With temperatures cooling across Upstate New York, bass fishing is starting to get very serious. While the official start to Black Bass (aka Largemouth and Smallmouth) catch season in New York is June 15, the best keeper fishing typically comes in the fall.

New York has long been considered one of the best states for bass fishing in America. Now Bassmaster Magazine, the official publication of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, is backing up New York’s status in their ranking of the “100 Best Bass Lakes of 2022.”

Bass Fishing in New York

A bass caught while fishing

The NY Department of Environmental Conservation sells annual, seven day, and one day fishing licenses to everyone 16 and older, and lifetime licenses to New York residents. The keeper limit in New York is five Black Bass per day, and all fish caught must be over a foot in length.

Catch season in 2022 started on June 15 and ran through November 30. Catch and release is allowed December 1 through June 14. There is some controversy around the catch and release season, as it takes place during bass spawning time. Some conservationists say that gives predators an advantage in attacking bass nests, if bass protecting their young are suddenly pulled away.

Bassmaster Approved


For Bassmaster’s 2022 rankings, they divided the US into Northeastern, Southeastern, Central, and Western regions with an overall ranking for the nation’s top ten. New York tied with Michigan for the fourth most lakes on the list, beaten only by Florida, California, and #1 Texas. Here are the top spots:

Northeastern Division

#25 – Chautauqua Lake

Sunset on Chautauqua Lake in New York

#18 – Oneida Lake

Two bass fishers on Oneida Lake

#12 – Cayuga Lake

A bass caught on Cayuga Lake, NY

#4 – Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain, NY

Cayuga Lake’s inclusion comes after a New York angler broke the state record for largest Smallmouth caught with an 8lb, 5.8oz whopper in June.


#8 – Erie/Upper Niagara River

Lake Erie, NY
Crew Dates on Unsplash

#1 – St. Lawrence River

New York's St. Lawrence River
Gary Yost on Unsplash

This isn’t the St. Lawrence’s first time on top of the list, but it has been a few years. The fishery ranked fourth last year, and last placed first in 2019. This ranking won’t be a huge surprise to anyone following Bassmaster – this year they held the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on the St. Lawrence River in July.

See the rest of the Top Ten list here.

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