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Waterport Reservoir

Physical Features:

Elevation: 331
Area: 335 acres
Town: Carlton

Access:

Orleans County maintains a concrete boat launch with parking for 8 cars/trailers on Oak Orchard River Road (NYS Route 279).

Fish Species:

Northern Pike, Channel Catfish, Brown Bullhead, Rock Bass, Pumpkinseed, Bluegill, Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Black Crappie, Walleye, Yellow Perch.

Fishing:

Waterport Reservoir is a hydroelectric reservoir created by damming Oak Orchard Creek. The NYS Barge Canal is a major tributary and fisheries influence. It has been stocked annually with varying numbers of pond-reared walleye fingerlings and fry from 1989 to the present. The walleye fingerlings were raised by members of the Orleans County Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs as part of a cooperative program. NYSDEC has provided between 20,000 and 30,000 walleye fry annually, use of a rearing pond on its Tonawanda Wildlife Management Area, guidelines for raising and stocking fingerlings, and assessment surveys. Since 2007, walleye fry were not raised to fingerling stage by cooperators, and instead were stocked directly into Waterport Reservoir. Periodic DEC assessment survey catch rates suggest a marginal walleye population which increased substantially from 1989 to 1992, remained at about the same level through 1994, and then decreased considerably from 1999 to 2009. Growth exhibited by Waterport Reservoir walleye compares favorably with the New York average. Survey catch rates suggest an acceptable density of black bass in the reservoir. Largemouth and smallmouth bass exhibited slightly below average growth for New York. Northern pike appear to be at low density in Waterport Reservoir. The assessment surveys also suggest that size structure and condition are average for crappies, sunfish, rock bass, and yellow perch. It is known from reliable angler reports that yellow perch contribute significantly to panfish catches during the winter ice fishery. White perch are an important component of the Waterport Reservoir fish community and achieve fair size, but it is unclear if they are of importance to anglers.

Aquatic Vegetation:

Waterport Reservoir has a steep sided, rocky shoreline with fluctuating water levels which limits aquatic vegetation to shallow areas near the dam and creek inlets.

Regulations:

Statewide Angling Regulations apply.

Fisheries Report

Abstract

Waterport Reservoir, a 335-acre hydroelectric impoundment of Oak Orchard Creek in Orleans County, New York, has been stocked annually with varying numbers of pond-reared walleye (Sander vitreus) fingerlings and fry from 1989 to 2009. DEC's Region 8 Fisheries Unit conducted a warm water fisheries survey of the reservoir on September 14, 15, and 16, 2009. The survey included collection of pertinent chemical and physical data and sampling of fish populations by electrofishing and gill netting. Three net sets (49 total hours) and 1.6 hours of electrofishing yielded 19 fish species and a total of 346 fish. Eighty six bluegill sunfish accounted for 29% of the catch. The second and third most commonly caught fish were largemouth bass (74, 25%) and white perch (53, 18%). Six total walleyes were captured, the electrofishing CPUE was 0.64 walleye per hour, and the walleye CPUE by gill netting was 1.7 per 350 ft net night in 2009. If the electrofishing and gill net catch rates were reflective of the density of walleyes in the reservoir, the population increased substantially from 1989 to 1992, remained at about the same level through 1994, and then decreased considerably from 1999 to 2009. Based on age analysis of the 6 walleyes captured in the 2009 survey, all likely resulted from the pond fingerling stocking program. It is interesting that the year classes best represented are those of 2003 and 2001 (2 fish each or 33% of the sample each). The 2003 year class was the largest (17,455 fingerlings stocked) and the 2001 year class was the smallest (1,482 fingerlings stocked). Either survival of this small lot of fish was exceptional or wild fish contributed significantly to that year class. Growth exhibited by Waterport Reservoir walleye compares favorably with the New York average. The mean condition factor and mean relative weight suggest that walleye are underweight at length when compared to most walleyes from other waters. The 2009 CPUE by electrofishing for largemouth (Micropterus salmoides), and smallmouth (Micropterus dolomieu) bass combined was 55.8 bass per hour, likely reflecting a moderate density of bass in the reservoir. Size structure indices for largemouth and smallmouth bass are average, suggesting stable populations. Waterport Reservoir largemouth and smallmouth bass exhibited slightly below average growth for New York and are near average weight at length when compared to most bass from other waters. Despite small sample sizes for yellow perch (Perca flavescens), it is known from reliable angler reports that they have contributed significantly to panfish catches during the winter ice fishery. White perch (Morone americana) are an important component of the fish community and achieve fair size, but it is unclear if they are of importance to Waterport Reservoir anglers.

See full report (590 KB PDF)



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