The 5 Best Bass Lakes In New York: Catching Giants In The Empire State

Most think of New York City when mentioning the Empire State, but much of the rest of the state has plenty to offer for the outdoorsman. There are plenty of opportunities to get outside, including some world-class bass fishing waters.

Here are five of the best bass fishing spots in New York.

St. Lawrence River

St Lawrence River

The St. Lawrence River might currently be the best smallmouth bass fishery in the world. It hosts many tournaments every year and continues to kick out giant smallmouth that seems to get bigger every year. The river is wide and long and just about anywhere on the river can produce your next personal best smallmouth.

Finesse tactics such as drop-shot, Ned Rigs, and tubes dominate here in shallow and deep water, but there can also be a solid shallow bite with spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, and hair jigs. While smallmouth bass get the most attention from anglers, most bass anglers largely ignore a considerable population of largemouth. They don’t get quite as big as the smallmouth, but plenty of healthy largemouth are willing to eat frogs, jigs, and other lures.

Lake Erie – Buffalo

Bass Fishing New York State

Lake Erie makes the list as a top fishery in multiple states, but the area around Buffalo might be the best fishing in the smallest of the Great Lakes. In addition to huge smallmouth, it is also home to a thriving walleye fishery. It’s full of fish for those willing to take on the big waters that are often windy, with small craft advisories being a common occurrence.

It’s typical big water bass fishing here as drifting tubes and drop-shot rigs are some of the best ways to catch them. There can also be a strong bite for shallow fish with crankbaits, swimbaits, and spinnerbaits during some times of the year.

Lake Ontario

New York State

Another lake that challenges anglers with big water and huge waves, Lake Ontario, is full of big smallmouth bass. It is a different fishery based on where you launch for the day, but areas such as Chaumont Bay and where the St. Lawrence River enters the lakes are some of the best bets for great fishing.

Smallmouth bass are the main target here, but there are many pockets and bays where largemouth grow big and don’t get near the amount of fishing pressure as their brown cousins.

Cayuga Lake

Bass Fishing New York State

Part of New York’s Finger Lakes, Cayuga offers smallmouth and largemouth, with green bass getting the most attention. The lake has hosted several professional-level bass tournaments and big largemouth bass from the grass dominate the top of the leaderboard nearly every time. But, there are also some great smallmouth living in these waters.

Lake Oneida

Bass Fishing New York State

Just outside of Syracuse, Oneida is the largest lake entirely within the state of New York. With nearly 80 surface acres to fish, there is plenty of water for bass anglers to fish.

The lake has been a popular stop for Bassmaster tournaments, including hosting the Bassmaster Opens trail several times. There is an excellent population of shallow water largemouth and big smallmouth throughout the lake. It’s a great fishery with plenty of big bass swimming in the waters.

*Feature Image Credit: Josh Douglas Fishing

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