The Grasse River, a tributary of the St. Lawrence River, is located entirely in St. Lawrence County, New York. With its South Branch beginning near Long Tom Mountain in the Town of Colton, this combination coldwater-warm water river runs through Russell, Canton, and Madrid on its way to meet the St. Lawrence River downstream of Massena. The entire river's length provides anglers with a variety of fishing opportunities, from stocked brown trout and native brook trout to walleye and smallmouth bass. In addition to the great fishing opportunities, approximately 85 of the river's 115 miles are canoeable and adequate access is provided for most of this distance.
UPSTREAM SECTIONS The Grass River from Degrasse to Pyrites is generally a coldwater river. Stocked brown trout and native brook trout can be taken here. While trout is the main draw for fisherman, smallmouth bass and rock bass are also popular the anglers. Access is provided by road crossings, roads along the river and state lands.
DOWNSTREAM SECTIONS From Pyrites downstream to where it meets the St. Lawrence River, the Grass River supports mainly warm water fish species. A variety of gamefish, including walleye, smallmouth bass, northern pike, brown bullhead, panfish, and an occasional muskellunge, can be found in this stretch.
The entire downstream section from Canton to Massena, a total distance of 36 miles, can be canoed with the exception of various portages. These portages are generally short and easy, making the Grass River an enjoyable experience for those canoeists with only limited canoeing skills.
The upper reaches of the Grasse River hold brown trout and brook trout, but warm water anglers concentrate their efforts on the 44-mile stretch of river from Pyrites to Massena. Boat launches below Canton and in Madrid make those stretches attractive to small boaters. These launches as well as access at various road crossings and roadside pull-offs make this river a popular one for day-long, float trips via canoe.
The Grasse holds good numbers of smallmouth bass and walleyes. In addition, the river has a stable muskie population. REGULATIONS CALL FOR A 40-INCH MINIMUM LENGTH FOR MUSKIES TAKEN ON ST. LAWRENCE COUNTY RIVERS, BUT ANGLERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO RELEASE ALL MUSKELLUNGE CAUGHT ON THE GRASSE AND OTHER RIVERS. The free DEC brochure, “Fishing and Canoeing the Grasse River,” is a valuable aid for planning trips.