State Program Will Enhance Area’s Fishing by Using Erie Canal to Impact Water Level

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the start of a new pilot program, as part of the Reimagine the Canals initiative that uses water from the Erie Canal to enhance already renowned fishing opportunities in Western New York. Originally announced as part of the Governor’s State of the State address in January 2020, the program will encourage New Yorkers and visitors to experience the state’s Canal system in a different way, while also expanding tourism and bolstering small businesses in the region.

“This fall, New York is enhancing some of our world-class fisheries and expanding opportunities for anglers into December by creatively using water from the Erie Canal to bolster fishing conditions and to extend the season,” Governor Cuomo said. “As a fisherman, I’m pleased to see our incredible Lake Ontario tributaries will be host to even better experiences for anglers. This innovative use of iconic infrastructure continues our strong tradition of ecotourism while supporting our small businesses.”

The New York State Canal Corporation is methodically releasing water from the Erie Canal into Lake Ontario tributaries, increasing the water levels and flows in streams and encouraging fish to travel farther upstream, which expands areas for ideal fishing conditions. In addition, the Canal Corporation will extend the annual draining of the canal in Western NY to create a longer season for anglers.

This fall, the Canal Corporation increased regulated water releases into Orleans and Monroe County’s premium streams—Oak Orchard Creek and Sandy Creek. In early November and early December, all the other Lake Ontario tributaries, Eighteenmile, Johnson, Oak Orchard, Sandy and Salmon Creeks, will see higher flows. This will entice more brown trout, steelhead, and Atlantic and Pacific salmon populations to run up these streams, improving conditions for the fish and expanding opportunities for local and visiting anglers.

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “Fishing on the Lake Ontario tributaries was already world-class and well known to experienced anglers. We’re proud that our Canal’s infrastructure can be used to enhance the fishing experience for New Yorkers and be a catalyst for restarting the economy in Western New York.”