The fish are calling in Fulton County, New York. Brown trout, rainbow trout, walleye and smallmouth bass – they all can be found in abundance in the county’s 44 lakes and numerous streams.
Here’s some information to help plan a freshwater angling trip any time of year to this area where the Southern Adirondacks meets the Mohawk Valley.
Getting a License
Before even getting out the tackle box, visiting fishermen must purchase a New York fishing license. The town offices in several locations, including Amsterdam, Broadalbin, Caroga Lake, Gloversville, Johnston, Mayfield, Northville and Stratford, sell licenses. Some retail establishment also offer them, including Harnish Outdoor Supply, Frank’s Gun Shop and Runnings, all in Gloversville.
The current fee for a nonresident of New York is $50 per year, $28 for a week, and $10 for a day license. New Yorkers with proof of residency pay half of the nonresident fees.
The state also holds four free fishing events each year. Upcoming license-free days for 2019 are June 29–30, September 28 and November 11. Taking advantage of these days is a great way to try out the sport or to introduce fishing to a friend or family member.
Outfitters and Guides
With a license in hand, the next step is stocking up on fishing supplies. From rods to tackle, ice-fishing augers to live bait, the outfitters in Fulton County will have something for every type of fishing the region offers. Check out The Fly Shack in Gloversville and Dave’s Bait & Tackle and Jim’s Bait Shop, both located in Mayfield on the shores of Great Sacandaga Lake, for every kind of lure and bobber available.
Though anglers can certainly scope out a stream or lake from the map, hiring a local guide can make the difference between a successful outing or a fishless one. Specializing in father-son and couples’ excursions, Allwater Guide Service offers year-round packages to Fulton County lakes and streams, and Gary’s Fishing and Charters can take groups out onto Great Sacandaga Lake for trips to fit any budget or schedule.
Where to Cast Your Line
With 44 lakes, the Mohawk River and numerous streams to choose from, fishing enthusiasts can certainly find a location ideal for experiencing Fulton County’s prime waters.
Brook trout attract fly-fishers to Cayadutta, Mecco and Timmerman Creeks, whereas those seeking rainbow trout can try their luck in Northville Lake and the 29-mile-long, six-mile-wide Great Sacandaga Lake, which is also home to smallmouth bass, Northern pike and walleye. Approximately 25 miles to the west of Great Sacandaga is Peck Lake, a man-made body of water. Though it is only five miles long and two miles wide, the variety of fish it holds belies its small size. Largemouth bass, Northern pike and pickerel are frequently hauled in here.
Note that the state prohibits the use of live bait in some lakes, including Holmes, Indian, Steward and Third Lakes, to avoid introducing nonnative species into the local waters. Be sure to check with the New York State’s Department of Environment Conservation before using live minnows or other baitfish.
The Great Sacandaga Lake Fisheries Federation puts on several tournaments throughout the year. Around 400 entrants braved the cold for the 2019 Ice Fishing Contest in February. Additional contests are held in the spring, summer and fall as well as the organization’s annual bass tournament.
Visitors with boats will find public launches on Great Sacandaga Lake in Northville, Northampton and Broadalbin. West Lake, located off of Route 10, also provides a hard-surface boat launch. Caroga Lake features a beach launch site for smaller boats and canoes.
Where to Stay
Visitors to Fulton County can select from a wide range of lodging, from luxuriously appointed summer homes to rustic cabins, basic motels and campgrounds or comfortable B&Bs where guests can learn more about the area from their hosts over breakfast.
The Inn at the Bridge offers rooms with view of Great Sacandaga Lake, as well as a complimentary slip for visitors who bring a boat. For those seeking accommodations near the northern end of the lake, the Pines Motel Sacandaga, Orendaga Lakeside Cottages or Betty’s River Road B&B are just the thing. On the south side, the Broadalbin Hotel provides a relaxing stay in a historic building – just what is needed after a day on the water.
For those seeking to sleep in the great outdoors, the county has several campgrounds, including South Adirondack Pines Campground on Pine Lake, Crystal Grove Campground in St. Johnsville (where visitors can also dig for quartz crystals, known as Herkimer diamonds) and Peck’s Lake Family Vacationland on Peck’s Lake.
Where to Eat
Although in theory, visitors to Fulton County’s many fishing destinations could catch their own dinners, sometimes it’s nice to go out and let someone else do the cooking. Luckily, the region is home to many restaurants catering to wide variety of tastes.
Lanzi’s on the Lake in Mayfield is perched right on the shore of Great Sacandaga Lake and even offers a marina for those accessing it straight off the water. The outdoor patio provides the perfect location for recounting the day’s fishing stories over a steak and a beer. You’ll feel right at home at Timeless Tavern in Northville, a cozy spot to eat and stay, with six room rentals above the restaurant. On the south end of the lake, Project 29, in Broadalbin, serves up pub grub and features numerous New York State craft beers and wine.
Fulton County’s wild streams and lakes of all sizes provide the perfect location for a fishing trip, whether a quick weekend getaway or a week-long – or longer – adventure in the southern Adirondacks. Learn more.