Department of Environmental Conservation

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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 four official PFR parking areas and anglers also use unofficial pull-offs along the stream.

Parking Areas

  • Old Stage Road. From State Highway 90 go south on Hinman Road to Groton City. Take Groton City Road south to Old Stage Road.
  • Hinman Road. From State Highway 90 go south on Hinman Road for approximately 1.3 miles. Parking area is just past the County Boundary.
  • 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.

Decinfo Locator- Interactive Trout Stream Fishing Map (Decinfo Locator is best viewed on a desktop computer).

Trout Stream Fishing Map User Guide ("How to" instructions for using the fishing map on Decinfo Locator.)

Fish Species

Brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout, Atlantic salmon, smallmouth bass, and white

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.

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.


Statewide Fishing Regulations Apply.

Finger Lakes and Tributary Fishing Regulations apply to the lower part of Fall Creek, the section below Ithaca Falls.

Fisheries Management

The Stocked reach from the Cayuga/Tompkins County Line near the intersection of Hinman Road and Hatfield Road upstream to the Peth Road bridge is stocked annually with approximately 1,310 year-old brook trout (9"). The Stocked reach from School Street (Route 105) in McLean upstream to Groton City Road (Route 103) in Groton City is stocked annually with around 1,800 year-old brown trout (9") and 200 two year-old brown trout (14").