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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

Additional information can be found at DEC's Language Assistance Page.

Great Lakes Tributaries Regulations

These regulations apply to the designated tributary areas of the New York waters of Lake Erie, the Upper and Lower Niagara River, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River. Areas of the tributaries which are subject to these regulations are generally defined as the bridge closest to the mouth upstream to the first barrier impassable to fish. Tributaries with different boundaries and exemptions are listed separately below. Note that there are also seasonal tackle restrictions and restrictions on night fishing in the tributaries. Statewide angling regulations apply for species not listed.

At All Times:

  • Snatching and attempting to snatch is prohibited. Snatching is indicated by repeated or exaggerated jerking motions of the
    fishing rod.
  • All foul-hooked fish must be immediately released without unnecessary injury.
  • Use or possession of gaff hooks is prohibited except when ice fishing.
  • Any action to frighten fish and move them from concealment, including herding, driving, kicking or stoning is prohibited.

Great Lakes Tributaries With Seasonal Closures

Great Lakes Tributaries with Seasonal Regulations
Water County Closed period
Spooner Creek and tributaries Erie Fishing prohibited from Jan. 1 through March 31
North Branch Clear Creek and tributaries from Taylor Hollow Road upstream to outflow of Clear Lake Erie Fishing prohibited from Jan. 1 through March 31
Little Sandy Creek from the State Route 3 bridge downstream 850 feet to the intersection of the channelized area and upstream 1.0 mile from the bridge to the Public Fishing Rights section Oswego Fishing prohibited from March 16 through the first Saturday in May.

Great Lakes Tributaries with Seasonal Regulations

Great Lakes 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
Eighteenmile Creek Niagara From the Route 18 bridge upstream to Burt Dam
Oak Orchard Creek Orleans From the power lines that are 1.9 miles upstream (south) of Route 18 bridge upstream to Waterport Dam
Sterling Creek Cayuga From Old State Road to impassable barrier upstream of Route 104A
Sterling Valley Creek Cayuga From McIntyre Road to impassable barrier upstream of Route 104A
Oswego River Oswego From the Utica Street bridge upstream to the Varick Dam
Catfish Creek Oswego From the mouth upstream to dam at County Route 1
Salmon River Oswego From the upstream most navigation buoy located between the breakwalls at the mouth upstream to the County Route 52 bridge in Altmar
See additional special fly fishing only, catch and release areas and regulations for the Salmon River (Oswego County) which are listed here separately.
Black River Jefferson From the upstream tip of the lowermost island to Mill Street dam in Watertown
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

Seasonal Regulations for Waters Listed Above

Effective Dates for Special Seasonal Tributary Regulations

Special tributary regulations are effective SEPTEMBER 1 THROUGH MARCH 31 for all tributaries except the Salmon River in Oswego County where the effective dates are AUGUST 15 THROUGH APRIL 14.

Fishing Hours

Fishing at night (one half hour after sunset until one half hour before sunrise) is prohibited, except in the Black River (Jefferson County) from Lake Ontario upstream to the Route 180 bridge in Dexter where fishing is permitted at all times and in the Salmon River in Oswego County where fishing at night is permitted from Lake Ontario to the Route 3 bridge from April 1 through August 14.

Hooks

  • Hooks attached to any lure, except an artificial fly must be free-swinging.
  • Hooks may have a gap (distance between the shank and the point) of no more than one half inch except for floating lure bead chain configurations on the Salmon River as permitted below.
  • Use of hooks with added weight is prohibited, except that artificial flies with no more than one-eighth ounce of added weight may be used. For the purposes of this regulation, the method by which weight is added to a hook does not affect classification as an "artificial fly" provided the conditions of the definition of an "artificial fly" are otherwise met.
  • Only one hook with a single hook point is permitted, except that floating lures may have multiple hooks including double and treble hooks only as permitted below or in Lake Erie tributaries where multiple hook points are permitted.

Floating Lures

  • A "floating lure" is a lure that floats while at rest in water regardless of any weight attached to the line, leader or lure.
  • Any hooks on a floating lure must be attached to the lure by a ring or swivel.
  • The distance between the body of a floating lure and the points of any attached hooks shall not exceed one and one-half inches.
Waters With Restrictions On The Use Of Multiple Hooks with Multiple Points On Floating Lures
Water County Regulation
All Lake Ontario tributaries except the Oswego and Salmon Rivers Cayuga & Oswego Restricted to 1 hook with a single hook point September 1 through March 31
Salmon River Oswego Restricted to 1 hook with a single hook point August 15 through October 31
Genesee River Monroe Restricted to 1 hook with a single hook point from the Driving Park bridge upstream to the lower falls September 1 through November 30
All other tributaries and the Oswego River All Multiple single, double, or treble hooks are permitted at all times

Additional regulations on Floating Lures in the Salmon River

Where floating lures are allowed to be used on the Salmon River, the following additional regulations apply:

  • From August 15th through October 31st, a bead chain may be attached to the floating lure with a ring.

  • The bead chain configuration may not exceed a distance of three-and-one-half inches between the body of the floating lure and the hook point.

  • The hook in the bead chain configuration shall not have a hook gap greater than five-eighths inch.

Leaders and Weights

  • 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.
  • In addition, when the above special tributary regulations are in effect for Lake Ontario tributaries in Oswego and Cayuga Counties, and the Genesee River (Monroe County) from the Driving Park Bridge upstream to the Lower Falls: weight shall not be added to the line, leader, swivels, artificial fly or lure in any manner such that the weight hangs lower than the attached hook, artificial fly or lure when the line or leader is suspended vertically from the rod.

Great Lakes Tributaries Exempted From Seasonal Tributary Regulations

Great Lakes Tributaries Exempted From Seasonal Tributary Regulations
Water County Applicable Regulations
Niagara River Erie & Niagara Upper Niagara River or Lower Niagara River regulations apply
Round Pond, Buck Pond, Long Pond, Cranberry Pond, and Irondequoit Bay Monroe Lake Ontario regulations apply
Sodus Bay Wayne Lake Ontario regulations apply
South Sandy Pond Oswego Lake Ontario regulations apply
Tributaries to the St. Lawrence River All tributaries in Clinton and Franklin General rules apply

Special Year Round Catch-And-Release Regulations for Chautauqua Creek and Eighteenmile Creek

Locations:

  • 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.
  • Main Branch of Eighteenmile Creek (Erie County), excluding S. Branch, contained within the Eighteenmile Creek County Park.

Regulations:

  • Catch and Release Only (Trout and Salmon)
  • Artificial Flies or Artificial Lures Only
  • Seasonal Regulations Regarding Hooks, Leaders and Weights for Great Lakes Tributaries Shall Apply.
  • Single, double or treble hooks may be used with a one-half-inch maximum gap.

Special Regulations for the Salmon River (Oswego County) Fly Fishing Catch-And-Release Areas

Location

Two stream sections between County Route 52 Bridge in Altmar and the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir.

Fishing Hours, Season Dates & Boundaries

Angling permitted: from 1/2 hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Trespassing prohibited at night.

Lower Fly Section: September 15 through May 15. From County Route 52 bridge in Altmar upstream .25 miles to the marked boundary at Beaverdam Brook.

Upper Fly Section: April 1 through November 30. From a marked boundary upstream of the New York State Salmon River Fish Hatchery property to marked boundary approximately 0.6 miles upstream at the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir tailrace.

Fishing is prohibited outside the open season.

Regulations

Catch & Release: All fish must be immediately released without unnecessary injury.

Tackle Restrictions: Tackle is restricted to a traditional fly rod, fly reel, fly line, and artificial fly (As permitted below).

Restrictions on fly lines, flies, attractors, leaders and supplemental weight:

Fly Lines

  • Use of less than 20 feet of floating, sinking, or combination floating/sinking fly line or shooting head immediately behind the leader
    and in front of any running line or other backing is prohibited.

  • Between May 1 and August 31: Floating Fly Lines Only.

  • Between September 1 and April 30: Floating, Sinking, and Sinktip fly lines are permitted.

Flies

  • Between May 1 and August 31: a single unweighted artificial fly having one hook point with a one-half inch maximum gap only permitted.

  • Between September 1 and April 30: a single unweighted or weighted artificial fly with no more than 1/8 oz. added weight, having one hook point with a one-half-inch maximum gap only permitted.

Attractors

  • The use of added baits or attractors such as, but not limited to, fish eggs, insects, beads, spoons, spinners, plugs, or similar devices on the line above the artificial fly is prohibited.

Leaders

  • The total length of the leader including the tippet shall not exceed 15 feet.

  • Between May 1 and August 31: sinking and metal leaders are prohibited.

Additional Weight

  • Between May 1 and August 31: the use of supplemental weight such as split shot, sinkers, metal leaders, twistons, or swivels attached to the leader, tippet, fly line or fly is prohibited.

  • Between September 1 and April 30: the use of supplemental weight is permitted with the following restrictions.
    - The combined weight of any supplemental weight and fly may not exceed one-eighth of an ounce.
    - The maximum distance between the artificial fly and any added weight to the line, leader or tippet shall not exceed four feet.
    - Weight added to the line, leader, swivels, or artificial fly in any manner such that the weight hangs lower than the attached fly is prohibited.

Note: the Daily Limit for Rainbow Trout or Steelhead Is One Fish per Day for All Lake Ontario Tributaries Except Lower Niagara River.