Fish Creek, E. Branch - Point Rock to Taberg

Fish Creek, E. Branch, New York, US


Point Rock to Taberg

Usual Difficulty II-IV (varies with level)
Length 9.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 48 fpm

Burly Rodeo Hole

Burly Rodeo Hole
Photo by Harry A. Marinakis, M.D. taken 04/01/01 @ 2.50 ft

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04242500 1000 - 6000 cfs II-III 34d18h22m 349 cfs (too low)

River Description

Fish Creek may be the finest play river in the Northeast, with big, fast waves and holes that range from purring pussycat to sneering tiger. Paddlers may put in below the City of Rome dam (Lat: 43.3377991 Lon: -75.5815353) or at Point Rock (coords given below); the takeout is 1/2 mile below the town of Taberg along Blossvale Road (4.5 miles from the dam, feels like 10 miles).

Most of the action takes place below the dam; you get a shorter, concentrated run, but you have to walk your boat down to put in. The stretch from Point Rock to the dam is more mellow, but many paddlers use it, especially at higher levels (3 feet and above), because that avoids the long walk to the dam; also, the upper section does have good play and some beautiful scenery, with waterfalls (icy in the early spring) cascading down the steep gorge walls at every turn.

Important: The takeout is located on private property, and relies on the generosity of the land owner. During the year the area is used by fisherman who litter and make a mess.  If you use the takeout please pick up any trash, and be friendly if approached by the elderly gentleman who owns the property. He takes great pride in the distances boaters come to boat the river and has been a friend to the community for decades. Please show him the respect he deserves.

Directions to takeout:

From the West (Syracuse and Thruway West):
Take Exit 34 (Canastota), head North on Rte. 13 toward Vienna.
Where Rte. 13 T's into Rte. 49 (North of Sylvan Beach), head Right onto Rte. 49.
After about 2.2 miles, just after Kimball Rd., take a Left onto Pine Rd. (If you miss this turn, take the Left, three miles farther, onto Herder Rd.)
Pine Rd. will T into Blossvale / Herder Rd. Take a Left, toward Taberg.
After about 3 miles, the road will follow E. Br., Fish Creek. Park where a takeout looks convenient.
The takeout is about 1/2 mile South of Taberg; if you miss it and hit the stop sign in town, turn Right and get a look at the gage on the Bridge, upstream river left.

From the East (Utica, Albany):
Take Exit 32 (Westmoreland / Rome); head North on Rte. 233 toward Rome.
In Rome, head Northwest on Rte. 69 toward Taberg.
Follow Rte. 69 about ten miles
After the bridge over the creek (check out the gage!), take a Left onto Blossvale Rd. Head about half a mile and park here for the takeout.

Directions to Point Rock putin from takeout:

From Blossvale Rd., cross Rte. 69 onto Main St.
Take your first Right onto Coal Hill Rd.
After about 8 miles on Coal Hill Rd., you'll come to a T intersection. Take a Right onto Yorkland Rd.
Cross the Creek, park, and put in on River Left.

To Rome Dam putin from takeout:

As above, cross 69, take Main St., and a Right onto Coal Hill Rd.
After about a mile on Coal Hill Rd., take a Right onto Palmer Rd.
After about a mile on Palmer Rd., take a Left onto Boyd Rd.
After maybe 1.5 miles on Boyd Rd., pretty much across from Streun Rd. is a small, gated road on the Left, leading to the dam. Park on Boyd Rd. and walk your boat downhill to the putin.


Syracuse Area Runs:

Butternut Creek                                              Chittenango Creek (Cazenovia)

Chittenango Creek (Chittenango)               Fish Creek E. Branch (Taberg)

Limestone Creek (Edwards Falls)              Oriskany Creek (Oriskany Falls)

Oriskany Creek (Clinton)                             Owasco River (Outlet)

Salmon River (Section 1)                             Salmon River (Section 2)   



Tug Hill - Old Forge Area Reaches

Beaver (1. Moshier)                               Beaver (2. Eagle)                                 Beaver (3. Taylorville)

Black (1.)                                                Black (2.)                                             Black (3.)

Black (4.)                                                Black (5.)                                             Black, S. Branch

Cincinnati Creek                                     Crystal Creek                                       Deer River (Section 1)

Deer River (Section 2)                        Fish Creek, E. Branch                          Independence River (1. Upper) 

Independence River (2. Main)               Indian (S.Br. Moose trib.)                     Little Black Creek

Little Woodhull Creek                             Mad River                                           Mill Creek 

Mohawk (1.)                                           Moose (1. Middle)                                Moose (2. Lower) 

Moose (3. Bottom)                                 Moose, Middle Branch                          Moose, S. Branch (1.)  

Moose, S. Branch (2.)                            Negro Brook                                       Otter Creek  

Roaring Brook (Brokeback Gorge)    West Canada Creek (1.)                      West Canada Creek (2. Ohio Gorge) 

West Canada Creek, S. Branch                Woodhull Creek (Upper)                     Woodhull Creek (Middle) 

Woodhull Creek (Miracle Mile)


Mohawk Valley Area Reaches

Canajoharie Creek                           Caroga Creek                                  Cincinnati Creek 

East Canada Creek                          Fish Creek, E. Branch                     Ninemile Creek  

North Chuctanunda Creek               Nowadaga Creek                             Mohawk (1.)  

Oriskany Creek (Clinton)                  Oriskany Creek (Oriskany Falls)      Schoharie Creek 

Sprite Creek (Upper)                        Sprite Creek (Lower)                       Spruce Creek 

Timmerman Creek                           West Canada Creek 


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group



StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-04-21 14:55:08


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0PutinPutin Photo
1.0Ice Pool
3.7Fall Brook Falls5.3Hazard Waterfall
4.6City of Rome DamAccess Portage
5.4Waterfall WavePlayspot Photo
5.8Kelly's CornerIII
6.0Hotel CaliforniaIII+Hazard Playspot Photo
6.6Palmer Rd. RapidII+
7.1The NarrowsII+Playspot
8.5Sand PitHazard
8.9Town RapidII+Playspot
9.8TakeoutTakeout Playspot Photo

Rapid Descriptions


Fish Creek (NY) Map

Fish Creek (NY) Map
Photo by Ratt Boy (KHCC / FLOW) taken 11/19/06

Check out the map, which shows the shuttle to the Point Rock putin, as well as the shuttle to the Dam. At Point Rock, park on the North side of Yorkland Rd., and walk down the easy path to the river.

Ice Pool
A big eddy, from which you can see huge ice cascades on the river walls in the early Spring. Not really a rapid, but very scenic.

Fall Brook Falls (Class 5.3, Mile 3.7)
This is a beautiful waterfall on the tributary, river right, just before the confluence with the East Branch Fish. We have no indication that this has ever been run, but some paddlers have the opinion that it's runnable.

City of Rome Dam
Don't even think about it. Portage left.This is also the secondary access point; to get there, walk half a mile down from Streun Road.

Waterfall Wave

Burly Rodeo Hole

Burly Rodeo Hole
Photo by Harry A. Marinakis, M.D. taken 04/01/01 @ 2.50 ft

Just above a waterfall on the right, this is one great wave for surfing.

Kelly's Corner (Class III, Mile 5.8)
The river takes a sharp left here.

Hotel California (Class III+, Mile 6.0)

Hotel California at 2.5'

Hotel California at 2.5'
Photo of Looking upstream at Hotel California by Steve Graley taken 04/27/02 @ 2.5'

Big-a$$ed hole. "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave". As the level rises, Hotel gets meatier and grabbier. How badly do you wanna get spanked today?

Palmer Rd. Rapid (Class II+, Mile 6.6)
After you pass under the road, this rapid appears. It's got a bunch o play.

The Narrows (Class II+, Mile 7.1)
Not a hard rapid; it has some phenomenal surfing holes/waves at the end.

Sand Pit
After the river takes a sharp right turn, you'll see sand cliffs on your right. This one isn't particularly difficult, but it's a common place where wood collects (on the right side, the outside corner of the turn). The wood should be easy for seasoned paddlers to avoid, but people who find the Fish a step up would be well advised to head hard left to avoid any screw-ups.

Town Rapid (Class II+, Mile 8.9)
This one has a couple of ledges in it. Some play must be attained on the fly, though the last wave has big eddy service.


Phil @ Take-Out

Phil @ Take-Out
Photo of Phil by Phantomboater taken 04/04/04 @ 2.0'

After a couple more phenomenal play waves, look for the ladder on river right.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 1 2015 (993 days ago)
tbriolo (156926)
Large pine tree down width of the river about 1/2 mile past Palmer Road bridge. Requires portage
river right. See picture.
September 29 2014 (1207 days ago)
tbriolo (156926)
Strainer Warning! Two staggered tress down 1/4 mile after Palmer Rd bridge. Trees are in a very
difficult spot. If you keep extreme river right there is a 3 foot space to paddle between the gorge
and tree trunk. Otherwise difficult ferry between the two is required.
April 28 2014 (1362 days ago)
Jordan YarussDetails
On river left somewhere between the Route 69 bridge and the ladder take-out, something tore a nasty
gash in my boat. Maybe it was just a sharp rock, but I suspect it was metal. Sorry to give such
vague info, but I figured a little was better than none.
April 28 2014 (1362 days ago)
baldoam (151663)
Major strainer at Sandpit. Going left avoids trees but is very bony at 1700 cfs. On 4/26 mid-day
someone dropped a plastic trash can containing a deer carcass on us from the river right cliff near
the power lines above the dam, right about here: 43.366606,-75.566892 Perhaps we should title this
section "Dead Deer Drop". (!)
October 30 2013 (1541 days ago)
kmyersjc (155374)
This is definitely runnable at 700 cfs. Above the dam, no scraping and rapids and wave trains are
plenty fun. Below the dam, there can be some getting hung up on rocks between rapids but again,
plenty of fun. 1000 cfs definitely too high to be considered minimum level.
April 25 2013 (1729 days ago)
baldoam (151663)
Strainers to keep an eye out for: Just before Sandpit there is a tree right in the middle of the
river and parallel with it, rootball upstream. Just before you get to town there is a tree across
the river (perpendicular to it) on river left at an awkward point for newbies to thread around some
holes and avoid.
October 17 2012 (1920 days ago)
Allison BurhansDetails
There is a very large tree down across the width of the river just after the bend below the Palmer
Rd. bridge. Monday 10/15/12 around 1200 cfs, we were able to move under it along the left bank. A
picture is posted in the pictures tab.
October 18 2011 (2285 days ago)
baldoam (151663)
Root ball strainer downstream of Sand Pit on the outside of the bend on river left. Make sure you
head down the inside of the bend on the right when you make the turn. At 6ft (~2K cfs) on
10/16/2011 the center of the river was shallow over cobbles and it is extremely difficult to ferry
to the right to avoid the strainer at that level. There is a straggly tree hanging down over the
creek on river left just upstream of the root ball.
June 26 2011 (2399 days ago)
Matt MuirDetails
I'm sorry to say that the Fish Gauge has once again gone whack, perhaps due to heavy rains in April
and May. On 5/29/11, 5.07 turned out to be way too low. I'm going to set the min to 6', but until
the USGS brings some stability to the gauge (its meaning has bounced around a bit in recent weeks),
I just don't trust it; it seems that we're back to the days of having someone post a visual. :-(
Note: the gauge seems okay now, as of 6/26/11. Let's hope it stays that way.
November 16 2010 (2621 days ago)
baldoam (151663)
Copied from FLOW board post by Terry (Bosco Boater). Nice description of runnability based on new
gauge levels: As for the current gauge, I find that 3.5 is as low as I can go with out grounding.
It gets thin in spots but there is a line all the way down and most of the features are present but
small. The hole have no holding power at this level. At 4 ft, the features get more padding and the
lines are easier to find. At 4.5 to 5.5 the river is at it's best, all of the features are running
good, there are multiple lines, the holes start getting a little sticky and the waves are at a good
surfing level. Fun times. At 5.5 to 6.5 The river picks up a lot of speed, the holes get much
stickier and the waves get much bigger. At 6.5 and above the river just gets faster, the eddies get
much smaller and harder to hit. A lot of the rapids tend to wash out and it starts to get harder to
hit the take out for the dam portage. You will usually see a lot of wood and other debris as it
rises through the higher levels. It isn't unusual to see many full sized trees running by the house
at this height so be aware of that when you are running. It would suck to get run over by a tree!
June 29 2010 (2761 days ago)
baldoam (151663)
Copied from a FLOW board posting Re: Fish is up « Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 05:28:37 PM » Quote Hey
all! Just spotted a possible river hazard on the Fish. As the level rises and falls, things can
change from what I'm currently seeing but I thought I should pass it along! There is a rope across
half of the river, just before the Palmer Rd. bridge; directly in the main current. It will be to
the right of the bridge abutment when coming down stream. It is visible at this level and looks
like you can get under it to the far right. There is enough water at this point to avoid it all
together by going to the left of the bridge abutment. I'm assuming one of the local swimmers or
fisherman tied it there to cross the river? Not so friendly or helpful when there is whitewater!
I also noticed a couple of trees in the middle of the river, just up stream from the Main St.
Bridge in Taberg. It looks like you can get around on either side at this point but it may be
something you would like to check out before you get on the river. The Fish hasn't been up with
decent water in months, so I'm sure there may be other obstacles as well. Be safe out there! ~Jen
(gr8ful boater on FLOW board) As of 6/29/10 the rope has been cut. BoscoBoater on the FLOW board
says he'll remove the ends later.
April 11 2009 (3205 days ago)
David BrucasDetails
On April 05, 2010, at 12 Noon: USGS=5.00, Taberg visual=~3.55, and Point Rock visual=2.9. On April
05, 2010, at 4PM: USGS=4.73 and Taberg visual=~3.45.
November 3 2008 (3363 days ago)
David BrucasDetails
New ONLINE guage as of 10/16/2008: Gage #: 04242500 Link:
Approximate Correlation pending confirmation:
Bridge Gage: 1.5 Low (Class 3), 3 Med (Class 3+), 4.5 High (Class 4)
USGS Gage: 3.5 Low (Class 3), 5 Med (Class 3+), 6.5 High (Class 4)
September 17 2008 (3410 days ago)
x (1)
The Fish gage got messed up in recent high water, and was repaired. On the new gage, it appears
that around 4.5' is the new minimum, or in other words the gage is reading 0.5' higher than

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