Fishing in New York State

The author proudly displays a good catch.
by John Adamski

New York State has some of the best fishing in the nation, offering excellent angling for a wide variety of coldwater, warmwater and saltwater fish species ranging from walleyes in Lake Erie, Pacific salmon in Lake Ontario, muskies in the St. Lawrence River, brook trout in the Adirondacks, brown trout in the Catskills, stripers in the Hudson River, bluefish in Montauk's surf, and just about everything you can think of in the Finger Lakes. With more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, and hundreds of miles of coastline, opportunities to fish in New York are never very far away!

My Dad started taking me fishing when I was six, introducing me to the sport with a 12-foot bamboo cane pole, a like amount of black cloth line, a cork bobber and a hook.  A year later he bought me a one-piece fiberglass fishing rod and a bait-casting reel spooled with monofilament fishing line. Both the rod and the line were state-of-the-art innovations at the time. And I’ve been hooked on fishing ever since.

I grew up near Sea Breeze so it wasn’t long before I was riding my bike to fish in Irondequoit Bay or Lake Ontario. By that time, Dad had given me a two-piece fiberglass spinning rod with an open-faced spinning reel. I mastered using that outfit and before long I could easily cast a lure or live bait 100 feet or more. Soon after getting my first car, I bought a 12-foot aluminum boat, motor, and trailer and I’ve owned a boat of one sort or another ever since.

In the mid-1980s, I studied for and passed the U.S. Coast Guard licensing exam to operate a commercial charter fishing vessel and ordered a 30-foot Chris Craft Catalina hardtop cruiser at the in-the-water boat show in Annapolis, Maryland. The boat was delivered the following March and was promptly outfitted with downriggers, outriggers, and a variety of electronics including sonar, surface and deepwater speed/temp gauges, a ship-to-shore radio telephone and Loran-C, which was the navigational predecessor to GPS. Operating out of one of the new marinas that were springing up in Irondequoit Bay after its restrictive outlet was opened to boat traffic, I launched a very successful charter fishing operation for trout and salmon on Lake Ontario.

Today my needs are simple. I’m 75 and I enjoy fly fishing for trout in any of the streams near my home  or casting for bass or northern pike from my kayak in one of the Finger Lakes. And I’ll tell you this this: You haven’t fished until you’ve had your kayak towed around the lake by a giant northern pike firmly attached to the other end of your fishing line.

To read more about Finger Lakes fishing, click here:

John has been a published writer/photographer for 40 years and is a 4-time award-winning member of New York State Outdoor Writers Association. Two of those awards were for these "Life in the Finger Lakes" articles: Plight of the White Deer and From the Brink of Extinction.

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