in the Finger Lakes in the fall? Look no further than Finger Lakes Premier Properties! We offer a diverse portfolio of rental homes across the Finger Lakes region. With nearly 300 rental properties to choose from, you’re sure to find a home to fit your vacation style.  

Even better, fall kicks-off our off-season sales! Take advantage of the September Secret, when many of our homes begin to offer a one-night free special. Click here to see if your favorite home is running any special offers during your stay! 

Browse a full inventory of our Finger Lakes rental homes to start planning your trip! 

What is our September Secret?

It’s where September still feels like summer in the Finger Lakes, but offers “off season” rates. After Labor Day, vacation on your favorite Finger Lake while taking advantage of lower rates, property specials, and reduced traffic at parks, wineries, and restaurants.

Starting in September many of our homes begin to offer our ONE NIGHT FREE special. This offer is only available for select homes, so take advantage of it while availability remains.

The month of September typically features reduced traffic at favorite destinations. However, 2020 is the year of surprises so we cannot guarantee this will be true this fall.

BUT.. September is also the beginning of the wine harvest season. If you’re looking to experience Finger Lakes wine country, this is the time. During your exploration you’ll see grapes being harvested across our region in the early morning hours while it is still cool. You’ll smell the ripe grapes as you drive by vineyards and visit tasting rooms. Some wineries even offer tours of their production facility, but be sure to check ahead with COVID policies for 2020.

If you didn’t have a chance to visit the Finger Lakes this summer, don’t fear! September is still a wonderful option to take advantage of the last warm days of the year and create new adventures in the Finger Lakes.

BOOK NOW while availability remains. This secret won’t last long!

July 4th Events – 2020 Update

Most of the annual July 4th celebrations including large events, parades, and firework displays have been canceled in the Finger Lakes region due to the COVID-19 restrictions. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate our pride for the USA.

The only July 4th events that are still on for the entire Finger Lakes are around Keuka Lake. So if you are planning on being at Keuka Lake for the 4th you are in luck! And if you aren’t, we still welcome you to make the short drive over to celebrate our nations Independence.

July 3rd

  • Boat Parade, 8:45 PM, Branchport

July 4th

  • Chicken BBQ Drive-Thru, 12 noon, Branchport/Keuka Park Fire Department
  • DeGeorge Barn, Classic Car and Americana Collection, 9am-3pm, 3062 Guyanoga Road, Branchport, supporting Humane Society of Yates County! Mask required.
  • Branchport Fireworks, 10pm
  • Hammondsport Fireman’s Parade, 6pm
  • Hammondsport Fireman’s Fireworks, 9:30pm
  • Festival of Lights, flares along Keuka Lake, 10pm
  • Independence Day Weekend at the Windmill, Open July 3rd and 4th! Mask required.

Celebrating July 4th in the Finger Lakes – 2020 Edition

Most of the annual July 4th celebrations including large events, parades, and firework displays have been canceled in the Finger Lakes region due to the COVID-19 restrictions. But that doesn’t mean we can’t still celebrate our pride for the USA.

For those seeking greater experiences, we’ve provided our recommendations for creating new patriotic traditions in the Finger Lakes.

Booking the Perfect Lake House

The dates surrounding the July 4th weekend are the most popular of the year for booking a lakefront vacation rental. With family travel plans being diverted this year because of COVID-19, you may still have a chance to secure the perfect home to enjoy a Finger Lakes Independence Day, but book soon!

The key to creating the perfect lakeside getaway is finding the home that checks all your boxes. Unlike hotels, vacation rental homes are not all created equal, but that is also part of the fun. Some families require open layouts with bedrooms on the first floor or level lakefronts for easy access for children. Many of our homes also offer virtual tours allowing you to tour the home before you book, ensuring it fits your vacation style. Identifying these needs will be key for an enjoyable getaway for everyone in your group and will also help our local vacation planners find the right home for you.

It’s all about the amenities

Get more out of your vacation by taking advantages of the additional amenities that come with most vacation homes. Many of our homes come with perks such as kayaks (non-motorized watercraft) and hot tubs. These are searchable features on our website. Some other key features include game rooms, lawn games, fire pits, and bonus lake houses. These amenities can be found in the property descriptions or the amenities section on the property pages.

More ways to get on the lake

Motorized boats are not included with any of our rentals. However, local marinas can help you get out on the lakes during your stay with rentals of boats, kayaks, and any accessory you need to enjoy the water during your stay. Like our rentals, these will also be reserved well in advance for the busy holiday weekend so please plan accordingly.

For expert help on creating the perfect Independence Day getaway, contact our local vacation planners who are familiar with all of our 280+ homes across the Finger Lakes.

Plan Ahead for Easy, Delicious, and Festive Meals

One of the best advantages of staying in a vacation home is you have a fully equipped kitchen and grill for making your favorite meals throughout your stay. But again, planning ahead is key especially with new COVID-19 guidelines in place for shopping.

In today’s digital world it is easier than ever to order groceries online and have them ready for curbside pick-up. Reduce the need to go into stores by using these methods to pick up all of the items you need for a delicious getaway. Search your route to your rental beforehand then see what options are offered or check out the list below:

  • Conesus Lake: West’s Surfine Food Mart,
  • Honeoye Lake: West Wise Honeoye
  • Canandaigua Lake: (North) Canandaigua Wegmans, Tops, Aldi’s, Walmart; (South) Rennoldson’s Market
  • Keuka Lake: (North) Tops, Morgan’s, Aldi’s, Oak Hill Bulk Goods; (East Lake) Olney Place; (South) Hammondsport Grocery
  • Seneca Lake: (North) Geneva Wegmans, Walmart, Sauder’s; (South) Top’s, Walmart
  • Cayuga Lake: (North) Waterloo Tops, Waterloo Walmart, Cayuga Corner, Sauder’s, Auburn Wegmans, Auburn Walmart; (East side) Union Springs Shurfine Supermarket, the Produce Place; (South) Ithaca Wegmans, Tops, Target, Aldi’s, Anabel’s Grocery, Green Star Food Co+op

Need some festive inspiration for what to serve through the July 4th weekend? Check out our Pinterest Board while you are creating your shopping list!

Creative Ways for a Memorable Lakeside Holiday

There is no doubt this will be one of the most memorable Independence Day’s in our Nation’s history. Make the most of social distancing by celebrating with a small group of your closest family and friends at your lake rental. Here are some of our guest’s favorite ways to celebrate at their lakefront vacation rentals:

  • Bring your favorite (most competitive) lawn game and plan a tournament
  • Create a Patriotic Picnic
  • Decorate your boat/kayak in red, white, and blue and create your own water parade
  • Patriotic Kid Crafts and Games
  • Watch a patriotic movie (Have a projector? Make an outdoor theater)
  • Create your own Finger Lakes wine/beer tasting by picking up similar styles from different tasting rooms (see below)
  • Spark up the sparklers at night
  • Lakeside campfire with s’mores

Explore the Finger Lakes Responsibly

If you choose to leave your lakeside rental this July 4th weekend and explore some of the natural wonders of our region, please plan ahead.

Parks, Trails and Waterfalls

Be aware that without the annual festivals and events, our popular parks will likely be busier than usual with locals and travelers all seeking a memorable holiday weekend. If you are staying through the week, planning on visiting these locations during a week day may be an option for less traffic. And although most parks have reopened, there are restrictions and new guidelines. Always research the venue prior to getting into the car to avoid closures.

For resources on finding trails and parks, visit:

Beverage Experience Seekers

Our region is hoping to be in Phase 3 of New York State’s reopening plan by July 4th, which includes tasting rooms across our wine trails and craft brew trail. However, each day is different and we cannot guarantee the availability of visiting tasting rooms. One thing is certain, tasting room policies, procedures and experiences will be much different this year with new protocols in place to keep staff and patrons safe.

As of right now, most tasting rooms are offering pick up and delivery options of your favorite craft drinks. While we understand it isn’t the same experience, perhaps picking up bottles of fresh vintages and enjoying them lake side may not be the worst way to savor the flavors of the Finger Lakes.

Below are links to the beverage trails for you to get the most current information on what will be available during your visit to the Finger Lakes.

Plan a Lakeside Celebration for Another Time

Without the organized parades and fireworks this year, who says you can’t create your own festive vacation on a different weekend of the summer. This will also provide you with more flexible dates with possible lower rates to get more out of your next vacation.

Don’t forget to take a peak at our specials page which includes Mini-week specials (stays of 6 days or less depending on the property) or deeper discounts on select lake homes.

If your reason for visiting the Finger Lakes includes must-have experiences such as wine tasting, museum touring, or sitting down at your favorite restaurant, stay up to date on the New York State’s Phases for reopening by visiting our COVID page.

Best Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day From Your (Vacation) Home

Each Memorial Day we recognize the bravery and sacrifice of the men and women who have served our country in grand, festive ways.. This year will look different as we all sacrifice many of our traditions and find new ways to celebrate and remember the meaning of the holiday.

New York State’s Governor Cuomo continues to urge residents across the state to minimize gatherings to 10 people or less, and practice responsible social distancing. Keep the essence of Memorial Day alive this year with some of our recommended ways to celebrate from your Finger Lakes vacation home.

Plan Ahead for a Stocked Fridge

Any vacation and celebration is largely circled around delicious dishes, recipes, and sweet treats. There is no change there for this year, except to do a little more planning ahead.

In today’s digital world it is easier than ever to order groceries online and have them ready for curbside pick-up. Reduce the need to go into stores by using these methods to pick up all of the items you need for a delicious getaway. Search your route to your rental beforehand then see what options are offered. Or click here for some local Finger Lakes resources.

While you’re preparing your shopping list, take a list at our Memorial Day Pinterest board for some savory inspiration.

One great advantage of renting a vacation rental is that your accommodations come equipped with a kitchen. All of our rental home kitchens include dinnerware, silverware, bake ware, utensils, and even a grill to accommodate your meal serving needs. However, experiencing local fare when traveling is an expected vacation experience.

Don’t worry, even though you may not be able to sit down in your favorite local diner or pub, you can still order takeout from many restaurants throughout our region. Click the links below for the local resources by lake:

Don’t forget the beverages!

Seneca Lake wine trail vacation rentals
Guest photo by Sandy B.

Our local wine trails, breweries and distilleries are also offering curbside and delivery options. Click on the link below for their resources:

Exploring the Finger Lakes

If you choose to leave your lakeside rental this Memorial Day weekend and explore some of the natural wonders of our region, please plan ahead. Perhaps this trip you forego the popular parks and instead explore some of the paths less taken.

No matter where you choose to trek, contacting the park ahead of time is recommended. Some parks have not opened this year because the trails do not allow enough space for safe social distancing. Other parks have reduced access or sometimes closed mid-day in order to eliminate overcrowding in popular settings.

For more information on where to go and the precautions parks are taking, click below.

Just Relax Lakeside

Seneca Lake vacation rental campfire
Guest photo by Tarun R.

You rented a lakeside vacation home, enjoy it! The lake itself provides plenty of entertainment for days. Take a look at the description of the vacation rental you reserved, and you may find some additional perks for added entertainment through your stay.

Many of our vacation rentals come with non-motorized watercraft including kayaks, paddle boards, canoes, etc. There is no better way to social distance than by being on the water! Better yet, pack a fishing pole and make sure your NYS Fishing License is ready for catching dinner from the lake.

Games rooms and lawn games are another feature to add some fun to stay. However, not all rentals provide these. If your family has a favorite game for some friendly competition, make sure to bring it from home.

There is no better way to end each day then to gather around a campfire as the sun sets behind the rolling hills. Most of our rentals provide fire pits, but double check. You’ll also want to buy local wood way from either a roadside stand or grocery store. Remember that shopping list, don’t forget the s’mores!

You can always relax in one of our rentals knowing we have the most dependable cleaning standards. We are confident in our services and even provide a housekeeping guarantee to ensure all of our guests feel safe and comfortable throughout their Finger Lakes vacation.

Planning a Pet Friendly Vacation

Our pets are our family.  So when we take a vacation, why wouldn’t they come along? At Finger Lakes Premier Properties, we have over 90 pet friendly vacation rentals suited for your furry, four-legged friends to join in on the family fun! Click “Pet Friendly Rentals” to see our entire pet friendly inventory.

Does pet-friendly mean cats are welcome?

Typically, “pet-friendly” equates to “dog-friendly”. Unless a listing mentions cats by name, it should not be taken for granted that felines are welcome.

What sizes/quantity of dogs are allowed?

Make sure you read each property listing carefully before booking.  Call our Reservations Department (888) 414-5253 for information on the specific property you are interested in if you do not already see it listed on the property page.

Is everything my dog needs provided?

It is your responsibility to have all the essentials you will need for your pet. The property may or may not have pet items so come prepared. Some of the items we recommend when you visit include:

  • Bed/kennel
  • Food & treats
  • Bowls for food & water
  • Toys (including water toys/fetch toys)
  • Leash
  • Collar with proper and up to date ID tags
  • Waste pick-up bags
  • Bottled water or water from home
  • Extra flea & tick protection
  • Towels & shampoo

When you stay with Finger Lakes Premier Properties, your dog(s) will receive a welcome doggy bag with a few surprises for them to enjoy during their stay.

Are all of the Wineries and Breweries pet friendly?

No, but are large amount are! The best way to find out which ones are pet friendly is by visiting the wine trail websites below for details.

Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail

Keuka Lake Wine Trail

Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Cayuga Lake Wine Trail

Finger Lakes Beer Trail

Can we take our dogs on hiking trails?

We would love that and think they would too! Click here for a list of places to go hiking.

Are there any pet friendly attractions?

4 dogs enjoying their “puppy cone” at Seneca Farms

Before you vacation make sure your dog is ready to travel. Some dogs get anxious when they are out of their normal environment. This can lead to excessive barking, whining, chewing and other undesirable behaviors. When bringing a pet, keep in mind you are responsible for the manner in which they act and any damage your pet does to the rental property.

With a little forethought, you and your K-9 kid can have a fabulous time in one of the most gorgeous areas of New York. Browse our pet friendly inventory below.

*All of our vacation homes include the peace of mind knowing there are key less check-ins to your private rental, professional housekeeping in between each reservation by our trained housekeeping team, professionally cleaned linens at our operations facility, and the security of a local 24/7 manager on duty.

Quarantined in the Finger Lakes

Creating memorable experiences in the Finger Lakes isn’t only for the out-of-towners. Here at Finger Lakes Premier Properties, we strive to be a resource for everyone to enjoy their time in the our picturesque region. During this period of social distancing and limited travel, in order to #flattenthecurve, we’ve provided some inspiration for making the most of our time apart.

Take A Breath of Fresh Air

Local and New York State Parks are still open, but visit responsibly. As Spring weather welcomes warmer temperatures, you’re bound to see more people stretching their legs at public parks. Luckily for us, there is a plethora of parks with great trails for hikers of all levels.

The New York State Parks have only closed access to playgrounds, athletic courts, and sporting fields to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To explore a park near you, visit their website.

Another one of our favorite resources for creating new adventures is GoFingerLakes.org. You can download the app or visit their site to find the best spots for hiking, biking, paddling, and outdoor recreation across our 6,000-square-mile area. On this site, you can even use their advance search for the best locations for waterfalls, pet-friendly trails, bird watching, and more.

The Lake is Open!

It may be obvious, but the lakes offer great activities for responsible social distancing. Take advantage of the free entertainment they provide from paddling to fishing.

No matter what species of fresh water fish you’re looking for, the Finger Lakes has it. For family outings you can cast from most public and state parks for a lakeside activity. For the serious anglers, different lakes are better for certain types of fish. For example, Seneca Lake attracts fishermen for its Perch and Trout and hosts tournaments each year. In addition to the lakes, the ponds and streams throughout the region also offer plentiful opportunities for casting a line or net, which can be brought home for a fresh dinner. For more information about fishing in the Finger Lakes, click here. Before you grab your fishing pole, take a look at New York State regulations and licensing by clicking here.

If you own a kayak or canoe, take advantage of your extra time and get paddling. If you don’t live lakeside, you can launch from parks scattered along the shores of each lake. For fresh scenery and the chance to view wildlife, paddle an inlet where you can also find some great fishing spots. Click here for resources on where to launch.

Savor the Flavors

Just because you can’t sit down in your favorite restaurant doesn’t mean you have to fend for yourself at every meal. Create a special evening or make a picnic out of it by ordering take out from local restaurants. Below you can review menus of favored venues around our region offering to-go or delivery options.

Canandaigua Restaurants with Take Out:

Naples Restaurants with Take Out:

Penn Yan Restaurants with Take Out:

Hammondsport Restaurants with Take Out:

Geneva Restaurants with Take Out:

Watkins Glen Restaurants with Take Out:

Seneca Falls Restaurants with Take Out:

Ithaca Restaurants with Take Out:

(check back as we will be updating this page with more options)

Don’t forget the wine and beer!

You may not be able to do a tasting on site, but you can still purchase your favorite bottles and growlers while supporting our local beverage industry. Find complete lists by visiting the wine trail and beer trail links below.

We hope everyone stays healthy, safe, and connected during this unprecedented time. Join us on Facebook as we will be posting live photos, videos, and updates from our picturesque region.

Coronavirus and the Finger Lakes

The safety of our guests, owners and staff has always been one of our core values.  In observance of the recommendations of the CDC, we are practicing social separation during the next 8-week Coronavirus (COVID-19) lifecycle peak, and as a company we are taking the following actions:

– Our employees are practicing safe social separation and working remotely (as appropriate).

– We continue to maintain the highest housekeeping standards so that you’ll experience a sanitized, clean, and disinfected home to enjoy. We continue to use commercial grade disinfectant, and our housekeeping staff will increase their focus on “high touch” items like light switches, doorknobs, remotes, etc. 

– We are providing specialized advice to our customers to ensure that the anticipated post-social separation pent-up demand can be accommodated. 

For Guests with a 2020 Reservation

We are closely monitoring the local and national COVID-19 situation.  We understand the uncertainty of it all. However, our region continues to be a low-risk area. 

At this time, we are recommending our guests hold off on changing their travel plans through the next 8-week COVID-19 lifecycle peak. With vacation rentals being the prefered accommodation for practicing safe distancing, we are anticipating an increase in demand and want to ensure our guests who already have reservations are able to keep their scheduled vacation.

To ensure the safety of our staff, guests, and owners, our Housekeeping Department will continue to maintain the highest housekeeping standards so that you’ll experience a sanitized, clean, and disinfected home to enjoy. We continue to use commercial grade disinfectant, and our housekeeping staff will increase their focus on “high touch” items like light switches, doorknobs, remotes, etc. We do not oursource any linens, towels, or cleaning supplies and have maintenance teams on hand around the clock to assure you have the best vacation possible.  

If you have any questions about your reservation, our Reservations Team are here to help you. Please feel free to call 888-414-5253 or email us at vacation@flpplake.com for assistance.  

Planning Your Next Finger Lakes Vacation

The Finger Lakes Region continues to be a favored “drive to” destination. Our vacation rentals offer open spaces, inhouse entertainment, and outdoor areas for families to practice safe distancing at a picturesque location.

In addition to the peaceful lakefronts, our region offers a variety of natural parks and recreation spots to create new experiences. Even though our vacation rentals offer fully equipped kitchens, we know our guests enjoy frequenting local restaurants. Fortunately, many are still offering takeout options. We are working on compiling these resources for your next visit. 

To ensure the safety of our staff, guests, and owners, when you stay in one of our vacation rentals you will have the piece of mind that:

– We offer keyless entry to a majority of our rentals. You will not need to check-in at our office or a front desk. We will provide you the keyless code prior to arrival so you can go directly to your vacation home and enter it at check-in time.

– Our Housekeeping Department will continue to maintain the highest housekeeping standards so that you’ll experience a sanitized, clean, and disinfected home to enjoy. We continue to use commercial grade disinfectant, and our housekeeping staff will increase their focus on “high touch” items like light switches, doorknobs, remotes, etc between every reservation. We do not outsource any linens, towels, or cleaning supplies and have maintenance teams on hand around the clock to assure you have the best vacation possible.

– We have a 24-hour Manager on Duty to provide assistance if needed.

– We offer and recommend Travel Protection Insurance for every new reservation.

With the current situation, we anticipate an increased demand for our vacation rentals in the near future. To ensure you and your family are able to enjoy a safe and memorable vacation at the home and dates of your choice, click here to begin planning your next stay with us. 

Finger Lakes COVID-19 Resources

For up-to-date information on the COVID-19 status, please use the resources below:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Official website for New York State

Conesus Lake: Livingston County

Honeoye Lake: Ontario County

Canandaigua Lake: Ontario CountyYates County

Keuka Lake: Yates CountySteuben CountySchuyler County

Seneca Lake: Yates CountyOntario CountySchuyler CountySeneca County

Cayuga Lake: Seneca CountyCayuga CountyTompkins County

Wine Trails:

Finger Lakes Wine Country

Canandaigua Lake Wine Trail

Keuka Lake Wine Trail

Seneca Lake Wine Trail

Cayuga Lake Wine Trail

Best Kept Secrets of Fishing in the Finger Lakes!

The fisheries of the Finger Lakes are stocked full of yellow perch, trout, northern pike, bass, panfish, rock bass and so much more! Read below 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.

Finger Lakes Fishing Seasons

Smelt runs from the beginning of March to the middle of April. Have a NYS fishing license and there’s a flowing creek by your lakefront rental? Head out there after dark with a dip net, bucket and flash light 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.

smelt dipping

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. Considered a large crappie: 3-4 lbs.

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

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

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!