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FLY FISHING NORTH, SOUTH AND LITTLE SANDY CREEK IN NEW YORK

The Sandy Creeks (Little, North, and South), located in Northern New York State, are tributaries to Lake Ontario with runs of steelhead, brown trout, domestic strain rainbow trout, and salmon. They are small creeks averaging 20-60 feet across in most areas. After hard rains when water levels rise these migratory fish from Lake Ontario will enter the creeks. The best runs generally occur between Early October and December. However, the fishing can be good throughout the winter providing water conditions are high enough for fish to enter the creeks. All three are governed under Lake Ontario Tributary Special Regulations.

Little Sandy's headwaters are found east of Route 11. The three major roads that cross the creek are Routes 81, 3, and 11. Access can be found at Route 11 and Norton Road off of Route 15 as well as a few other areas. By Route 3 the creek is very slow moving as it nears Lake Ontario. This is not the best area to fish the creek. Route 15 parallels much of the creek.

Little Sandy is the smallest of the three creeks averaging 20-25 feet across in most areas. Fishing here is very dependent upon water (rain) as are all migratory fisheries. When water levels rise from run-off the fish will enter the creek. Little Sandy is best known for its runs of steelhead although it does have small runs of salmon, brown trout, and domestic strain rainbow trout.

South Sandy Creek is located a few miles north of Little Sandy. Access to the creek is best found by using Route 3(Seaway Trail) and turning onto Route 121(south side of creek) or South Landing Road(north side). From here you can take these roads to the town of Ellisburg. There is access along South Landing Road(designated access point) before reaching Ellisburg. Ellisburg provides access along Route 193 with roads above Ellisburg such as Monitor and Jocalyn Roads also offering access.

Hatch Chart
South Sandy Creek is larger then Little Sandy averaging approximately 50-60 feet across in most areas. The creek is run with salmon, steelhead, and domestic strain rainbows. The upper end of the creek from just below Ellisburg up to Monitor Road is made up mostly of slate. Below Ellisburg at the designated access along South Landing Road the creek is mostly gravel and small stones. This area is also closer to the lake and can provide some excellent fishing. Monitor and Jocalyn Roads can provide excellent angling since the fish stack up in here when the water is high. When the water recedes the fish will drop back out down to the gravel and eventually back into the lake when the water gets too low. This is many anglers favorite of the three Sandy Creeks.

North Sandy Creek is located a few miles farther north then South Sandy. This creek is generally less popular then South or Little Sandy. The creek can have excellent runs of steelhead and domestic strain rainbows after a good rain. The best runs generally occur between early October and Mid December although runs can exist into the spring if water flows allow. Access can be found using Routes 3(to get to the creek), 193(crosses the creek upstream from 3), 120(parallels the creek), and Route 75. These roads either cross or parallel the creek. Turing onto Route 120 off of Route 3 will take up along the south bank of the creek. The best fishing areas are generally found where the water is pushing hard through pools and pockets. Where the water is slow moving and "lake" like it is generally not as good.

The Sandy's near Lake Ontario and 20-30 minutes from the Salmon River are noted as being "sleepers." They can be void of fish one day and full of fish the next. Always remember that you are fishing creeks that are water dependent (spate rivers). Fishing is hit or miss. Chances are, if fish are in the river in good numbers you will "hook up." You have the same chances of hooking ten fish as you do hooking none. Keep up on fishing conditions and watch the weather! If rain is in the forecast try to be there a day to three days after(depending upon how much). High, falling water that is slightly stained is generally the best. Fishing techniques include using a lead sack (slinky) and running line or a floating line and a long leader with split shot(similar to general nymph fishing). Either way you need to be bouncing bottom. The fish, especially during the winter when water temperatures are cold, will usually not come off the bottom to take a fly.

Give the Sandy Creeks a try the next time your in the vicinity of the Salmon River or looking for a new area to explore. They are quality fisheries with a reputation of being outstanding when the fish are in. When water levels are high it can often be extremely slippery and dangerous since much of the river beds (especially on South and North Sandy) are shale. Wade safe and don't fish if water levels are too high. You will know because the rivers will be torrent. If this is the case wait an additional day or two and go fish!