Oneida Lake (Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, and Oneida)
Oneida Lake, located ten miles north of Syracuse in Oneida and Oswego Counties, is the largest lake lying wholly within New York State. Oneida Lake is a relatively shallow natural lake with an average depth of 22 feet and is named for the Iroquois Nation Oneida Tribe. The Oneidas called the lake "Tsioqui" or "white water", a reference to the wave action on the lake on windy days.
Elevation: 370 Feet
Area: 50,894 acres
Length: 21 miles
Maximum Width: 5.5 Miles
Maximum Depth: 55 Feet
Since zebra mussels entered the lake in the early 1990's water clarity has improved considerably. This has resulted in increased aquatic vegetation growth. Oneida Lake has very good weed growth, especially along the shoreline and in the larger bays. Vegetation is most abundant in 5 to 15 feet of water; however with the greater water clarity some vegetation may be found as deep as 20 feet.
Lewis Point - Lewis Point Road, off from Route 31 about 1.5 miles west of the hamlet of South Bay. Seasonal Shore and ice access from Oct 15 - March 31.
South Shore - off Route 31, one mile east of the hamlet of Bridgeport. Concrete ramp. 100 cars and trailers.
Cleveland Docks- Route 49 in village of Cleveland. Shore and ice access.
Taft Bay- Route 49, 2 1/2 miles east of the village of Constantia. Ice Fishing Access.
Three Mile Bay - off Route 49, five miles southeast of the village of Central Square in the Three Mile Bay Wildlife Management Area. Beach launching. Parking for 20 cars and trailers.
Toad Harbor - off Shaw Road in the Town of West Monroe. Shoreline access and hand launching. Parking for 30 cars. From Route 49, follow Toad Harbor Road south to lake.
I-81 - Swamp Road at the I-81 crossing. Shore access. North shore and south shore fishing areas have separate parking areas. From Exit 31, follow DOT signs for Fishing Access North and/or South.
Godfrey Point -adjacent to route 49, one mile east of the village of Cleveland. Hard Surface ramp. 56 cars and trailers.
Verona Beach State Park-off Lake Shore Rd. in Verona Beach. Shore and icefishing access
Brewerton- off Bartell Road, at the I-81 crossing in Brewerton. Shore access.
Oneida Shores County Park- off Bartell Road in Brewerton. Paved launch. Parking for 100 cars and trailer. Fee.
*There are numerous private marinas and boat launches located around the lake.
Accessible fishing platform at Toad Harbor
An accessible fishing platform is located in the community of Toad Harbor on the northern shore of Oneida Lake. The shaded platform overlooks a narrow deep cut canal that extends inland from the lake. There is a large parking lot. There is no port-a-john at this location. See above for directions.
Oneida Lake I-81, northern shore
Oneida Lake I-81, southern shore
This site, where Interstate 81 crosses the western end of the lake, offers many opportunities for fishing either in open water on the lake, under the bridge or in the back bay. There are two separate fishing areas, one on the northern shore and one on the southern shore. The fishing areas are located along accessible paths directly underneath and adjacent to the highway bridge. There are paved paths, a pedestrian bridge, fishing platforms and interpretive signage. There is designated accessible parking. There is no port-a-john at either location. See above for directions.
South Shore Boat Launch Site
Trailered boat launch with accessible loading dock, privy and designated parking. See above for directions.
Full listing of DEC's Accessible Recreation Destinations.
Walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, northern pike, tiger musky, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, rock bass, black crappie, yellow perch, freshwater drum, common carp, bowfin, burbot, longnose gar, lake sturgeon, gizzard shad, and round goby.
General Fishing Information
Lake sturgeon can be found in the lake and its tributaries; however lake sturgeon are on New York's threatened species list and can not be fished for or possessed. Young of the year yellow perch and gizzard shad are the main forage fish found in the lake. Oneida Lake is best known for its walleye and yellow perch fishery. In the spring walleye can be found in shallow water adjacent to spawning areas and tributaries. During the summer months walleye are usually caught by trolling worm harnesses and stickbaits in deeper water. They may also be found along outside weed edges and can be caught on jigs and blade baits. As the water cools in the fall, walleye move back into the shallows. Fishing from shore after dark this time of year with stickbaits and blade baits can be fantastic. Walleye can also be caught through the ice around shoals, drop offs and deep water flats. Ice fishing for yellow perch is very popular on Oneida Lake. Jigging with small spoons tipped with spikes or mousies or using tip-ups (or tip-downs) baited with minnows are both popular methods. Ice fishing for perch on Oneida normally takes place around deepwater flats in 30-40 feet of water. Oneida Lake is a fantastic bass fishing location, and numerous bass fishing tournaments are held each year on the lake. Oneida Lake has become a popular tournament stop for professional bass fishing organizations such as BASSMASTER and FLW. Smallmouth bass can be caught around the many shoals on crayfish, minnows, tube baits and crankbaits. Largemouth bass are found in the larger bays and anywhere there is good vegetation growth. Spinnerbaits , crankbaits, topwaters, jigs, tube baits, rubber worms and minnows all work well. Panfish can be found throughout the lake. Big Bay is a popular ice fishing location for panfish and one of the first areas on the lake to ice up.
For current fishing information visit the Central New York Fishing Hotline or call 607-753-1551.
Oneida Lake is the main egg collection location for walleye in New York State. The NYSDEC Oneida Fish Hatchery in Constantia collects over 300 million walleye eggs a year from Oneida Lake. The resulting walleye fry and fingerlings are stocked throughout New York State. Oneida Lake is stocked annually with around 150 million walleye fry. Lake sturgeon have been periodically stocked into Oneida Lake since 1995. Along with the DEC, both Cornell University and SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry School (ESF) do numerous research projects on the lake each year and have been monitoring the lake since the early 1900's.
The Fishery and Limnology of Oneida Lake 2014
Researchers at the Cornell Biological Field Station at Oneida Lake conduct an annual assessment of the fish community and fishery in Oneida Lake. This monitoring project is the longest running warmwater fishery assessment in New York State. This information is used by NYSDEC to aid in making management decisions to protect and enhance the Oneida Lake fishery. The full Cornell report, which provides a detailed analysis of the data and anticipated changes in Oneida Lake fish community, is available as a PDF titled The Fishery and Limnology of Oneida Lake 2014 (PDF) (993 kB).
Special fishing regulations apply (leaving DEC website to official Fishing Regulations Guide vendor website).