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Lake Information for Lake Ontario


Lake Ontario is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. The lake is bounded on the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the south by Ontario's Niagara Peninsula and by the U.S. state of New York. It is the smallest of the Great Lakes and the only one that does not border with Michigan.

Lake Ontario is the eastern-most and smallest in surface area (7,540 square miles) of the Great Lakes, although it exceeds Lake Erie in volume (393 cubic miles, 1639 kmĀ³). It is the 14th largest lake in the world and has a shoreline 712 miles long.

Its primary inlet is the Niagara River (from Lake Erie) and primary outlet is the St. Lawrence River. Other major rivers which flow into it include the Don River; Humber River; Trent River; the Cataraqui River; the Genesee River; the Oswego River; the Black River; and the Salmon River. Other notable geographic features include Hamilton Harbour, the Bay of Quinte, the Toronto Islands, and the Thousand Islands. The Bay of Quinte separates most of Prince Edward County from the north shore except for a 2 mile (3km) stretch of land connecting it to the mainland. The largest island on the lake is Wolfe Island located near Kingston at the St. Lawrence River entrance. It is accessible by ferry from both Canada and the U.S.

A portion of the Great Lakes Waterway passes through the lake, which is accessible from upstream by the Welland Canal and from downstream by the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Trent-Severn Waterway for pleasure boats connects Lake Ontario at the Bay of Quinte to Georgian Bay of Lake Huron passing through the inland Lake Simcoe. The Rideau Waterway, also for pleasure boats, connects Lake Ontario at Kingston to the Ottawa River at Ottawa. The Oswego Canal connects the lake at Oswego to the New York State Canal System, with outlets to the Hudson River, Lake Erie, and Lake Champlain.

A large conurbation called the Golden Horseshoe (including major cities of Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario) is on the Canadian side at the western end of the lake. Other centres on the Canadian side with ports include St. Catharines, Oshawa, Cobourg and Kingston near the St. Lawrence River inlet. Close to 9 million people or over a quarter of Canada's population lives within the watershed of Lake Ontario.

The American shore of the lake is largely rural, with the exception of Rochester, New York and the much smaller port at Oswego, New York. The city of Syracuse is 40 miles (65 km) inland from the lakeshore and is connected to it by the New York State Canal System. Over 2 million people live in Lake Ontario's American watershed.

A high-speed passenger/vehicle ferry service across Lake Ontario between Toronto and Rochester was launched on June 17, 2004, using the vessel Spirit of Ontario I. The service was canceled on January 10, 2006. The Crystal Lynn II, out of Irondequoit, New York has been operating on Lake Ontario between Irondequoit Bay and Henderson Harbor since May 2000, Operated by Capt. Bob Tein.

Fishing Description: 

The general consensus is that trout and salmon fishing in the Niagara County portion of western Lake Ontario is among the very best New York has to offer. Lake Ontario and the Lower Niagara feature opportunities for catching steelhead (rainbow trout), chinook salmon, coho salmon, brown trout and lake trout. Lake Ontario's chinooks are, by far, the largest found anywhere in the Great Lakes.

Western Lake Ontario offers spectacular near-shore chinook fishing starting in late April and lasting through May. The Niagara Bar, the ouflow area at the mouth of the river, is one of the top areas on the Great Lakes for spring fishing opportunities. Spring action continues east to 30-Mile Point at Golden Hill State Park and all points in between. Offshore fishing for chinooks ramps up in July and runs through September. Popular ports for offshore fishing are Wilson, Olcott and Youngstown (near Fort. Niagara). A good concentration of spawning-bound chinooks occurs each year at the Niagara Bar, offshore of the mouth of the Niagara River, during late August and early September. These chinooks enter the Lower Niagara River and are caught by boat and shore-based anglers later in September and October.

Eighteenmile Creek, which enters Lake Ontario at Olcott Harbor, also gets a strong run of chinooks, starting in mid-October. Many thousands of anglers use the Fisherman's Park facility at Burt Dam, Town of Newfane, for gaining stream-fishing access to Eighteenmile Creek chinooks.

Later in October and November, brown trout begin to enter Eighteenmile Creek on spawning runs providing Lake Ontario's best streamside brown trout fishing. Brown trout are available all winter long, in addition to steelhead. Burt Dam and its relatively constant reservoir discharge, provide ice-free fishing conditions, essentially all winter long. Other small tributaries of note that attract good runs of fish include Four Mile Creek, both branches of 12 Mile Creek and Keg Creek. All are dependent on good water flow for fish runs.

Brown Trout
Chinook Salmon
Coho Salmon
Rainbow Trout
Steelhead Trout
Optional Information
Maximum depth: 
Surface area: 
Lake Ontario
Lake type: 
New York

Businesses Located Nearby

Boat Rental

    Marks Boat Center
  • 2552 Rochester Rd Route 332 - Canandaigua, NY
  • (585) 394-1180

Vacation Rental

Bar and Restaurant

  • 2454 Ridge Rd - Ontario, NY
  • (315) 524-7553
    C & E Bar & Restaurant
  • 734 Genesee St - Rochester, NY
  • (585) 235-9179

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