Whitney Point Reservoir - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

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Whitney Point Reservoir

Whitney Point Reservoir, located on the Otselic River in Broome County, is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control project. Besides being used for flood control, Whitney Point Reservoir offers great recreational opportunities. Historically a 1,200 acre "recreation" pool was maintained from May through November while a 900 acre "conservation" pool (a 7 foot draw-down) was maintained through the winter months. However, a change in water level management was initiated in 2009 in which the 1,200 acre pool will be maintained all year except during periods of summer drought. When summer flow in the Chenango or Susquehanna River drops below a predetermined level, water will be released from the reservoir to provide additional flow downstream. Under this new management regime, a summer draw-down of up to 2 feet is expected to occur every other year; a draw-down of up to 4 feet is anticipated to occur once every 10 years; a drawdown of up to 6 feet in expected one out of 20 years; and the maximum allowable draw-down of 8 feet is expected to occur once every 50-100 years. Dorchester Park, operated by Broome County, is located at the southeast end of the reservoir and offers picnicking, swimming, shoreline fishing and boat rentals.

Physical Features:

Elevation: 1,010 feet
Area: 1,200 acres
Shoreline Length: 9.4 miles
Length: 5.8 miles
Maximum Depth: 20 feet
Town: Triangle

Aquatic Plant Life:

Very little rooted aquatic vegetation was historically found in the reservoir, but this should change in response to the new water level management regime. To help "jumpstart" the aquatic vegetation a variety of plants were planted in the reservoir in 2009. Unfortunately, water chestnut was discovered in the reservoir in the summer of 2010.

Access:

There is a 25 hp motor restriction and a 10 mph speed limit on all of Whitney Point Reservoir.

Dorchester Park - off Route 26, one mile north of the Whitney Point Reservoir Dam in Dorchester Park. Hard surface launch ramp. Parking for 40 cars and trailers.
Town of Triangle - north end of the reservoir on county Route 152 at the Upper Lisle bridge. Gravel surface ramp. Parking for ten cars and trailers.
Keible Rd - west side of reservoir. Shore access and car top boats.

Fish Species:

Walleye, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, chain pickerel, white crappie, black crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, yellow perch, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, channel catfish, common carp, white sucker, shorthead redhorse and golden shiner.

Fishing:

Whitney Point Reservoir is a very popular fishing location for white crappie and walleye. In years when ice thickness permits, the Whitney Point Sportsman's Association holds their "Almost Annual" ice fishing derby for crappie. To catch crappie through the ice, try fishing the old river channel. Crappie often suspend and can be found from a few feet under the ice to just off bottom; crappie fishing is often very good after dark. Walleye can also be caught through the ice in the old river channel by using tip-ups baited with minnows or by jigging with spoons and swimming jigs.

Open water fishing can also be excellent depending on the time of year. During the spring crappie can be caught around near shore structure on minnows and small jigs. Walleye fishing is best during spring and late summer/fall months for anglers fishing in the old river channel with jigs and worm harnesses. For bass try along the shoreline and around any woody structure. Channel catfish and carp can be caught throughout the reservoir. Main forage fish are golden shiners, young-of-year yellow perch and crappie.

For current fishing information, visit the Central New York Fishing Hotline online or by calling (607) 753-1551.

Regulations:

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

Fisheries Management:

Whitney Point Reservoir is not stocked so the walleye population is self-sustaining.

2015 Fisheries Survey Abstract:

This survey is part of our long term data set for Whitney Point Reservoir which includes biennial summer gill netting and trapnetting, and annual fall walleye electrofishing surveys. This survey is the gill netting and trap netting effort for summer 2015. The walleye gill net catch rate was moderate for this lake, at 14 walleye caught per net. This catch rate is still considered high compared to other NY waters. Of the 184 walleye caught in this survey, only 9 (5%) were of legal size to be kept if caught by an angler (18 inches or larger). Trap net catches of white crappie were quite low in 2015, at less than 4 fish/net. Of the 35 white crappie handled, 34 were of legal size to be harvested by an angler. There was no evidence of a strong year class of young crappie ready to recruit to the fishery, and numbers of smaller walleye were down from the previous survey as well. There are legal fish available to be caught in Whitney Point Reservoir, but there are not large numbers of young fish to replace them. As a result, we have decided not to lower the size limit on walleye, in order to avoid seriously depleting this population.

Habitat Improvement:

With the lack of cover in the Reservoir, a cooperative effort between local sportsmen and the DEC led to the installation of numerous brush-piles and root-wad clusters along the shore. In conjunction with the change in reservoir water management, several fish habitat projects were constructed. At the north end a deep, two acre pool was created in a shallow, 14 acre embayment to limit the potential for stranding fish during summer water releases. Spoils from this excavation project were used to create two islands at the south end of the bay which are intended to block wave action from the south and also act as waterfowl nesting sites. A second project to enhance fish habitat was the creation of a series of deeper channels which extend out perpendicular from the shoreline from a water depth of 3 to 8 feet. These channels were cut with a bulldozer and the spoils were mainly pushed to the deep end of the cut to create a hump. Large rocks and woody debris were added to many of these channels to provide additional structure. This new cover will provide habitat for both juvenile and adult fish.