The Top Inland Trout Streams in Cattaraugus County

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This is designed as a guide to anglers in locating the higher quality stocked and unstocked trout streams in western NY. It is not intended as a list of all the wild trout streams, nor all the streams where trout are stocked. Lists of all stocked streams are available from this office. Stocked streams usually receive yearling trout averaging eight inches. In addition, some of the streams receive two-year-old brown trout averaging 14 inches. Check with this office to find out which waters are receiving these larger trout.

Streams with substantial wild trout populations are not stocked. In streams that are stocked, stocking numbers are based on biological surveys which determine water quality, and the amount of habitat and food available for the fish. The amount of fishing pressure a stream receives also helps to determine the stocking numbers. Our goal is to provide fish where the anglers are, maximizing the usefulness of those stocked trout.

Helpful Hints

The NYS-DEC has purchased public fishing rights (PFR) on many of the streams in this guide. These rights allow anglers to be in the stream and on the stream banks for the purpose of fishing. Areas with PFR can be recognized by the yellow signs located along the stream banks. Respect the landowners property and always ask permission in areas without PFR.

Many of the stocked streams also contain wild brown, rainbow or brook trout. It often pays to try the headwaters and tributaries for these wild trout. Look for forested stream sections with afternoon water temperatures in the summer of less than 70 degrees.

Cattaraugus County

Cattaraugus Creek, the border between Cattaraugus and Erie Counties, is stocked with 8,600 brown trout over seven miles from Rt. 16 downstream. There are numerous wild brown and rainbow trout also available. There is a total of three miles of public fishing rights here.

The best inland, wild rainbow trout stream in western NY is Clear Creek, located near Arcade. The stream also has an excellent wild brown trout population, and there are 4.5 miles of public fishing rights available.

Ischua Creek, which flows from Franklinville south to Hinsdale is stocked with 15,500 brown trout over 17.2 miles and contains a good wild brown trout population in the Franklinville area. There are 10.2 miles of public fishing rights.

Located in Allegany State Park, Quaker Run is stocked with 2,400 brook trout and 1,200 rainbow trout for six miles, from Cain Hollow to Science Lake. Wild brown and brook trout can also be caught in the main stream and it's tributaries.

Mansfield Creek located north of Ellicottville contains wild brown trout and is stocked with 3,800 brown trout from the mouth upstream 5.5 miles to Maples. There are 3.8 miles of public fishing rights.

Another stream with excellent wild brown and rainbow trout populations is Lime Lake Outlet, located near Delevan. There are 4.1 miles of public fishing rights on this stream.

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Top 10 site for Steelhead Fishing

Cattaraugus Creek has been listed in the top 10 sites for Steelhead Fishing (rainbow trout fishing) by 2 outdoor magazines. Steelhead Trout AKA Rainbow trout are very similar to Salmon in both taste and habits. Unlike other areas of the United States, our native Rainbow trout (Steelhead Trout) spend a majority of time in Lake Erie a freshwater lake and spawn in the Cattaraugus Creek and other tributaries.

The following is from the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation's article "Steelhead Fishing in Lake Erie Tributaries"

Lake Erie's tributary streams, both big and small, receive an annual run of migratory rainbow trout called "steelhead." From October through April, thousands of steelhead ascend New York's Lake Erie tributaries on their mission to spawn. Excellent fishing opportunities await any angler who wishes to try their hand at steelhead fishing. Between the acrobatic leaps, long drag-screaming runs and rod quaking head shakes, the fight of an early run steelhead is a truly exhilarating experience.

Read more about Steelhead/Rainbow fishing on the Cattaraugus Creek

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