DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Oak Orchard Creek in New York

If you’re looking for a fly fishing adventure but you don’t want to spend a fortune on a guided trip, you’re in luck. You can have a lot of fun in Western New York and Pennsylvania, where you’ll find some of the best fly fishing in the country. Plus, with the help of our guides, you can plan your own trips on a dime.

Whether you’ve been fishing for years or you’re new to the hobby, destinations like Oak Orchard Creek offer a lot of potential. Read on to learn all about where to go, when to go, and what kind of fish you’ll find.

Fly fishing for lake-run brown trout and steelhead in Oak Orchard Creek in New York

Oak Orchard Creek (River) is located in Genesee County, starting at the Oak Orchard swamps and flowing all the way through Orleans County out into Lake Ontario. The area where the river meets up with Marsh Creek is a great place for fishing, known as “the Bridges”. The creek abides by Lake Ontario tributary guidelines.

There are steelhead (rainbow) trout, chinook salmon, Coho salmon, and brown trout in Oak Orchard Creek, including thousands that are stocked each season and some wild fish, as well. The runs of fish in this water offer some of the most exciting fly fishing that you’ll find in New York State, and the river provides access in several places. The most popular areas are located along NY 104 and north of it to the lake.

Oak Orchard Marine Park and Orleans Co. Marine Park offer plenty of parking and public access. This creek is known for its beautiful greenish water and manageable flows that offer ideal conditions fish to hide in deep holes. Swinging and drifting are effective, but anglers are advised to stick with the “low and slow” method during cold weather for best results.

The one thing about Oak Orchard Creek is that it’s one of the busier fishing destinations in New York. Be prepared for crowds because the best fishing is worth it, but you really can’t get away from it.

Oak Orchard Creek runs for miles south of the connection with Marsh Creek, veering down to the Waterport Reservoir, where anglers are cautioned to keep an eye for private access points that will require permission for river access. You can find decent fishing all the way down past Medina, although the best is closer to the Lake.

Oak Orchard Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

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Best Places to Fish Oak Orchard Creek

The most popular fishing areas for steelhead and salmon, as well as brown trout, are those near Oak Orchard where the creek meets Marsh Creek. There are two hot fishing areas on Marsh Creek, as well, where you’ll find plenty of browns and steelhead.

One of the great things about this creek is that even if you don’t intend to, you’ll likely run into salmon no matter where you choose to fish. Stick closer to Lake Ontario for better steelhead runs, but again, be prepared for crowds at the state park and marinas.

There is limited access at the mouth of the river where it meets the lake. Those who come for Oak Orchard usually find themselves finding better wading options in Marsh Creek, but there is plenty of shoreline access on Oak Orchard Creek, as well. Marsh Creek has several areas with shoreline and bank access on both sides.

Everyone will tell you that the popular areas are also the best areas, so this is a destination where you’ll have to be ready to join the masses. However, if you are, you’ll find great catches throughout the length of the creek.

Best Time to Fish Oak Orchard Creek

The fall is a good time to find salmon, brown trout, and steelhead around most areas of the creek, with the best catches found in October and November. Steelhead are also plentiful during the winter months if you don’t want to have to battle through the browns and salmon earlier in the season.

You’ll also find good catches in the spring as the waters warm and rise a little to provide better runs for the fish. This is a year-round spot that has great conditions provided that water temperatures remain cool and the water is not to high.

The water flows by season will also help you decide when to visit, but you can’t really rely on the outputs from the hydro-power generation facilities. However, the average water flows for this area are low to moderate and clear for fall, cold and low in winter, and high and off-color in spring.

Ideally, you’ll stick to the late fall and winter for steelhead, with the best brown trout and salmon fishing in Oak Orchard Creek found during early fall.

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Oak Orchard Creek. The USGS stream gauge near Kenyonville, NY provide a good indication of current conditions.

The graph below shows the stream flow (discharge) for the past 7-days. If flows are considerably above or below historical norms (yellow triangles on the chart) then fishing conditions maybe not be ideal.

OAK ORCHARD CREEK NEAR KENYONVILLE NY

  • Water Temp: 58.64 ° F
  • Flow: 252 ft³/s
  • Water Level: 2.43 ft
.
USGS

Fly Box - What You'll Need

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Oak Orchard Creek:

  • Glo Bug (#8 - 16)
  • Sucker Spawn (#8 - 12)
  • Nuclear Roe (#10 - 16)
  • Black Stonefly (#12 -18) 
  • Brown Stonefly (#12 -14)
  • Hare's Ear (#10 - 12)
  • Woolly Bugger (#6 - 10)
  • Muddler Minnow (#6 - 10)
  • Pink Panther (#6 - 10)
  • White Bunny Spey (#6 - 10)
  • Pot Bellied Pig
  • M.C. Hammer (#4)
  • Spawntruder (#4)

Gear Recommendations

A single-hand 10-foot, 6- or 7-wt fly rod with a weight-forward floating line is perfect for fishing nymphs and small streamers on Oak Orchard Creek.  

Similar weight switch rods 10 and 11.5 feet in length are also popular. If you like to swing flies, a 12-foot-6, 6- or 7-weight rod is all you need for brown trout and steelhead.  You'll need to step up to an 8- or 9-wt for the bigger salmon. 

A 9- to 14-foot leader, tapered down to 10- or 8-pound-test is pretty standard.  In super clear water conditions you may need to taper down to 6-pound-test.

A standard leader configuration for use with a floating or intermediate line is:

  • 2 feet, 25-lb monofilament (mono)
  • 2 feet, 20-lb mono
  • 2 feet, 15-lb mono
  • 2 feet, 12-lb fluorocarbon (fluoro)
  • 2 feet, 10-lb fluoro
  • 2 feet, 8-lb fluoro

A standard heavy sink-tip leader is:

  • 2- to 5-feet straight 15-pound Maxima
  • 2-feet straight 12-pound Maxima

Oak Orchard Creek Fishing Report

Area fly shops, guides and websites that can provide an Oak Orchard Creek fly fishing report and update on current conditions are listed below:

Fishing Regulations

The state of New York requires that all people who are 16 years of age and older have a valid fishing license. There are resident and non-resident sport fishing licenses available.

You can purchase a New York State fishing license and learn about the most current regulations through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Trip Planning Tips

Oak Orchard is located outside of Albion, New York. The closest major city is Niagara or Rochester, the latter of which has an airport for those coming in from out of town. You can fly into Buffalo-Niagara, but it’s further and often more expensive.

You’ll find lodging and dining in nearby Albion and Medina, as well as easy access via NY104, Route 31, and Route 98 running north and south. Those who want to stay closer to the lake or camp can check out Lakeside Beach State Park.

Looking for more places to fish? Check out our DIY Guide to the Best Fly Fishing in New York

Feature image Wooly Bugged

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