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Difficulty II-IV
Length 1 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 06/09/2016 2:08 pm

River Description

Updated Oct. 8, 2006

Rushford Lake Outlet is a mile-long class III creek that drains Rushford Lake into the Genesee River. The creek is runnable only during October when the annual lake draw-down occurs. This draw-down usually adds about 1.0 foot to the water level of the Genesee River at Letchworth Gorge. Unless you decide to run the class V-VI waterfall at the start of the run, you will need a 100-foot safety rope to descend into the ravine at the putin.

Here're some nice directions from Hoppy of FLOW:
Take Out SE side of Bridge over the creek at the confluence w/ Genesee 0.3 miles South of Caneadea.
To Put In (2.5 Miles):
North on Rte 19 0.41 miles Go through hamlet of Caneadea, then take a Left on Cty Rte 243 0.58 miles
Left in Hillman Road (dirt or at least it was a few years ago) for about 300 yards
Right on Mill Street (dirt) winds up the hill parallel to gorge.
Parking above dam at top of hill on the left. Minimize cars at top of hill and don't leave boats on or in vehicles.
Put-in is 250 vertical feet down a bank. Team up and belay boats down with ropes using trees. It will be very slippery especially after rain.
Run is 2.5 miles with almost all action in first mile in the gorge.
Two significant drops.
1. Four foot ledge, multiple lines, scout right. About .35 miles below Put In. Choose lines & landings carefully. Reportedly Paul Twist broke one of his size 15 feet here about 5 years ago.
2. Sloping ledge with large hole just before exiting canyon about .8 miles below Put In. Run left center to far left to get in left eddy & miss hole. Good surfing but at higher flows the hole can be almost river-wide and very sticky. A tongue develops river left center. When surfing, surfers left of the tongue can be VERY sticky. You may need a rope to get someone out.
After the canyon watch for strainers, which abound unless the Houghton local paddlers have cleaned them out.
Enjoy a WNY seasonal delight, a spectacular mini-Letchworth gorge and 175-foot-high dam.

Posted by Robert Glanville on 2001-10-12
You will note a series of "No Trespassing" signs at the parking lot above the put-in. As a result of extensive correspondence with counsel for the Lake Owners' Association several years ago, including the threat of a lawsuit, we were advised that they do not intend to prohibit paddlers from launching below the dam. So far as I know, since that agreement was reached, no paddler has been threatened with prosecution. If you have a problem, please let me know.


Western New York Area Reaches

Beaver Meadow Creek                     Canadaway Creek (1.)                                      Canadaway Creek (2.) 

Canaseraga Creek                           Cattaraugus Creek                                           Cattaraugus Creek, S. Branch 

Cazenovia Creek, W. Branch (1.)    Cazenovia Creek, W. Branch (2.)                     Chautauqua Creek 

Clear Creek, N. Br.                           Conesus Creek                                              Eighteenmile Creek 

Eighteenmile Creek, S. Br.                Ellicott Creek                                                    Genesee (Letchworth) 

Honeoye Creek                               Keshequa Creek                                            Little Chautauqua Creek 

Murder Creek                                  Niagara                                                             Oak Orchard Creek 

Oatka Creek                                    Rushford Lake Outlet                                       Sugar Creek 

Twentymile Creek


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group

Rapid Descriptions


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Adrian VandenBout
12 years ago

from a post on FLOW Paddlers' Club message board...------------------------- ------------------------- hoppyski:------------------------- Re: Rushford Outlet------------------------- Oct 3rd, 2006, 12:50am ------------------------- We figured the release was 1200-1500 cfs. There was a good 700 cfs coming from the bottom of the dam and two sluice gates open 12 to 18 inches coming over the waterfall. Check the Portageville gauge & the upstream Wellsvillle gauge Sunday afternoon & evening and subtract 5 hours to get water from Cacadea to Portageville. The work crew cut the flow back some when I was changing after the run at the putin (1:30 PM) ------------------------- ------------------------- To find the old bulldozed logging road that Zig Zags down to the putin start about 50 feet to the left of the DO NOT DUMP Sign as you enter the parking lot. Only one deadfall to scoot over and rope boats down the last pitch. ------------------------- ------------------------- There was so much water that there were waves and holes all the way down. Even a surf wave under the takeout bridge that you had to carry over a gravel bar to get upstream to (or have Dave tow you). ------------------------- ------------------------- If you can catch them there are lot of one-timer waves and a few holes to avoid or play all the way down but he water is very pushy and few eddies. ------------------------- ------------------------- At that level Big Nasty is appropriately named: a riverwide keeper for any boat, big or small. I don't think there is a punchable spot. ------------------------- ------------------------- I ran far left to miss the hole but kissed a rock and spun just above the hole. I thought I had missed the hole backwards but it just reeled me in, and shot me across the river-right super keeper. There are big feeder curlers both left & right. Dave said he couldn't see me, boat or paddle but was yelling for me to pull my skirt. I never heard him, but after survival surfing for a short time figured that was the only way out and sooner was better that later. ------------------------- ------------------------- I pulled my skirt and window-shaded and swam. I luckily only got one turn in the washing machine when everything was ripped out or off but my fillings. My tow rope was pulled out of my Salamander waist throw bag and the filter water bottle out of my boat. ------------------------- ------------------------- Dave said my boat looked like it found a home and was celebrating with cartwheels. Eventually it flushed and Dave dropped it off to me. ------------------------- ------------------------- Don't tell Norm about the hole or he will neglect his house work to go try surfing it. ------------------------- Phantomboater:------------------------- Re: Rushford Outlet------------------------- Oct 3rd, 2006, 11:58am ------------------------- I can vouch for Big Nasty........When Tommy C takes his glasses off, and puts his nose plugs on, then tells you to "get the ropes ready, I'm going for a ride". Sometimes it's so sticky, you have to pull them out. I went extreme river left, and barely punched my way through the end curlers last year. Sounds like the water was even higher last weekend. I know I would have walked around that one for sure. Glad to see you get out of that, Hoppy. And when we get on it, we'll keep an eye out for any paddle or other gear on the way down.

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

There is no gauge. However, you can get a good idea by subtracting the cfs of the Wellsville gauge from the Portageville gauge. If the difference is about 1000, most likely the drawdown from Rushford "Lake" is happening. Be sure to note that the water takes five hours to reach the Portageville gauge--so this rough guide will show the Outlet as running for a few hours after they've shut off le spigotte.

The Virtual Gauge assigned to this run is approximate. There are other streams which can dump water into the Genesee between Wellsville and Portageville, so this gauge could give erroneously high readings. It is best used in the Fall, to figure out whether or not the drawdown has begun or not.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



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Moose River Video

Mark Singleton

2010 marked the 25th anniversary of protecting the Black and Moose rivers!  View an online video documentary on the Moose River and the early role that American Whitewater played in protecting this amazing river.


Alex Barham


Matt Muir


Mike Shafer


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1206634 06/09/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1200758 10/23/11 Matt Muir Cleaned up typo; added alternate names; added abstract.
1191191 03/27/08 Mike Shafer n/a
1195147 05/29/09 Matt Muir Expanded explanation of the gauge.