Chautauqua Lake Fishing

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While known as a world class muskellunge fishing destination, Chautauqua Lake holds excellent numbers of bass, walleye, panfish, and cat fish. Located mid-lake, Camp Prendergast is just moments from shoreline fishing and boating access on the west side. The lake offers a variety of fishing conditions for every season and is sure to excite.


Muskie cruising in the weedsMuskie fishing on Chautauqua Lake is very popular. As the dominant predator in the lake many can reach into the 40-50 inch range. Trolling and casting into shallow weed beds are common techniques, but trolling seems to be the best method. Studies of the lake indicate larger Muskies typically suspend in deep water while smaller fish generally relate to weed lines and steeper drop offs.


Bass fishing on Chautauqua can be fast and furious from spring to fall. In early spring hungry, spawning bass can be found around the lake edges in 8-14 feet, on the several shallow weedy flats, and under the hundreds of docks around the lake. For the rest of the year finding bass is easy at the edges of weed lines, in the pockets scattered through the weed beds, and as always under docks.


Panfish on Chautauqua is loads of fun! Crappie, sunfish, and perch can numerous and relatively easy to catch. Just about any area in and around weeds are excellent places to fish. Extra light fishing tacking is generally recommended, but these fish are not too picky. Small jigs, spinners, or a simple hook and worm are sure-fire ways to catch large numbers.


School of walleyeAlthough not native to the lake, walleye can be found in fishable numbers. Recent declines in populations have initiated stocking programs since 2003. Special minimum length requirements and daily creel limits have been imposed to protect the population while it rebounds.

In late winter and early spring look for eyes on gravel shoals casting or trolling bait fish patterns. As the water warms, walleye will start to move into deeper water. Fish deep during the day and target shallow during dawn and dusk when eyes are on the prowl for an easy meal.

Types of fish in Chautauqua Lake

  • Largemouth Bass
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Grass Pickerel
  • Walleye
  • Calico Bass or Black Bass
  • Rock Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Yellow Perch
  • Carp
  • Longnose Gar
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Black Bullhead
  • Shiners
  • Darters
  • Minnows
  • Mottled Sculpin
  • Sucker

Please read NY fishing regulations for seasons and daily limits.


The nearest boat launch on Chautauqua Lake is located just 1.6 miles from Camp Prendergast offering amazing fishing just a couple minutes away. Additional public boat launches are available at Bemus Point and Long Point State Park. Recreational boaters and fishing tournament competitors are welcome at our camp. We can provide adequate parking for your visit in addition to electric outlets for charging boat batteries.

About the lake

The lake is about 17 miles long, 13,000 acres, and 78 feet at it’s deepest point. Divided into northern and southern basins, each is significantly different from each other. The north basin is deeper at about 78 feet. The southern basin averages about 11 feet deep, and only 19 feet at it’s deepest point.

Related Links

NY DEC – About Lake Chautauqua
NY DEC – Freshwater Fishing Regulations
Northern Chautauqua Lake map
Southern Chautauqua Lake map
Guides and Charters

Give us a call today to reserve a cabin, RV site,
or tent site for you next fishing trip!