New York Fly Fishing 4 min read

DIY Guide to Fly Fishing Oatka Creek in New York

Ken Sperry

Posted by Ken Sperry

January 5, 2021

Oatka Creek in New York

For anglers, fly fishing offers a lot of enjoyment. Doing it in the waters in New York and Pennsylvania can bring even more pleasure, as these are some of the best fly fishing waters in the country. Of course, the last thing you want to do is fork out a small fortune for some local guide company to show you the way. Thanks to this DIY guide, you’ll learn everything about fly fishing Oatka Creek in New York so that you can plan your own perfect getaway. Then, you’ll be able to spend your extra cash on new gear, another trip, or whatever else you’d like. Read on to start planning your trip.

About Oatka Creek

Fly fishing Oatka Creek in New York

Oatka Creek is considered a freestone stream located throughout Genesee and Monroe counties. There’s a 1.7-mile section that runs through Oatka Creek County Park, which is popular for its fishery that helps stock the creek with brown trout to support the wild populations. This creek is unique in that you might find the occasional northern pike or black bass since it runs a bit warmer but is primarily a trout fishing destination.

The creek has three major sections, including Spring Creek, a tributary. One interesting thing to note about Spring Creek is that it is home to the Caledonia trout hatchery, where brown trout were first introduced successfully in North America. There are only two small sections to fish here, though.

Oatka Creek runs through Northcentral New York, offering plenty of warm and cool spots, water quality variations, and sections regulated as catch-and-release or approved for the use of artificial bait only. Select areas of Oatka Creek are only open during select seasons, so be sure to check before you plan your trip.

Oatka Creek Map and Fishing Access Sites

map of fishing access spots on Oatka Creek in New York

Get Directions to the Fishing Access Points shown above with the DIY Fly Fishing Map

The best fishing sections will be discussed in detail below, but for now, know that the lower section past LeRoy is where you’ll typically find the best waters for fly fishing.

Of course, the creek delivers plenty of other potential options throughout its span, offering something for all kinds of anglers. Brown trout are wild and stocked throughout the creek and you may spot the occasional rainbow trout, but there’s no guarantee. Up next, let’s take a look at what you’ll find and where the best spots are for fly fishing on this unique creek.

Best Places to Fish Oatka Creek

As mentioned above, the section below LeRoy is a good choice for those who want easy access. It’s also popular, though, so you might see more anglers fighting for space. In the headwaters, you’ll find a smaller stream section that is covered with trees and bushes, helping keep the water cool for great fishing.

The middle section stays a bit too warm for trout, but past that, you’ll find two near-perfect spots, thanks to two streams that bring in spring water to cool the creek. Blue Hole will have great trout fishing almost year-round, as will the Spring Creek section. This is where it becomes a trophy trout stream, as a matter of fact.

From Union Street to Wheatland Center Road, you’ll find a year-round, no-kill section that is restricted to artificial lures, but that offers great fishing. You’ll also find a section near Bowerman Road to Union Street and another from Wheatland to the Spring Creek mouth where fishing is only open from Oct. 16 to March 31. It’s also artificial lures only and catch-and-release here.

If you want to get a unique experience and don’t mind a little more traffic, head below the hatchery in Spring Creek. Here, you’ll find clear waters, beautiful brown trout, and public access for about 1,000 feet that offers catch-and-release, artificial lure only fishing.

Best Time to Fish Oatka Creek

Aside from the sections mentioned above, fishing in Oatka Creek is open year-round. In the areas where there are no restrictions, you’ll find the best fishing in the fall if you’re here for the big browns. Some sections see better fishing during certain seasons, too.

For example, the sections that have spring water inflow will typically see great fishing in the summer months. The hatches make for great fishing during the spring, with midges, caddisflies, and aquatic insects that attract the fish. Spring Creek is best to check out during the fall or spring, although this is also when the crowds will be the biggest.

Winter, surprisingly, does well in Oatka Creek. It has enough water that it doesn’t freeze a lot, and the milder winters are only helping that. Some sections are only open during the winter months, so be sure to check them out while you can.

No matter what season you come, you’ll find that access is generally easy in the most popular areas. If you want bigger catches, wait until later in the year. If you want the excitement of the new spawn, schedule a spring fly fishing trip.

Stream Flow and Current Conditions

Be sure to check the stream conditions before heading out to fish Oatka Creek. The USGS stream gauge at Garbutt, 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.


  • Streamflow: 66.1 ft³/s
  • Gage height: 2.47 ft
Streamflow GraphGage height Graph

Best Flies for Oatka Creek

Here is list of general fly pattern recommendations for Oatka Creek:

Dry Flies

  • Parachute Adams (#10 – 20)
  • BWO Sparkle Dun (#14 – 24)
  • PMD Sparkle Dun (#10 – 22)
  • Elk Hair Caddis (#12 – 18)
  • Chernobyl Ant (#8 – 12)
  • Griffith’s Gnat (#14 – 22)


  • Pheasant Tail (#12 – 20)
  • Hare’s Ear (#8 – 18)
  • Brown Stonefly (#6 – 10)
  • Golden Stonefly (#6 – 10)
  • Zebra Midge (#16 – 22)
  • WD40 (#16-20)


  • Wooly Bugger (#6 -12)
  • Clouser Minnow (#6 – 8)

Gear Recommendations

A 9-foot 5-wt fly rod with floating line is perfect for fishing dry flies and small nymphs on Oatka Creek. A tapered 9-foot leader, with tippet size 3X to 5X to match the flies you are throwing, is pretty standard.

Oatka Creek Fishing Report

Area fly shops, guides and websites that can provide a Oatka 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

Oatka Creek is located outside of Rochester, crossing Route 20 and I-90, offering easy access for out-of-towners. You’ll find plenty of lodging and dining in the area and can even choose campsites if you want to save a few bucks during your stay. Rochester has an airport for those flying in, but watch for winter storms that can create major travel delays.

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

Feature image CC Bill Blevins