Nestled along the southern shores of Lake Ontario, Monroe County is part of the scenic Finger Lakes Region that’s known for its breathtaking waterfalls and gorges, lush hills, and glacial lakes. Every season, it offers a legendary vista worth coming back to again and again, making it a year-round must-visit destination.
Apart from being a natural wonderland, Monroe County is currently known for its advanced imaging and photographic processing industry after it became a part of the offshoot of eastern New York State’s Tech Valley. This, in turn, has made its county seat, Rochester, the world capital of imaging. Apart from Tech Valley, Monroe County owes a large part of its economy to the number of international businesses that all have their headquarters, offices, and manufacturing facilities in the county. These businesses include Eastman Kodak, Xerox, and Paychex.
Monroe County is not just about the tech industry. As a cultural capital, it is home to a world-class arts and culture scene. Here you will find Geva Theater which is considered one of the most popular regional theaters in the region, as well as the permanent art collection at the Memorial Art Gallery which rivals those in New York City.
Apart from being home to high-profile corporations and a thriving arts and culture scene, Monroe County is one of the best places to fish in America. And that shouldn’t be. After all, the county is right on the shores of a Great Lake. So, if you ever find yourself in Rochester or its nearby suburbs, both for business or pleasure, explore its productive waters and you may just find your favorite freshwater fishing destination.
Monroe County, as in the rest of the Finger Lakes region, is a great fishing destination known for its warm and cold-water fishing as well as for its ice-fishing spots. What’s even better is the vista your eyes will be feasting on no matter the season, as this region is as known for its magnificent shorelines as it is for its seasonal views.
Your first order of business when fishing in Monroe County is to find out where to best access Lake Ontario. This Great Lake is a sport fishing mecca, attracting some of the best charter boat guides in Upstate New York. Here you can catch plenty of smallmouth bass, walleye, perch, steelhead, brown trout, and trophy Chinook salmon. The county offers plenty of spots and opportunities to fish the Great Lake. You can access the waters via the public pier and boardwalk at Ontario Beach Park, where you can also launch a boat to go deeper. Another great spot to access its waters is via the Irondequoit Bay State Marine Park.
At the Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area in the town of Greece, you can launch a kayak or canoe into the wetlands and fish on Buck Pond, Round Pond, Long Pond, and Cranberry Pond as well as Braddock Bay itself. These shallow bodies of water yield plenty of northern pike, walleye, perch, chain pickerel, bullhead, rock bass, bluegill, and largemouth bass. Northern pike and yellow perch are especially abundant during ice-fishing season.
If you’re fly fishing for trout, Oatka Creek and Spring Creek should be on your bucket list. You can easily access the freestone length of Oatka Creek at the Oatka Creek County Park. This stretch of the creek has pools, runs, riffles, and pocket waters that make it an ideal fly fishing territory. While it is known primarily for its brown trout, anglers are also known to catch black bass or northern pike in this body of water. Even more brown trout can be caught, only on a catch-and-release basis, at nearby Spring Creek, which offers 1,000 feet of public fishing access.
If Lake Ontario’s waters are too rough for fishing, Irondequoit Bay is your next best bet for fishing. You can access the shores of this large bay from both Abraham Lincoln Park (formerly known as Irondequoit Bay Park East) and Irondequoit Bay Park West, as well as from LaSalle's Landing Park on Empire Boulevard and Irondequoit Bay Marine Park on Culver Road. The waters here go as deep as 75 feet only and are home to northern pike, chain pickerel, brown bullhead, rock bass, bluegill, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and yellow perch. It is especially a productive place to troll for walleyes at night. Ice fishing is permitted on the bay as well
For a most productive trout fishing experience, go to Irondequoit Creek which empties into the bay and flows through Monroe and Ontario Counties. Within Monroe, anglers can access the creek within Powder Mill Park. Apart from stocked rainbow and brown trout, wild brown trout can also be caught upstream in the park. Every spring, Powder Mill Park is the venue for the annual Riedman Foundation Trout Derby, one of the town’s local spring highlights.
If you’re looking for legendary runs of coho and Chinook salmon as well as steelhead and brown trout, you should fish the lower part of the Genesee River. This amazing river originates from northwest Pennsylvania and flows through western New York. Its lower region is accessible via Ontario Beach Park, Turning Point Park, and Seneca Park. To catch salmon, follow them up to the falls at Driving Park Avenue Bridge. Above these aforementioned falls, you can also fish for stocked and wild rainbow and brown trout. During warmer months, you can find smallmouth bass in the area. Other public fishing sites where you can access the river include the beautiful Genesee River Fishing Access Site as well as the Seth Green-Lower Falls Public Fishing Area.
Fishing can be great in this part of the Finger Lakes region all year round. You simply need to know which species you’re targeting and when they’re most productive in this part of New York State. If you’re looking to catch some brown trout, steelhead, coho, and Chinook salmon, April, May, and June are your months. Well into the summer, follow these species in the deeper parts of the water and troll for them from June to August. During spawning season, you will find schools of trophy salmon running up the Genesee River from August to October. Lake trout are best caught from May to August, but they can also be found running up into the Genesee River in the colder months.
Monroe County is a sight to behold all year round. Apart from its scenic vistas, it’s a fantastic venue for arts and culture and even has a thriving festival scene.
Monroe County has some of the best charter captains in Upstate New York who can guide you through the county’s richest and most productive waters.
Monroe County loves its festivals. One of its most famous is the Lilac Festival which is hosted in Highland Park every year in May. The park itself is a 150-acre property that is known for the Lamberton Conservatory and its many memorials, including the AIDS Remembrance Garden, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Workers' Memorial, Victims' Rights Memorial.
In wintertime, head to the Mendon Ponds Park for its annual Winterfest, happening on the second or third Sunday of January. Mendon Ponds Park is the largest park in the county, with over 2,000 acres of wetlands, ponds, and woodlands. It is even part of the National Registry of Natural Landmarks because of its deep geologic history.
In Irondequoit, you will find the unique Seabreeze Amusement Park which has been around since the 1870s. It is considered the twelfth-oldest amusement park in the world that is still in operation. Don’t forget to ride the Jack Rabbit, its most famous ride and one of the oldest operating roller coast