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The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has added a link to a translation service developed by Microsoft Inc., entitled Bing Translator, as a convenience to visitors to the DEC website who speak languages other than English.

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Fall Creek

Fall Creek, located in Cayuga and Tompkins counties, is a major tributary to Cayuga Lake. The creek begins near Lake Como and then meanders for approximately 33 miles to Ithaca, where it enters into Cayuga Lake.

Public Access

There are 10.9 miles of Public Fishing Rights (PFR's) along Fall Creek. There are two official PFR parking areas and one trail head. Anglers also use unofficial pull-offs along the stream.

Parking Areas

  • State Highway 90. On State Highway 90 approximately five miles west of Homer.
  • Lake Como Road. From State Highway 90 parking area go west on 90 about 300 yards to Lake Como Road. Two miles north on Lake Como Road.

Fall Creek Public Fishing Rights Brochure and Maps (545 kB PDF)

General Fishing Information

Brown trout, brook trout and smallmouth bass are the main game fish above Ithaca Falls. Below Ithaca Falls, the fishery is a Finger Lakes tributary fishery where lake run rainbow trout, brown trout, Atlantic salmon and smallmouth bass are the main species. Portions of Fall Creek are open to trout fishing year-round. Anglers have the opportunity to fish this section 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 after things have had a chance to warm up a little also helps.

Below Ithaca Falls, the lake run trout and salmon fishery is generally a spring and fall event. Rainbow trout are the main salmonid in the creek in the spring, although some Atlantic salmon and brown trout are taken in the spring as well though. Rainbows enter the stream on their spring spawning run. Good baits are egg sacs, streamers and night crawlers. In the fall Atlantic salmon and brown trout begin entering the stream on their fall spawning runs. The timing of the run varies from year to year and is often dependent on high-water events, with fish entering the creek after rain events. Generally this takes place between October and December. The same baits that work for the rainbows will also work for the Atlantic salmon and brown trout. The water is often low and clear during the fall, so it pays to use a more stealthy approach when fishing such as:

  • Use a lighter leader and main line.
  • Work upstream (against the current) whenever possible because trout will usually face into the current and are less likely to see you approaching from behind.
  • Wear camouflage clothing and hats or "natural colors" rather than bright colors.
  • Move slowly and disturb the water as little as possible.
  • Polarized glasses will aid you when wading, and in seeing fish and fish holding areas.

Please view Fishing for Stream Trout for more advice on trout fishing.

Fisheries Management

The upper section of Fall Creek is stocked annually with approximately 2,500 year-old brook trout (8-9"), and the lower section gets around 5,400 year-old brown trout (8-9").

Fishing Regulations

Special fishing regulations exist for trout in Cayuga and Tompkins counties, so please review the Special Regulations by County section of your Freshwater Fishing Guide. Finger Lakes Tributary Regulations apply to the lower part of Fall Creek, the section below Ithaca Falls.