Conesus Lake is one of the six Minor Finger Lakes. The other Minor Finger Lakes are Honeoye, Hemlock, Canadice, Owasco and Otisco. Each lake has similarities and differences as far as depth, structure and species of fish and wildlife in and around the lake. The Finger Lakes formed when the glacier pushed south. It took the path of least resistance pushing, plowing, gouging and melting, forming the Finger Lakes.
There are cities and towns that became famous over the years around these lakes. There is Geneva, the lake trout capitol of the world, Watkins Glen, the national racing center and Naples, known for its wine.
Except Canadice and Hemlock Lakes, all the Finger Lakes have private, state and municpal launching facilities. What a wonderful world of work and play is this Finger Lakes Region. There is hunting and fishing for everyone at and around Conesus Lake. For the angler he can fish from shore or use his high powered bass boat, or rent a boat and purchase bait and tackle.
For some outdoor people the beauty of the Finger Lakes lies beneath the water's surface. Let's take a minute and talk about the fish in Conesus Lake available for the catching. Bass, both largemouth and smallmouth are plentiful. Northern pike are in the lunker size, there is a healthy population of walleye, the perch and bluegills are large enough for the table and the stocking of tiger muskie or norlunge is ongoing.
Presentation - For largemouth bass, northern pike, pickerel and musky there are three presentations. One: anchor and wait for a bite using live bait off the weedline. Two: troll with spoons or plugs off the weedline, Three: except musky and smallmouth bass; cast a lure over and around the weeds and docks.
Muskys are monster in a class by themselves and must be dealt with differently. My partner, Zeke likes to drift past a known musky hangout and cast a large spinner with a buck tail. Also he will make sure the spinner has a large blade because he wants plenty of noise during the retrieve. Keeping in mind large noisy lures; large spinners or crankbaits trolled about 50 feet behind the boat is a proven successful method.
The presentation for smallmouth is different from other types of angling. Drift over a rocky shoal or point using a jig tipped with a minnow. When anchored over these spots, soft shell crabs and perch minnows are the bait of choice.
The last presentation is the easiest and the best for kids. A fishing pole, line, bobber, hook and a can of worms. One child, one hook and one worm makes for a day to remember. You and the young'un can catch sunfish, perch, and rockbass from the bank or dock.
There is a hard surface launch ramp with parking for 45 cars with trailers located on East Lake Road 4 miles south of Route 20A. At the northwest corner off Pebble Beach Road is a cartop launch with parking for 120 cars. Sand Point off Route 20A there is another car top launch with parking for 45 cars.
All launches are accessible in the winter months for ice fishing opportunities that are excellent. Ice fishing shelters are prohibited on the lake but you can bring a tobaggan or sled with a wind breaker attached. What you take on the ice, take off and the only thing you leave is your footprints and good will.
Conesus Inlet Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is located off West Lake Road (Route 256) at the south end of the lake. This is a cartop launch only with parking for 45 cars. Public recreational use is encouraged to the extent it doesn't conflict with the primary objective. Normal use of this WMA is hunting, fishing, trapping, bird watching, hiking and environmental education. Conesus Inlet game includes waterfowl, deer, pheasant, ruffed grouse, squirrel and cotton tail rabbits. The trapping opportunities are muskrat, mink, raccoon, grey and red fox.
Being in this part of the Northeastern U.S.A. we have opportunities for different season happenings. With hard water season here why not try ice fishing at Conesus Lake or take advantage of the Hunting opportunities at Conesu Inlet WMA.
FINGER LAKES AREA INFORMATION - The Finger Lakes Association, 309 Lake St., Penn Yan, N.Y. 14527 or Call (315) 536- 7488.
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATIONREGION - 8 Call 226- 2466.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication