Cooperstown, NY, is situated at the Southern end of Otsego Lake, also known as "Glimmerglass" in the stories of James Fenimore Cooper. Otsego Lake is nine miles long, approximately one mile wide, and over 160 feet deep in places. The lake is usually covered with ice from mid-January until mid-April, is usually very clear, and the surface temperature rarely exceeds the high 70's. For more information on the lake see SUNY's Biological Field Station.
While bass fishing is excellent (see below) Otsego is probably best known for its lake trout, salmon and brown trout. The salmon and brown trout fisheries have declined in recent years, while walleye fishing has improved. The lake gets relatively little fishing pressure, and most is from anglers trolling with down-riggers for these species. If that's what you want to do, don't call us. Other local guides can help you with this kind of fishing (which seems boring to us!) and we will be happy to put you in contact with them. We fish for bass!
Otsego Lake is an outstanding bass lake. The lake supports excellent populations of both smallmouths and largemouths. Fortunately for us, bass fishing just hasn't caught on in the Northeast the way it has in other parts of the country, and fishing pressure for bass on the lake is still quite light. Except during tournaments, when there may be more than 20 bass boats on the lake, it's unusual to see more than one or two other boats targeting bass. The lake offers a tremendous variety of bass fishing opportunities. There are large areas of lily pads, deep and shallow weed beds, primarily of milfoil, fallen and standing trees, docks, offshore structure, rocky points, bluffs, ledges and shallow rocky flats.
Bass fishing on Otsego Lake starts as soon as the ice is gone, in mid to late April. Smallmouth and largemouth fishing is excellent at this time of year, with the fish in pre-spawn and then spawning mode. By State law, bass fishing is strictly "catch and release" until the third Saturday in June, but we strongly encourage catch and release fishing at all times.
Smallmouth fishing is generally excellent all season, especially late May, June and July. Largemouth fishing is best in the warmer months, especially early in the morning and late in the evening. As early fall arrives in mid-September, the smallmouths start feeding aggressively for the winter. Largemouth fishing tends to slow down in mid-October, but this is when smallmouth fishing becomes outstanding. This fantastic smallmouth fishing lasts until it's so cold you really don't want to be out there (around Thanksgiving).