Department of Environmental Conservation

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Owasco Lake

Owasco Lake is located in Cayuga County on the south edge of the city of Auburn. Compared to the other Finger Lakes, Owasco Lake is an intermediate sized lake. Owasco Lake has a large drainage basin to surface ratio, this accounts for the high nutrient loading of Owasco Lake.

Physical Features

Elevation: 712 feet
Area: 6,665 acres
Length: 11.1 miles
Maximum Width: 1.3 miles
Maximum Depth: 177 feet
Thermocline: about 35 feet

Plant Life

The south end of the lake supports good weed growth.

Public Access Sites

Emerson Park - Off Rte. 38 (Boat and Shore), private boat launch is also available on south end.

Owasco Inlet Public Fishing Rights Maps and Brochure (PDF) (897 KB)

Fish Species

Lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, walleye, northern pike, pumpkinseed, bluegills, rock bass, black crappie, yellow perch, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, common carp, white sucker, longnose sucker, golden shiner, rainbow smelt, and alewives.

General Fishing Information

South end noted for good panfishing, northern pike and smallmouth bass fishing. Lake trout fishing is excellent year round, but particularly during May, June and September. Owasco Lake is a good ice fishing location for trout, panfish and northern pike. For current fishing information a fishing hotline is available at Central New York Fishing Hotline or by calling (607) 753-1551.

Fishing Regulations

Special fishing regulations apply (leaving DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website)

Fisheries Management

Owasco Lake is stocked annually with approximately 10,500 lake trout, 5,000 rainbow trout and 10,000 brown trout. Owasco Inlet is stocked with 20,000 rainbow trout. Walleye were stocked into the lake from 1996 - 2006; walleye stocking was stopped due to a decline in the rainbow and brown trout fishery.

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

2015 Owasco Lake Angler Diary Report (PDF) (333 KB)

Owasco Lake Contour Map (PDF) (209 KB)

Wildlife Management

Owasco Flats is included as a priority area for open space in the latest edition of New York State's Open Space Plan. In 2006, DEC announced the goal of acquisition of lands on the flats for their consolidation into a Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Consolidation and establishment of a WMA will provide additional opportunities to address threats to the area. Owasco Flats Wildlife Management Area - A Conceptual Wildlife Management Plan has been created as a statement of the agency's vision for acquisition and future management of the area. The Plan is guided by a number of state laws and regulations pertaining to the acquisition of lands by the DEC and the public use of wildlife management areas. Acquisition will be only from willing sellers and, by law, must be at fair market value.

Owasco Flats Wildlife Management Area - A Conceptual Management Plan (PDF) (953 KB)

Watershed Management

Nutrients, pathogens and other pollutants from various sources throughout the watershed that impact recreational uses in Owasco Lake are being addressed through Owasco Lake Watershed Management efforts.