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Allegany, NY Fishing: The Enchanted Mountains of Western New York

Allegany, NY Fishing: The Enchanted Mountains of Western New York
Published: Tuesday, July 6th, 2021
Updated on: Thursday, July 8th, 2021

New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, industrial, and media capital of the world. It is usually envisioned to be surrounded by bright lights, tall buildings, and the bustling crowds of people along the busy streets. Little do you know that in the southwestern part of this busy city lies the beautiful town of Allegany. 

Allegany is located in the southeastern part of Cattaraugus County. The town is situated along the Allegheny River which trails along the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York. Nestled in a beautiful setting, this town is a hotspot for people looking for relaxation, and for those looking for places for their next angling destination. 

The origin of the name Allegany is still uncertain. Some say that it is based on an old Native American word that means “lovely” or “beautiful”. Others say that it is named after the Allegewi tribe who used to reside along the Allegheny River. Either way, it is an undeniable fact that what used to be a rural and industrial community is now known for its fishing opportunities.

Today, Allegany is noted for its hills and broad lowland. It is likewise known for the Allegheny River which offers recreation to thousands of anglers, campers, and boaters, - along its bank and tributaries. Surely this town is something you might not want to miss out on when you are traveling in New York City!

Allegany Fishing

One does not need to look too far when searching for a reason to fish in Allegany, New York.  With over 71 different species of fish in the Allegheny River alone, it is surely included in every angler’s list of places to visit. Moreover, it has multiple fishing spots and locations that would accommodate different fishing methods, any time of the year.

The first fishing destination in Allegany, NY, is the Allegheny River. The river got its name from the Lenape word “oolikhanna” which means “best flowing river of the hills” or “beautiful stream”. Looking at it, it lives up to its name until today. 

The Alleghany is a 325-mile long river that is home to a diverse population of fish. Its waters are generally shallow in nature with gravel and claybanks bottom making it a perfect habitat for spawning. One of the most common species found in this river is the smallmouth bass which ranges from 12-18 inches long. These fish species often inhabit areas with downed trees in the water or those with a multitude of pilings driven into the river’s bottom. Popular baits to catch these species include spinner boats, crankbaits, and jigs.

Another species to look out for in this river is the walleye, which is most abundant during spring and fall. Popular baits to hook on one include spinnerbaits and jerk baits. For beginning anglers, a more preferred method would either be bouncing a jig tipped with a minnow through riffle areas, or the old stand-by use of live shiners. 

Trout is another species abundant in this river. Brown trout, caught by fly-fishing technique, measure up to 30 inches long. Though abundant in number, the fluctuating water level of the river poses a challenge of catching one especially when the water level is low. 

Other species found in this river are the northern pike and muskellunge. Forage in the river also consists of numerous species of minnows, shiners, and suckers. The river is - home to an abundant carp population. Its catch rate is something both local anglers and sport anglers enjoy! Panfish can also be spotted in this river, though scarce. However, anglers may still find localized populations of rock bass or yellow perch

For first-time visitors in the area, it is important to take note there are certain permissions that need to be sought because the majority of the river lies on private land.

Second to the list of fishing destinations in Allegany, NY is the Allegheny Reservoir. The reservoir is a 12,000-acre lake on the southern border of the state. It has produced the current Pennsylvania records for walleye, weighing 17 pounds, 9 ounces and for northern pike weighing 33 pounds and 8 ounces. The healthy ecosystem of the reservoir serves as a perfect habitat for catfish, bass, crappie, yellow perch, and sunfish. Stocked rainbow trout, brook trout, and brown trout also provide a nice trout angling experience.

The reservoir's 91-mile long shoreline offers an accessible area for bank fishing the whole year-round. However, come summer, ice-fishing for walleye and northern pike becomes a popular thing among anglers. 

For beginner anglers thinking of trying ice-fishing, make sure to always carry an ice pick and a length of rope in case you go through the ice. You might also want to set up your gear differently. When ice fishing, it is advisable to have two different styles of fishing rods. One is a jigging rod, a smaller version of the more traditional fishing rod, and tip-up, which are unique to ice fishing. It is also important to use live bait when going ice fishing.

Last on the list, but definitely not the least would be Allegany State Park. It is the largest state park in New York. It has one of the largest concentrations of wild brook trout streams in Western New York. It is also the largest contiguous area of wild and stocked trout fishing which is publicly accessible. 

During winter, ice fishing on Quaker and Red House lakes is also popular for anglers looking for winter recreational opportunities. During Spring, these lakes are stocked with trout.  


Top 10 Fish Species in Allegany, NY

The top 10 fish species to catch in Allegany, NY are the walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, rainbow trout, brook trout, smallmouth bass, sauger, channel catfish, crappie, and yellow perch

Allegany, NY Fishing: The Enchanted Mountains of Western New York Fish species
Smallmouth Bass 
Smallmouth Bass  fish

Habitat: Lake, River

Weight: 1 - 4 Pounds

Length: 12" - 27"

Muskellunge fish

Habitat: Weedy Edges, Rocky Shoals, Shallow Waters

Weight: 15 - 70 Pounds

Length: 24" - 72"

Crappie fish

Habitat: River, Lake

Weight: 0 - 5 Pounds

Length: 4" - 19"

Sauger fish

Habitat: Rivers, Lakes, Tributaries, Streams,

Weight: 1 - 8 Pounds

Length: 12" - 21"

Walleye fish

Habitat: Lake, River

Weight: 1 - 10 Pounds

Length: 12" - 42"

American Yellow Perch
American Yellow Perch fish

Habitat: River, Lake, Backcountry

Weight: 1 - 4 Pounds

Length: 1" - 10"

Northern Pike
Northern Pike fish

Habitat: Onshore

Weight: 2 - 34 Pounds

Length: 16" - 29"

Rainbow Trout 
Rainbow Trout  fish

Habitat: River, Lake

Weight: 1 - 8 Pounds

Length: 16" - 34"

Allegany Seasonal Fishing

With more than 71 species of fish found in Allegany, it is no longer a surprise that fishing can be done year-round! This is because the water in this part of New York remains to be warm, making fish more active. However, if you wish to make the best out of your visit and maximize your angling experience, here are the best months to come. The months of April, May, and early June will be the best trout angling time of the year in Allegany waters. Come mid-June, trout will start to head into deeper water as they look for cooler, well-oxygenated water to love through the summer. For bass and panfish angling, the months starting from mid-June to November would be the best time to fish. The months of May to March would be the best time to catch a Northern Pike. 

For first time-visitor of the area, it is also advisable to check the fishing regulations as there are some months for catch and release season for certain species of fish. 


Exploring Allegany

1. Fishing Charters 

Fishing the Allegheny waters can be quite intimidating, so if you want to maximize your fishing experience, booking a charter with a guide who knows the water body inside out will be to your benefit.


2. Allegany State Park

Aside from being a home to 71 fish species, the town of Allegany also offers a diverse ecosystem. Visiting Allegany State Park during Autumn would leave you in awe. With different activities such as biking, driving, hiking, and horseback riding, this would be a trip you and your family would surely enjoy.


3. Winter Sports at the Art Roscoe Recreation Area

The town of Allegany also offers an extraordinarily fun and adventurous winter experience! The Art Roscoe Recreation Area gives you an opportunity to ski a 25-mile cross-country trail! There are also groomed trailers for snowmobiles and special trails for snowshoes. 

Fishing Techniques
Ice Fishing
Ice Fishing
Fly Fishing
Fly Fishing