Department of Environmental Conservation

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Seneca River

The Seneca River is a large river that begins as the outflow of Seneca Lake (Seneca County) and flows eastward for approximately 61 miles to Three-Rivers (Onondaga County) where it combines with the Oneida and Oswego Rivers, with the Oswego River then emptying into Lake Ontario. The Barge Canal, Erie Canal and Cayuga-Seneca Canal systems are all part of the Seneca River.

Public Access Sites

On Hayes Road, located at 3664 Hayes Road, Lysander. Hard surface ramp. 9 cars and trailers.
On Bonta Bridge Road. Hand launch. 10 cars.
On Route 38 approximately 3 miles north of the village of Port Byron. Gravel ramp. 15 cars and trailers.
In the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge Area off Route 20, on the Barge Canal just south of Freebridge in the town of Tyre. Hard surface ramp. 25 cars and trailers.

Fish Species

Walleye, tiger musky, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, white perch, brown bullhead, channel catfish, freshwater drum, bowfin, common carp, longnose gar, white sucker, round goby and gizzard shad.

General Fishing Information

The Seneca River has become a popular fishing location for bass and carp tournament anglers. For largemouth and smallmouth bass try spinnerbaits, bass jigs, crankbaits and plastics around the woody structure along the shore. Gizzard shad are abundant in the river and are one of the primary prey species for the gamefish in the river. So, using shad colored baits can be good. When targeting tiger musky, using a wire leader is highly recommended. For carp, try fishing with corn or one of the many commercial carp baits. Chumming the area you plan on fishing with corn can also help bring carp in and hold them in the area.


Special fishing regulations apply (leaving DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website).

Fisheries Management

The Cayuga County section of the Seneca River is stocked annually with approximately 7,600 tiger musky and starting in 2015, it will also receive 24,000 walleye. Cross Lake (Onondaga County) is stocked with 33,500 walleye and 7,200 tiger musky. Due to the large number of locks and dams found on the Seneca River and the water bodies associated with it, some water bodies have been combined. Water body definitions can be found under Water Body (leaving DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website) in the freshwater Fishing Guide. A printable PDF overview map can also be viewed by clicking on the map to the left. Personally collected baitfish (leaving DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website) may not be transported between these water bodies.