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Fly Fishing in New York - Prime Fly Fishing spots in New York

Prime Fly Fishing spots in New York

New York

There’s much more to New York than just the city. The remaining state is full of beautiful countryside, mountains and it even borders two Great Lakes. However, if you find yourself near the city just know that fishing isn’t that far away. 

Long Island offers plentiful saltwater opportunities and there is a surprising number of freshwater ponds in the city that you can fish in. This includes central park. 

Below, we’re going to cover some of these great fly-fishing spots in New York. Check them out and see which ones you’d like to check out.

Where to go

Salmon River

Arguably the most famous river in New York. The Salmon River has a ton of different access points and even more information on how to fish it, which is why it is so popular. Here you’ll find mostly steelhead and Salmon. 

In late August the King Salmon will begin their run. They will continue to run until around late October. Some of these fish can get as big as 20 pounds. You’ll also find some Coho Salmon as well. 

In late October the Steelhead will begin to move and you’ll see them hanging around until May. You’ll be able to find salmon and steelhead by targeting the slower moving sections of the river. Salmon will strike out of aggression since they won’t be feeding. However, steelhead will eat out of hunger.

You can fish the Salmon River at the lower fly zone by Beaverdam Brook. It’s open from September 15 – May 15. The upper fly zone is near lighthouse hill. This is open April 1 – November 30. 

In this river you’ll be better off using a single-handed rod in the 7-10 weight range. A weight forward floating line is always a great all-around option. However, if you can have a sink tip with you then that can help get your fly down a little deeper. 

Fly Selection 

  • Eggstacy Egg
  • Red Tag
  • Crystal Bugger
  • Egg Sucking Leach
  • Wooly Bugger


Delaware River 

Similar in fame to the Salmon River, the Delaware offers its own unique fly-fishing opportunities. Some have eve argued that it’s the best trout stream in the Eastern United States. 

The river stretches between New York and Pennsylvania, and it is loaded with wild trout. Most anglers will break down the Delaware into three different sections. The first branch is called the West Branch. 

You can find it directly below the Cannonsville reservoir. Roughly 20 miles in length and contains all the kind of fishable water than an angler wants. The West Branch is also the most accessible of the three branches.

The East Branch is below the Pepacton Reservoir. In this section you’ll find than the Beaverkill runs through it. This is going to be your best bet for catching fish. The water is usually a little bit colder and not as rough. More fish will be here than the other 30 miles of river.

The final section is the main stem. This is going to be in Hancock. This is going to be the hardest part of the river to access meaning it shouldn’t be too highly pressured.

The Delaware is a true trout river so a 5-6 weight rod that is 9’ long will be ideal.

Fly Selection

  • Blue Winged Olive
  • Rusty Spinner
  • March Brown


Saranac River

Regarded as one of the most beautiful rivers in New York, the Saranac has opportunities for anglers to catch steelhead, salmon, browns and rainbows. The upper Saranac will hold trout while the lower will have steelhead and salmon. Each section needs different gear.

You’ll need to utilize a classic trout setup for the Upper Saranac. 9’ rods in a 5-6 weight will be ideal. The river begins to flow Bloomingdale to Franklin County. You’ll find access points along River Rd.

In late fall and winter, you’ll want to hit up the Lower Saranac. Make sure you have a 7 weight or larger for this section. You’ll need the power if you want to fight these big fish that are swimming down there.

Fly Selection 

  • Blue Winged Olive
  • Caddis
  • Stoneflies
  • Terrestrial (Summertime)
  • Wooly Bugger


Neversink River 

The Neversink is stocked with 5,000 trout on a yearly basis. The river is unique because it’s both a tailwater and freestone fishery. Most rivers are one or the other. It’s located in Southeast New York and holds brown, brook and rainbow trout. 

The dam below the reservoir has slower moving water and makes for better fishing opportunities. The best time to fish this river is going to be in late spring and early summer. This is because of all the different hatches that occur 

The Neversink is a classic American trout stream so stick to the basics when fishing here. Smaller flies, tippet, and rods in the 4-5 weight range will be your best bet.

Fly Selection

  • Quill Gordon
  • Slate Drake
  • Hendrickson’s


Oak Orchard Creek

Starting Genesee County, the creek empties into Lake Ontario. The creek holds browns, coho, chinook and steelhead.

The best access point is going to be near the Waterport Dam. The fish can’t make it past the dam so it’s a solid place to start. Drift eggs for brown trout. They’re looking to eat the salmon eggs so make sure you have some in your fly box. 

Keep the eggs down deep below where you’re seeing the salmon. If you’re planning on just targeting browns, then a 9’ 5 weight set up will work just fine. However, if you want to target salmon and steelhead then a 7-10 weight will be needed. 

Larger flies that imitate baitfish are good if you want to try and bring in some of the salmon or steelhead. Remember from earlier, salmon will eat out of aggression where steelhead will eat out of hunger.



New York has an abundance of water for fly fishing. Check out any of the spots above and see which river you like the best!


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