As tributary of the Susquehanna River, the Chemung River has long been an important manufacturing center in the region up until the late 20thcentury. At approximately 46.4 miles long, the river forms near Painted Post and flows southeast through Corning, Big Flats, Elmira and Waverly.
The name Chemung comes from the Iroquois language meaning “big horn” or “horn in the water” due to the discovery of a mammoth tusk found in the river bed in 1779. In its glory days, it was a major trade route throughout western NY. First used by the Iroquois and Native Americans, and then by the later European settlers, the direct route from Pennsylvania allowed for the transport of coal and lumber, which in turn, lead to the growth of Elmira as a regional center of manufacturing. Then, by the late 1840’s and 1850’s, the river was surpassed by the coming of railroads and soon became more of a popular recreational destination rather than a shipping route.
As the home to a wide variety of fish including bass, trout, catfish and the occasional carp, the Chemung River is a popular sporting and fishing destination. Whether you prefer to enjoy a relaxing day kayaking and canoeing, a lazy day fly fishing or a thrill seeking adventure tubing down the waters, the Chemung River is one of the most versatile natural wonders of the Finger Lakes.