By Eva Potter

If you’re an avid angler, it won’t be long before you hear stories about “the big one that go away.” And there are plenty of big ones ready to be caught in Cattaraugus County waterways. In fact, Cattaraugus Creek has been named in the top 10 for steelhead fishing sites by fishing magazines.

Since trout and salmon season began April 1, the weather has been up and down, but that hasn’t stopped anglers from turning out in record numbers.

Stocked to the Gills

Western New York, DEC Region 9, provides some of the nation’s best fishing for trout, steelhead, bass, pan fish, bluegills and other freshwater fish. Within a short drive from Ellicottville, you’ll find lakes, ponds and many stocked and wild trout streams, all of which are open to the public.

Each spring, the creeks, lakes and ponds in Region 9 — more than 62 of them —  are supplied with yearling and older brown trout. This year, you’ll find 12–15” trout at Case Lake, Elton Creek, Hardwood Lake, Ischua Creek, Little Conewango Creek, Quaker Lake and Quaker Run. Brown trout measuring 8–9 “ will be stocked in the largest numbers in Case Lake, Cattaraugus Creek South Branch, Elton Creek, Five Mile Creek, Forks Creek, Great Valley Creek, Harwood Lake, Ischua Creek, Lake Flavia, Little Conewango Creek, New Albion Lake, Quaker Lake and Red House Brook.

For the complete list of the DEC’s Region 9 trout stocking locations, go to .

If you would like some expert pointers, local guides know the best fishing holes and will teach guests proper fishing techniques. They can show you the best way to hook them, fight and land them, and how to properly release them. A quick Internet search will turn up outfitters in your area.

Want to get the most up-do-date information about fishing locations, conditions and types of fish found in the waters of New York State? Then call the free NY DEC fishing hotline, which provides updates every week, so you will have the latest scoop on where the fish are biting. The number is (716) 855-FISH.


New York does require fishing licenses, and for the first time, you can buy and print a fishing license from home by visiting

In it for life? Then it may be smart to invest in a Lifetime Fishing License for $460 that will provide a lifetime of fishing on more than 70,000 miles of rivers and streams, and more than 7,000 lakes and ponds while saving on the cost of an annual license. When you buy a lifetime fishing license, you are also eligible to receive a free I LOVE NY Adventure License Plate to announce your passion for the great outdoors. Apply for your license plate online at, and find instructions for applications by phone and mail.

A Few Rules

It’s important to note that Cattaraugus County does have some special fishing regulations that govern species, open season dates, size, daily limits and fishing methods. You can find these at  The Seneca Nation of Indians territories are also located within the county and have their own regulations and licensing requirements. For more information, call (716) 945-1790.

Time to head out and enjoy some of the most gorgeous scenery in the state — and don’t forget to put out your “Gone Fishing” sign.