Copyright 2014 James Marsh
Fly Fishing Cattaraugus Creek New York
Cattaraugus Creek, called the Cat, is one of the best
steelhead streams on Lake Erie. It is known for its fall
fishing and produces the largest steelhead run in what is
known as Steelhead Alley.

In September, steelhead begin to enter the river as the
water cools, but October and November are the prime
months. The fishing can last into December and
January but normally the water ices up fast and the
fishing activity is limited until spring.

The spawning season is at its peak in March and April
but the river can be heavily stained providing low
visibility. In fact the river can become muddy anytime
from heavy rain. Its clay banks allow the river to become
muddy easily and quickly.

The South Cattaraugus Creek and its tributary Mansfield
Creek receive stocked brown trout. Wild rainbows
reproduce in Mansfield Creek in good numbers. Spring
run, a tributary of Mansfield Creek has some wild brown
trout. There is quite a bit of public fishing water on these
streams.

The holdover and wild trout in Cattaraugus Creek can be
selective as to what they eat. Our Perfect Flies offer a
big advantage in fooling those trout because they closely
resemble the appearance and behavior of the natural
insects.

Even when the river below the dam is muddy, the other
areas of Cattaraugus Creek can provide an alternative
choice. The fly fishing opportunities are diverse and
offers something for anglers to catch just about anytime
of the year.
Type of Stream
Tailwater/Freestone

Species
Steelhead
Brown Trout (stocked and wild)
Rainbow Trout (stocked and wild)
Coho Salmon (limited numbers)
Chinook Salmon (limited numbers)

Size
Medium

Location
Western New York

Nearest Towns
Irving

Season
April 1 through October?
Trout: Mid-Oct. - March, catch and
release only

Access:
Depends on the area, Fair to Good

Non-Resident License
State of New York

Weather
National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies

New York State: Steelhead
Section
Cattaraugus
Creek
New York
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Photo Courtesy of
Dennis McCarthy
Photo Courtesy of
Cattaraugus Creek Fly Fishing Guide
The preferred water temperature for the steelhead
should be between 40 and 55 degrees. The creek is
more like a river because it is fairly large with long
riffles leading into large pools. The river is
approximately fifty miles long from the dam located at
Springville down to Lake Erie. The stream terminates at
Lake Erie near the town of Irving. The lower twenty
miles runs through the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation.
This area is basically from Gowanda downstream. It is
easily accessed and the section of water most anglers
prefer. A Seneca Nations seasonal fishing license is
required to fish this section.

The next section of water flows through a deep gorge
about ten miles long. It is very difficult to access. Its
also limited by private property. The section above the
gorge to the dam is approximately fifteen miles long but
is also limited because of private property. The only
access is near the dam.

Upstream of the Village of Yorkshire above Springville
Dam, there is a good population of both wild brown and
rainbow trout. Locals refer to the section of the creek
above the dam as the "Upper Cat", and below the dam
as the "lower Cat".The state also stocks a large
number of brown trout in this section of Cattaraugus
Creek. Fishing is open year-round in some areas on a
catch and release basis.

The steelhead trout are what most anglers visit
Cattaraugus Creek for. They average from about 8 to
10 pounds. These fish can be in the creel anytime from
late September until May of the following year. They
are very aggressive and in the river to feed on the
salmon eggs during late October and November.
These fish can also be caught during December,
January and February but the weather is usually very
cold with deep snow along the banks. They can still be
caught during March and April and they can be just as
aggressive as they are in the Autumn season. Also the
spring runoff from melting snow can foul the water up.
They are feeding to add weight after spawning, before
they return to the lake.   From late May to early April,
the steelhead move back into Lake Erie. At this time,
after the spawn, they again become very active. They
can be caught on a number of different type of flies.

The upper Cattaraugus Creek has wild rainbows and
stocked and wild brown trout. It has several miles of
public fishing waters. Natural reproduction is limited but
some wild trout are present.
Seasons:                 
The season dictates just about everything.
Spring:
The steelhead are at their prime spawning
time in March and April. The quality of the
fishing depends on the water clarity.
Summer:
Brown and rainbow trout fishing can be
good upstream.
Fall:
Fall is the prime time for fly fishing
Cattaraugus Creek for the steelhead with
October and November being the best
months.
Cattaraugus Creek Fishing Report:
10/15/13 Low water conditions continue to
make the steelhead fishing tough. Few fish
being caught according to one customer.
Hopefully, the coming few days will add some
water to the stream.
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
Thumbnails: Click to enlarge
11/25/13 Customer called to order more  
flies and reported Cattaraugus Creek has
turned on and fish are being caught. Using
our Green Sedge and Cinnamon Sedge
Steelhead larva flies.
01/01/14 Cattaraugus Creek has a lot of
ice on it. The USGS site isn't working but
shows a level of 2.64. Our local contact
reports that to the best of his knowledge no
one is catching any steelhead.
01/28/14 We really don't have any good
reports. Cold weather has continued to
hamper the fishing opportunities.
Hopefully, conditions will improve next
week.
03/21/14 There is still a lot of ice in the
river and few anglers have attempted to
fish. Conditions should improve soon.
Fishing Report Updated 04/01/14
(Bottom Of Page)
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with the dates you will be fishing this
stream and we will send you a list of our
fly suggestions. Please allow up to 24
hours for a response.

2. Call us 800-594-4726 and we will help
you decide which flies you need.

3. Email us (sales@perfectflystore.com)
with a budget for flies and we will select
them to match the budget and get them to
you in time for your fly fishing trip.

All orders are shipped free in the
U. S. Orders over $50 are shipped via
Priority Mail.  
04/01/14 Note that the general trout
season is now open.
Photo and fish by Mike Faracca:
Click to enlarge