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Chittenango Creek

Chittenango Creek, located in Madison and Onondaga counties, runs from Nelson Swamp (north of the village of Cazenovia) to Oneida Lake. Chittenango Creek is one of the more popular trout fishing streams in Central New York. There are 4.8 miles of Public Fishing Rights (PFR) along this medium sized, partially open and swift flowing stream. Besides being a prime trout stream, it is also a very scenic waterway with a large 167 foot waterfall located in Chittenango Falls State Park. No fishing allowed on a small section of stream directly above the falls for safety reasons (park regulation). Downstream of the falls fishing is permitted in the Park, so you can catch trout and view this spectacular falls at the same time.

Public Access

There are 4.8 miles of PFR along Chittenango Creek. There are four PFR parking areas along the stream and numerous unofficial pulloff's as the stream borders Route 13 from Cazenovia to Chittenango.

Parking Areas

  • Route 13 parking area. 2.25 miles south of Cazenovia on Route 13. Parking for 4 cars.
  • Route 13 parking area. 3.5 miles north of Cazenovia on Route 13. Parking for 10 cars.
  • Emhoff Road parking area. 4.5 miles north of Cazenovia on Route 13 to Carey Hill Road, turn right onto Emhoff Road. Parking for 4 cars.
  • Olmstead Road parking area. 2.5 miles south of Chittenango on Route 13 take right onto Olmstead Road. Parking for 3 cars.

There is a universally assessable fishing platform in the Village of Chittenango that was created in 2009 by the Madison County Trout Unlimited Chapter. A trail head kiosk and parking area are located in the village of Chittenango just west of the junction of Route 5 and 13.

Chittenango Creek Public Fishing Rights Brochure and Maps (PDF) (500 kB)

General Fishing Information

The main gamefish found in the upper section of stream are stocked and wild brown trout and the occasional wild brook trout. As you get closer to Oneida Lake, the lower section begins to have some warm water species like walleye, smallmouth bass and panfish. Most of the fishing pressure takes place on the stream during early spring shortly after the trout are stocked. Much of the stream is open to fishing year-round, so anglers have the option of fishing during the winter and early spring. When fishing during these cold water periods, concentrate on the deeper holes, fish slowly, and keep baits near bottom. Sometimes fishing during the mid-day period when things have had a chance to warm up also helps. Please view Fishing for Stream Trout for more advice on trout fishing.

Fisheries Management

Chittenango Creek is stocked annually with around 14,300 one year-old brown trout (8-9") and 1,900 two year-old brown trout (12-15").

Fishing Regulations

There are special fishing regulations for Chittenango Creek, so please review the Special Regulations by County section of your Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide. The most recent special regulation is a 1.8 mile catch-and-release only section from Town of Fenner/Town of Sullivan town line at mile marker 1219 on Route 13 to mile marker 1237 south of village of Chittenango line. This section is open year round, catch and release only, artificial lures only.

Fish Survey Report 2013

Management of a two mile section of Chittenango Creek, a popular trout stream in Madison County, changed to "Catch-and-Release" (C&R) artificial lure only trout fishery in Oct 2010. On August 20, 2009, prior to implementation of the C&R regulation, Region 7 Fisheries staff conducted an electrofishing survey at two sites within the proposed C&R area to gather baseline data on the trout population. On August 20, 2013, fisheries staff re-surveyed those same two sites to determine whether the C&R regulation has impacted the trout population in the reach. In 2009, 80 brown trout (73% wild, based on observations of deformed or eroded fins) were collected with a length range of 80-443 mm, mean length of 184 mm. The 2013 survey yielded 81 brown trout (67% wild) with a size range of 96-421 mm, mean length of 239 mm. We anticipated finding significantly more brown trout in 2013 as the result of the C&R regulation, but that was not the case. Despite similar numbers caught, the size distributions of the samples from the two surveys were significantly different. Increased mean size of the 2013 sample of trout was in part due to a nearly complete absence of young fish. Young-of-year trout (<106 mm) made up 44% of the brown trout sample in 2009 versus just 2.5% in 2013. The warm dry summer of 2012 and/or the major flooding that has occurred since may have affected survival of young trout. Increased abundance of older trout may be a result of the Catch-and-Release policy, but more sampling will be needed to say for certain. We will re-survey these same sites again in several years to determine whether abundance of older trout remains higher than prior to establishment of the C&R regulation.

Number of Brown Trout Collected per Year and Length Group
Length Group (Inches) Brown Trout 2009 Brown Trout 2013
3 22 1
4 13 4
5 0 1
6 3 4
7 16 16
8 7 15
9 5 8
10 2 8
11 0 10
12 2 5
13 2 5
14 4 2
15 2 0
16 0 2
17 2 0