Jump to content

NYS Governor Announces Program to Extend Fishing Season


Recommended Posts



Regulated Water Releases from the Erie Canal into Lake Ontario Tributaries Increases Opportunities for World-Class Fishing
Pilot Program as part of the Reimagine the Canals Initiative will Boost Tourism and Businesses in Monroe, Orleans, and Niagara Counties
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of a new pilot program, as part of the Reimagine the Canals initiative that uses water from the Erie Canal to enhance already renowned fishing opportunities in Western New York. Originally announced as part of the Governor's State of the State address in January 2020, the program will encourage New Yorkers and visitors to experience the state's Canal system in a different way, while also expanding tourism and bolstering small businesses in the region.
"This fall, New York is enhancing some of our world-class fisheries and expanding opportunities for anglers into December by creatively using water from the Erie Canal to bolster fishing conditions and to extend the season," Governor Cuomo said. "As a fisherman, I'm pleased to see our incredible Lake Ontario tributaries will be host to even better experiences for anglers. This innovative use of iconic infrastructure continues our strong tradition of ecotourism while supporting our small businesses."
The New York State Canal Corporation is methodically releasing water from the Erie Canal into Lake Ontario tributaries, increasing the water levels and flows in streams and encouraging fish to travel farther upstream, which expands areas for ideal fishing conditions. In addition, the Canal Corporation will extend the annual draining of the canal in Western NY to create a longer season for anglers.
This fall, the Canal Corporation increased regulated water releases into Orleans and Monroe County's premium streams-Oak Orchard Creek and Sandy Creek. In early November and early December, all the other Lake Ontario tributaries, Eighteenmile, Johnson, Oak Orchard, Sandy and Salmon Creeks, will see higher flows. This will entice more brown trout, steelhead, and Atlantic and Pacific salmon populations to run up these streams, improving conditions for the fish and expanding opportunities for local and visiting anglers.
NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, "This year, the Erie Canal has been a lifeline of economic stimulation across upstate New York. We're proud to launch this program - putting a spotlight on our fishing opportunities and welcoming new anglers into our fishing community-giving New Yorkers one more way to reimagine the canals and take advantage of its water resources."
New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, "Fishing on the Lake Ontario tributaries was already world-class and well known to experienced anglers. We're proud that our Canal's infrastructure can be used to enhance the fishing experience for New Yorkers and be a catalyst for restarting the economy in Western New York."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The Reimagine the Canals pilot project will encourage even more New Yorkers to get outside and enjoy our state's natural resources. Water releases will benefit both the fish in these waters and the angling public by providing quality fishing opportunities, bolstering tourism, and supporting local economies."
Throughout the length of the program, the Canal and tributary waters will be monitored for quantity and quality to document the success of the pilot. For details and more information, please visit the Canal Corporation's website.
This fall, DEC is reminding anglers to be SMART when fishing this year and to be mindful in taking precaution to stop the spread of COVID-19:
  • Socially distance at least six-feet apart;
  • Mask - Wear one when you cannot maintain social distancing, especially in parking lots and along footpaths;
  • Avoid sharing gear when possible;
  • Respect your fellow anglers and the resource by providing space and practicing ethical angling; and
  • Take out what you bring in or place trash in receptacles.
This past summer, DEC and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation launched the PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL Campaign to encourage all New Yorkers to recreate safely, responsibly, and locally and to always treat fellow outdoor adventurers with respect. The campaign invites people to take the PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL pledge, and promise to use common sense to protect themselves and others when enjoying the outdoors. During the State's ongoing response to COVID-19, New Yorkers across the state want and need to get outside for a nature break, which is good for physical and mental health.
The campaign and pledge include common sense guidelines for smart and safe recreation, including incorporating social distancing and wearing a face mask, planning trips ahead, choosing a destination close to home because public restrooms and restaurants may not be open, and visiting at off hours. The agencies are also encouraging New Yorkers to take the pledge and use the hashtag #PlaySmartPlaySafePlayLocal when sharing their outdoor adventures on social media.
New Yorkers are strongly advised to plan their outdoor adventures ahead of time and choose alternate destinations if their first choice is closed or crowded. Check  parks.ny.gov and 511 for park capacity closure alerts and visit the DECinfo locator to find the nearest DEC-managed lands. DEC and State Parks websites also feature guidelines to help New Yorkers safely engage in outdoor activities including swimming, hunting, fishing, boating, golf, and hiking. Indoor spaces and restrooms at State Parks and DEC public facilities may remain closed out of an abundance of caution to prevent community spread of COVID-19, so New Yorkers are encouraged to stay local, within their region, and use the #RecreateLocal hashtag on social media.
For more information about how to PLAY SMART * PLAY SAFE * PLAY LOCAL, visit DEC's website.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for putting this up Jerry. Lindsay and I were asked to be involved with the panel of stakeholders who met with NYPA to discuss this a year ago August.

The panel confirmed along with elected officials from Orleans County how impactful the trib fishery was to the area from a tourism aspect so they decided to enact this pulse to local streams. I can tell you from personal experience the past three weeks it’s brought fish in bunches, and with it lots of fisherman from all over the NE US. Oak and Sandy are very busy. And the fishing has been good.

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Even with increased flows with the lack of water we have unfortunately it hasn’t kept them at bay. But salmon season is waning and those folks are being replaced by better ethical style anglers.

But the goal was to induce fish in the streams and I can tell you that worked in spades.

Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great idea. Dave, for those of us that don’t live along the canal, what are the things in play?  I assume the canals are drained to prepare for high spring runoff and ice damage during the winter?  I have been in Ottawa in the winter and the frozen canals are alive with life. I saw guys  in three piece suits and brief cases commuting to work with ice skates. Kids playing hockey everywhere. Lots of fun. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gill they will still end up draining the canal for the season. Normally for safety and maintenance reasons.


NYPA Met with Lake Ontario stakeholders who could describe the benefits of pulsing water through the streams connected to the canal. 18 Mile, Oak and Sandy would be the major beneficiaries. For this first go round they targeted Oak and Sandy.


We can see the success of this effort especially this year with our drought situation that the pulse of water induced some really strong runs of fish earlier than would have ever happened this year. We are just now getting water levels back to normal with the past two weeks of rain.


I can’t speak for further west of the Oak but from there to Sandy the angler usage has been heavy. A large portion of the anglers are from out of state. So we can assume there has been an uplift economically to Monroe and an Orleans county.


During the meetings NYPA also discussed usage of the canal during the summer season with not only the western canal towns, but also the east side of Rochester to look at programs (summer kids and adult fishing derby’s, and other water related festivities) to get awareness of the canal as a resource for families to enjoy.


DEC was also present and I and others raised the issue of PFR’s. If raising the popularity of the LO trib fishing works, access could become an issue. DEC stated they would be pursuing more PFR’s especially along Sandy since it runs a long way from the lake to Holly.


This might also improve the late season near shore trolling if they Crank this up in Sept at the Oak and Olcott as well as the pier fishing.


So just getting started but early results look positive.



Sent from my iPhone using Lake Ontario United


Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 10/24/2020 at 8:20 AM, Fat Trout said:

I thought they always drained the canal and through those streams....granted my recollection was it started in Nov. Was this just an earlier start?

Sent from my Pixel 2 using Lake Ontario United mobile app

It usually is a 1-2 week pulse around Veterans Day/thanksgiving.  Big wack of water and if ur lucky enough to be able to fish those weekdays it can be very good....if u go on the weekend it’s packed.  Then when the water drops the fish are left high and dry or they drop back out. Spreading the water out is a really good opportunity for both fish and fisherman.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had a spell of very cold weather in early Sept . There were also sustained east winds for a few weeks at the same time which pushed any of the closer staging kings and trout up the creeks on the south shore . 2 nd , 3rd week in Sept the creek temp was colder than  the lake temp when we got better winds . Combine that with the canal water and that means good fishing . The floating weed scourge we get was not a factor so much this year because the flow flushed  it out into the lake 


Was a good king run as I see it with a lot fish . 


Way more people fishing this year . 


The Gov knows which side his bread is buttered on , so for all you " shut the tribs down " guys out there , I don't see it happening .


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...