From the 10 March 2006 New York Outdoor News


By Bob Confer

Allegany County is, quite simply, a sportsman’s paradise.

Tucked among the Allegheny foothills in southwestern New York, it is home to nearly 60,000 acres of public land. It has a picturesque mix of forests and farmland and boasts nearly two-dozen streams and rivers that are stocked with trout on an annual basis or have been stocked in recent years.

Add to the mix countless other smaller and unnamed brooks which support populations of native brook trout or transients from the larger bodies of water and you have yourself a very remarkable trout fishery.


Allegany County’s primary watershed is the Genesee River, which cuts right through the center of the county. It is a remarkable river that starts in the mountains of Pennsylvania and works it way to Lake Ontario. The Allegany County section of the Genesee offers a varied fishery for even the most finicky of trout anglers thanks to its wide-ranging physical makeup: over its length it sports rapids, long stretches of riffles, slow-moving meanders, and countless deep pools. By traveling even just a half-mile upstream or downstream you could find yourself on what would seem to be an entirely different body of water. And, with 18 miles of public fishing rights available there is more than enough access available to find a stretch you can call your own.

The Genesee supports an extremely healthy population of trout with brown trout being the predominant specie followed by rainbows and a smattering of wild brookies. This fishery is maintained by extensive stocking with over 26,000 trout anticipated for stocking in 2006. A few major feeders – like Dyke Creek – also receive substantial stocking which in total account for nearly another 5,000 trout that could easily enter the waterway.

According to DEC Region 9 Fisheries Biologist Joseph Evans, the Genesee is one of the most popular inland trout streams in New York State and he attributes this in part to special management practices employed by the DEC, which are highlighted by a year-round season and a no-kill zone.

The seasonal trout angling regulations on the Genesee are in stark contrast to the rest of the county and most of New York State which generally follow the April 1 to October 15 standard. From the dam in Belmont upstream to the Pennsylvania state line you may fish for trout year-round on the "Gennie". There is a daily creel limit of 5 fish, with no more than two longer than a foot. This special season affords sportsmen the chance to fish as a nice way to break up their day during deer season. In a relatively mild winter – much as this has been - it also gives hardcore anglers a means by which to satisfy their cabin fever. As a matter of fact, winter fishing can be very productive on the Genesee. Over the past couple of months quite a few anglers in the Wellsville area have caught trophy-sized trout. Some of the beasts have not only approached, but have modestly exceeded, the magical 20" mark.

There also exists within this year-round zone a very special 2.5 mile stretch that travels downstream from the Route 19 bridge in Shongo. This section is under catch-and-release, artificial-only regulations. This unique management philosophy has created a very intriguing fishery in this stretch filled with deep pools and very cold water. The locals speak of trophy fish galore in this stretch and the DEC and Trout Unlimited both tout this area as being comparable to the remarkable trout fisheries of the Western United States. For trout purists this no-kill zone ranks as one of New York’s premier destinations, a veritable angling jewel.


Allegany County is much more than the Genesee. On busy weekends – especially those in April and May - you can escape the crowds on the Genesee by heading off to any of the other streams in the county. No matter where you are in Allegany County you are never more than 15 minutes away from a trout stream. The potential is nearly limitless and there is something for every angler who appreciates trout fishing. Some streams run through secluded forests, others through beaver-created swamps, and many more wind through rolling hills and agricultural settings that you often see in paintings.

Among these creeks, the Little Genesee is the best. Not only does it get stocked with over 4,000 fish on an annual basis, but it also has many holdover trout that do breed on their own thanks to the fine gravel present in many stretches of this creek. The Little Genesee has many adventurous brush piles and pools and 12" fish could actually be considered quite common here, a remarkable accomplishment for any trout stream.

The Little Genesee, despite its name, is not a tributary of the Genesee. As a matter of fact, it has the unique distinction of being the only major Allegany water that does not ultimately flow to Lake Ontario. The Little Genesee winds it way to the Allegheny River, the water of which ultimately finding a home in the Gulf via the Mississippi. The Little Genesee is in the southwest corner of the county, running through the town of Bolivar and featuring nearly four miles of public fishing rights.

Some of the other more popular streams in Allegany County that are worth your attention include Dyke Creek in Wellsville, Black Creek in Birdsall, Cryder Creek in Whitesville, and Rush Creek in Rushford, the latter receiving a fair run of beefy rainbows in the spring from Rushford Lake.


The trout is such an integral part of the Allegany economy that it is widely promoted in tourism circles. The Wellsville Lions Club runs the popular Greater Wellsville Trout Derby every April. This event brings in thousands of participants from not only Western New York, but from the entire United States and Canada. As an example, last year’s derby attracted nearly 3,000 participants from 14 states and provinces. This is a family-oriented event that takes place on the mighty Genesee with all anglers sharing good times and competing for 450 tagged trout which equate to over $34,000 in prize money. This year’s derby will take place on April 29th and 30th. For more information visit

If you are looking to visit Allegany County to take advantage of this splendid fishery or any other of the fine natural resources, you will find the Allegany Office of Tourism and Culture to be most helpful. They can provide you a detailed outdoors travel guide and their personable staff can direct you to camping areas and angling hotspots. They can be reached at 1.800.836.1869 or online at

Make it a point to hit the water in Allegany County this spring. You won’t be disappointed and, as a matter of fact, you are guaranteed to be pleasantly surprised.