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Freedom is a town located in Upstate New York, particularly in the northeast corner of Cattaraugus County. This scenic rural town of rolling hills is flanked by Centerville, Allegany County to the east, and the towns of Yorkshire and Machias to the west. The town’s northern and southern borders, on the other hand, face the town of Arcade in Wyoming County and the town of Farmersville.
Although the first settlers in the area came in the early 1800s, the town of Freedom wasn’t formally established until the 1820s. The land area got a bit smaller through time, however, when several communities broke off from the township and joined neighboring towns—Arcade from the north and Yorkshire to the west—in 1841 and 1844, respectively. Today, Freedom’s total land area is just around 40 square-miles land area. The population is also quite small with a little over 2000 people currently calling the town their home.
Freedom is mostly an agricultural town thanks to its moderately hilly surface, which is perfect for grazing livestock and growing some fruits and other upland crops. Those who raise livestock usually manufacture cheese, with two of the main cheese factories operating in town owning over 2500 cows that produce over 700,000 pounds of cheese every year. Aside from agriculture, several quarrying sites are operating in different parts of the town that provides stable jobs for the residents.
When it comes to tourism, Freedom is not really a popular destination that attracts thousands of visitors each year. This, however, is exactly why it’s such an appealing place, especially to those wanting some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Its pastoral landscape combined with the tranquillity of the quaint communities makes it such a stark contrast to the never-ending din of the more popular nearby towns and cities.
Despite its overall relaxing rural feel, however, Freedom is not that far away from the metropolitan city of Buffalo. The easiest way to get here is by land via State Route 98 that passes through the town’s western border. From Buffalo, it’ll just take you just an hour’s drive along the state’s scenic roads.
Because Freedom is a landlocked town, one may think there are no fishing opportunities in town and around town. There is, actually, as there are several bodies of water here like ponds, creeks, streams, and lakes that carry a good amount of game fish—although, of course, you wouldn’t find any trophy fish here. But if you’re just looking for a relaxing place to fish without the hassle and the noise of the crowds, this is definitely where you should book your next fishing trip.
Not just in the town of Freedom alone can you find plenty of locations to fish but in the whole of Cattaraugus County. The county is also called Enchanted Mountains because of the enchanting view of the rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. And with a picturesque backdrop of the foothills features clean and sparkling lakes, ponds, and streams, from which you can catch all sorts of fish including largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, white perch, steelhead, panfish, and different types of trout.
If you’re planning to fish the county’s lakes and ponds, you will need a kayak, a canoe, or any kind of small boat for you to be able to get to the deeper parts of the water where the larger fish tend to stay. You will, however, need to paddle to the middle as gasoline-powered boats aren’t allowed in these lakes. Another way to catch some fish without having to rent a boat is through the creeks and streams located around the county. These small bodies of water are perfect for fly fishing as you can just cast your line straight from the banks or while you’re wading through the shallow waters.
The town of Freedom and the surrounding towns are blessed with bodies of water that, despite being small, support a healthy amount of fish to catch. If you’re planning a fishing trip in the area, here are some of the locations you might want to check out:
Located just beside State Route 98, Crystal Lake is a small body of water (it’s more like a pond, actually) that offers a relaxing fishing experience. Here you can catch some smallmouth bass, perch, and white perch while drifting on a boat along its tranquil waters. Fishing in Crystal Lake does not require any fancy equipment or methods—whether you’re baitcasting or fly fishing, chances are, you’re going to catch some quality fish here.
Just a few minutes’ walk north of Crystal Lake is Moores Pond, a much smaller body of water that carries stock and native trout as well as some other game fish like smallmouth bass and crappies. Same with Crystal Lake, all you need to fish here are conventional rod and reel with some fresh bait. Fly fishing along the banks or while wading through the shallow parts of the water can also be quite productive.
Clear Creek is a long and winding tributary of the much bigger Cattaraugus Creek. This creek is actually known in the area as one of the best inland fishing spots thanks to its healthy population of wild and stocked trout including browns, rainbows, and brooks.
Now, the ones mentioned above are just fishable waters within the town of Freedom. Keep in mind, though, that the town is surrounded with state parks and bodies of water all over. Some of the fishable waters worth mentioning here that are beyond the town’s boundaries include:
A river just a couple of hours’ drive southwest of Freedom. The river doesn’t just offer amazing fishing but picturesque views as well. Some of the popular fish caught here include smallmouth bass, walleye, northern pike, and the ever-elusive muskie.
South of Freedom is this 20-mile creek that flows from Machias, passing through different Cattaraugus towns, until it drains into Oil Creek in Olean. Fly fishing is said to be the best way to catch some trout here, although, of course, it’s still up to you how you would want to fish its waters.
Unlike other fishing locations that tend to be more productive during the warmer months, Freedom fishing is actually the other way around—fish becomes more active during the colder months. In fact, ice fishing is quite popular among local enthusiasts. To get the most enjoyment out of your fishing trip here, you can visit from April to October. But, yes, you can still fish here during the summer although fish can be a bit finicky.
With the rolling hills and state parks surrounding the town, there are plenty of outdoor activities in line for you when you visit Freedom. Here are some of the most popular activities you might want to check out:
It’s best to hire a local fishing guide who can tell you the what’s, where’s, when’s, and how’s of fishing in these waters.
The rolling hills alone just make you want to explore the town and the surrounding areas on foot.
By canoe or kayak, it doesn’t really doesn’t matter as you’d certainly enjoy paddling through the tranquil waters of Cattaraugus that are mostly flanked with panoramic views of farmlands and foothills.
Enjoy a night of camping under a star-studded sky with your friends and family.