Fishing Guide to Small Lakes in Cattaraugus County

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In Cattaraugus County, anglers have access to five small lakes that provide good angling for trout in the spring and bass and panfish in the summer.

Quaker and Red House Lakes are located in Allegany State Park, and stocked each year as well.  Fishing license is required in the park. 

Harwood and Case Lakes are located in north-eastern Cattaraugus County, while New Albion lake is in the western part of the county.

The public has access to the entire shore of these lakes and all five provide facilities for hand launching of small boats and canoes. Gasoline motors are not allowed on these lakes, however electric motors are allowed.

All five lakes are open to fishing year-round, with ice fishing and the use of bait fish allowed.

Trout in the lakes are regulated with no minimum size limit, a five fish/day creel and no closed season. All other fish species are regulated with statewide minimum size limits, creel limits and open seasons.

Trout Fishing

All five lakes are stocked each spring with yearling brook, brown and rainbow trout as well as two year old brown trout, raised at the Randolph and Caledonia fish hatcheries. Trout are usually stocked in late March or early April, depending on ice cover, and then again in May. In some years the lakes receive surplus brood stock fish that range from 15"-25". These fish are usually stocked in October. Trout anglers do well in the spring with baits such as nightcrawlers and salted minnows. Spinning lures work well and fly anglers also do well with wets, dries and streamers. The best trout angling in these lakes occurs in April, May and early June. After mid-June, the lakes warm past the 70 degree mark and trout head into deeper water. In most years, these lakes experience dissolved oxygen depletion in the colder waters, below 20 feet deep. Because of this, few trout are able to find water that is cold enough and well oxygenated enough to allow them to live through the summer. The trout that do make it through the summer, will provide some trout angling in the fall.

Bass and Panfish

Although anglers usually think of these five lakes as "trout lakes". they all provide good to excellent angling for bass and panfish. Largemouth bass are found in all the lakes and in addition, Quaker Lake provides good action for smallmouth bass. Growth rates for these bass are good, usually reaching 12" by age four or five. Bass anglers will do well by working the edges of weed beds and along drop offs. Try using spinner baits, rubber worms and minnow or crayfish imitations. Panfish species in these lakes include yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie and brown bullhead. Growth rates on these fish are fair to good. Baits such as worms and salted minnows produce well, as do jigs and small lures. In the springtime when sunfish are on their beds, try using an 8 foot, 3-4 weight fly rod with surface poppers or wet flies for some fast action.

Catch and Release

All five of these lakes receive heavy fishing pressure. This, along with better technology and equipment, means anglers have the potential to negatively affect fish populations through overharvest. By voluntarily releasing some or all of the legal size bass you catch, you can help to ensure there will be quality gamefish for you to catch in the future. Even though few of the stocked trout Survive through the summer months, you may still want to release some of the trout you catch as a way to keep catch rates high for yourself and other anglers. You are also encouraged to release some or most of the large panfish you catch. If you are looking for a panfish dinner, it's better for the fish population if you harvest more small ones that are quickly replaced in the lakes.

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