Salmon Creek, located in Cayuga and Tompkins counties, is a major tributary of Cayuga Lake. Salmon Creek begins near Scirpio Center. From there it meanders for approximately 25 miles to Cayuga Lake. Salmon Creek is a popular April 1st, opening day of trout season, fishing destination as it typically receives a good run of rainbow trout.
There are 1.1 miles of Public Fishing Rights (PFR's) along Salmon Creek. There are three official PFR parking areas, and anglers also use unofficial pull offs along the stream. Two Town of Lansing Municipal parks also border sections of the stream: Ludlowville Park and Myers Park. The Town of Lansing website can be found in the right hand column under links leaving DEC website.
- Myers Road. From 34B head south on Myers Road to DEC parking area access road.
- Ludlowville Road. From 34B head north on Ludlowville Road approximately 0.6 miles to parking area.
- Mill Street. From Ludlowville parking area head north on Ludlowville Road to intersection with Mill Street. Continue east on Mill Street to parking area.
General Fishing Information
Stocked brown trout and the occasional wild brook trout are the main game fish above Ludlowville Falls. Below Ludlowville 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. Anglers use both natural and artifical baits, and fly fishing is also popular on the stream.
The lake run fishery is generally a spring and fall event. Rainbow trout enter the stream on their spring spawning run. The timing of this run varies from year to year, with water temperature often influencing how long fish remain in the stream. A cold spring usually slows spawning and more fish remain in the stream through April 1st, the opening day of trout season. If it's an early or warm spring, some of the rainbow trout may have finished spawning and left the stream before opening day. Good baits for the rainbow trout are egg sacs (trout or salmon eggs), egg imitating flies and plastics, trout beads, streamers, and night-crawlers. Use just enough weight so that your bait just ticks bottom and drifts through the pool or riffle naturally. For more information, view Fishing for Stream Trout.
Like many Finger Lakes tributaries, Salmon Creek is often very crowded with anglers on opening day, and stream etiquette can go a long way in making everyone's day a pleasurable one. Some good tips to follow are:
• Elbow room to fish is a common courtesy.
• The stationary or slow moving angler should be given room by over taking them noiselessly out of the water and re-entering as far away as practical.
• Wading right up to another angler could disturb a pod of feeding fish and no one appreciates this type of conduct.
• Pleasant conversations are OK, so long as you don't disturb other anglers.
In the fall Atlantic salmon and brown trout begin entering the stream on their fall spawning runs. The timing of these runs also vary from year to year and are often dependent on high-water events, with fish entering the creek after rain events. Generally this takes place between October and late-November. 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 whenever possible as 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.
Year-round fishing opportunity
The section of Salmon Creek above Ludlowville Falls is 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.
The upper section of Salmon Creek is stocked annually with around 4,100 year-old brown trout (8-9"), and approximately 30,000 rainbow trout (2-6"). The brown trout are stocked for a put-and-take fishery. The rainbows however, are stocked in the stream where they'll spend one to two years and then migrate out of the stream to the lake. They return to Salmon Creek as spawning adults.
Special fishing regulations exist for trout in Cayuga and Tompkins County, so please review the Special Regulations by County section of your Freshwater Fishing Guide. In the lower part of Salmon Creek, below Ludlowville Falls, Finger Lakes Tributary regulations applies.