Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Lake Erie and Tributaries Angling Regulations

Special Fishing Regulations for Lake Erie
Species Open Season Minimum Length Daily Limit
brown trout, rainbow trout (including steelhead), coho salmon, chinook salmon All year 12" 3 in any combination
lake trout All year 12" 1
northern pike First Saturday In May through March 15 22" 5
walleye First Saturday in May through March 15 15" 6
muskellunge, tiger muskellunge Third Saturday in June through November 30 54" 1
yellow perch, sunfish All year Any size 50 of each
black bass First Saturday in May through Friday before Third Saturday in June 20" 1
Third Saturday in June through November 30 12" 5
December 1 through the Friday preceding the first Saturday in May Catch and Release only Artificial lures only
lake sturgeon Closed Possession Prohibited
all other fish species Statewide angling regulations apply

Review Great Lakes and Tributary Regulations for regulations that apply to all Great Lakes waters.


Lake Erie Tributaries with Seasonal Closures

Fishing is prohibited from Jan. 1 through March 31 on Spooner Creek and its tributaries, and North Branch Clear Creek and tributaries from Taylor Hollow Road upstream to the outflow of Clear Lake.

Lake Erie Year-Round Catch-and-Release Regulations for Chautauqua and Eighteenmile Creeks

  • Catch and release only for trout and salmon in creek sections described below
  • Only artificial flies or artificial lures can be used in catch-and-release sections
  • Seasonal regulations regarding hooks, leaders, and weights apply (see below)
Water County Section
Chautauqua Creek Chautauqua From the bridge on South Gale Street upstream 1.3 Miles to the upper dam used by the Village of Westfield for water intake.
Eighteenmile Creek Eri Main Branch of Eighteenmile Creek (Erie County), excluding S. Branch, contained within the Eighteenmile Creek County Park.

Portions of Lake Erie Tributaries Subject to Seasonal (September 1 through March 31) Regulations

The following tributary sections are subject to seasonal fishing regulations described below during the period September 1 through March 31:

Lake Erie Tributaries with Seasonal Regulations
Water County Portion of Tributary Subject to Seasonal Regulations
Cattaraugus Creek Erie & Cattaraugus From the Aldrich Street Extension Bridge in Gowanda upstream to Springville Dam
Buffalo River and Tributaries to the Buffalo River Erie From the I-90 (NYS Thruway) bridge upstream to first barrier impassable by fish
All other tributaries All From the bridge closest to the mouth upstream to first barrier impassable by fish

Lake Erie Tributary Seasonal Fishing Regulations

Fishing Hours
  • Fishing only permitted one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset (fishing at night is prohibited).
Hook, Leader and Weight Regulations
  • The distance between a hook's shaft and point cannot exceed one-half inch.
  • Hooks attached to any lure must be freeswinging, except on an artificial fly.
  • Use of hooks with added weight is prohibited, except for artificial flies and jigs weighing no more than one-eighth ounce are permitted.
  • The distance between the hook, artificial fly or lure and any weight attached to the line or leader, whether fixed or sliding, shall not exceed four feet.