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Adventures in Wildlife: Fishing Edition

Father and son fishing

Some call them “honey holes” – secret fishing spots passed down through the generations – while others have named them “sweet spots.” Whatever term you may use, we’re here to reveal some of these secret and not-so-secret “honey holes” of the Central New York Region.

We can’t promise that you’ll catch fish in any of our secret “sweet spots,” which is why they call it fishing and not catching. However, fishing is a great joy and a lifetime sport. You will find that there are successful fishing days and unsuccessful fishing days, but there is no such thing as a bad fishing day. Whether you’re an experienced fisherman or just getting started, you’ll find your perfect spot in the Central New York Region.

Our first “sweet spots” can be found in the Binghamton area. The 50 miles of trout streams and 89 miles of warm water rivers and streams are sure to please every angler. The Chenango River offers excellent fishing for walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass. The lower half of the river is wide and shallow enough for wading, with pockets of deep pools. A variety of fish can be found in the Susquehanna River, from smallmouth bass to tiger musky. Its slow moving water is ideal for small watercrafts. The scenic Tioughnioga and Otselic Rivers are easily accessible and provide great fishing for walleye and smallmouth bass.

The Delaware River is widely known for its fly fishing heritage, trout population (both native and stocked) and unique strain of rainbow trout. This famed river flows along the eastern border of Broome County. Peaceful streams weave their way through forests and fields providing excellent fishing. Families will delight in the fishing opportunities in the Greater Binghamton state parks and flood control ponds that allow easy access for seniors and children. Whether you’re looking for a quiet stream to wade in or a site to launch your boat, you’ll find it here!

What fish are known to eat frogs and the occasional mouse, were brought over from Europe in the 1880s and are a challenge to catch? Drum roll please … the brown trout! If you’re looking to try your hand at catching one of these wary guys, make a stop at Chittenango Creek, Chenango Canal and the Otselic River in Madison County!

Head north to catch and release brown trout until your heart’s content in the West Canada Creek in Herkimer County. It may just be your best bet for trophy stream fish!

If you prefer deeper, colder water, head to Oneida Lake for walleye and smallmouth bass fishing. In recent years, anglers have brought home more than 200,000 walleyes from Oneida’s productive waters. Oneida Lake has also been host to a stop on the Pro Bass Fishing Tour! Host your own fishing tour with friends on Oneida Lake this spring. Additionally, the lake offers several handicapped fishing areas.

Prefer to couple your fishing adventure with a hiking adventure? Choose your own adventure at the Robert V. Riddell State Park in Cooperstown. A gift from the Riddell family of Colliersville, the Robert V. Riddell State Park offers more than 1,000 acres of forested woodlands located in the Susquehanna River Valley – a preferred destination of hikers. The park is easily accessible, straddling I-88 in Otsego County, and is about 20 miles south of Cooperstown, 10 miles north of Oneonta.

You’ll easily find your own “honey spot” in the Schenevus Creek (Class A trout stream), and the park offers a variety of family-friendly recreational opportunities. Additional activities include bird watching and snowshoeing. The park truly offers year-round fun!

Not tired yet? More hiking you say? Head down to the Rural Grove State Forests, a working circle of two state forests, Rural Grove State Forest and Yatesville Falls State Forest. These state lands are located in the towns of Charleston, Glen and Root in Montgomery County. They total over 2,000 acres and were purchased by the state in the 1930s for timber production, recreational use, watershed production and wildlife habitat. These state forests are accessible from NYS Route 162.

Round out your fishing adventures with a trip to Chenango County. You’ll find some “sweet spots” peppered throughout the area. Check out Hunt’s Pond in New Berlin, a small park in a quiet setting with 18 primitive campsites, a picnic area and a boat launch site. You’ll find largemouth bass, pickerel and panfish.

A couple side notes for your fishing pleasure: Hunt’s Pond is open year-round; and car-top boats are the only ones allowed. Looking for something a little bigger? Both your fish and your pond? Discover Balsam Pond, the largest body of water in Chenango County with an average 9-foot depth, full of stumps and dead logs. Balsam Pond is a warm water fishery that contains a mix of largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, brown bullhead and sunfish. A shallow gravel boat launch is suitable for launching small fishing boats.