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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)

Fish Species

Brown trout, brook trout, white sucker, walleye, and smallmouth bass.

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.

Regulations

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

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").

Fish Survey Report 2016

A 2.2 mile section of Chittenango Creek became a Catch-and-Release (C&R) artificial lure only trout fishery in Oct 2010. On August 23, 2016, an electrofishing survey was conducted at two standard sample sites within the C&R section. These two sites had been surveyed previously on August 20, 2009 and on August 20, 2013. The purpose of this survey was to continue the assessment of the C&R regulation to determine its impact to the trout population within the reach.

Only 48 brown trout were collected in 2016, with a size range of 3.2 to 18.3 inches, a mean length of 6.0 inches, and a catch per unit effort (CPUE) of 52 trout/hour. This CPUE is higher than the 46 trout/hour from the 2009 survey (prior to the C&R regulation), but lower than the 75 trout/hour from the 2013 survey. The 2016 mean length of 6.0 inches was the smallest of the three years, 7.2 inches (2009) and 9.4 inches ( 2013). The proportion of wild trout in 2016 (77%) was the highest of the three sample years, with 73% (2009) and 67% (2013). It should be noted that 2012 was a very warm and dry summer, which may have impacted trout survival, as was the summer of 2016. Currently, it does not appear that the C&R regulation has had any impact to the trout population within the two standard sample sites. These two sites will be re-surveyed again in 2018 to continue monitoring the C&R section.

Number of Brown Trout Collected per Year and Length Group
Length Group (Inches) Brown Trout 2009 Brown Trout 2013 Brown Trout 2016
3 22 1 21
4 13 4 12
5 0 1 0
6 3 4 0
7 16 16 2
8 7 15 4
9 5 8 2
10 2 8 2
11 0 10 0
12 2 5 2
13 2 5 0
14 4 2 0
15 2 0 1
16 0 2 1
17 2 0 0
18 0 0 1

Chittenango Creek Angler Survey 2014

An angler survey was conducted from April 1 through October 15, 2014, on the brown trout (Salmo trutta) stocked sections of Chittenango Creek, Madison County. The stocked section was broken into four reaches based on the stocking policy and management type. The four reaches were named upper, lower-1, catch and release and lower-2. The purpose of the survey was to estimate the amount of fishing effort expended in the stocked sections of Chittenango Creek. This information will be used to help refine stocking policies for the four stocked sections by updating and improving the estimates of angler effort. Fishing pressure for the 19.3 miles of stream was estimated to be 13,893 angler hours, or 171 hours/acre during the survey period. The catch and release section had the highest overall effort with 455 hours/acre. The overall trout catch rate for Chittenango Creek anglers was 1.18 trout/hour. The catch and release section had the highest average catch rate with 1.42 trout/hour. The estimated total brown trout catch ranged from 15,492 when summing the catches by stream section, to 16,214 when adding up the monthly totals. These values are 0.98 and 1.03 times the 15,700 trout that were stocked in the stream in 2014. The estimated brown trout harvest rate was 12%. Total brown trout harvest ranged from 1,211 when estimating harvest by stream section to 1,362 when summing the monthly values. Read the full report (PDF)(950 KB)