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2016 Coldwater Fishing Forecast

Long Island (DEC Region 1)

Fishing before April 1

The trout season on Long Island is open year round. With this year's mild winter, anglers can expect to enjoy open water angling well before April 1st. Most Long Island waters will be stocked by March 18th this year. In addition to these fish, anglers should also find some nice trout that have held over from Fall 2015 stockings in waters such as Deep Pond, Kahlers Pond, Upper Lake and West Lake in Suffolk County and in Massapequa Reservoir and Upper Twin Pond in Nassau County. Other recommended lakes and ponds include Laurel Lake, East Lake, Southards Pond and Argyle Lake in Suffolk County. In Nassau County, Oyster Bay Mill Pond is also a good bet. Many of these waters also hold over a good number of fish from one year to the next, increasing the opportunity to catch large trout.

Long Island's Trout Rivers

The Carmans, Nissequogue and Connetquot Rivers in Suffolk County are some of the best locations in New York State for early season fly fishing. The Connetquot is open for fly fishing on a catch and release basis through the winter (call 631-581-1005 for more info), while the Carmans in Southaven County Park and the Nissequogue in Caleb Smith State Park open for fly fishing on April 1st. Unlike other areas of the state, Long Island's more temperate climate usually provides for some early hatches. Tidal sections of these waters are open year round and also provide excellent fishing opportunities and hold trophy-size fish.

Anglers interested in catching wild trout on Long Island should check out the Carmans River in Southaven County Park. All of the brook trout in the Carmans River are wild fish. The DEC Angler Survey conducted from 2011 through 2013 found that nearly a third of the trout caught in Southaven County Park were wild brook trout, and they ranged up to 15 inches. Please note that brook trout are catch-and-release only in all freshwater and tidal streams on Long Island except in the State Parks on the Connetquot and Nissequogue Rivers. For the stocked rainbows and browns, there is a three fish daily limit.

DEC will also continue to stock the Connetquot River State Park this spring in addition to the trout that State Parks stocks to offset the loss of fish from the Connetquot Hatchery.

Spring Fishing Festival

The annual I FISH NY Spring Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake State Park will be on Saturday, April 2 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. This event, cosponsored by the DEC and State Parks, is a special"Free Fishing Event". The requirement for a fishing license is waived for the event. The Regional Fisheries Unit will be loaning out fishing rods and State Parks will provide free bait for the event. There will also be a children's casting contest, fly casting demonstrations and other programs of interest to the whole family. DEC and State Parks will stock nearly 2,500 trout into Belmont Lake in advance of the event.

Contact us

For a complete list of Long Island trout stocked waters, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Trout Stocking List, Bureau of Fisheries, 50 Circle Road, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY, 11790 or e-mail us.

Hudson Valley/Catskills (DEC Region 3)

The southeastern portion of the region traditionally warms the earliest and DEC's trout hatcheries will start stocking catchable-size trout in late March and early April. Due to the mild winter and weather conditions going into this spring, we anticipate these stocking to occur as scheduled. Check the Region 3 Fishing Hotline for up to date stocking information.

Fishing before April 1

There are a couple of streams and a number of lakes where the trout season is open year round. The Wappingers Creek downstream of the dam in Pleasant Valley in Dutchess County and Ramapo River in Orange and Rockland Counties are two good streams to fish this time of year due to their all year trout season. Check the Special Regulations by County section of the fishing regulations for the full list of waters open for trout before April 1. Conditions so far this year should provide good early season opportunities on these waters.

Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Counties

Anglers looking for good early season trout fishing east of the Hudson River should consider Wappinger Creek, Ten Mile River, and Fishkill Creek, all located in Dutchess County. These fairly large streams will be well stocked prior to opening day, and all support holdover trout from previous years' stockings, as well as some wild brown trout. In Putnam County, good early season bets are the East Branch and West Branches of the Croton River. These streams are located on New York Watershed Property, and a free NYC Public Access Permit is required. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has updated and improved the permit issuing system. Permits can now be obtained online (see link to right). Information and permit applications can also be obtained by calling 1-800-575-LAND. In Westchester County, the Croton River, below New Croton Dam, and Stone Hill River are well stocked early season favorites that do not require a city permit.\

Sullivan and Ulster Counties

Good choices here include the perpetually popular Beaver Kill and Willowemoc Creek in Sullivan County, which offer both No-Kill (artificial lures only) sections, as well as sections where harvest and the use of natural bait is allowed (see Freshwater Fishing Regulations for details). Although not stocked until later in April, these streams can be expected to contain wild brown trout and some hatchery brown trout which "held over" from the previous season. The Esopus Creek (Ulster County) is another popular choice with wild rainbow and brown trout present and some holdover hatchery brown trout.

All of the streams mentioned above offer excellent access from DEC parking areas and/or Public Fishing Streams.

Remote stream fishing

Although most of the Catskill trout streams are readily accessible by road, people looking for a more remote fishing experience have many options. There are thousands of acres of state lands in Sullivan and Ulster counties, and most have small wild trout streams. Some much larger waters also exist in remote settings, like the Neversink River Unique Area below Bridgeville and above Oakland Valley, and the Mongaup River below Rio Dam in the Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area.

NYC Reservoirs

Other notable trout resources in the area include 17 New York City reservoirs totaling more than 23,000 acres. Large brown trout, including some weighing more than 20 pounds, may be found in many of these waters. Rondout and Kenisco Reservoirs have thriving natural reproducing populations of lake trout. Lake trout fishing in Kensico, a 2,218-acre reservoir in Westchester County, has improved greatly in recent years and now is supported primarily through natural reproduction. Neversink and West Branch Croton Reservoirs have modest populations of landlocked salmon that supplement the more traditional brown trout experience. An experimental rainbow trout stocking on Muscoot Reservoir (Westchester County) has resulted in some nice sized rainbows being caught. As noted previously, all New York City watershed lands require a free permit for recreational access. Anglers are reminded that the NYCDEP has expanded recreational boating on Neversink Reservoir. Kayaks, canoes and certain other watercraft that are properly steam-cleaned are now permitted to be used on the reservoir from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. More information can be found at NYCDEP recreation website (see link to right).

Stocking

During the spring and early summer, DEC hatchery staff will deliver over 300,000 trout to 85 streams and 30 lakes and ponds within Region 3. Included in this total will be nearly 16,000 of the larger (12-15") two-year-old brown trout, which will be distributed to about 40 of the larger and more accessible streams. Notable stocking changes that have occurred over the last couple of years include stocking brook trout in the Neversink River between Hasbrouck and South Fallsburg. Also the Rondout Creek from the Route 44/55 bridge in Kerhonkson to the confluence of Sandburg Creek will be stocked with over 3,000 rainbow trout. This year's stocking information can be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Fisheries Office, DEC Region 3, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY, 12561 or by reviewing the 2014 spring trout stocking lists online. The Fishing Hotline will also have updated stocking information.

Didymo

Region 3 anglers are reminded that Didymo was found in Esopus Creek and Rondout Creek below Rondout Reservoir in Ulster County and West Branch Croton River (below West Branch Reservoir) in Putnam County. To avoid spreading this invasive species of algae, anglers are encouraged to not use felt soled waders and to disinfect their equipment before entering another waterbody. For more information about Didymo, see the link to the right.

Angler Diary Program

The Region 3 Fisheries Unit will be looking for anglers to participate in an angler diary program for Kensico Reservoir. Information gathered through the angler diary is extremely useful for helping to better manage the fishery. For more information please contact Ryan Coulter at 845-256-2204 or email at ryan.coulter@dec.ny.gov.

Public fishing rights (PFR) maps

Willowemoc Creek Public Fishing Stream sign

Public fishing rights (PFR) maps for Region 3 are now available on the DEC website. These maps are designed to provide anglers with location information for public fishing easements in the Region. PFR easements are also marked with yellow signs to help anglers find these locations on the stream. Please contact the regional office if you have any questions or believe that a section of PFR is posted incorrectly.

Fishing hotline

The Region 3 Fishing Hotline will provide information on how and where to catch fish throughout the region. Also up to date trout stocking information will be provided. Please call: 845-256-3101 or check the hotline for timely updates.

Northern Catskills/Capital Region (Region 4)

The warmer than average winter should make for good spring trout fishing. As water temperatures warm up, trout will feed more actively, making fishing conditions more favorable.

Delaware River Basin

Two new in-stream habitat improvement structures were installed in the East Branch tailwaters near Shinhopple and the Tomannex State Forest. The rock and wood structures are intended to provide cover where trout habitat has historically been marginal. Additionally, a large scale restoration project was completed on Sands Creek. A number of habitat structures and floodplain reconnection work was conducted along a one mile stretch of Sands Creek. Sands Creek is an important spawning tributary to the West Branch Delaware River.

Reports from anglers fishing the Delaware River system in 2015 revealed many successful trips made for Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. The tailwaters of the West Branch continue to be one of the most productive fisheries for trophy trout in the northeast. Although not stocked directly, both wild and stocked trout do move about the system for anglers to encounter. Brown Trout between 15 and 18 inches are common and trout over 20 inches are not unusual. Note that trout season on the border reach where New York and Pennsylvania share the Delaware River & West Branch Delaware River does not open until April 16 this year. Until then, fishing on this border water reach is "catch and release" only. All streams and their tributaries that flow into the Delaware River & East Branch Delaware River (between the villages of East Branch and Hancock) will not open until April 16 this year.

The West Branch Delaware River & East Branch Delaware River upstream of NYC reservoirs provide some exceptional fishing for Brown Trout. Both are stocked with yearling and 2-yr old Brown Trout each spring. The tributaries can provide some excellent fishing for native Brook Trout.

Onesquethaw Creek

NYSDEC officially acquired roughly 7,000 feet of PFR along the Onesquethaw Creek, including an access trail and parking area on Rupert Road, Town of Bethlehem, Albany County. This easement was purchased by NYSDEC from the Town of Bethlehem which gives anglers the right to fish along the stream where PFR signs are present. This PFR project was a success because of the collaboration between NYSDEC, the Town of Bethlehem and the Clearwater chapter of Trout Unlimited.

A survey was conducted to assess the current brown trout population at 3 sites. The three sites were located along the newly acquired PFR sections. Over 180 wild Brown Trout were collected up to 16 ½" in total length. No stocked trout were collected even though roughly 1,200 Brown Trout are stocked annually starting about 2.0 miles upstream of the PFR section.

Overall, this section of the Onesquethaw Creek can be valued as a high quality trout stream. This can probably be attributed to low summer water temperatures and quality trout habitat. Because of the quality fishery, newly acquired PFR and proximity to the capital district Onesquethaw Creek should provide decent fishing opportunities.

Manor Kill

The town of Conesville was awarded over $175,000 to complete a stream restoration and public access project along the town park in 2015. The project was completed in October of 2015, the town stabilized 70 feet of bank and placed boulder clusters in the stream to provide additional habitat for trout. Additionally, they created two access points for anglers to over 2,000 feet of stream. The Conesville town park is located on Route 990V in Schoharie County east of Schoharie Reservoir.

A 2015 survey of the Manor Kill showed good numbers of Brook Trout in its headwaters and a fair number of catchable sized Brown Trout from the headwaters to West Conesville. Even though the stream was hit hard by flooding in 2011, it is finally starting to show improvement.

NYC Reservoirs

Pepacton and Cannonsville Reservoirs, both in Delaware County provide excellent opportunities for large Brown Trout. Reports of Brown Trout in excess of 10 pounds are reported from both reservoirs. Trout are often caught from shore early in the season before the surface waters warm. A 2015 survey on Pepacton Reservoir showed good numbers of Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout are still present in low numbers.

New York City watershed lands require a free permit for recreational access. NYCDEP has expanded recreational boating on their reservoirs. Kayaks, canoes and certain other watercraft that are properly steam-cleaned are now permitted to be used during certain times of the year. More information can be found at NYCDEP recreation website (see link to right).

Lakes and Ponds

With the early arrival of spring in 2016, local lakes and ponds should be free of ice by April 1st. This will allow anglers to target trout much earlier than in the previous 2 years. Anglers can be successful in the spring using spinners and worms from shore. As the water warms in late spring, the trout will retreat to the deeper colder water and the use of a watercraft will be necessary to target the trout.

Stocking

DEC hatchery staff will deliver over 175,000 trout to 41 streams and 24 lakes within Region 4 this spring. Staff will start stocking catchable-size trout on April 1st, with most waters stocked by the 3rd week of April. During the month of May, some streams will receive a second stocking. Lakes and ponds will also be stocked in May. Stocking numbers will not change from 2015. The anticipated trout stocking summary for Spring 2016 is available.

Didymo

Anglers are reminded that Didymo was found in the Delaware River, East Branch system and Schoharie Creek. Precautions should be made to avoid spreading this invasive species of alga. Use of non-felt soled waders and disinfecting of equipment before entering another water body is encouraged.

Region 4 Access

Public fishing rights (PFR) maps for Region 4 are available. These maps are designed to provide anglers with location information for public fishing easements in the Region. PFR easements are also marked with yellow signs to help anglers find these locations on the stream. Please contact the regional office if you have any questions or believe that a section of PFR is posted incorrectly.

Adirondacks/Northeastern NY (DEC Region 5)

Brook Trout

Streams

This winter in the Eastern Adirondacks was much warmer than typical, and there was a lack of snow cover for much of the winter. Despite the lack of snow, temperatures were cold enough to produce "anchor ice" even in our larger trout streams. Anchor ice forms on the bed of streams, especially in riffles, and builds up from the stream bottom. When there is abundant snow, the snow can form an insulating surface layer, reducing anchor ice formation. However, that was not the case this past winter.

An abundance of ice in the rivers can affect trout fishing in three ways. First, extensive anchor ice formation during winter can increase the mortality of fish and invertebrates. Secondly, as the ice is breaking up, ice jams can form and "grind" their way down sections of the river. The good news is that some fish always survive these difficult conditions, and spring stocking will restore trout abundance in even the heavily impacted stream sections.

An extended cold spell could change conditions quickly, but anglers interested in Adirondack trout streams may actually be able to fish many of our streams in early April this year, several weeks earlier than usual. And the relative lack of snow means less run-off and lower than average spring-time flows.

Lakes and ponds

While remote ponds in the Adirondacks are rarely ice-free until mid-April, this spring's ice out is likely to be much earlier. The relatively warm winter means that there is less ice to melt (around 10" on many waters compared to more than 30" on some waters last winter). Once waters are ice-free and temperatures rise, surface trolling for salmon and lake trout is a good bet on the larger lakes. Brook trout pond fishing is best from ice-out through the end of May. Anglers are reminded that in many Adirondack ponds, the use of fish as bait is prohibited. Baitfish can be very serious competitors with brook trout and their introduction can be devastating to brook trout populations. For a list of these waters check the "Special Regulations by County" section in the Fishing Regulations Guide, or contact the DEC's Region 5 Fisheries Office in Ray Brook at (518) 897-1333 or Warrensburg at (518) 623-1240.

In some past years there has been a shortage of brook trout for stocking in the backcountry ponds. However, almost all of the brook trout waters received their full allotment of fish the last two years. Anglers can check on potential waters to fish using the links below.

Reclaimed Waters List

Pond Brook Trout Fingerling Stockings

Fish Stocking Lists

Lake George

Lake George's lake trout and salmon fishing should be a rod-bending experience this spring. The last few springs have had excellent runs of spawning smelt with lots of large lake trout feeding on the schooling smelt in river delta areas early in the spring fishing season. In Lake George, the abundant lake trout population is completely self-sustaining, without any supplemental stocking. Early indications from angler reports also point towards an excellent forecast for those willing to pursue Lake George salmon this season. Anglers are reporting more salmon caught this past season than in the last decade, including one lucky angler who landed a 15 pound salmon this past winter. As always the DEC is looking for anglers to participate in the Lake George Angler Diary program. Information gathered through the angler diary program allows us to better manage the fishery. For more information on the diary program please contact James Pinheiro at 518-623-1264 or email at james.pinheiro@dec.ny.gov.

Lake Champlain

Excellent tributary runs of landlocked Atlantic salmon last fall bode well for good fishing this year. The successful ongoing sea lamprey control program on Lake Champlain has resulted in fewer lamprey-caused deaths among landlocked salmon and lake trout, resulting in more and larger fish for anglers to catch. While the main salmon run occurs in the fall when salmon are returning to their home rivers to spawn, mid-April to late May can also be a good time to fish for landlocked salmon in the lower Saranac, Ausable and Bouquet rivers. During spring, salmon are attracted to the rivers by the warmer water and/or the increased flows from the spring run-off. In the fall, the main run is typically from mid-September into mid-November, and extends further upstream than the spring run.

On the open lake during spring and fall when water temperatures are cool, lake trout and salmon may be found near the surface. In the summer, down-riggers and lead core lines are handy for getting deep after surface waters become too warm for trout and salmon. Trolling or drifting are effective methods.

Western Adirondacks/North Central New York (DEC Region 6)

Wiscoy Angler

Due to the warm winter and lack of current snow cover, the streams should be in pretty good shape for opening day. The hatchery system will be able to stock a few streams before opening day in the southern part of Region 6. These streams include Sauquoit Creek, Mohawk River, Canada Creek and Lansing Kill in Oneida County and Crystal Creek in Lewis County.

Stocking

Stocking typically proceeds from the Mohawk Valley in mid-April north to St. Lawrence County throughout the month of May. If conditions allow, the Oswegatchie River below Cranberry Lake is the only river in the region that is stocked prior to April 1. The popular two-year-old brown trout stocking occurs in early May on some of the region's larger, more accessible streams such as Crystal and Otter Creeks (Lewis County), Sauquoit Creek (Oneida County) and the West Canada Creek (Oneida & Herkimer Counties), just to name a few.

Suggested fishing techniques

Worms usually produce the best catches this time of year when the water temperatures are colder and the fish are more sluggish. Spinners and salted minnows also are popular baits. For best results, fish the pools and slow, deep riffles. Fishing in the late afternoon after the water has been warmed by the sun is also productive.

Lake Ontario tributaries

Lake Ontario tributaries should also offer good fishing conditions for steelhead. Try Stony Creek, North and South Sandy Creeks, Lindsey Creek, Skinner Creek and the Black River in Watertown, from the Mill Street dam down to the Village of Dexter. Use egg sacs, single hook spinners, wet flies and streamers. Public Fishing Rights Maps are available for Region 6 Lake Ontario tributary streams and other inland trout streams.

Central New York/Eastern Finger Lakes (DEC Region 7)

Lake Ontario and tributaries

Steelhead anglers heading to tributaries of Lake Ontario do not have to wait until April 1 to begin fishing because there is no closed season for trout and salmon in these waters up to the first barrier impassable to fish. The peak of the spring steelhead run generally occurs in mid-to late March with fish averaging eight to ten pounds. The mild winter and low snow totals have provided good conditions for fishing but steelhead anglers at the Salmon River and other tributaries had to work harder than "normal" to hook up. Oswego River anglers have reported decent action for big browns and steelhead when river levels have permitted and we anticipate good fishing for the remainder of the early spring.For more information on steelhead fishing, check out Steelhead Fishing in Lake Ontario Tributaries. Near shore brown trout fishing can also be very productive during the spring. The peak of this fishery generally occurs in mid-April with the best areas being Fair Haven, Oswego Harbor, and Mexico Bay. It's a great opportunity for anglers to catch five to fifteen pound brown trout in the shallow near shore waters. For more information on fishing Lake Ontario, check out Trolling for Lake Ontario Trout and Salmon.

Finger Lakes and tributaries

The Region 7 Finger Lakes are also early season favorites. Good near shore fishing typically carries through to mid-June on Cayuga, Skaneateles, and Owasco Lakes. Cayuga Lake is well known for rainbow and brown trout, and along with Owasco Lake, offers excellent fishing for lake trout. Department efforts in 2014 to eradicate juvenile sea lamprey from Cayuga Inlet should lead to improved survival of trout in Cayuga Lake and fishing prospects for brown trout and landlocked salmon are expected to be very good, particularly during April and May at the south end of the lake. As round goby have become more prevalent in the lake, landlocked salmon and brown trout are feeding on them. So, if not catching browns or landlocks on traditional methods, try fishing near bottom with a goby imitating lure. Skaneateles Lake offers good fishing for lake trout, rainbow trout, and, along with Cayuga, provides an exceptional opportunity for landlocked salmon. Otisco Lake also offers good brown trout fishing during early April.

For the best opportunities to catch lake-run rainbow trout in the Finger Lake tributaries (which open to trout fishing on April 1), try Salmon Creek, Cayuga Inlet and Fall Creek on Cayuga Lake and Grout Brook on Skaneateles Lake. Owasco Inlet should also provide improved fishing this spring as the number of rainbow trout in Owasco Lake continues to increase, based on angler reports and diary data from 2015.

Stocked Streams

Weather permitting, we anticipate excellent early trout fishing opportunities in all of our stocked waters with the most notable being Nine Mile, Limestone and Butternut Creeks in Onondaga County; Oquaga and Nanticoke Creeks in Broome County; the Otselic River in Chenango and Cortland counties; Genegantslet Creek in Chenango County; Chittenango Creek and the Otselic River in Madison County; the west and east branches of Tioughnioga River in Cortland County; Fall and Virgil Creeks in Tompkins County; and Owego Creek, the east and west branches of Owego Creek, and Cayuta Creek in Tioga County. Stream Trout Fishing Methods is available online for people wishing to know more about fishing for trout in streams.

Special Regulations

Anglers are reminded that most waters in Region 7 are managed under a five-trout-daily-creel limit, with no more than two fish being greater than 12 inches. Check the Special Regulations by County section of your Freshwater Fishing guide. Also check the Finger Lakes and Tributaries Regulation section of the guide to view the regulations that are specific to these waters.

Fishing Information

Weekly fishing reports can be viewed on the Central New York Fishing Hotline web page or can be heard at 607-753-1551. Public fishing rights maps can also be viewed and downloaded from the DEC website.

West-Central New York/Western Finger Lakes (DEC Region 8)

Finger Lake Tributaries

Numerous trout fishing opportunities await anglers in Region 8. Beginning April 1, Finger Lakes tributaries such as Catharine Creek (Schuyler and Chemung Counties), Cold Brook (Steuben County), Naples Creek (Ontario County), and Springwater Creek (Livingston County) offer ample opportunities to pursue beautiful, quality rainbow trout in excess of five pounds, while catches of fish two to three pounds are common. Note that the daily limit is one rainbow trout per day with the minimum length of 15 inches. The Region will have a better handle on the spawning runs in these tributaries after the traditional spring sampling in March.

Brown Trout Streams

In addition to stream run rainbow trout, numerous streams throughout the region are full of stocked and wild brown trout. Year-round, quality fishing can be found in Cayuta Creek near Odessa (Schuyler and Chemung counties), throughout the Cohocton River from Cohocton to Bath (Steuben County), Irondequoit Creek (Monroe County) and Oatka Creek near Caledonia (Livingston and Monroe counties). Additional opportunities beginning April 1 for stocked brown trout can be found in Post Creek (Steuben and Chemung Counties), Meads Creek (Steuben County), and Canandaigua Outlet (Ontario County). This year, Region 8 will again provide stocking that is intended to provide better access for kids on Canandaigua Outlet in the Villages of Phelps and Shortsville.

Finger Lakes

Good trout (brown and rainbow) fishing may be found from shore along many of the western Finger Lakes while the surface temperatures remain cold. A noteworthy place to try is at Keuka Lake State Park (Branchport). Deep water can easily be found within casting range. Two similar locations on Seneca Lake are the piers at Watkins Glen and Geneva. Pristine shore fishing can also be found along the shores of Hemlock Lake and Canadice Lake. Note that the trout fishing in the Finger Lakes is open year-round.

Lake Ontario and Tributaries

Lake Ontario tributaries in Region 8 such as Oak Orchard Creek (Orleans County), Sandy Creek, Genesee River, Irondequoit Creek (Monroe County), and Maxwell Creek (Wayne County) should provide good steelhead fishing prior to, and after April 1. Most Lake Ontario tributaries are open for fishing year-round.

Early April should offer opportunities for near-shore fishing on Lake Ontario. Brown trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon and a few chinooks should be available near shore. Pier fishing and shallow water trolling in mid- to late-April should be very productive. Look for trout and salmon "hot spots" in stained water pockets from Rochester to Sodus and vicinity. The turbid water warms slightly more than the surrounding water. Even small reaches having only two or three-degree warmer surface temperatures attract and hold these fish.

Fishing Hotline

Weekly fishing reports can be viewed on the Central New York Fishing Hotline web page or can be heard at 607-753-1551. To assist anglers in finding public fishing rights (PFR) areas on regional trout streams, color brochures of those streams can be found and downloaded from the DEC website. A list of boating access sites may be found by visiting the DEC website.

Angler Diary Program

The Region 8 Fisheries Unit will be looking for anglers to participate in an angler diary program for Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua, Honeoye, Hemlock, Canadice, Conesus, Waneta Lakes and Irondequoit, Sodus and Port Bays. Information gathered through the angler diary program is extremely useful for helping to better manage the fishery. For more information, please contact Region 8 Fisheries at 585-266-2466 or email at fwfish8@dec.ny.gov.

Western New York (DEC Region 9)

Great Lakes and tributaries

Looking for some excitement before the traditional trout opener on April 1st? Trout fishing on the Great Lakes tributaries (up to first impassible barrier) is permitted all year, and the spring steelhead (rainbow trout) run is in full swing now. Catches of large lake-run steelhead peak in mid to late March. The region offers plenty of steelhead fishing options on the Lake Erie Tributaries and Lake Ontario Tributaries. During March and April, anglers on the Lower Niagara River have good opportunity to catch steelhead and lake trout from boat or shore. April is also a great time to troll in shallower Lake Ontario waters on the Niagara Bar and along the Niagara County shoreline for brown trout, lake trout, steelhead and Coho salmon. Shore anglers can target the same species from the piers at Wilson and Olcott Harbors.

Trout Stocking

After a mild winter, there shouldn't be any ice or snowmelt to impact western New York trout stocking that is slated to start in late March. Each spring, thousands of yearling brown, brook and rainbow trout are stocked in over 80 different streams, lakes and ponds in Region 9. Many of these waters also receive generous plantings of two-year-old brown trout (12-15 inches). Keep track of the stocking dates by visiting the Fishing Hotline or by calling the Randolph Stocking Hotline at 716-358-4950.

Picture of a brown trout

Traditionally top rural stocked streams include the Genesee River, Cattaraugus, Ischua, East Koy and Goose Creeks. However, there are also a number of stocked waters in the greater Buffalo-Niagara Falls area, including East Branch Cazenovia Creek, Little Buffalo Creek, Ellicott Creek and Hyde Park Lake. DEC now also stocks 3,000 yearling rainbow trout in Cayuga Creek, within Como Lake County Park in Lancaster. Inland trout lakes in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties offer good access for shore and car-top boat angling. Allen, Case, Harwood, New Albion, Quaker and Red House lakes are generously stocked after ice thaws. For a complete list of trout stocking waters and number of trout stocked see the 2016 Spring Trout Stocking lists. Maps showing Public Fishing Rights easements on streams or Contour Maps for inland lakes are also available online.

Wild Trout Streams

Western New York has much to offer the wild trout angler, with a number of streams supporting quality wild trout populations. Wiscoy Creek is thought by many as the top wild brown trout stream in the region, although Clear Creek (Ellington) and Elm Creek are also good bets for wild browns. Clear Creek (Arcade), Lime Lake Outlet, Elton Creek, McKinstry Creek and Mansfield Creek sustain populations of wild rainbow and wild brown trout. For wild trout in a truly wild setting, anglers can try many streams in Allegany State Park. A list of region 9 Wild Trout Streams is available online. Anglers can also view summaries of Fish Population Surveys conducted on many of the region's wild trout streams.

Accessible Trout Angling Opportunities

Accessible fishing platform on Wiscoy Creek

A new accessible fishing platform has been installed on Wiscoy Creek in the Village of Pike, where anglers with disabilities can target wild brown trout. Accessible trout fishing platforms can also be found on the Genesee River and Birch Run Ponds.

Fishing Hotline

For weekly updates on fishing conditions, catches and trout stocking, anglers can check the Lake Erie Fishing Hotline and Western New York Fishing Hotline web pages or call (716) 855-FISH.