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Ninemile Creek

Ninemile Creek, located in Onondaga County, begins as the outflow of Otisco Lake and flows for approximately 22 miles to Onondaga Lake. There are five miles of Public Fishing Rights (PFR) along this medium sized mostly open stream. Ninemile Creek is a very popular trout fishing destination as it supports good numbers of both stocked and wild brown trout, and it's only a short drive from the city of Syracuse.

Public Access

5 Miles of PFR. There are five PFR parking areas and many unofficial pulloffs along the stream.

  • Route 174 parking areas. There are four PFR parking areas along Route 174, all located between the villages of Marcellus and Camillus.
  • Amboy parking area and canoe/kayak launch. A half mile south of Amboy on Tompson Road. Parking for 8 cars.
  • Marcellus County Park. Located off Pratt Road in the village of Marcellus. For directions and hours visit their link under links leaving DEC's website.

Ninemile Creek Public Fishing Rights Brochures (486 kB PDF)

General Fishing Information

The upper section of stream between Otisco Lake and the Village of Marcellus primarily supports warmwater fish like tiger musky, smallmouth bass, and some common carp, but trout are also stocked to support a put-and-take fishery. The tiger musky are escapees from fish stocked in the lake. Both wild and stocked brown trout along with the occasional wild brook trout are found in the middle section of stream from Marcellus to Camillus. This section contains the best trout habitat mainly due to a number of cold water springs in this area, making the water temperature more hospitable for trout. Between Camillus and the end of Ninemile Creek at Onondaga Lake, warmwater fish become more abundant in the stream again, but wild brown trout are still present nearly all the way to the lake.

Most of the fishing pressure takes place during spring and early-summer shortly after the trout are stocked. Anglers use both natural and artificial baits, and fly fishing is also popular on the stream. Wild or holdover trout, which are abundant in the stream, can often be more difficult to catch than the stocked fish. Generally using a more stealthy approach works better for these trout. Some anglers even target large brown trout by fishing after dark when there are fewer anglers and less commotion on the stream. Please view Fishing for Stream Trout for more advice on fishing for both wild and stocked trout.

Fisheries Management

The stream is stocked annually by Onondaga County's Carpenter's Brook Fish Hatchery with around 11,500 one year-old brown trout (8-9"), 4,300 two year-old brown trout (12-14") and 2,280 one year-old brook trout (9-11"). In 2004-2005 a major habitat improvement project was accomplished on Ninemile Creek as a joint effort by NYSDEC Region 7 Fisheries unit, New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Town of Marcellus and the Village of Marcellus.

Fishing Regulations

Special fishing regulation exist for trout in Onondaga County, so please review the Special Regulations by County section of your Freshwater Fishing Guide.

Fish Survey Report 2007

Sampling was conducted at Ninemile Creek to determine whether habitat improvement work completed in 2004 and 2005 had any effect on the standing stock of trout within the project boundaries. Habitat work at Site 1 (Marcellus Park upstream of the foot bridge), conducted in 2004, was funded and implemented by the Town of Marcellus in order to stop erosion problems. In 2005 funding ($40,000) came from a water quality violation at the old Marcellus Paper Company facility. During both years Carl Schwartz of the USFWS Cortland office oversaw all phases of habitat work design and installation.

Habitat work at the 2nd Fisherman Parking Area downstream of Marcellus (Site 2) was designed to:
(1) alleviate a scour problem at the RT 174 culvert, and eliminate a velocity barrier to fish migration;
(2) stabilize a high eroding bank, and;
(3) narrow an overly wide riffle area.

Habitat work below the 1st Fisherman Parking Area downstream of Marcellus (Site 3) was designed to protect a failing section of gabion basket retaining wall and in the process provide fish habitat. In this area boulders were strategically placed so that they reduced velocity along the toe of the gabion baskets and provided pocket water habitat for fish. Because gabion walls on both streams confined the channel, the stream in this area had down-cut over two feet in the past 40 years and was nothing more than a long (1,000+ feet), continuous riffle/run complex with no pool habitat.

Sampling conducted at Sites 2 and 3 revealed a significant increase in the number of trout within each section. The total number of trout caught in Site 2 increased from 31 trout with an estimated collection efficiency of 75% to 64 trout with an estimated efficiency of 65%. The total number of trout caught at Site 3 increased from 97 to 124 trout with about the same level of collection efficiency. We believe the increase in numbers in both locations is directly related to the improved holding water that was created by the work.

The catch rate of trout in Site 1 was similar to that observed in 2004. Although the pool habitat created in 2004 is a large improvement to what was previously there, high water temperatures in this stretch will continue to severely limit the potential for summer trout survival.