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Your complete source for information on fishing the Salmon River, NY and Eastern Lake Ontario regions

Regulations for Eastern Lake Ontario, the Salmon River
and Other Regional Lake Ontario Tributaries

The following regulations are for Eastern Lake Ontario, the Salmon River and other regional Lake Ontario tributaries. This information is believed to be accurate, but please review the list of official regulations with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. For further information, see the Complete Summary of Regulations provided online by the DEC.


Regulations for Lake Ontario Tributaries
Except the Lower Niagara River and Salmon River


Lake Ontario Tributaries with Seasonal Closures

Little Sandy Creek (Oswego County): Fishing is prohibited from March 16 through the first Saturday in May from the State Route 3 bridge downstream 850 feet to the intersection of the channelized area and upstream 1.0 miles from the bridge to the Public Fishing Rights section.


Sections of Lake Ontario Tributaries Subject to Seasonal (Sept. 1 to Mar. 31) Regulations

The following tributary sections are subject to seasonal fishing regulations described below during the period September 1 to March 31:

Water County Portion of Tributary Subject to Special Regulations
Eighteenmile Creek Niagara From the Route 18 bridge upstream to Burt Dam
Oak Orchard Creek Orleans From the power lines that are 1.9 miles upstream (south) of Route 18 bridge upstream to Waterport Dam
Genesee River Monroe From the State Route 104 Bridge upstream to the Lower Falls.
Sterling Creek Cayuga From Old State Road to impassable barrier upstream of Route 104A
Sterling Valley Creek Cayuga From McIntyre Road upstream to impassable barrier upstream of Route 104A
Oswego River Oswego From the Utica Street bridge upstream to the Varick Dam
Catfish Creek Oswego From the mouth upstream to dam at County Route 1
Black River Jefferson From the upstream tip of the lowermost island to Mill Street dam in Watertown
All other tributaries All From the bridge closest to the mouth upstream to first barrier impassable by fish

Lake Ontario Waters and Tributaries Exempted from Seasonal Tributary Regulations

The following regulations apply except those listed in the table below:

Water County Applicable Regulations
Niagara River Eriie & Niagara Upper Niagara River or Lower Niagara River regulations apply
Round Pond, Buck Pond, Long Pond, Cranberry Pond, and Irondequoit Bay Monroe Lake Ontario regulations apply
Sodus Bay Wayne Lake Ontario regulations apply
South Sandy Pond Oswego Lake Ontario regulations apply


  • Fishing from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise is prohibited except in the Black River (Jefferson County) from Lake Ontario upstream to the Route 180 bridge in Dexter, where fishing is permitted at all times.


  • Only one hook with a single hook point is permitted, except as outlined below for floating lures and artificial flies.
  • Hooks attached to any lure must be freeswinging, except on an artificial fly
  • An artificial fly may not have more than two hook points.
  • The gap between a hook’s shaft and point cannot exceed one-half inch.
  • Use of hooks with added weight is prohibited, except that artificial flies and jigs weighing no more than one-eighth ounce are permitted.
  • Artificial fly means a hook with no more than two points dressed with feathers, hair, thread, tinsel or any similar material to which no additional hooks, spinners, spoons or similar devices have been added.

Floating Lures

  • A floating lure is a lure that floats at rest in water with or without any weight attached to the lure, leader or line.
  • Can have multiple treble hooks.
  • Any hooks on a floating lure must be attached to the lure by a ring or swivel except for artificial flies.
  • The distance between the body of a floating lure and the points of any attached hooks shall not exceed one and one-half inches.

Leaders and Weights

  • The distance between the hook, artificial fly or lure and any weight attached to the line or leader, whether fixed or sliding, shall not exceed four feet.
  • Any weight added to the line, leader, swivels, artificial fly or lure shall not hang lower than the hook when the line or leader is held vertically.

Regulations for Salmon and Oswego Rivers
and other Regional Lake Ontario Tributaries


Salmon River Downstream of Rt. 52 Bridge in Altmar

From the upstream most navigation buoy located between the breakwalls at the mouth of the river upstream to the County Rt. 52 bridge in Altmar

Effective Dates Regulations
April 15 – August 14
  • Statewide gear restrictions apply.
August 15 – April 14
  • Fishing is prohibited at night from ½ hr. after sunset to ½ hr. before sunrise except as permitted below.
  • Only one hook with a single hook point and a gap not exceeding ½ inch is permitted except on floating lures as noted below.
  • Hooks attached to any lure, except an artificial fly, must be free swinging and unweighted. Artificial flies with no more than 1/8 oz. of added weight may be used. The method by which weight is added to a hook does not affect classification as an “artificial fly” provided the conditions of the definition of an artificial fly on page 60 are met.
  • The distance between the hook, artificial fly or lure and any weight attached to the line or leader, whether fixed or sliding, shall not exceed 4 feet.
  • Weight shall not be added to the line, leader, swivels, artificial fly or lure in any manner that the weight hangs lower than the attached hook when the line is suspended vertically from the rod.
August 15 – October 31
  • A bead chain may be attached to the floating lure with a ring.
  • The bead chain may not exceed a distance of three and one half inches between the body of the floating lure and the hook point.
  • One hook with a single hook point and a gap of no more than 5/8 in. may be attached to the bead chain or directly to the lure.
November 1 – April 14
  • Multiple single, double and treble hooks are permitted on floating lures.
April 1 – August 14
  • Fishing at night is permitted from Lake Ontario to Rt. 3 Bridge.

Special Regulations for Salmon River Fly Fishing Catch-and-Release Sections


Fishing Hours, Season Dates and Locations

  • Angling Permitted: From one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
  • Lower Fly Section: Open September 15 through May 15, from County Route 52 Bridge in Altmar upstream 0.25 mile to the marked boundary at Beaverdam Brook.
  • Upper Fly Section: Open April 1 through November 30 from a marked boundary upstream of the New York State Fish Hatchery property to a marked boundary 0.6 mile upstream at the Lighthouse Hill Reservoir tailrace.
  • Fishing is prohibited outside the open season.

Catch & Release

All fish must be immediately released without unnecessary injury.


Tackle Restrictions

Tackle is restricted to a traditional fly rod, fly reel, fly line, and artificial fly. Restrictions on fly lines, flies, attractors, leaders and supplemental weight are as follows:

  • Fly Lines:
    • Use of less than 20 feet of floating, sinking, or combination floating/sinking fly line or shooting head immediately behind the leader and in front of any running line or other backing is prohibited.
    • May 1 through August 31: Floating fly lines only.
    • September 1 through April 30: Floating, sinking, and sink tip fly lines are permitted.

  • Flies:
    • May 1 through August 31: a single unweighted artificial fly having one hook point with a one-half inch maximum gap only permitted.
    • September 1 through April 30: a single unweighted or weighted artificial fly with no more than 1/8 oz. added weight, having one hook point with a one-half-inch maximum gap only permitted.

  • Attractors:
    • The use of added baits or attractors such as, but not limited to, fish eggs, insects, beads, spoons, spinners, plugs, or similar devices on the line above the artificial fly is prohibited.

  • Leaders:
    • The total length of the leader including the tippet shall not exceed 15 feet.
    • May 1 through August 31: sinking and metal leaders are prohibited.

  • Additional Weight:
    • May 1 through August 31: the use of supplemental weight such as split shot, sinkers, metal leaders, twist-ons, or swivels attached to the leader, tippet, fly line or fly is prohibited.
    • September 1 through April 30: the use of supplemental weight is permitted with the following restrictions.
      • The combined weight of any supplemental weight and fly may not exceed one-eighth of an ounce.
      • The maximum distance between the artificial fly and any added weight to the line, leader or tippet shall not exceed four feet.
      • Weight added to the line, leader, swivels, or artificial fly in any manner such that the weight hangs lower than the attached fly is prohibited.

Beaverdam Brook in Altmar Fishing Closure

Fishing in Beaverdam Brook and its tributaries, Oswego County, is prohibited from their mouths to the upstream boundary of the Salmon River Hatchery property.


Lake Ontario Regulations

These regulations apply to all the New York waters of Lake Ontario in the region.

Species Open Season Minimum Length Daily Limit
Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout (including Steelhead), Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon and Pink Salmon All Year 15 in. (21 in. for Rainbow Trout or Steelhead) 3 in any combination, but not to include more than one Rainbow Trout or Steelhead in the tributaries only
Brook Trout April 1 through Oct 15 Any Size 5
Lake Trout January 1 through September 30 None (except no more than one shall be between 25 in. and 30 in. 2
Atlantic Salmon All year 25 in. 1
Northern Pike 1st Saturday in May through March 15 22 in. 5
Black Bass
(Lake Ontario & tributaries except in Jefferson County)
Statewide angling regulations apply
Black Bass
(Lake Ontario and tributaries in Jefferson County & St. Lawrence River and tributaries)
3rd Sat. in June through Nov 30 12 in. 5
(prohibited outside of season)
Walleye 1st Saturday in May through March 15 18 in. 3
Muskellunge and Tiger Muskellunge 3rd Saturday in June through December 15 54 in. 1
Pickerel 1st Saturday in May through March 15 15 in. 5
Lake Sturgeon, American Eel Closed Possession Prohibited
Yellow Perch and Sunfish All year Any Size 50
(Except Yellow Perch and Sunfish may be taken in any number in Jefferson County)
Whitefish All year Any size 5
Bullheads, Carp, Catfish, Cisco, Crappies, Rock Bass, Sauger, Suckers, White Bass, White Perch, and any fish not otherwise specified Same as General Angling Regulations Same as General Angling Regulations Same as General Regulations

Fishing License Fees

Required for all persons age 16 or over

  Note that now, all licenses are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.
Resident Licenses Fee
Annual Fishing (16-69) $25.00
Annual Fishing (70+) $5.00
Annual Fishing(Military/Disabled*) $5.00
Fishing - 7 day (16+) $12.00
Fishing - 1 day (16+) $5.00
Non-Resident Licenses  
Annual Fishing (16+) $50.00
Fishing - 7 day (16+) $28.00
Fishing - 1 day (16+) $10.00
Lifetime Licenses  
Lifetime Fishing (0-69) $460.00
Lifetime Fishing (70+) $65.00
Lifetime Licenses
(includes Hunting, Fishing and Turkey Permits)
Lifetime License (0-4) $380.00
Lifetime License (5-11) $535.00
Lifetime License (12-69) $765.00
Lifetime License (70+) $65.00

* Military Disabled persons with a 40% or more disability annually pay $5.00 for the first of the following 3 privileges: fishing, hunting, trapping. Subsequent purchases of the other 2 privileges are free within the calendar year. Questions should be directed to 518-402-8843.

To order a fishing license online, click HERE.