Skip to main content Skip to main content

New York's 2009 Trout Forecast

New York's 2009 Trout Forecast

New York is home to some of the best trout fishing opportunities in the East. Here's a look at how things near you are shaping up for the 2009 season. (March 2009)

New York State is home to some of the finest trout fishing in the East, and its large diversity of trout waters is unparalleled anywhere in the country.

Not many states can lay claim to more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 50,000 miles of rivers and streams, plus two Great Lakes, both of which offer world-class trout fisheries.

Of course, not all these waters are classified as trout habitat or contain trout. But it's safe to say that no matter where you live or travel within the Empire State, from the steel towers of The Big Apple to the remoteness of the Adirondacks, prime trout water isn't far away.

And there's plenty of it!

Few places can match the allure and charm of the remote, pristine trout ponds scattered throughout the Adirondack region.

Brook trout have always been the kings here. While many populations have been lost due to acid rain and the arrival of non-native species, the New York Department of Conservation has several ongoing programs that may turn the tide.


Between 1989 and 2005, 53 "lost" Adirondack trout waters have been reclaimed and re-introduced with either heritage brook trout or Temiscamie X domestic hybrid brook trout.

Through the DEC's Heritage Strain Brook Trout Restoration Program, streams are reclaimed and restocked with brook trout where possible.

Certain waters continue to be limed to mitigate the efforts of acid precipitation on wild populations. Heritage brook trout brood stock is maintained at the Chautauqua Hatchery in northern Franklin County for future use.

Meanwhile, a brook trout expedition to the wilds of the Adirondacks remains an unparalleled angling experience. The same can be said of fishing New York's two Great Lakes for football-sized brown trout, rainbows and lakers. The trout fisheries on the big lakes are unparalleled anywhere in the East, and the DEC continues to monitor the high quality fishing that anglers have grown accustomed to.

For visiting trout anglers, New York State also boasts a host of smaller lakes with a great deal to offer. From the Finger Lakes to Lake Champlain to more than 20 reservoirs, all of which are stocked with trout annually, these inland waters produce some massive fish -- testifying to the DEC's successful management efforts and the high quality of habitat in New York's inland waters.

During the 2007 fishing season (the last season for which award records were available under the DEC's Annual Awards Category), Canandaigua Lake in Yates County produced a brown trout weighing 15 pounds, 12 ounces. Indian Lake in Hamilton County gave up a lake trout weighing nearly 16 pounds.

Skaneateles Lake in Onondaga County produced one weighing nearly 21 pounds, and Westchester County's Kensico Reservoir produced a lake trout that tipped the scales at over 23 pounds.

No other state in the Northeast has so many lakes that produce such large trout. Though trout of this size may be the exception rather than the rule, big fish are certainly nothing new to fishermen in this state.

Even New York City's reservoirs offer great trout fishing, though these have special access and fishing regulations. Public-access permits and applications are available online at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Web site at www.

Not many states can lay claim to more than 7,500 lakes and ponds, 50,000 miles of rivers and streams, plus two Great Lakes, both of which offer world-class trout fisheries.

Or you can call 1-800-575-LAND, (715) 595-4800 or (212) 643-2215.

Information is also available on the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Web site at www.

Keep in mind that all access permits issued before 2002 are no longer valid and must be reissued.

Let's not forget the Empire State's miles of trout rivers. From the Great Lakes tributaries to the fabled streams of the Catskills and Adirondacks, if fishing moving water is your game, then New York has it in spades.

Most fishermen would likely prefer to catch wild trout, but the state's fabulous angling opportunities would not be possible without the hatchery and stocking truck.

The Department of Environmental Conservation continues to operate a dozen hatcheries around the state, eight of which specialize in producing and rearing species of trout.

The department also operates the Rome Hatchery lab, one of the country's top fish pathology laboratories, which continues to maintain brood stocks of disease-resistant brook and brown trout, diagnose diseases and test cultured and wild fish for parasites and pathogens.

Combined, all these facilities release up to 1 million pounds of trout into more than 1,200 public waters throughout New York. (Continued)

Two of the largest hatcheries in the system, the Rome and Caledonia facilities, produce well over 300,000 pounds of brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout.

The Caledonia hatchery -- which produces 170,000 pounds of brown and rainbow trout, including all of the 2-year-old, 13- to 15-inch brown trout in the DEC's statewide stocking program -- is the oldest hatchery in the western hemisphere, which New York trout enthusiasts should be proud of.

Other facilities at Bath, Livingston Manor, Chateaugay, Randolph, the Salmon River at Altmar and VanHornesville produce the rest of the lot.

Fishermen may not be aware that all of these hatcheries are open to the public. Most hatcheries are open from spring through fall, but some are open year 'round.

Visit any of these hatcheries just to see where a large portion of our trout is produced. For example, the Salmon River facility at Altmar receives some 500,000 visitors annually.

Those thousands of pounds of trout translate into millions of actual fish each year -- during years of high pr

oduction, more than 2 million trout.

More specifically, those include at least one million brown trout. Just fewer than 90,000 of them run 12 to 13 inches, and some as large as 15 inches. And nearly 400,000 rainbow trout and over 150,000 brook trout should be stocked this spring.

These tentative figures do not include the several hundred thousand brown, rainbow and lake trout slated for Lake Ontario and Lake Erie -- the state's two premier trout-stocking programs.

If all goes as planned, these millions of fish will enter more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams and roughly 300 lakes and ponds throughout the state.

Region 9
In the DEC's Region 9 (western region) -- for example, Black Creek below Birdsall, California Hollow Brook above Bolivar, Canaseraga Creek in Swain, Caneadea Creek below Rushford Village, Cryder Creek about Whitesville and the Genesee River from Belmont to the state line -- should be stocked with trout this spring.

The same is true of South Branch Cattaraugus Creek, Elton Creek and Mansfield Creek in Cattaraugus County; Cassadaga Creek, Chautauqua Creek and Goose Creek in Chautauqua County; Eighteenmile Creek in Erie County and Tonawanda Creek and East Koy Creek in Wyoming County.

Nearly 60 creeks and rivers, along with about 20 lakes and ponds in this part of the state, will receive trout.

For more information on trout waters in Region 9, contact the DEC's regional office in Buffalo at (716) 851-7000.

Regions 7 & 8
In DEC regions 7 and 8, Naples Creek in Ontario County, Catherine Creek and Cayuta Creek in Schuyler and Chemung Counties, Spring Creek and Oatka Creek in Livingston and Monroe Counties and the Cohocton River in Steuben County will receive trout that offer good angling opportunities, as will Ninemile Creek, Limestone Creek and Butternut Creeks in Onondaga County.

Look for good action on Skaneateles Lake for rainbows and lake trout and on Cayuga and Owasco lakes for brown trout, rainbows and lake trout.

Excellent opportunities for lake-run rainbows will be found on Salmon Creek, Yawgers Creek and Fall Creek -- all dumping into Cayuga Lake --and at Cayuga Inlet; on Hemlock Creek, Dresserville Creek, and Decker Brook and at Owasco Inlet on Owasco Lake; and on Gout Brook on Skaneateles Lake.

Anglers are reminded that most trout waters in Region 7 are managed under a five-fish daily limit. No more than two trout may be longer than 12 inches. In most waters, however, it is legal to retain five additional brook trout shorter than 8 inches.

For specific details and exceptions, be sure to check the current fishing regulations guide.

For more information on trout waters and stocking schedules in these regions, phone the DEC's Region 7 office in Syracuse at (315) 426-7043, or the Region 8 office in Avon at (585) 226-2466.

Region 6
In the North Country, DEC Region 6 stocking traditionally starts in mid-April in the Mohawk Valley and proceeds to St. Lawrence County by mid-May.

In early May, 2-year-old brown trout are stocked on the larger, more accessible rivers. These include West Canada Creek, the Mohawk River downstream of Delta Lake, Oriskany Creek, the St. Regis River and Sauquoit River. Many of the region's top trout lakes should start producing as soon as open water is available.

Tributaries dumping into Lake Ontario such as Stony Creek, the North and South Sandy creeks, Lindsey Creek, Skinner Creek -- and the Black River in Watertown downstream of the Mill Street dam to Dexter -- should also produce good catches of steelhead for fishermen using egg sacks, single-hook spinners and various wet flies and streamers.

For more information, contact the DEC's regional office in Watertown at (315) 785-2252.

Region 5
The DEC's Region 5 in the Adirondacks offers some of the best moving-water trout action in the state. For many, the region's special catch-and-release areas are tough to beat.

The stretch of the Batten Kill from the covered bridge in Eagleville downstream to the Vermont state line was established as a catch-and-release water in 2004. Each May, it is stocked with 2-year-old browns and is open to year-round angling with artificial lures.

That year, three other special catch-and-release areas were established as well, two on the Saranac River in Clinton County, and on the West Branch of the Ausable River in Essex County.

For more information on other trout waters in this, region, contact the DEC's Region 5 office in Ray Brook at (518) 897-1333.

Region 4
Trout stockings in the northern Catskill, Hudson Valley and Capital District streams of the DEC's Region 4 generally start in late March and are pretty much over by late April.

Region 4 is home to some of the finest trout streams in the state. But typically, those stocked with 2-year-old brown trout draw a great deal of interest. They include both branches of the Delaware, the Beaver Kill, Batavia Kill, Catskill Creek, Canajoharie Creek, Schoharie Creek and Wharton Creek.

For pond fishermen, Colgate Lake, Green Lake and Holding Pond in Schoharie County, along with the Cannonsville and Pepacton reservoirs, are all popular spots and receive annual stockings of trout.

For more information on the trout waters in this region, call the DEC's Region 4 office in Schenectady at (518) 357-2068.

Region 3
The DEC's Region 3 also covers part of the Catskills and Hudson valley, where stocking also begins early. Anglers should expect about 300,000 trout to be released in 85 streams and rivers and 30 lakes and ponds within the region -- including roughly 16,000 12- to 15-inch 2-year-old brown trout in about 40 of the larger, more accessible and popular streams.

These include Wappinger Creek, Fishkill Creek, Sawmill Creek, the East Branch Croton River, the Tenmile River and the Ramapo River.

For complete stocking data, call the DEC's Region 3 office in New Paltz at (845) 256-3018, or visit the DEC's Web site.

Trout enthusiasts should also keep in mind that Region 3 is home to 17 New York City reservoirs totaling 23,000 acres, and all are stocked with trout. In particular, the Ashokan Reservoir is famous for its large rainbow trout, while the Rondout and Kenisco reservoirs contain lake trout. For brown trout, the Neversink Reservoir and West Branch Croton Reservoir are good bets.

Region 1
By the end of April, most trout waters on Long Island (within DEC Region 1) will be stocked with more than 20,000 trout, including some 5,000 2-year-old brown trout from 12 to 1

5 inches in length.

For the moving-water enthusiast, the Carmans, Connetquot and Nissequogue rivers in Suffolk County are hard to beat.

For a special challenge, the tidal sections of each river are known to produce trophy-sized sea-run fish.

For lakes and pond anglers, Laurel Lake, along with Upper, East, West and Argyle lakes in Suffolk County, and Upper Twin Lake, Oyster Bay Mill Pond and the Massapequa Reservoir in Nassau County are stocked and offer prime opportunities.

Anglers should be reminded that in both counties, the trout season is open year 'round. The daily limit on Long Island is three fish. And except in certain waters within state parks, all brook trout fall under catch-and-release rules.

To obtain more information, call the DEC's Region 1 office in Stony Brook at (631) 444-0350. A complete listing of stocked waters by county, as well as streams offering wild trout, can be found on the DEC's Web site.

Trout fishermen are fortunate in that all of New York's stocked waters include at least some public access.

Many stocked and wild trout waters lie within -- or travel through -- one of the Empire State's nearly 170 state parks or 700,00 acres of state forest lands, making access easy and open to everyone.

Since 1935, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has been working with private landowners to guarantee public access to some of the state's best privately owned trout waters. Since then, more than 1,280 miles of Public Fishing Rights easements (PFR) and 250 points of access, including parking areas and footpaths on 350 streams, have been secured across the state.

All public access areas are clearly marked with yellow "Public Fishing Stream" signs.

These PFRs are generally narrow strips of land on either or both banks of a river or stream where the public has a permanent right of way and anglers may walk along the bank to fish within those designated areas.

Some of these PFR areas are short stretches, but some include several miles of stream and offer your best -- and in many cases, only -- chance to fish some of the premier trout streams in the state.

A listing of PFR areas by county and region, including color maps that you can download, are found on the DEC's Web site at

Public access is also guaranteed on most of the state's trout lakes and ponds. A complete listing of DEC launch sites by county is found on the DEC Web site,, under "Outdoor Recreation."

Then click on "Boating."

Launch sites provided by New York State Parks can be found at www.nys parks.state.ny.

To receive a brochure listing these sites, call (518) 474-0445.

Many towns also maintain launch sites or access points on trout waters within their boundaries, and most of these are open to the public.

Find more about New York fishing and hunting at

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Game & Fish stories delivered right to your inbox every week.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Subscribe Now and Get a Full Year

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now