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Otisco Lake

Otisco Lake is the most easterly of the eleven Finger Lakes. It lies wholly within Onondaga county near the city of Syracuse. Otisco Lake is seventh in size among the Finger Lakes. Otisco Lake is divided into two distinct basins by a causeway at the south end. The southern smaller basin is shallow and extremely turbid which contrasts sharply with the relatively clear water of the main lake.

Physical Features

Elevation: 787 feet
Area: 2,200 acres
Length: 5.4 miles
Maximum Width: .75 miles
Maximum Depth: 76 feet

Plant Life

The largest concentration of weed growth is in the north end of the lake. To a lesser extent weeds can be found at the south end just north of the causeway and in Turtle Bay. A thin line of weeds also runs parallel to the shore along much of the east side of the lake and parts of the west side. Very few weeds grow in the turbid water south of the causeway.

Public Access Sites

Dec Hand Launch Site -West Valley Rd, two miles north of saw Mill Rd., shore access at causeway. Private boat launch access is available at two locations at the southeast end of the lake.

General Fishing Information

The north end is noted for good panfishing, bass fishing and tiger musky fishing. During routine fishery surveys on the lake largemouth bass over 20 inches are frequently collected. Walleye fishing is good during the spring, early summer and fall. Casting from shore, or from the causeway after dark with stick baits works well for walleye. Brown trout can be caught in the spring by trolling. Tiger musky provide a unique trophy and Otisco Lake may well be one of the best waters in the state for this fish. Tiger's are most often caught in the weedbeds at the north and south ends. The north end usually freezes over most winters and offers good ice fishing. For current fishing information visit the Central New York Fishing Hotline online or by calling (607) 753-1551.

Fishing Regulations

Special fishing regulations apply.

Fisheries Management

Gamefish present include brown trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye and tiger musky. Panfish include pumpkinseed, bluegill, white perch, crappie, yellow perch, rock bass and bullhead. Carp are also found in the lake. Main forage fish are alewives, yellow perch and white perch. Otisco Lake is stocked yearly with about 3,500 brown trout, 45,000 walleye and 7,500 tiger musky. 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 online at reg7info@gw.dec.state.ny.us

2012 Otisco Lake Angler Diary Report (PDF) (445 KB)

Otisco Lake Contour Map ( PDF) (217 KB)