If there’s a harder hitting fish in our region I haven’t found it yet! These fish are native to the region and are never stocked. Big pike love soft-finned forage fish and cold water. They find plenty of each here in the Finger Lakes. Pike are neglected in this area due to the fact that most anglers target trout, salmon, bass and perch!
Seneca Lake is really the "King Finger Lake" when it comes to pike habitat and potential. The lake's pike fishery has gone through some real boom and bust cycles over the past 40 years. It's hard to say what to expect here in 2017. We saw some nice healthy fish here in 2016 but others showed signs of disease and lamprey attacks.
Cayuga Lake provides solid pike fishing every year in its southern portions - it isn't great, but it's not bad and there always seems to be some fish around in the 32" to 36" range. The north end of Cayuga's pike fishing has gotten a little better over the past few years. We'll see what happens, but we encountered pike nearly everytime we went pickerel or perch fishing up there in 2016. Keeping the lamprey population in check helps the pike out.
Owasco is coming on strong as a top-notch pike fishery. I expect Owasco to provide the best pike fishing in the region over the next couple years. The fish appear healthy and well-fed and there are very solid numbers of young fish here.
Keuka Lake offers an occasional bonus fish. Pike love just about any lure, especially flashy, gaudy colored ones. Fly-fishing is deadly for pike of all sizes and I consider fly-fishing for pike one of my specialties.
Giant pike aren't common in the Finger Lakes, but all the Finger Lakes with good pike populations - i.e. Cayuga, Seneca, Owasco, Conesus and even Keuka Lake have produced 20lb+ fish over the years.
Fishing during the winter is one of the most productive times to chase pike in the Finger Lakes region. Fish are often quite active and the weed growth is limited - concentrating the fish.
The photo is of Jonathon holding a nice 37"er that he caught on a jerkbait in 2014 on Cayuga Lake.