Where to Go Ice Fishing in New York State

New York is just one of those states that has more lakes than you realize. They are everywhere! There are some pretty amazing ones and some other’s that are not that great. Here are the ones that I enjoy and I hope you will check them out sometime.

  • Lake Champlain
  • Fourth Lake
  • St. Lawrence
  • Cayuga Lake
  • Lake Erie
  • Morgan Lake
  • Mohansic Lake
  • Big Pond
  • Eagle Lake
  • Lincoln Pond
  • Oneida Lake
  • Braddock Bay
  • Perch Lake

If you ever want to take a look at the places to go fishing in New York state, take a look at the New York Department of Environmental Conservation website. They provide plenty of information about ice fishing, the lakes and ponds, and all the basics you might need.

Lake Champlain

Types of Fish: walleyes, lake trout, rainbow trout, northern pike, crappie, panfish, brown trout

Lake Champlain is a pretty popular destination for winter anglers. It is really accessible from the interstate and it is a monstrous area! The lake is split between New York and Vermont. Basically right down the middle.

Since it is a popular area, there are many places to eat and things to do in the area. I’ve also heard that the deep-fried smelt in this area is really good. It is a great way to warm up on a cold day! If you have not tried deep-fried smelt, you are missing out.

There are plenty of fish to be found here. Smelt is a popular one because smelt travel in large schools and that means there is no limit to how many you can catch! There are shallow areas and different areas where certain fish are more popular. Try out different areas and see what you can find.

Fourth Lake

Types of Fish: rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, yellow perch, lake trout, pumpkinseed, northern pike, tiger muskie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, brown bullhead, rainbow smelt

Fourth Lake belongs to a chain of lakes that stretches past Eagle Bay. There are so many lakes here but Fourth Lake is arguably the biggest in the area.

One of the most popular reasons to ice fish here is the lake trout. Ice fishing for these trout is pretty intense because they are really big compared to many of the other fish. There have been some lake trout reported to be over 30 inches!

There are plenty of fish to find here. I really appreciate the places that have more than 2 fish. I tend to get bored without variety. There is a difference in the fish you find in the shallow water and what you find in the deeper water.

St. Lawrence

Types of Fish: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, panfish, bullhead, yellow perch, muskellunge

The St. Lawrence River area is a great place to fish. The ice is generally thinner in rivers because of the flowing water but if you know what you are doing then you should be able to be safe.

There are a vast amount of places to ice fish here so break out your ice shanty and find a place to enjoy fishing!

This is another area with a plentiful amount of fish. I am finding that having a large variety of fish in New York waters is common. You have your classics like walleye and yellow perch. Then you have ones that I am not as familiar with like bullhead.

This is a common area for people to go to ice fish. Expect people to be there. On the weekends it is especially popping. There are plenty of holes already there from previous people and you most likely can just find one and start your set up right away.

Cayuga Lake

Types of Fish: panfish, rainbow trout, brown trout, yellow perch, common carp, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, lake trout, Atlantic salmon, black crappie, bluegill, northern pike, etc.

Cayuga Lake is what you would call a “finger lake.” It is one of the biggest out there. It is impressively deep. It sits at a nice 400 feet deep believe it or not.

I think the most interesting thing about it is the fact that it does not freeze over. You might be wondering why this is on an ice fishing article then… and you would be justified. Let me explain.

Even though it does not freeze over entirely, there are a few miles at the north end of the lake that does freeze. It is significantly more shallow at 15 feet deep. There are plenty of weeds in this area that make it perfect for perch and panfish catching. Also, did I mention this lake has what seems like millions of different species of fish?

The Lake is stunning and there are amazing things to see around this area. If you are not from around the area then stay a few days and check it out. Or even better, come check it out during the summer!

Lake Erie

Types of Fish: walleye, yellow perch, brook trout, lake whitefish, muskellunge

Lake Erie is known for fishing. That is why I know it exists. This is where all the big lakes in the northeast come to meet. Lake Erie is mostly in other states but it is also a great place to ice fish for what they have in New York.

Most of the ice fishing happens out a couple of miles into the lake. Because of that, you are going to want to bring a snowmobile or 4-wheeler. The lake really does not get deep enough to fish for perch and the like until about that far out.

A Word of Caution: There are some pretty dangerous areas because of the currents from the Niagara River. large chunks of ice will move around sometimes. You need to be aware of where you are. If you are not familiar with the area, I would take someone who is.

A lake nearby that is a lot less dangerous is Chautauqua Lake. I would hate to have any danger come to others as they are enjoying their lives.

Morgan Lake

Types of Fish: common carp, panfish, trout, chain pickerel, largemouth bass

In the city of Poughkeepsie, New York sits Morgan Lake. It is in the northeastern part of the city and you can find plenty of good ice fishing here!

This place is a popular spot during the summer and also during the winter. This is a good place to get started with ice fishing. The fishing community here are pretty friendly. The local sports fishing groups stock the lake with plenty of fish for the new and veteran angler to enjoy.

If you end up ice fishing there, there are a few different options. The lake goes anywhere from 5 to 20 feet deep. The deepest part is in the southeastern portion of the lake. Your bigger fish will be in the deeper parts of the lake.

Besides having a great name, the lake has a lot of history surrounding it involving the water supply system of a growing city during the late 1800s.

Mohansic Lake

Types of Fish: sunfish, chain pickerel, largemouth bass, panfish

Located in the Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park is the Mohansic Lake. There are plenty of fish here to catch. This area is quite beautiful. The entire lake is tree-lined and gives a great sitting for the ice fishers coming out in the cold.

The lake is actually spread out pretty long but that does not mean it is stretched thin. The deepest point is about 20 feet. That is around the western part of the lake. You will have to get a public access permit in order to fish but they are free.

I love the vibe this lake gives. It feels like you are really out in nature enjoying the wonders that it offers. In reality, there is a pretty nice neighborhood nearby called Yorktown Heights. Mohansic Lake is one of the smaller options that I have found. Check it out!

Big Pond

Types of Fish: yellow perch, white sucker, brown bullhead, chain pickerel, golden shiner, pumpkinseed, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, American eel, rainbow trout, brown trout

Out in a bunch of wooded areas south of Andes is the hilarious named Pond. I guess they were tired that day and did not want to try. I will take it. It’s funny!

But honestly, this name actually fits. There are tons of different kinds of fish that live in this “big” pond. I included all of the ones that I know about. I did not get bored fishing here and I know you won’t.

There are some nice hills in the backdrop if you look beyond it. It does look pretty but it is not the most breathtaking place I have ever been to. It does have variety and that is what it has going for it.

And if you get tired of the big pond, then there is a little pond nearby. Just so you know.

Eagle Lake

Types of Fish: yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, pumpkinseed, rock bass, brown trout, brown bullhead, black crappie

In my opinion, Eagle Lake is one of the coolest and most breathtaking places in Essex County. The expanse of the lake as it stretches is amazing.

There are plenty of different fish to go for in the ice. You have your classics like northern pike and then ones that I have never seen, like pumpkinseed fish. The brown trout get stocked yearly. Eagle Lake is also a popular black bass fishery.

Lincoln Pond

Types of Fish: largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, tiger muskie, yellow perch, bullhead

I personally enjoy some getaway time. I prefer to be out in nature (go figure) and away from civilization. Lincoln Pond is one of those places that provide that.

They have a campground attached to the pond that is used during the summer. During the winter you can use the pond for ice fishing. The campground is not open for business during the winter months. But it is unlikely that anyone is going to be there when you are there in the winter so that’s perfect!

You will probably find a minimal amount of anglers out here in the winter months and that makes for a great way to spend some time with friends enjoying each other’s company and your own thoughts outside.

Oneida Lake

Types of Fish: walleye, chain pickerel, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, tiger muskie, bluegill, rock bass, bowfin, black crappie, etc.

Oneida Lake is a really big place for fishing. It is used year round for fishing. They have just about as many winter fishers as they do spring and summer. All of it is a big deal here. If there was ever a place to get you excited about fishing, this would be it!

It has been used for such a long time that everybody knows how to fish here. Everybody goes to the same areas because they know the fish will be there. You think the fish would learn…? I guess that is why we are catching them and they are not catching us.

They have the setup down. You can ask any of the anglers and they will probably tell you what you have to do to be successful at catching the walleye around here.

Also, did I ever mention how massive this lake is? It is 21 miles in length and 5.5 miles in width. There is plenty of space to go around.

Braddock Bay

Types of Fish: northern pike, brown bullhead, rock bass, pumpkinseed, bluegill, black crappie, walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, etc.

Braddock Bay’s main purpose is for wildlife management and their habitat. You can tell when you go there that is what it is used for. You can go fishing there and it makes for a good ice fishing place.

There are plenty of other things to do here as well like hiking and hunting but we are here for the fish!

Since this place is set aside as a good habitat, they do not allow any motorized vehicles at Braddock Bay. That means snowmobiles too.

I really think that this place is good. They are dedicated to taking care of the fish and their habitat.

Once a good amount of ice has formed, then it is time to check out the variety of fish. I know that generally during the winter you will catch northern pike and yellow perch. That will be most of your haul.

Perch Lake

Types of Fish: northern pike, bluegill, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, black crappie, golden shiners, brown bullhead, etc.

Can you imagine what kind of fish you can find at Perch Lake? I can’t either. Perch Lake was open to the public for the first time in over 45 years in 1995. It was taken over by the Perch River Wildlife Management and now people can enjoy fishing on this river.

The thing that is unique about this place is it is only open for ice fishing season. From December 1st to March 1st and then it is closed until the following December. This is to preserve wildlife and their way of existence.

Northern pike and yellow perch are plentiful here. I highly recommend coming to this ice-fishing-only lake and see how you like it.

Tim Butala

My name is Tim and I have been a fisherman my whole life. My favorite fish to go after is a Striped Bass.

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