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Fall Fishing Program. More Water. More Fish.

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Image of fishing

The New York State Canal Corporation releases water from the Erie Canal into Lake Ontario Tributaries in Western New York for an extended period each fall to create a longer season and even better angling conditions.

A calendar of releases is posted below. Releases may change due to weather and other conditions.

Check back for updates.

  • Between mid-Sep and mid-Dec
    • Image of fishingIncreased flow releases on Eighteenmile Creek (Niagara County), Oak Orchard Creek (Orleans County), and Sandy Creek (Monroe and Orleans counties).
    • This entices more steelhead, salmon and brown trout to enter and remain in these waterways, improving fish spawning conditions and expanding angling opportunities.
    • Additional flow releases also scheduled to further boost increased flows.
  • Between Mid-Oct and Mid-Dec
    • Increased flow releases on Johnson Creek to expand angling opportunities.

2023 Flow Release Schedule

Releases subject to change due to natural and water management conditions.

Waterway County Increased Flow Releases Additional Increased Flow Releases Flow Releases*
Eighteenmile Creek Niagara ------> 09/21 - 10/12 10/13 - 12/15
Oak Orchard Creek Orleans 09/15 - 10/12 10/12 - 10/26 10/27 - 12/15
Sandy Creek Monroe & Orleans 09/15 - 10/12 10/12 - 10/26 10/27 - 12/15
Johnson Creek Niagara & Orleans ------> 10/12 - 10/26 10/27 - 12/15

* From about Nov 1-30, during Late Season, higher releases to these Lake Ontario tributaries are anticipated to extend fishing opportunities even as winter approaches. Water levels are kept elevated in the Erie Canal, so increased releases similar to Early Season can be repeated. From about Dec 1-15, releases continue as water levels are lowered in the canal for draining and then gradually end for the year.

2024 Calendar

Mon Oct 14, 2024 – Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day
Mon Nov 11, 2024 – Veterans Day
Thu Nov 28, 2024 – Thanksgiving Day
Mon Dec 25, 2024 – Christmas Day
Free Fishing Days - No License Required
Sat Feb 17 & Sun Feb 18, 2024 – Presidents Day Weekend
Sat Jun 29 & Sun Jun 30, 2024
Sat Sep 28, 2024 - National Hunting and Fishing Day
Mon Nov 11, 2024 – Veterans Day

Current Conditions - LIVE from U.S. Geological Survey

USGS gage data (click on Waterway name to access USGS site):

Waterway County Flow (CFS) Last Reading
Eighteenmile Creek Niagara
Oak Orchard Creek Orleans
Sandy Creek Monroe & Orleans
Johnson Creek Niagara & Orleans

Public Fishing Locations

Eighteenmile Creek (Niagara County)

Oak Orchard Creek (Orleans County)

Sandy Creek (Orleans & Monroe counties)

Johnson Creek (Niagara and Orleans County)

Learn About the Fall Fishing Program

Fall Fishing Guidelines

Image of fishingThe Erie Canal in Western New York is an entirely man-made channel while in other regions the Canal generally follows a natural river course. Lake Ontario Tributaries serve as an outlet for the Canal’s water management gates which can be opened or closed to maintain Canal water levels, provide supplemental tributary flows, and to drain the Canal following navigation season.

Historically, at the end of the navigation season the Canal is emptied over the course of a week, raising water levels on these tributaries. The Canal Corporation schedules water releases, when available and appropriate, in the fall during navigation season and during the Canal draining process providing a longer season for anglers and improved wildlife habitat.

The Canal and tributary waters are monitored for quantity and quality to help ensure the program maintains the health of the fishery.

As part of New York State’s Reimagine the Canals initiative, NYPA and the Canal Corporation are expanding fishing opportunities to promote outdoor recreation and local businesses.


Fall Fishing Photo Gallery

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Access Conservation Easement (ACE) Program

Important News for WNY Property Owners on Lake Ontario Tributaries!

Public Info Session Recording

Fishing Program - Helpful Resources

Notices & Alerts
Notice to Mariners

Office of Canals
(518) 449-6000
Mon-Fri - 8am-4pm

For Emergencies
or 911

Fishing Program info Card

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