Fall Fishing Program. More Water. More Fish.
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
- Increased flow releases on Eighteenmile Creek (Niagara County), Oak Orchard Creek (Orleans County), and Sandy Creek (Monroe and Orleans counties).
- This entices more brown trout and steelhead 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-October and Mid-December
- Increased flow releases on Johnson Creek to expand angling opportunities.
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|
|Oak Orchard Creek||Orleans|
|Sandy Creek||Monroe & Orleans|
|Johnson Creek||Niagara & Orleans|
2023 Calendar – 2023 Water Release Schedule
|Waterway||County||Increased Flow Releases|
|Eighteenmile Creek||Niagara||TBA late summer|
|Oak Orchard Creek||Orleans||TBA late summer|
|Sandy Creek||Monroe & Orleans||TBA late summer|
|Johnson Creek||Niagara & Orleans||TBA late summer|
|Mon Oct 09, 2023 – Columbus Day, Indigenous Peoples Day|
|Sat Nov 11, 2023 – Veterans Day|
|Thu Nov 23, 2023 – Thanksgiving Day|
|Mon Dec 25, 2023 – Christmas Day|
|Free Fishing Days - No License Required|
|Sat Feb 18 & Sun Feb 19, 2023 – Presidents Day Weekend|
|Sat Jun 24 & Sun Jun 25, 2023|
|Sat Sep 23, 2023 - National Hunting and Fishing Day|
|Sat Nov 11, 2023 – Veterans Day|
More on Free Fishing Days - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation
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
The 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.
- New York State Canal Corporation Announces Fall Fishing initiative in Western New York
- Governor Hochul Announces First Free Fishing Weekend of 2022
- Governor Hochul Announces Extended Fishing Season and Improved Angling Experience Returns to Western New York
- Governor Hochul Announces New Pilot Program to Improve Public Access along Western New York's Lake Ontario Tributaries Receiving Water from the Erie Canal
Fall Fishing Photo Gallery
Access Conservation Easement (ACE) Program
Important News for WNY Property Owners on Lake Ontario Tributaries!
- ACE Program Public Info Session
- Letter to Property Owners
- Information about One-Time Payments for ACE Program
Public Info Session Recording
Fishing Program - Helpful Resources
Notices & Alerts
Notice to Mariners
Office of Canals
Mon-Fri - 8am-4pm