Slimy Sculpin lives in coldwater streams and lakes, generally in riffle habitats with mixed gravel-rubble substrate. It is a nesting species and requires water movement and shelter. Slimy Sculpin occupies deeper areas of the Finger Lakes, Lake Ontario and is among the few species in headwater streams. It is found in all watersheds but the Allegheny and Long Island. However, it is uncommon in the lake plains and rarely found at lower elevations.