Department of Environmental Conservation

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Chenango Canal

The Old Chenango Canal, located in Madison County, is a small-to-medium sized stream that flows through the Hamlet of Bouckville. The canal, which operated from 1837 to 1878, connected Utica to Binghamton.

Access:

  • Though there are no official Public Fishing Rights (PFR) easements along the canal, much of it's length it is bordered by the Chenango Canal Towpath Trail and the Canal Road. Both offer access to the canal.
  • The Chenango Canal Museum has a universal fishing access platform located at the intersection of Route 20 and Canal Road in Bouckville.
  • For information on this and also for a map showing the Towpath Trail please visit the Chenango Canal Association website in the right hand column under sites leaving the DEC webpage.

Fish Species:

Brown trout and white sucker.

Fishing:

The canal can be challenging to fish as it has an abundance of aquatic vegetation and woody structure in the stream. For most of it's length, the bank is lined with trees and brush.

Regulations:

Special fishing regulations apply (leaving DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website).

Fish Management:

The Chenango Canal is stocked annually with around 1,000 year-old brown trout (8-9 inches). The brown trout are stocked for a put-grow-take fishery.

Fisheries Survey 2017

An electrofishing survey was conducted on the Chenango Canal, Madison County, on August 23, 2017. This was a repeat of a survey conducted in August 2015. The purpose of both surveys was that there had been some concern by anglers that fishing "wasn't what it used to be." Mainly, they weren't catching the numbers of larger trout they used to. The Chenango Canal is managed under a special "trophy" trout fishing regulation of an all year open season, a minimum length of 12-inches, 2 fish daily limit, and artificial lures only. Two sites were electrofished for 0.5 hours of "on-time." A total of 94 brown trout were collected for a catch per unit effort (CPUE) of 181/trout hour. This CPUE was greater than both the 2015 CPUE of 125/h (n=167) and 1991 CPUE of 53/h (n=137). The 2017 mean brown trout length was 6.7 in, an improvement over the 2015 mean length of 5.1 in. However, both were still below the 1991 mean length of 8.4 in. Of the 94 brown trout, only five were ≥12 in (5%). This was an improvement over the 1% (n=2) in 2015 but still below the 24% (n=33) in 1991. In 2015, the majority (76%) of the wild brown trout were Age-0 (young of the year). One of the reasons for waiting till 2017 to resurvey the canal was to see if those fish recruited into the fishery; would be Age-2 in 2017. The majority (43%) of the 2017 catch was Age-2 fish, followed by Age-0 at 40%. We will resurvey the canal in 2019 before making any recommendations or changes to the current stocking policy of 1,000 one year-old brown trout.