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Seneca River

The Seneca River is a large river that begins at the outflow of Seneca Lake (Seneca County) and flows eastward for approximately 61 miles to Three-Rivers (Onondaga County) where it combines with the Oneida and Oswego Rivers, with the Oswego then emptying into Lake Ontario.

Several portions of the New York State Canal System (leaves DEC website) include the Seneca River. An interactive map of the canal system is also available (leaves DEC website).

Public Access Sites

On Hayes Road, located at 3664 Hayes Road, Lysander. Hard surface ramp. 9 cars and trailers.
On Bonta Bridge Road. Hand launch. 10 cars.
On Route 38 approximately 3 miles north of the village of Port Byron. Gravel ramp. 15 cars and trailers.
In the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge Area off Route 20, on the Barge Canal just south of Freebridge in the town of Tyre. Hard surface ramp. 25 cars and trailers.

Fish Species

Walleye, tiger musky, northern pike, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, white perch, brown bullhead, channel catfish, freshwater drum, bowfin, common carp, longnose gar, white sucker, round goby and gizzard shad.

General Fishing Information

The Seneca River has become a popular fishing location for bass and carp tournament anglers. For largemouth and smallmouth bass try spinnerbaits, bass jigs, crankbaits and plastics around the woody structure along the shore. Gizzard shad are abundant in the river and are one of the primary prey species for the gamefish in the river. So, using shad colored baits can be good.

When targeting tiger musky, using a wire leader is highly recommended. For carp, try fishing with corn or one of the many commercial carp baits. Chumming the area you plan on fishing with corn can also help bring carp in and hold them in the area.


Cayuga County Special Regulations
Onondaga County Special Regulations
Seneca County Special Regulations

Fisheries Management

The Cayuga County section of the Seneca River is stocked annually with approximately 7,600 tiger musky and 24,000 walleye fingerlings. Cross Lake (Onondaga County) is also stocked with 33,500 walleye and 7,200 tiger musky.

Due to the large number of locks and dams found on the Seneca River and the waterbodies associated with it, some waterbody stocking efforts have been combined. Waterbody definitions can be found in the freshwater Fishing Guide.

Personally collected baitfish may not be transported between these water bodies.

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