The Canisteo River flows southeasterly through Steuben County until it enters the Tioga River near Erwins. The river corridor consists of a mix of residential, agricultural, and forested lands. The upstream portions of the river, near Hornell, are fast flowing, while the downstream portions of the river are wide and slower moving.
There are many bridge crossings that provide access for anglers. Please respect private property when shore fishing; access is by landowner permission. Canoeing and kayaking are also popular and are options for anglers who want to access more of the river. The Canisteo River is part of the Chemung River Basin Trail, and there are four car top boat launches along the river:
- On Dineen Rd just outside of the Village of Canisteo. Hand launch. Parking for 15 cars.
- In the Village of Cameron Mills at the Route 110 bridge. Hand launch. Parking for 7 cars.
- In the Village of Rathbone at the Route 21 bridge. Hand launch. Parking for 25 cars.
- Off Route 417 in the Village of Addison. Hand launch. Parking for 25 cars.
General Fishing Information
The Canisteo River is stocked with about 2,700 yearling (8-9 inches) brown trout and 400 two-year-old (12-15 inches) brown trout annually. There are six stocking locations between the Village of Arkport and the City of Hornell. The daily creel limit for trout is five, with no more than two over 12 inches. Some good methods for catching stream trout include casting small spinners or drifting live bait like nightcrawlers. Fly fishing with weighted nymphs or dry flies during insect hatches can also be effective.
In the lower section, from around Canisteo downstream, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and walleye are the main gamefish. Sunfish, brown bullhead, and common carp can also be found in the lower river. Smallmouth and largemouth bass are slow growing but fairly common in the Canisteo River. Try fishing deep pools or areas with structure such as downed trees. Spinner baits, jerk baits, spoons, crayfish, nightcrawlers, and minnows are all good choices for catching bass. Walleye can be caught by fishing in the pools with a jig tipped with a worm or minnow. Stickbaits and deep diving crankbaits also work well for walleye. Walleye fishing can be more productive first thing in the morning or just before dark. The mouths of major tributaries of the Canisteo River are popular areas to fish for walleye. Common carp are abundant in the river and can be caught by drifting corn or dough balls.
Special Regulations exist for the Canisteo River, so please review the Steuben County Special Fishing Regulations section of your fishing guide.