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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 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
Eighteenmile Creek Niagara
Oak Orchard Creek Orleans
Sandy Creek Monroe & Orleans
Johnson Creek Niagara & Orleans

2023 Calendar – 2023 Water Release Schedule

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

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

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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