Explore Wild New York

Bucktooth Run (West Branch)

The West Branch of Bucktooth Run averages about 10 feet in width and has a rock and gravel bottom. Much of this small trout stream flows through a heavily wooded area, the canopy of which provides substantial shading of the water. Although this stream has suffered some impacts from beaver activity, DEC surveys of the West Branch and its tributaries performed in 2012 found brown trout and brook trout at most of the survey sites. Because it supports a viable wild trout population, this stream is not stocked. Most of the upper half of this stream flows through Bucktooth State Forest, providing public access to the stream. (The map pin is located where the Finger Lakes/Conservation Trail crosses West Branch Bucktooth Run Road and leads down to the stream within the state forest. See DEC map under Links.)

The West Branch is, at best, a marginal fishery, but it offers the opportunity to seek out wild trout in a beautiful and rustic setting. Even if you're not fishing, a hike along the West Branch on the first warm days of spring is invigorating and a great way to shake off the cold and grey of winter. I especially enjoy the state forest section, as I rarely see anyone on that part of the West Branch. The sound of the stream, swollen by recharged springs and surface runoff, the earthy smells of the woods, and the first wildflowers pushing up through the leaves of the previous summer or the remnant snow can be intoxicating. 

Appreciate this stream for what it is—a refugium for wild brook trout, a species that is increasingly rare in this part of New York. If you decide to fish this stream, I strongly recommend using barbless hooks and practicing catch and release. Any level of harvesting by anglers, whether intentional or unintentional, can have a serious detrimental impact on the population of these fish.

The West Branch of Bucktooth Run is a secondary tributary of the Allegheny River. This stream joins with the East Branch of Bucktooth Run to form the main stem of Bucktooth Run, which flows into the river just west of Salamanca. The East Branch and main stem are as large as or larger than the West Branch, and low numbers wild brown trout have been documented in both streams, but unless you are already in the area, a trip to these streams isn't warranted due to access issues and the low quality of the fishery.


Links to associated resources (Allegheny River and Bucktooth State Forest) will be added soon.

Location Map


Most of the fishable portion of the West Branch of Bucktooth Run is small and not highly productive, but it offers fishing for wild brook and brown trout in a beautiful setting, especially where it flows through Bucktooth State Forest. The bridge in the photo is on the Finger Lakes/Conservation Trail where it crosses the West Branch of Bucktooth Run within the state forest.
The flow in the West Branch of Bucktooth Run is usually quite low in the summer, as seen here in early August of 2017. Except in extremely dry years, the trout can survive by finding deeper pools, which are kept cool by the infusion of cold groundwater and shading by the forest canopy. Alternatively, the trout may also move progressively upstream or downstream to more habitable waters.
In early June of 2020, the West Branch was full of water, creating many fishable runs and pools within the state forest. The fishing may not be great, but the setting is beautiful!
Most of the West Branch consists of fast-flowing runs. Large pools are uncommon here, but a few sizeable pools are created along the stream by fallen trees and woody debris. Some of these pools, such as the one shown here, are quite large for a stream of this size.
Numerous springs in Bucktooth State Forest help to keep at least some sections of this stream suitable for trout. The water pouring out of this spring was ice cold and flowed into Bucktooth Run. Even if they don't affect the entire stream, springs can create localized refuges for trout in otherwise inhospitable water. But because this can cause trout to congregate in a small area, this will benefit the fish only if they can also find protection from predators.

Resource Map

See Location Map (above) and DEC map of Bucktooth State Forest under Links.

Driving Directions


Road Access:

This stream is roughly paralleled and crossed by West Branch Bucktooth Run Road, and there are two way to access the stream from the road where it flows through the state forest. The first is from a gravel parking area along the eastern edge of the state forest. From there you have about a hundred yard hike down a slope and through the woods to the stream.

The second access point is about 2,100 feet further down the road to the west. The Conservation Trail crosses the road at that point. You can park along the road and follow the trail down a slope and along the east side of a private pond. The trail goes past the pond to a small wooden bridge that spans the stream (see photos).

Boat Launch Site(s):



Fishery Management

Management Category: Wild (within the state forest); the remainder of the stream is uncategorized.

Fish Species:

  • Brook Trout (wild)
  • Brown Trout (wild)

Stocking Information: Not stocked.

Special Fishing Regulations: None. Statewide fishing regulations apply.

Links (Use the back button to return.)


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