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Chill Out and Reel In: Ice Fishing in the Finger Lakes

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Keuka and Seneca Lake both have record-setting fish

From Chief Finger Lakes Enthusiast Jim Moore,

The Finger Lakes region in upstate New York offers a serene and picturesque setting for outdoor enthusiasts year-round. But when winter arrives and blankets the landscape in a glistening coat of ice and snow, a unique opportunity arises: ice fishing on Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake.

The Season

The ice fishing season typically kicks off around mid-December and extends through late February, although it’s essential to check local regulations and ice thickness before heading out. Safety should be your top priority. Make sure the ice is thick enough to support your weight, usually at least four inches for a single individual.

The Catch of the Day

Both Keuka and Seneca Lakes boast a variety of fish species waiting to be lured from their icy depths. On Keuka Lake, you’ll have the chance to hook lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, and yellow perch. Meanwhile, Seneca Lake offers a similarly enticing selection of species, including lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, and Atlantic salmon.

Record-Setting Fish

These pristine Finger Lakes have seen their fair share of record-breaking catches. Keuka Lake holds the record for the largest lake trout caught in New York State, weighing in at a staggering 41 pounds, 8 ounces. The lake also gave up the state record for rainbow trout, an impressive 23 pounds, 4 ounces.

On Seneca Lake, anglers have pulled out substantial lake trout weighing over 30 pounds. While these records are tough to beat, both lakes continue to produce trophy-sized fish for those willing to brave the winter chill.

Prime Spots for Ice Fishing

Keuka Lake offers excellent ice fishing opportunities near the Penn Yan and Branchport areas. In particular, the Penn Yan Outlet, Indian Pines Park, and the Branchport State Forest are popular locations to set up your ice fishing gear.

Seneca Lake provides excellent ice fishing prospects around the towns of Geneva and Watkins Glen. Seneca State Park, Clute Park, and the Dresden area are renowned for their ice fishing action.

So, if you’re an angler who doesn’t mind a bit of cold weather, gear up and head to Keuka Lake and Seneca Lake. These Finger Lakes gems offer a chance to connect with nature, reel in impressive catches, and perhaps even break a few records while surrounded by the breathtaking winter beauty of upstate New York.

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