Extends northward from the city of Ithaca through Tompkins, Cayuga and Seneca counties. Cayuga Lake ranks second in size among the Finger Lakes, only Seneca is larger. Cayuga Lake offers a diverse fishery for both coldwater and warmwater species. Cayuga Lake has a shallow weedy area at its north end which extends south for approximately six miles and occupies 5,800 acres. The remainder of the lake is deep and supports a coldwater trout and salmon fishery. Many of Cayuga's tributaries also offer a spring rainbow trout fishery and a fall landlocked salmon fishery.
Elevation: 381 feet
Area: 42,956 acres
Length: 38 miles
Maximum Width: 3.5 miles
Maximum Depth: 435 feet
Thermocline: about 70 feet
The north end of Cayuga Lake supports good growth of aquatic vegetation, to a lesser extent so does the southern end. A narrow fringe of weeds also runs along the shoreline.
Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant, was found in Cayuga Inlet in August 2011. Hydrilla can easily be transported into uninfested waterbodies as plant fragments on boats from infested waters. For information on Hydrilla, control measures being taken and what boaters can do to prevent its spread, please view Hydrilla Information Cornell Cooperative Extension under Links leaving DEC's Website (to the right).
Public Access Sites
Allan H. Treman State Marina- Route 89, one mile north of city of Ithaca. Concrete ramp. Pumpout. 141 cars and trailers.
Taughannock Falls State Park- Eight miles north of Ithaca on Route 89. Concrete ramp. Pumpout. 16 cars and trailers. (Boat & Shore)
Myers Point, Town of Lansing Park- Off Route 34B (Boat & Shore)
Stewart Park- City of Ithaca (Shore)
Long Point State Park- Off Route 90, one mile southwest of Aurora. Hard surface ramp 35 cars.
Mud Lock- Off Route 90 on River Rd., three miles north of the village of Cayuga. Concrete ramp 16 cars and trailers.
Frontenac Park- Off Route 90, in village of Union Springs.
Cayuga Lake State Park- Rte 89, three miles east of the village of Seneca Falls. Concrete ramp. Pumpout. 50 cars and trailers.
Dean's Cove State Marine Park- On Route 89, 24 miles north of Ithaca. Two concrete ramps. 48 cars and trailers.
Cayuga Inlet Public Fishing Rights Map and Brochure (459 kB PDF file)
General Fishing Information
Trolling in the south end during April and May is good for landlocked salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout and northern pike. Tributary fishing is good for rainbow trout during April in Cayuga Inlet, Fall Creek and Salmon Creek. Panfish can be caught in the north end during spring and winter. Lake trout can be found in deeper water during summer by trolling and vertical jigging. Largemouth bass fishing is productive at the north end during spring and summer. Landlocked salmon fishing in tributaries like Fall Creek and Salmon Creek is good during the fall. Ice fishing in north end for panfish and pickerel can be good when there is sufficient ice. Shore fishing with minnows for trout and salmon at Milliken Station during winter can be good. For current fishing information a fishing hotline is available at Central New York Fishing Hotline or by calling (607) 753-1551.
Gamefish present include lake trout, rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, brown trout, northern pike, chain pickerel, largemouth and smallmouth bass. Panfish include crappies, bluegill, pumpkinseed, yellow perch and bullheads. Carp, channel catfish and longnose gar are also found in the lake. The main forage base is alewives, smelt and yellow perch. Cayuga is stocked annually with approximately 60,000 lake trout, 25,000 brown trout and 40,000 landlocked salmon. Cayuga's tributaries are stocked with 50,000 rainbow trout. These rainbow trout will spend a year or two in the stream during which time they will imprint on that stream then migrate to the lake. They will remain in the lake for 1 to 3 years then return to the streams they were stocked in as adults to spawn. Cayuga lake serves an important role as a brood stock lake for lake trout and the Finger Lakes strain rainbow trout. Eggs are collected from adult lake trout in the fall and from rainbow trout in the spring. The eggs are then hatched at the NYSDEC Bath Fish Hatchery. For fishing regulations refer to the Finger Lakes and Tributary regulations in the fishing guide. An ongoing angler diary cooperator program for gamefish provides DEC fisheries staff with useful data on population trends. Information on the angler diary program and recent reports can be viewed at Angler Diary Cooperator Program. We are always looking for new cooperators, so if you are interested please contact the Region 7 office at (607) 753-3095 ext. 213 or email the office
Sea Lamprey Control
Sea Lamprey are a parasitic fish that feed off the blood and body fluids of many game fish. Controlling sea lampreys is an important step in sustaining the quality fishery in Cayuga Lake. Sea lamprey control is done mainly by means of barrier control at the Cayuga Inlet Fishway. Adult lampreys are stopped on their way up Cayuga Inlet during their spring spawning run, thus preventing them from spawning.
Cayuga Lake Contour Map (PDF)(191 KB)