Cattaraugus Creek NY
Cattaraugus Creek New York
Copyright 2020 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

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

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

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


Western New York

Nearest Towns

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

Depends on the area, Fair to Good

Non-Resident License
State of New York

National Weather Service Link

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies

New York State: Steelhead
New York
Free Shipping Continental U. S.
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
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.
The season dictates just about everything.
The steelhead are at their prime spawning
time in March and April. The quality of the
fishing depends on the water clarity.
Brown and rainbow trout fishing can be
good upstream.
Fall is the prime time for fly fishing
Cattaraugus Creek for the steelhead with
October and November being the best
Cattaraugus Creek Fishing Report - Archive:
10/30/16 The stream levels are down to just a little above normal and steelhead are in the in
the creek in good numbers.
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
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
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
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 03/28/2020
(Bottom Of Page)
Options For Selecting Flies:
1. Email us (
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 (
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 $100 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
06/24/14 Local customer reporting he has been consistently catching a few trout each day,
including a few wild fish. We will try to stay more up to date on the reports, so let us hear
from you.
10/18/14 The action has picked back up. Customers reporting they are catching some
steelhead using mostly
egg flies.
11/08/14 Two customers reporting catching steelhead this past two weeks. Nymphs, eggs
and swinging is working.
12/04/14 High water levels have stopped things for the time. Keep a close check on them
12/19/14 Anglers have caught a few steelhead when levels have permitted. Watch the levels.
02/06/15 We received some good reports through December but January was very slow due to
very cold water. It sill is cold.
05/22/15 The water is getting into good shape for trout with several hatches starting. BWOs,
Amer. March Browns, Cinnamon Caddis and more.
Cattaraugus Creek Fishing Report:
06/29/19 The stream levels are down in good shape and lots of trout are being caught.
There are several hatches taking place. Send us an email for a recommended fly list.
01/15/17 Catch and release trout fishing is open. Steelhead are in the stream nearing their
spawning time.
11/15/15 Stream levels have been high the past few days but that has brought more fish
into the river. Anglers were catching a few steelhead up until then and it should be back
fishable in a day or two. Spey flies are working like our
Johny Cash Spey and Tropical Storm
12/03/15 The stream levels have dropped and steelhead are being caught. Most of our
custors are swinging flies.
01/08/19 Good numbers of steelhead are being caught. Swinging, eggs and our steelhead
nymphs are working good. Levels are a little high but okay.
07/06/19 The creek is turning out some good trout. Good hatches are taking place and
terrestrials are starting to work. Send us an email for a recommended fly list.
07/13/19 The creek is in very good shape with lots of trout being caught. Send us an email
for a recommended fly list.
08/30/19 Trout fishing still good in the upper most sections.
09/21/19 There have been a few salmon reported. Now is the time to get ready for the
season. Send us an email for a recommended fly and gear list.
10/02/19 Plenty of salmon in the lower river but more water needed to move them upstream
and start bringing in steelhead. There is some rain in the forecast and this should change it.
10/20/19 There are reports of steelhead starting to enter the river. Send us an email for a
recommended fly and gear list.
11/19/19 The creek is a little above normal, but in good shape. The water cooling down
should make Steelhead more active.
02/19/2020 Steelhead are in the creek in good numbers and being caught. Stream levels
are just a little above normal levels.
03/28/20 The stream is near a normal level and stained. Steelhead are still being caught
when conditions are okay.