Outstanding Oatka Creek Fishing

A close up of a fish caught with a Mepps spinner on the Oatka Creek.
Hard to beat a Mepps spinner when the Oatka Creek is colored up.

No Gamble When You Fish Oatka Creek

Most anglers are occasionally given a tip about the latest trout fishing hot spot.  Sometimes the tip leads to a hefty stringer of wild trout and a camera full of pictures. Other times the trip to that spot turns out to be nothing more than an exercise in frustration rather than in catching trout. In the case of Oatka Creek there is no disappointment.

The issue normally is the learning curve associated with a new trout fishing spot. What to use, where to go, and when to get there are all questions that take time to answer.  Learning those answers quickly is the difference between euphoric success and bitter disappointment on a trophy trout stream.

Versatile and Productive Brown Trout Fishing

Brown trout cruise the long, fast ripples and deep pools of Oatka Creek.  They are big by any standard and are very aggressive.  These Oatka Creek brown trout are big enough and active enough that anglers can momentarily confuse a hard strike with a snag.

Tributaries and Small Steams

Oakta Creek moves through many towns as it winds its way from Wyoming to Genesee County before ultimately emptying into the Genesee River.

Some of the best fishing on the waterway is on a stretch that starts on the outskirts of the town of Leroy and continues to Mumford where Spring Creek drains into Oatka Creek.

Fishing this section of Oatka Creek begins just four miles from Interstate 90, and a short drive down Route 19 leads to Oatka Creek Trail.  The creek here runs along the right side of the roadway.  There is a New York DEC parking lot adjacent to the stream, with public fishing access.  However, all along the road are areas to pull over and fish whatever run, ripple, or slick catches the eye of the fisherman.

All fishermen in the area should also be aware that there are stretches of Oatka Creek that are posted and those areas should be respected.

Fly Fishing Oatka Creek

The stream geography of Oatka Creek alternates between long, deep pools and extended stretches of fast water.  The banks are high and studded with trees and heavy brush.  The banks along this stretch are steep, but in most places they are no more than six feet higher than the stream.  A fisherman will have little trouble finding a place to access the water by shinnying down the many, well used, but very steep paths from the road to the water to try their hand at fly fishing Oatka Creek.  In some cases the water is only a few feet away from the roadway.

The fly fishing here is very technical. Trees can cause a problem for fly fishermen in this segment. The water is deep and fast and finding a location to complete a cast into fish holding areas is a challenge. The trick is the work into a spot that allows for a clean back cast and then dropping the fly into the correct place without ending up in a branch or bush. The water gets waist deep quickly and in places unexpectedly, so caution is key to getting into position.

Catch Brown Trout

Once that task is complete the trout are there for the taking.  Each year the New York State DEC heavily stocks this area with Brown Trout so there are plenty of fish.  There are also wild Brown trout and other species including bass and pike.

Cast a streamer or nymph into an Oatka Creek pool using a light fly rod.  Some patterns that provide successful fly fishing in the summer are size 16 generic emerger patterns, beaded and unbeaded Hare’s Ear Nymph.  Sulfur, Olive, and Blue Dunn. Tippet size is important drifting from a 2-4x tippet works.

Spinning Equipment

Casting a spinner or spoon from spinning equipment is far easier for most anglers. Fishermen that are using artificial lures such as #1 or #2 Mepp’s spinners, cast upstream and into fast, deep water and reel in slowly to allow the spinner to sink into fish holding areas.

It is crucial to keep the rod tip up and work the lure through the current.  A slight jigging movement as the lure moves through the water column draws strikes.  Blank Panther Martin’s with gold blades are also a good bet in this section. A five to six foot rod light weight rod using six pound test is ideal in the Oatka Trail section.

Lures for Brown Trout Fishing

Fishermen that are using spin casting equipment should use a versatile lure. Many anglers use very small lures such as Mepp’s and Panther Martin spinners, as well as Thomas E.P. Spinners to draw strikes and catch fish.

Before fishing an area be sure to know what the catch limits are and what kind of presentations are to be used. Fishing conditions like water quality and water temperatures will change your technique, so make sure to check local fishing reports before you join other anglers hoping to catch big browns.

NYS DEC Parking Area in Mumford New York

The next section of the Oatka Creek to fish is in the town of Mumford. Continue on Oatka Creek Trail until it ends at to Route 36 south.  There is a DEC parking area just a few hundred yards from the junction.  A bridge straddles the creek here, with public fishing rights.

After parking in the DEC lot fishermen are faced with options – upstream or downstream and which side of the creek.

Take Your Pick of Fishing Spots

Moving upstream from the bridge delivers exceptional spin and fly fishing, year round.  Brown trout can be engaged on either side of the creek.

Between the bridge and Spring Creek is prime trout water.  Spring Creek always has clear waters, even when Oatka Creek is very high.  A clear mudline divides the two water courses during high water flows.  This is magnet for fish and a hotspot for anglers of all experience levels.

This section is also heavily stocked and when the stream is clear fish are visible in the stream to observers watching from the bridge, and easy access to good fishing spots.

The same presentations for both fly and spin casters that work in the Oatka Creek Trail section also work well for big browns in this area.

Spring Creek

On the northwest side of the stream Spring Creek, a clear spring fed tributary, drains into Oatka Creek.  Fishermen can then venture into Spring Creek to go after some of the both native and stocked trout. While the fly and spinning equipment is mostly the same as the rest of Oatka Creek, Spring Creek is very technical.  Smaller presentations work best for fly fishermen.  Tie on a size 16 nymphs to the end of a 6x tippet.  Dead drift the nymph through the pools to attract hungry Brown trout.

There are additional places to try your hand at angling along Oatka Creek with public access, such as the area near the New York State Fish Hatchery and Oatka Creek Park.  Whether you fish large rivers, a major tributary, or one of many small streams, all provide good fishing and make the drive worthwhile.

Directions to Fish Oatka Creek

From Syracuse

Take Interstate 90 West and get off at Exit 47 (Leroy).  Head south on Route 19 (Lake Street Road) and then turn left onto 17 (Parmalee Road).  Continue on 17 and then becomes 245 (Oatka Trail Road).  245 ends at the intersection of Route 36.  Turn right and the DEC lot with public access is on the left.

From Buffalo

Take Interstate 90 East and get off at Exit 47 (Leroy).  Head south on Route 19 (Lake Street Road) and then turn left onto 17 (Parmalee Road).  Continue on 17 and then it becomes 245 (Oatka Trail Road).  245 ends at the intersection of Route 36.  Turn right and the DEC lot is on the left.

Take a day, explore all the fishing Oatka Creek and the surrounding area has to offer!

Original Article By Michael Parzymieso

Check out Michael’s website at michaelparzymieso.substack.com

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