Premier Finger Lake for Anglers: The Quest for the Best Smallmouth Fishing

Finger Lakes is the name given to a group of 11 long and narrow, glacially-carved lakes in Upstate New York. They are some of the most popular fishing spots in the state, with anglers coming from all over to take advantage of the abundant fish.

In particular, these lakes are renowned for smallmouth bass fishing. But which Finger Lake has the best smallmouth fishing?

Seneca Lake is one of the largest and most popular Finger Lakes. It is renowned for its consistent population of healthy smallmouth bass, and anglers can easily find them while fishing from shore or boat.

Seneca also has an abundance of other species, including walleye, lake trout and brown trout.

Cayuga Lake is another one of the larger Finger Lakes that offers excellent smallmouth bass fishing. Anglers find plenty of success when Targeting these hard-fighting fish from a boat or shoreline.

Cayuga also has a wide variety of other species to Target such as lake trout, brown trout, carp and yellow perch.

Canandaigua Lake, one of the smaller Finger Lakes but still quite popular among anglers, is known for its excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities. Anglers can easily find plenty of these fish while shoreline or boat fishing on Canandaigua Lake. The lake also offers other species such as walleye, yellow perch and rock bass.

Keuka Lake, located in central New York between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, is known for its excellent smallmouth bass fishing opportunities as well as its beautiful scenery. Anglers can easily catch these hard-fighting fish from shore or boat while enjoying stunning views along Keuka’s shores.

Owasco Lake, located east of Syracuse near Cayuga Lake, is another popular spot for catching smallmouth bass. This lake offers plenty of structure for anglers to explore such as rocky points and drop offs that hold plenty of these fish throughout the year.

Skaneateles Lake, located south east of Syracuse near Onondaga County line is known for its trophy size smallmouth bass which makes it one of the most popular lakes in region when it comes to this type of gamefish.


It’s difficult to choose just one Finger Lake as having the best smallmouth fishing because they all have their own unique features that make them great spots to Target this species. However, Seneca has been consistently ranked among the top spots in Upstate New York due to its abundance and size range of healthy fish population so it’s certainly worth considering if you’re looking for a great place to Target smallmouths.

Photo of author

Lindsay Collins