The Genesee River and its tributaries offer a rich variety of angling opportunities – from fly-casting for trout in sparkling clear water to fighting huge salmon near the base of a 100-foot waterfall.
Many parts of the river and its tributaries are home to plentiful warm-water fish – large- and smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, catfish, yellow perch, bullheads, freshwater drum (as pictured above) and panfish. Anglers can fish from shore at many locations, including a site on the east side of the river or on the piers in Rochester’s Charlotte neighborhood.
For those who want to take to the water, Genesee RiverWatch’s Blueway map shows points at which fishers can launch kayaks, canoes or small boats.
For those seeking rainbow and brown trout, both wild and stocked trout thrive in the colder and more shallow reaches of the Genesee and several of the streams that feed it.
One notable area is the Genesee River upstream of the Belmont dam in Allegany County, a 40-mile-long section that is stocked each year with 20,600 yearling brown trout and 6,200 yearling rainbow trout plus 2,300 two-year-old brown trout. The state Department of Environmental Conservation offers maps showing public access points on the river and information about localized regulations. One fishing guide highly recommends a catch-and-release section of the river near Shongo.
East Koy Creek, a tributary that flows through Wyoming and Allegany counties, is stocked with thousands of brown trout annually. Public access is plentiful. Canaseraga Creek in Livingston and Allegany counties and Canacadea Creek in Allegany also are stocked annually with brown and rainbow trout.
Wiscoy Creek, which also enters the Genesee after flowing through Wyoming and Allegany counties, has been labeled “the premier wild brown trout stream in western New York” by the state DEC. Wiscoy is particularly scenic and has miles of public access and parking in multiple locations.
Farther north is Oatka Creek, which flows through Genesee County and enters the Genesee in southern Monroe County. It is a popular fly-fishing stream that is stocked with 14,000 rainbows and 2,700 brownies a year. (The fish are reared at the nearby Caledonia Hatchery, which is considered the oldest fish hatchery in the Western Hemisphere.) The Oakta Creek Watershed Committee provides background and a list of resources about the fishery, including public access maps.
A different kind of fishing experience can be found in the lower Genesee River in Rochester, where huge salmon and trout return to spawn each year.
Late summer and fall bring Chinook and coho salmon, winter brings brown and rainbow trout and spring brings more rainbows. The most popular angling location is near the base of the Genesee’s spectacular Lower Falls. Anglers are advised to note information about public access and localized fishing rules.