Chautauqua Lake, Lake Erie, Findley Lake, Cassadaga Lakes, and Bear Lake are excellent fishing destinations.  Chautauqua Lake was host to the 2013 Major League Fishing General Tire Summit Cup professional bass fishing tournament and boasts a renowned history for muskellunge as well. The Chadwick Bay/Dunkirk Harbor area on Lake Erie was recently named Walleye Capital of the Northeast and also plays host to excellent small mouth bass fishing. Trout and salmon anglers will find the spring and fall runs on the Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, and 18 Mile Creeks the finest of any of the Great Lakes tributaries. Check out this short video on steelhead fishing on Cattaraugus Creek.

Check out detailed fishing information and maps on the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation website.

Click here for New York State Fishing License Information and Fees. 

Click here for a schedule of the 2015 Fishing Tournaments for the County.

Click here for a list of Fishing License Issuing Agents in Chautauqua County

Check out for a great kids "Learn to Fish" video.

Help preserve the lakes and fisheries for future generations. Please follow these recommendations while fishing the lakes and waterways in Chautauqua County:

STOP INVASIVE SPECIES: "Hitchhikers", such as Zebra Mussels and Water Chestnuts, are spreading from lake to lake throughout the Northeast. Help keep them out of our waters:

  • Purchase local baitfish approved by the NYSDEC for our lakes.
  • Insepct boats, trailers and equipment to avoid transporting invasive species.
  • Drain water from boats, live wells, bilges and bait buckets before leaving all boat launches.
  • Wash and dry your boat before leaving all boat launches.

DON'T POLLUTE: Every year, truckloads of plastic and glass bottles, food wrappers, snack bags and other refuse wash up on the lakeshore. Help make the lakes beautiful while improving the ecology:

  • Pick up after yourself; don't leave trash behind.
  • Secure loose items in your boat to prevent accidental littering.
  • Properly dispose of septic waste - it feeds the weeds and algae.

BOAT RESPONSIBLY: Have respect for the lake and everyone enjoying it:

  • Abide by posted speed and wake limits to reduce shoreline erosion.
  • Properly maintain your boat and keep paints, solvents, antifreeze, fuel and lubricants out of the water.
Species Season Min Length Daily Limit Habitat Special Regulations
Lake Trout Apr 1-Oct 15 12" 3 Lake Erie 21"
Trout (brown,brook rainbow) Apr 1- Oct 15 any size 5 in comb. All streams and lakes  
Trout & Salmon all year 12" 3 in comb. Lake Erie  
Large and Smallmouth Bass 3rd Sat in June - Nov 30th 12" 5 All streams and lakes NOTE: Cassadaga Lake-Fish 12"-15" prohibited.
Large and Smallmouth Bass(special early season) 1st Sat in May - 3rd Sat in June 20" 1 Lake Erie ONLY  
Muskellunge Last Sat in May - Nov 30 40" 1 All streams and lakes 40" min. for Chautauqua Lake; Lake Erie - 54" min.
Northern Pike 1st Sat in May - Mar 15 18" 5 All streams and lakes Lake Erie - 22" min. NOTE: For Lake Erie only season is 3rd Sat. in June - Nov. 30.
Tiger Muskellunge 1st Sat in May through March 15 30 1 Findley Lake & Lake Erie