BlogMarch 2019

5 Erie Canal Fishing Tips to Apply This Spring

5 Erie Canal Fishing Tips to Apply This Spring

By Debbie Hanson

Mar 19, 2019

Erie Canal fishing tips for anglers of all experience levels, learn which species you can catch on Erie Canal fishing trips, fishing tips on where to go

Since the Erie Canal spans close to 363-miles, having a few Erie Canal fishing tips in mind for the start of season can be helpful. There is a lot of water you can cover, and there are several different freshwater fish species you can target.

Freshwater fish species in the Erie Canal include largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pickerel, walleye, pike, catfish, carp, yellow perch, and sunfish.

Historically speaking, the building of the Erie Canal in the 1800's was monumental because it created a navigable waterway from New York City and the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. These days, this famous canal offers hundreds of miles of public fishing access that can be ideal for family fishing trips.

With this many miles of water to consider, along with the number of different species, keep these fishing tips in mind when visiting the Erie Canal this spring.

Be sure to renew your New York fishing license and consider these Erie Canal fishing tips before heading to this famous waterway.

  1. If you're not sure where to go for your first Erie Canal fishing experience, try heading to a spot near where the canal meets Tonawanda Creek southwest of Lockport. The deep cuts and moving water here can mean the opportunity for several different fish species such as smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and yellow perch.
  2. When planning a family trip with the kids, one of the best Erie Canal fishing tips is to visit the old canal bed in Onondaga County. This is a prime panfish spot that is perfect for families. Kids can catch plenty of small sunfish and perch using live worms and minnows jigged near bridges and docks.
  3. Experienced anglers can cast small crawfish-imitating crankbaits around rock piles and rip-rap in order to entice bites from smallmouth bass in the Erie Canal.
  4. For a chance at landing carp up to 20-pounds, you can set your lines up on the water between Erie and Niagara Counties (there is shoreline access at the Town and County parklands). Use corn or dough balls on hooks in sizes 4 to 6
  5. Another Erie Canal fishing spot worth visiting this spring is Lock 20 State Canal Park in Oneida County. You can fish from the bank here for yellow perch, walleye, northern pike, and smallmouth bass.
Be sure to renew your New York fishing license and consider these Erie Canal fishing tips before heading to this famous waterway. 
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.