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Rushford Lake (2005)

Fisheries Survey Summary

Rushford Lake, a 585 acre man-made reservoir located in northwest Allegany County and owned by the Rushford Lake Recreation District was sampled by DEC fisheries staff in June and October, 2005. A lakeside park offers shoreline fishing as well as a concrete launch ramp for public access. A winter drawdown of up to 40 feet precludes the establishment of perennial weed beds which limits fish production and affects fish habitat, species diversity and fish biomass in the lake.

Despite limitations caused by the drawdown, Rushford Lake provides good fishing for smallmouth bass, walleye and stocked trout. Electrofishing catch rates for smallmouth bass (23 fish/hour) are higher than average when compared to other New York State waters and there is a good balance of larger fish. Electrofishing catch rates for walleye indicate a moderate population with highly variable year class strength. Walleye were introduced into Rushford Lake from an unknown source in the late 1980s. Rushford Lake is stocked annually with 5,600 yearling trout which provides for immediate fishing as well as the potential to catch large holdover fish.

Panfish are not abundant in Rushford Lake. Rock bass may be the only panfish that can be considered common, while yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie and brown bullhead are rare. Several species of suckers generally outnumber total panfish numbers. The lack of perennial weed beds due to the annual lake drawdown greatly limits panfish abundance. Additionally, panfish are easy prey to the smallmouth bass and walleye in the winter pool, which offers no cover.


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