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The first thought of New York is, of course, New York City. Fortunately for all the city-goers, there are some great outdoor activities the Empire State offers. From hiking to hunting, New York is our first state in The United States of the Great Outdoors. Why is New York first? Well my wife picked it so of course I had to listen to her (happy wife, happy life guys); it also has a little something for every outdoorsman.

Great Outdoors For Everyone

Mountain top view of lakes and a forest in New York
The Adirondack Mountains of Northern NY hold pristine mountain views and thousands of miles of hiking trails.

New York offers a little something for every Weekend Warrior. Instead of booking your flight to JFK and heading into Midtown for a night of fancy partying with $15 martini’s; pack your boots and head outside the city. With 180 state parks located throughout the state, hikers can enjoy more than 2,000 miles of pristine trails in the Adirondack Mountains, to cross-country skiing in Bear Mountain State Park in the winter.

sitting on a boat on the lake.
Keuka Lake is one of 11 Finger Lakes of NY and is home to some of the Northeasts best wineries and views.

There is also the Finger Lakes region, just west of Rochester. This region is home to Glacier Lakes and New York’s wine region.  With several wine trails throughout the region (I recommend Keuka and Seneca Lake wine trails), and dozens of wineries that offer amazing views, you can fish in the morning and catch a buzz in the afternoon; sampling the region’s signature Riesling wines. Visit the Finger Lakes site for more information on what the region has to offer.

Fisherman’s Paradise

Sunset on Lake Ontario.
Lake Ontario offers plenty of fish species to hook into and beautiful views. Sackets Harbor, NY.

Literally, it is a paradise. Upstate New York offers one of the most diverse opportunities for freshwater anglers in the U.S, in my opinion. New York touches 2 of the Great Lakes (Lake Ontario to the North, Lake Erie to the West) and also shares Lake Champlain with Vermont. All three of these lakes are well known Northeastern Smallmouth fisheries and also boast Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Muskellunge, trout species, and salmon.

These three lakes are home to 14 of New York’s freshwater fishing records. In Lake Erie, an 8lb 4oz Smallmouth bass. A 29lb 14oz Freshwater Drum in Lake Champlain. Lake Ontario is home to the 33lb 20z Brown Trout record and 24lb 14oz Atlantic Salmon record.

Not Just Lakes in New York.

the author with Barry Clayton, Renegade Bass Tour Pro.
RBT Pro Barry Clayton hooked me into the biggest Smallmouth bass of my life so far at Fishing for Freedom- St. Lawrence River

There is also the St. Lawrence River. The St. Lawerence is a renowned Smallmouth, Northern Pike, and Muskie fishery and is the border between NY and Canada. The tie for the state Smallmouth record was caught on this river in 2016. I personally fished the Fishing for Freedom tournament hosted here. Renegade Bass Tour pro, Barry Clayton hooked me into a nearly 4lb smallie and $500 in my first ever tournament.

Anglers must try the Salmon run. Anglers flock to Upstate New York rivers with fishing gear to get their hands on Atlantic and Chinook Salmon. I personally have done this, and if you want a challenge, this is it. When a 25lb Salmon leaps from the water right where your line is, it is probably the most frustrating yet exciting fishing you can do. (See the New York State fishing license website for more information and to purchase one.)

Shhhhh……. We’re Hunting for….

Not Rabbits (although there are plenty outside of NYC). Waterfowl, that’s right waterfowl in New York is awesome. Why wouldn’t it be? Many ducks coming out of the Atlantic Flyway see New York first (and last) while migrating. Geese are also a big one up in this part of the Northeast. Big populations of Canada and Snow Geese migrate through New York, hence making it a great state for waterfowl & migratory game birds.

Geese flying over water.
Geese, along with ducks, migrate through New York in the Atlantic Flyway.

Many farmers and landowners in New York are happy to let respectful hunters on their lands. Many view waterfowl and migratory game birds as a nuisance to the farming industry. Check out the Finger Lakes for some great duck hunting. The farming fields of the North Country will hold your Snow and Canada geese. Be warned, public hunting grounds in New York get pretty crowded.

New York also offers White-tailed deer, turkey, bear, and furbearer seasons. Furbearer seasons include Bobcat, Coyote, Fox and others. I also know plenty of people while living there who used to trap beaver and other animals. Annual hunting licenses run about $100 for non-resident hunters, and $22 for resident hunters. (See the New York State hunting license website for more information on hunting licenses and purchasing online.)




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