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Jefferson, NY Fishing: Rural Hideaway in Central New York

Jefferson, NY Fishing: Rural Hideaway in Central New York
Published: Monday, August 23rd, 2021
Updated on: Monday, August 23rd, 2021

Jefferson is located on the southwestern edge of Schoharie County in Central New York. It’s about 160 miles north of New York City and flanked by the cities of Albany to the east and Oneonta to the west. With a total area of just 43.4 square miles, it is one of the smallest towns in the county. Because Jefferson doesn’t offer that much opportunity when it comes to employment, many of its residents travel to and from the nearest cities to work. 

Like most areas in the region, Jefferson was first occupied by Mohawk Indians. The first Europeans, which consist mainly of French, British, Dutch, and German colonists, came around 1793 by way of New England and as far north as Canada. While at first, they came just to trade furs with the Native Americans, many started settling in and around the area. In the next several years, these settlements grew, and by early 1803, the town of Jefferson was officially established.

While it’s mostly known as an agricultural town, there’s a small business district within the town consisting of several business establishments, including a convenience store, a gas station, a resto-bar, and several inns and bed-and-breakfasts. There are some outdoor recreation, landscape, and historical destinations within and without town that attract tourists from all over the state. And thanks mainly to its small-town charm and tranquil rural atmosphere, Jefferson draws in retirees as well. 

Jefferson Fishing

Aside from its rural beauty, Jefferson is also an ideal destination for anglers looking for some fly fishing action. This is because the town is situated within Schoharie County that’s blessed with some of the most fish-abundant bodies of water in the region. With creeks, streams, ponds, and lakes flowing through the whole county, fishing opportunities abound not only for serious anglers but for casual ones as well. And anglers can go fly fishing straight off the banks of these fishing spots.

One popular fly fishing spot is the West Kill creek, an 11-mile long tributary of the bigger Schoharie Creek that runs from North Blenheim and drains into a small pond in East Jefferson. This stream is narrow and shallow that makes it perfect for fly fishing either from the banks or while wading through the clear water. Although it’s pretty much an ideal fly fishing spot, it attracts a lot of bait casters as well. Anglers can catch a variety of species here including brown trout, rainbow trout, bluegill, northern pike, flathead catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and rock bass.

Another spot that offers amazing fishing is the Wharton Hollow Creek, a 10-mile stream that starts from the southwest corner of the Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest and drains into the Summit Lake in west Schoharie County. Because it’s connected to West Kill Creek, the fish species you can catch in Wharton Hollow Creek is pretty much the same. Although the overall fishing experience would definitely not be similar as the part of the stream that runs through the state forest is heavily wooded. This, of course, offers that remote atmosphere that many anglers love.

Other fishing spots near Jefferson that fly fishing enthusiasts should check out include Betty Brook, Mill Creek, Middle Brook, Baldwin Pond, and Summit Lake—all of which can be accessed easily if you’re staying in Jefferson. Keep in mind, though, that there are thirty rivers and streams, nine reservoirs, and ten lakes in and around Schoharie County alone—more if you go a little farther. This means that you can go fishing pretty much anywhere you go in the area. If you’re planning on a fishing trip in Jefferson, we highly suggest booking a local fishing guide who can show you where to catch the best fish and even teach you invaluable fishing tips.    


Top Ten Fish Species in Jefferson, NY

The top ten fish species you can catch in Jefferson, NY is brown trout, rainbow trout, bluegill, crappie, walleye, northern pike, flathead catfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and rock bass.

Jefferson, NY Fishing: Rural Hideaway in Central New York Fish species
Rock Bass
Rock Bass fish

Habitat: Lake, Stream Pools, Vegetation, Rocky Bottom

Weight: 1 - 3 Pounds

Length: 6" - 17"

Northern Pike
Northern Pike fish

Habitat: Onshore

Weight: 2 - 34 Pounds

Length: 16" - 29"

Bluegill  fish

Habitat: Lake, Pond, River

Weight: 1 - 2 Pounds

Length: 6" - 16"

Rainbow Trout 
Rainbow Trout  fish

Habitat: River, Lake

Weight: 1 - 8 Pounds

Length: 16" - 34"

Crappie fish

Habitat: River, Lake

Weight: 0 - 5 Pounds

Length: 4" - 19"

Flathead Catfish 
Flathead Catfish  fish

Habitat: River, Lake, Flats, Backcountry

Weight: 4 - 60 Pounds

Length: 12" - 61"

Walleye fish

Habitat: Lake, River

Weight: 1 - 10 Pounds

Length: 12" - 42"

Brown Trout
Brown Trout fish

Habitat: Lake, River

Weight: 2 - 40 Pounds

Length: 13" - 39"

Seasonal Fishing 

Anglers fish the waters in and around the town Jefferson for most of the year even during the coldest months as ice fishing is possible here; although, of course, one has to come fully prepared with all the necessary protection against the chilly winter air. That said, June, July, and August are the best time of the year to fish in Jefferson as most fish species tend to be more active during these summer months. The cool summer climate of the region will also provide comfort for anglers fishing all day long. On the other hand, January and February are the least comfortable months because of the below freezing temperatures.  


Jefferson’s Top Attractions

The town of Jefferson may just be a few minutes’ drive away from the cities of Albany, Oneonta, Schenectady, Troy, and other more developed town