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Susquehanna River

From its origin at Otsego Lake in Cooperstown, New York, the Susquehanna River flows for over 440 miles, making it the longest river on the American east coast. It eventually empties into the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. In New York the Susquehanna flows through a mix of rural and urban environments within Otsego, Chenango, Broome, and Tioga counties, supporting a diverse warmwater sportfish community.

Public Access

Broome County

Johnson City - under the NYS Route 201 Bridge on the north shore. Hand launching. Parking for 10 cars.
Nineveh - on County Route 26, north and east of Nineveh. Concrete ramp. 8 cars and trailers.
Grippen Park- off Route 17C. Hard surface ramp. 10 cars and trailers.
Harold Moore Park- on Old Vestal Road. Hard surface ramp. 10 cars and trailers.
Kirkwood Park - Route 314 Bridge. Hard surface ramp. 6 cars and trailers.
Leo Schnurbush Park-on Route 17. Hand launch. Parking for 6 cars.
Rock Bottom Dam-off Route 363, ½ mile above the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers. Hard surface ramp. 5 cars and trailers.
Sandy Beach Park- Route 7. Hard surface ramp. 8 cars and trailers.

Chenango County

Afton - on the northeast end of the NYS Route 41 bridge in the Village of Afton. Gravel ramp. 12 cars and trailers.
Bainbridge Park -downstream of Route 206 bridge. Hard surface ramp. 5 cars and trailers.

Tioga County

Canon Hole -1.5 miles west of Barton, on Old Barton Rd. Gravel ramp. 8 cars and trailers.
Barton- off Route 17 in the hamlet of Barton. Hand launching. Parking for 10 cars.
Nichols (West) - on West River Drive, approximately 4 miles west of the Village of Nichols. Concrete Ramp. 7 cars and trailers.
Nichols (East) - on East River Drive, 1 mile east of the Village of Nichols. Concrete ramp. 12 cars and trailers.
Apalachin Bridge- between Routes 17C and 434 on the south side of the river. Concrete ramp. 12 cars and trailers.
Hickories Park- off Route 17C. Hard surface ramp. 6 cars and trailers.
Marshland Road-off Marshland Road. Hard surface ramp. 10 cars and trailers.

Otsego County

Colliersville- along Route 7 just east of the intersection of Routes 7 & 28. Hand launch. 10 cars.
Crumhorn-off county Road 35 on east side of river between the villages of Portlandville and Millford. Hand launch. 28 cars and trailers.
Emmons-off County Road 47. Hand launch. 20 cars.
Oneonta-off route 205 at the westerly city limits of Oneonta. Hand launch. 15 cars and trailers.
Sidney-on the north bank of river west of the intersection of Route 7 and new Route 8. Hand launch. 30 cars.

General Fishing Information

Gamefish include smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge and tiger musky. Panfish include yellow perch, black crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill, rock bass and bullhead. Channel catfish and carp are also found in good numbers in the river.

The fishery changes somewhat as you move downstream from Cooperstown. From it's origin in Otsego County down to where it first enters Pennsylvania in Broome County, near Great Bend, the fishery is dominated primarily by smallmouth bass and walleye along with rock bass. Yellow perch, sunfish, and bullhead are present but generally not in great numbers. The fishery downstream of Great Bend, PA is more diverse and muskellunge, tiger muskellunge, channel catfish along with the other species mentioned are much more common, particularly downstream of the junction with the Chenango River.

Smallmouth bass can be caught on live baits such as crayfish, minnows, hellgrammites and night crawlers. The most effective way to fish these baits is by drifting them through the head and tail sections of the river's many pools. Smallmouth bass can also be caught on a variety of artificial baits such as crankbaits, stickbaits, topwater baits, spinnerbaits and tube baits. Naturally colored baits that resemble crayfish or minnows are good choices, but bright colors like chartreuse and fire tiger can also work well. Walleye fishing is generally best in May through June and from late September until the river freezes. One of the most productive methods is to fish the deeper holes with jigs tipped with either a worm or minnow. Crankbaits, stickbaits, plastic swimbaits, and worm harnesses also work well for walleye. For muskellunge and tiger musky, fishing large artificial baits like stickbaits, spinnerbaits and inline spinners will allow you to cover more water while searching for aggressive fish. When a good location is found, fishing with large minnows can also be productive. Local hot spots include the mouth of the Chenango River, Murphy's Island, Grippen Park, Hiawatha Island, the mouth of Owego Creek, and Baily's Eddy. Catfish can be caught on worms, dead minnows and cut-bait fished in the deeper holes. Carp can be caught throughout the river on corn, worms or dough baits.

The river is very susceptible to flooding and moderate to heavy rain events can make navigating and/or fishing the river difficult to impossible.

For current fishing information visit the Central New York Fishing Hotline or by calling 607-753-1551.

Fisheries Management

The Susquehanna River is not currently being stocked; tiger musky were stocked in the river until 2007. Special regulations exist for the Susqhanna River, so please view the Special Regulations by County section of your fishing guide.

Fish Survey Report (2009)

Sandy Beach City Park - Bass Monitoring

This survey was conducted in order to compare the abundance of bass relative to past sampling efforts at this site. In addition, we were also looking for any sign of Columnaris bacteria infections in juvenile bass. Three severe flood events since Sept. 2004 along with outbreaks of Columnaris bacteria infections in juvenile smallmouth bass in 2005 and 2007 have raised concerns about the status of the river's bass population. Anglers had been complaining about poor bass fishing since 2003. However, anglers have been reporting better fishing for the past two years.

The sampling results showed a continued increase in the abundance of legal sized bass compared to the 2005, 2007 and 2008 sampling events, and reasonably high abundance of bass between 6" and 12". Young-of-year (YOY) bass abundance was significantly lower than recent surveys, but this is not surprising given the cool spring/summer temperatures and high river flows. YOY abundance in a July 2009 sampling event also revealed low abundance of YOY bass as did similar sampling conducted by Pennsylvania Fish and Boat biologists. Below is a summary of sampling results for the five years of effort at this site

Survey Summary of electrofishing effort at Sandy Beach City Park, Susquehanna River
Year Legal Bass 6 - 12 inch Bass Effort (hours) Flow (cfs) Temperature (F)
2009 9 25 1.5 1,050 66
2008 5 35 1.6 1,250 66
2007 0 2 1.0 590 66
2005 3 3 1.6 327 61
1993 18 49 1.2 345 69

As in previous years, daytime sampling was conducted with a SmithRoot boat electrofishing unit. River flows and water temperatures were similar to previous years as was amount of sampling effort.

Overall, it appears that subadult and adult smallmouth bass numbers have increased in recent years but they have not yet reached the levels observed in 1993. However, it should be noted that the number of other fish within this sampling site, particularly rock bass, has been noticeably lower. Dozens of quality sized rock bass were captured during the 1993 survey, but only a handful have been captured since. None were captured or observed this year.