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Seneca Lake

Located within Ontario, Yates, Seneca, and Schuyler counties, Seneca Lake lies in the geographic center of the Finger Lakes. At the northern tip of the lake is the City of Geneva, and at the southern tip is the Village of Watkins Glen. Seneca lake has the largest volume of water of the Finger Lakes.

Physical Features:

Elevation: 445 feet
Area: 43,343 acres
Length: 38 miles
Maximum width: approx 3 miles
Maximum depth: 618 feet
Thermocline: 60 to 125 feet

Water Quality

Seneca Lake is generally clear and well oxygenated at all depths, enabling fish to occupy both shallow and deep water habitats.

Plant Life

Much of Seneca Lake's perimeter supports a narrow band of rooted aquatic vegetation - primarily Eurasian milfoil. Other species represented include pondweeds, waterweeds, plantain, stoneworts and muskgrass.

Public Access Sites

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 Regulations

Special fishing regulations apply.

Fish Management

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, browntrout, 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.

An important factor in recent resurgence of the Seneca salmonid fishery is DEC's ongoing control of the parasitic sea lamprey. The control program involves applications of the highly selective chemical lampricide, TFM, to known sea lamprey nursery areas in Catherine Creek and Keuka Lake Outlet at the three year intervals. The continued quality of Seneca's excellent trout and salmon fishing depends heavily on DEC's ability to apply this management tool at critical times in the future.

An ongoing angler diary cooperator program for sportfish provides DEC fisheries staff with useful data on population trends.


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