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. During the fall of 2017 I witnessed some of the best pike fishing I'd ever seen in the region in my lifetime here. Maybe it was a "perfect-storm" with our conditions on a couple great days, but overall I'd say that the pike prognosis here for 2018 is very good to excellent.
Cayuga Lake usually provides solid pike fishing every year in its southern portions - it hasn't been great over the past couple years. Usually it's not bad and there often are 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. I don't see Cayuga being very good for pike in 2018. High water during the spring of 2017 may help the spawn.
Owasco is coming on strong as a top-notch pike fishery. 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.