New York Freshwater Fish

From small, rarely seen species of darters to large game fish like Salmon and Musky, New York’s waters are home to an incredible variety of freshwater fish species. Over 165 fish species inhabit the state’s 7500 lakes and ponds and 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, providing New York with one of the richest fish faunas in the nation.

Let's go fishing in New York with us and explore, see all the species there. 

Chinook Salmon

Everyone knows that Chinook are the largest fish of the Pacific salmon.  Anglers can find them more in deep waters  than wide waters due to cooler temperatures. People call them by another name “King Salmon”.

King salmon begin to migrate in lake summer and the perfect time to catch them is fall. You can find plenty of King salmon in Lake Ontario,  Salmon River, or Niagara River. They are the mainstay of the Lake Ontario fishery.

Brown Trout

They are more tolerant of warmer water than Brook Trout, and are found in waters across New York, but prefer cool streams and lakes such as  Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Saranac Chain of Lakes and more.

Rainbow Trout

That colorful Trout are averaging 8 – 20 inches in inland waters, and 20 – 34 inches in the Great Lakes. A lake run variety occurs in lakes Ontario and Erie and their tributaries, and also in the Finger Lakes.

Chain Pickerel

They are common in shallow, warm and weedy lakes throughout the state. Peconic river, Canandaigua Lake where anglers can catch it. 


The Muskellunge, or Musky is targeted for sport and trophy purposes, then most of the Musky are released after catching. Like other Pike, they are ambush hunters and like to feed on live bait and prefer shallow water where they can spawn and attack prey. They have a limited distribution in New York, found in a few cool lakes and large rivers, including the St. Lawrence River, Upper Niagara River and Chautauqua Lake. There are two strains in the state – Great Lakes and Ohio.


Northern Pike

Northern Pike fishing in New York varies moderately throughout the year. High season is May to June and September to November.  It is very voracious , Northern Pike eat all forms of marine life, and if they see their fellow next to them when they can’t find food, they won’t be sad to eat that Northern Pike too.  Pike like all baits, they prefer big bait most. Spending time to prepare good bait, anglers will get a good Northern Pike. It is popular for catching ice fishing. Before cooking it, the skin needs to be removed and anglers will enjoy the food more.

In New York, they prefer weedy portions of cool – water lakes, ponds, and rivers, but large adults often move into deeper waters in St. Lawrence river, Lake Champlain, Oswego river, and Saratoga Lake. 


 Largemouth Bass are found among dense aquatic vegetation or close to submerged cover such as stumps, logs or dock pilings in warm, shallow, well – vegetated areas of lakes and rivers.

Smallmouth Bass prefer the cool, clear area of lakes and streams with gravelly or rocky bottoms. Bass are popular catches in the spring and summer. 

Fishers can find Bass in many rivers, lakes of New York Hudson river, Cayuga Lake, Black Lake…


They are found in every major watershed in New York and one of the favorite fish species for New York fishers as they are quite delicious. 

You can go ice fishing for Walleye in the winters and enjoy the happiness between the fresh air of New York. The most important thing to attend is to be versatile, check out the weather and the water conditions to have not only fun trips, but also a safe trip for yourself. Do not miss Walleye if you have a chance to go fishing in New York and Lake Erie, Chautauqua Lake, Mohawk river, and Susquehanna are your destinations. 

Yellow Perch

They are common across New York and they prefer living in shallow, weedy and protected sections of rivers, lakes, and ponds. Yellow Perch feed in the morning and evening, and are quite popular among ice fishermen. Perch and Salmon look great being pulled up through the ice and anglers definitely enjoy that feeling when they go fishing in Oneida Lake, Seneca Lake, Lake George. 

Black Crappie

Black Crappie average 8 – 12 inches long, with the exception of the Adirondacks, they are common in waters across the state : Lake George, Black Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake and Peconic river. 

Especially in early – mid spring when they are known to spawn, the perfect time to catch them. If it's not spring yet to easily catch the Crappie, you can take a look some crappie fishing shirts here and when the time comes, the shirts will accompany you.


Brown Bullhead are the most common Catfish in New York. Hudson river, Lake Champlain and Oswego river are home of Catfish in New York. 

Brook Trout

It was designated as the official state fish in 1975, Brook Trout can be found in Brooks, lakes, and streams throughout New York. It lives only underwater conditions that are cool, clean and pure, especially in Lake George.