Fishing In Chautauqua County

Go fishing on five lakes and numerous waterways in Chautauqua County, including western New York’s largest inland lake and a 50-mile shoreline of Lake Erie where deep water fishing yields trophy size walleye and smallmouth bass. The inland lakes, Chautauqua, Cassadaga, Findley and Bear, are exceptional for walleye, bass, muskellunge and pan fish. Come spring and fall, anglers from the northeast and Canada head to Steelhead Alley, the tributary streams that feed Lake Erie, for the challenge of fly fishing.

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  • Posted: 4/26/2018 10:50:47 AM By: Dave Barus


    It’s Inland Stream Trout Season in Chautauqua!


    Wild Brown Trout Offer Classic Inland Stream Fishing Thrills  &nb


    Chautauqua, New York – April 13, 2018: Imagine more than 825 adult wild brown trout per stream mile! That’s a fact for Clear Creek in eastern Chautauqua County near the tiny village of Ellington and the Cockaigne Ski Resort (planning to reopen in 2018). This pristine stream offers clear flowing water, riffles, pools, serenity and the fun of slashing strikes from plentiful wild brown trout. An occasional rainbow trout is also caught here.


    The inland trout fisheries of Chautauqua County offer exciting trout fishing for wild trout and stocked trout. Get your fly rod and your flies, get your spinning rod and your lures or redworms and bobber, get your kids and grandkids, but be sure to get yourself here soon!


    The kids enjoy the put and take fishery offered from the stocked trout, but it is the wild trout action that is considered a “nice secret” among trout anglers that enjoy the adventure and rivalry with the fish they find in these Chautauqua wildland streams. Chautauqua also offers world class tributary steelhead fishing in 6 streams during the cold snow months, but the inland stream wild trout fishing when the tree buds start to pop, attracts anglers from hundreds of miles away. 


    In tributary streams and inland streams, catch and release fishing is encouraged by conservation-minded anglers that realize trout fishing is a renewable resource with careful release practices from anglers large and small. Many anglers fish with barbless hooks. 


    The inland trout streams of Chautauqua County offer the challenge of exciting, small stream fishing action for brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout. While several inland, spring-fed streams are stocked with hatchery-raised trout, the special opportunity of Chautauqua County wild trout fishing action is unique and is sought by trout anglers from across the country.


    Other inland Chautauqua trout streams that are stocked with trout (nearly 7,000 each spring), include Upper Cassadaga Creek near Stockton, Upper Canadaway Creek near Arkwright, Goose Creek near North Harmony, Bear Lake Outlet, West Branch Conewango Creek near Villenova, Farrington Brook near Cherry Creek and Mill Creek near Gerry, New York.


    Fishing Reports: Skip Bianco - Hogan’s Hut,, 716-789-3831; Nathan Queer - Westfield Bait & Tackle,, 716-239-5062; Mike Sperry - Chautauqua Reel Outdoors,, 716-763-2947; Gerry Begier - Bill’s Hooks,, 716-366-0268.


    Regulations: The inland trout streams are open to catch and keep fishing from April 1 through October 15, with a daily limit of 5 fish per person. The inland streams are also open to trout fishing from October 16 through March 31 for catch and release (artificial lures only). Anglers should always check the NYSDEC fish syllabus for regulation revisions: ( Catch and release is encouraged, trout can live decades!


    Lodging: Find a bed and breakfast, a warm spring cottage or bring the family to a deluxe water playground hotel. Some options: 



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  • Posted: 4/10/2018 11:31:22 AM By: Dave Barus


    Chautauqua County “Steelhead Alley”


    BRING A CAMERA! gin:0px">6 Chautauqua Lake Erie Trib’s, Easy Access, Fish'n Fun  



    Chautauqua, New York – Mar. 16, 2018: Anglers from near and far identify that Chautauqua County is the cornerstone of a fishing zone nationally known as “Steelhead Alley.” From the onset of winter (October) through spring (May), tackle-busting steelhead migrate from Lake Erie to enter six (6) Chautauqua County tributary streams where they provide exciting angler action.  Fish from 4 to 7 pounds are common, though 10 and 12 pound fish are not that unusual.


    The “New Number 1” noted steelhead hotspot is Chautauqua Creek in Westfield, NY, drawing anglers from near and far. A recently completed fish passage project at the Westfield Water Works Dam now provides new access for steelhead to swim an additional 10 miles upstream, winding through the picturesque and deeply carved Chautauqua gorge. More than 8 miles of peaceful, public fishing rights exist, including a new 1.3 mile “Catch and Release” section directly below the Dam where only artificial lures may be used - very popular with fly rod anglers. About 15 miles of the uppermost headwaters of 20-Mile Creek flow south and west from the eastward side of the Chautauqua Ridge before entering Pennsylvania to empty in Lake Erie. Serenity is king here.


    Just south of Dunkirk, NY, Canadaway Creek meets Lake Erie to offer excellent steelhead and brown trout fishing for nearly 6 miles from the mouth upstream to Laona Falls. Silver Creek joins Lake Erie in the village of Silver Creek, NY, to offer several miles of smaller water fishing from the mouth to the Hanover and King Road crossing. When other streams run muddy, this stream is typically less stained. Tiny Walnut Creek flows into Silver Creek near the mouth with productive fishing upstream to the falls located below Route 39 in Forestville.


    Cattaraugus Creek is the largest of all Chautauqua County Lake Erie tributaries. The first 6 miles of this magnificent steelhead waterway are located in Chautauqua County, where the mouth of the stream provides access for shore angling and boat fishing.


    Gear: Fly rods and Spinning Rods.

    Fly rods to more than 10 feet long equipped with a large arbor reel to hold about 100 yards of braided line backing and 6 to 10 weight-forward tapered fly line. Anglers tie 6 to 12 pound monofilament leaders (about 9 feet long), then add 4 to 12 pound test fluorocarbon tippets for the plentiful, but sometimes wary, steelhead. Salmon egg fly patterns, streamer flies (wooly buggers, egg-sucking leeches, zonkers) and nymphs (stoneflies, hare’s ear) are popular fly angler patterns.

    Spinning rods are also popular with medium-heavy action rods of 7 to 11 foot lengths, anglers use 6 to 12 pound test monofilament line with a fluorocarbon leader.  The same flies can be used with a drift bobber, while some anglers fish egg sacs from octopus style hooks.

    Latest fishing reports: Bill’s Hooks, 5139 W. Lake Rd. (Route 5), Dunkirk, NY, 716-366-0268 or Jerome Miller’s Bait Store, 12707 Allegany Rd., Irving, NY, 716-934-2477.


    Regulations: Trout and salmon season is open all year, 12-inch minimum, daily limit 3 per person in most streams. Fishing is permitted one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset (fishing at night is prohibited) in tributary streams. Anglers should check the NYSDEC fish syllabus for changes to regulations ( Catch and release is encouraged, steelhead can respawn for decades.


    Lodging: For any of these outings, spend the weekend at a bed and breakfast, a warm winter cottage or bring the family to a deluxe winter water playground hotel. Some options are found here: 



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  • Posted: 2/16/2018 6:49:35 AM By: Dave Barus


    Chautauqua Lake WINTER FISHING REPORT: this has been a year of giant fish from across many species.  Steve Hawkins who runs an annual ice-fishing contest at Captain Bob’s Outdoors in Clarence (716-407-3621) reports that one young angler was fishing off Long Point on Feb. 2 when he caught a huge 3.69 pound lunker crappie, the state record is 3.75 pounds. The angler was dropping lines in 32 fe


    Also in the north basin of Chautauqua, Captain Mike Sperry of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors Guide and Tackle Shop in Lakewood (716-763-2947) also runs a winter walleye contest during February and reports that anglers have been bringing in many good walleye, including some whoppers. This past weekend, Dan Gould landed a 28-1/4 inch walleye that tipped the scale at 10.53 pounds to take the lead in the contest - he was using a J-5 Jigging Rapala. The lures cost around $7 in the store. Sperry added that there is not a big crappie bite in Burtis Bay this year (yet), but the guys have been hooking up with crappie, perch and an occasional giant musky while fishing for walleye.


    Also in the north basin at Mayville with parking in the town park there, Skip Bianco of Hogan’s Hut in Stow (on Route 394 near the Route 86 bridge), reports good bluegill and yellow perch fun for kids of all ages. A little ice jig tipped with a spike grub or mousie grub is turning the trick there. Bianco adds, the walleye anglers fishing off the Prendergast boat launch, are catching good walleye by not fishing too deep, but working the edges of the dormant summer weedline in 12-13 feet of water.


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  • Posted: 9/14/2017 10:28:36 AM By: Andrew Nixon

    Great day of Lake Erie walleye fishing in September, 2016. The crew of Dream Catcher Sportsfishing  took out two members of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers annual conference. 

  • Posted: 8/30/2016 9:54:05 AM By:

    21 pound lake trout caught off Dunkirk Harbor!

  • Posted: 8/30/2016 9:52:30 AM By:

    21 pound lake trout caught off Dunkirk Harbor!

  • Posted: 10/19/2015 2:03:10 PM By:

    October 17,2015 - Pre Icefishing Season!

    Photo courtesy of Chautauqua Reel Outdoors Guide and Tackle,LLC.

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