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Lake Information for Seneca Lake


Seneca Lake, one of western New York's glacial Finger Lakes, is the largest finger lake. It is promoted as being the lake trout capital of the world, and is host of the National Lake Trout Derby. Because of its depth, Seneca Lake has been a testing site for submarines. The lake takes its name from the Seneca nation of Native Americans. At the north end of Seneca Lake is the city of Geneva, New York, home of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, a division of Cornell University. At the south end of the lake is the village of Watkins Glen, New York, famed for auto racing and waterfalls.

The two main inlets are Catharine Creek at the southern end and the Keuka Lake Outlet. Seneca Lake outlets into the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, which joins Seneca and Cayuga Lakes at their northern ends.

It is fed by underground springs and replenished at a rate of 328,000 gallons (29,520 m³) per minute. These springs keep the water moving in a constant circular motion, giving it little chance to freeze over. Because of Seneca Lake's great depth, it remains a constant 39.2°F (4°C). During the summer months however, the top 10 to 15 feet (3-5 m) does warm up to a pleasant 70-80 degrees (21-26°C).

Facilities and Parks: 

Seneca Lake State Park - Located on Route 5 and 20 and 96A at the City of Geneva. Hard surface ramps; pumpout; parking for 30 cars with trailers. Operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Geneva Chamber of Commerce - Located in Geneva on Route 5 and 20. Free launch ramps and temporary dockage. Operated by the City of Geneva.

Sampson State Park - Located on Route 96A, 12 miles south of the City of Geneva. Concrete ramps; pumpout; parking for 64 cars and trailers. Operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Lodi Point State Marine Park - Located off County Road 136, 5 miles west of the Village of Lodi. Hard surface ramp; parking for 68 cars and trailers. Operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Severne Point - Located on Severne Point Road, off Route 14, 8 miles south of Dresden. Hard surface ramp; parking for 12 cars and trailers. Good winter launch site. Operated by the DEC.

Smith Memorial Park - Located off Route 313 at Hector. Dirt and gravel launch; steep dirt access road; launching of boats not recommended; fee. Winter launching possible. Operated by the Town of Hector.

Watkins Glen - Located off Route 414 on the canal portion of Catherine Creek. Hard surface ramps; parking for approximately 60 cars with trailers; fee. Operated by the Village of Watkins Glen.

Fishing Description: 

Traditionally, lake trout, smallmouth bass and yellow perch have been the mainstay of Seneca Lake's fishery. In the decades since the first survey of the lake in 1927, other species have also contributed prominently, including rainbow trout, brown trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon, northern pike and largemouth bass. Alewives, known to be abundant in Seneca at the time of the first survey, and smelt, introduced in 1909, have provided a dependable forage base for salmonids.

Seneca's excellent fishery has benefitted greatly in recent years for steady annual stocking of hatchery-reared lake trout, brown trout and landlocked salmon. The lake's rainbow trout fishery is sustained entirely by natural reproduction - mostly in Catherine Creek and its tributaries.

Atlantic Salmon
Brown Trout
Lake Trout
Largemouth Bass
Rainbow Trout
Smallmouth Bass
Optional Information
Maximum depth: 
Surface area: 
Seneca Lake
Lake type: 
New York

Businesses Located Nearby

Boat Rental

    Marks Boat Center
  • 2552 Rochester Rd Route 332 - Canandaigua, NY
  • (585) 394-1180
    Johnson Boat Yard
  • 101 Pier Rd - Ithaca, NY
  • (607) 272-5191

Vacation Rental

Bar and Restaurant

    Austin's Restaurant & Tavern
  • 1855 Rt-96a - Ovid, NY
  • (607) 869-9700
    Pascale Wine Bar and Restaurant
  • 204 W Fayette St - Syracuse, NY
  • (315) 471-3040

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