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Outdoors writer Kelly pens Finger Lakes fishing guide

Marcellus retiree’s book a culmination of a career spent covering fishing

'Fishing the Finger Lakes' by J. Michael Kelly.

'Fishing the Finger Lakes' by J. Michael Kelly.

“Fishing the Finger Lakes” isn’t just the title of J. Michael Kelly’s new book, it’s also one of his life-long passions.

Growing up in Marcellus, Kelly said he has been fishing for as long as he can remember, and he has proof of it too.

“I have black and white pictures of myself at age two-and-a-half with one of those willow switch fishing poles strolling through the meadow and holding a can of worms in one hand,” Kelly said.

Kelly’s book, recently published through Ithaca-based Burford Books, serves as a guide to angling in the region including descriptions of fishing spots and conditions in 11 Finger Lakes and tips and techniques for successful fishing.

The chapters on the individual lakes all begin with information such as altitude, depth, surface area and include a map, a description of the best places to cast out from and some personal stories.

The Skaneateles Lake chapter gets right to the point in the first sentence: “Fishing for rainbow trout doesn’t get much better than it is in Skaneateles Lake.”

He then goes on to detail the pristine water quality and ecosystem in Skaneateles Lake, how the fishing in the lake has changed over the years and what baits will be most effective.

Though the book can be a good reference point before heading out to fish, it is also written in a way that will make it an interesting cover-to-cover read, Kelly said.

“I have always tried as an outdoors writer to write my columns and articles, and now my books, in a way that will appeal to people who may or may not be truly avid fishermen, but they like good writing,” he said.

Kelly has lived in Marcellus nearly all his life and said he was first inspired to become a writer by his sixth grade teacher Tom Petro.

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