Freshwater Game Fish Species Found In New York State

New York State is an angler’s paradise! Whether you are new to fishing or have been doing it for years, New York has something for everyone. With its many rivers, lakes, and streams, there is no shortage of opportunities to cast your line and land a trophy catch. So grab your gear and get out there – you never know what you might find!

Below are just some of the most popular game fish species you can find in New York State.

two anglers holding gigantic king salmon caught on lake ontario

Freshwater Salmon

New York offers the country’s best freshwater salmon fishing. Catch pacific salmon (chinook, coho, pink), as well as landlocked Atlantic salmon in NY.

Angler holding a brook trout

Brook Trout are native to New York State. Their native range extends from the Northeastern United States, South into the Appalachian mountains.

fisherman on a boat holding a freshly caught muskie

Muskellunge, Musky, or Muskies: The largest freshwater game fish in NYS – 50 in long & up to 60 lbs. Habitat, tips, prey, spawning behavior, lures, bait and more. 

Big lake trout caught in Lake Ontario near Henderson Harbor

Lake trout are elusive The can be found in deep, cool, slow-moving, oxygen-rich lakes. Read more tips and tricks from NY State’s best anglers.

man holding a bluegill

Bluegill fishing is popular in NY. They prefer shallow, warm, clear, vegetation-rich water. A light weight spinning rod & reel with 4-6 pound test is best.

Bass – Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, striped bass, black bass

Known for their aggressive behavior, bass are a favorite among anglers. Whether they’re largemouth or smallmouth, these fish will put up a good fight when caught!


These freshwater predators are sought after for their prized fillets. Not only do walleye put up a good fight, but they can reach sizes of up to 30 inches!

Salmon – Pacific (Chinook (or King), Coho, Pink), and Landlocked Atlantic

For an ultimate challenge, try your hand at catching these hard-fighting game fish. Salmon are known for their acrobatic leaps out of the water when hooked and will make for a great story to tell.

Northern Pike

If you’re looking for a big trophy, then pike are your fish! These toothy predators have been known to reach sizes of up to 50 inches and can put up quite the fight.

Lake Trout

Named after their preferred habitat, lake trout have adapted to colder waters and tend to prefer depths of up to 300 feet. With their beautiful colors and delicious taste, these fish are a great target for anglers!

Brook Trout

These colorful fish are found in small, shallow streams and can be recognized by their bright spots and light-colored bellies. Brook trout may not reach the same sizes as other gamefish, but they’re still a blast to catch!


Steelhead are anadromous, meaning they migrate from freshwater systems to saltwater and back again. These fish are prized for their fight and excellent taste.


Perch can be found in lakes and rivers throughout New York State. They are known for their delicious fillets and are a favorite of anglers.


These small fish can be found in shallow, weedy areas and may not reach sizes as large as other gamefish, but they’re still a lot of fun to catch!


If you’re looking for a real challenge, try your luck at catching a musky. These toothy predators can reach sizes of up to 50 inches and will put up an unbeatable fight!

Rainbow Trout

Rainbow trout are known for their bright colors and can be found in many rivers throughout New York State. They make a great target for anglers of all levels!