Canal water will be released through mid-December to boost stream fishing for 3rd year

This map from the State Canal Corp. shows where the state will be using canal water to supplement local tributaries and boost fishing opportunities for the fall salmon runs.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 September 2022 at 4:14 pm

For the third straight fall fishing season, the State Canal Corp. will be releasing water from the Erie Canal into local tributaries through mid-December to boost the fall fishing runs.

The program has been deemed a success, improving the chances for fish to swim upstream. The released canal water provides adequate water flow in streams for salmon, trout and steelhead to swim upstream.

File photo by Tom Rivers: The Oak Orchard River is one of several tributaries that will have its water levels boosted to improve the local fall fishery.

The schedule for releasing water includes:

Increased flows from Sept. 15 through Dec. 15 for Oak Orchard River in Orleans County, Sandy Creek in Orleans and Monroe counties, and Eighteen Mile Creek in Niagara.

The flows will be increased from Oct. 13 through Dec. 15 for Johnson Creek in Orleans and Niagara counties.

“The New York State Canal Corporation releases water from the Erie Canal into Lake Ontario Tributaries in Western New York for an extended period each fall to create a longer season and even better angling conditions,” the Canal Corp. said in announcing the schedule.

Fishing has a $28 million annual impact in Orleans County. The local officials say the extended season will be a boost for local restaurants, lodging establishments and other businesses.

The project is part of the “Reimagine the Canals” initiative to better utilize the canal and support many recreational opportunities along the canal system.