Fishing the Indian River Lakes
The Indian River Lakes system, located on the St. Lawrence River plain in Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, consists of 18 natural lakes. They range from shallow, highly productive warm water lakes to deep, cold water lakes. The system provides a unique opportunity to fish for a variety of species in a relatively small geographic area.
The following 15 lakes are open to the public. Based on fish species present, plus physical and chemical characteristics, these lakes are divided into three groups: (Each lake name links to a map of the lake which shows depths and fish species present)
Group I - Shallow Productive Lakes
The lakes in Group I are the more productive lakes of the system. They are shallow (generally less than 20 feet at the deepest point) and have a uniform temperature from top to bottom during the summer months. They also support extensive beds of rooted aquatic vegetation. While the most abundant fish species in these lakes are yellow perch, black crappie, sunfish and brown bullhead, these lakes also support good populations of northern pike and largemouth bass. Smallmouth bass are present, but generally are not abundant. Walleye, while formerly abundant, have declined in recent years and now provide only a limited fishery.
Mud Lake (186 KB pdf file) - Public Access (town)
Black Lake (168 KB pdf file) - Developed State Access
Payne Lake (183 KB pdf file)-10 Hp motor limit - Developed State Access
Hyde Lake (180 KB pdf file) -10 Hp motor limit - Developed State Access
Moon Lake (177 KB pdf file) -10 Hp motor limit - Developed State Access
Yellow Lake (167 KB pdf file) - Cartop Boat Launch (State) Parking Area
Group II - Deeper and Clearer Lakes
Group II lakes are deeper and clearer than those in Group 1. They thermally stratify (a progressive decrease in water temperature from surface to bottom), but do not have sufficient amounts of dissolved oxygen in deep water during mid-summer to support trout. Aquatic vegetation is generally confined to the shallow ends of the lakes, with the remainder of the shoreline being rocky and dropping off quickly to deeper water.
In contrast to Group I, these lakes support larger population of smallmouth bass and walleye. Yellow perch and black crappie are less abundant, but grow faster and reach larger sizes. Pumpkinseed, bluegill and rock bass can many times be counted on to produce consistently good action when fishing for other species is slow.
Butterfield Lake (220 KB pdf file) - Developed State Access
Clear Lake (197 KB pdf file) - Public Access (town)
Crystal Lake (171 KB pdf file) - Private Access
Grass Lake (203 KB pdf file)-10 Hp motor limit - Developed State Access
Pleasant Lake (202 KB pdf file) - Public Access (town)
Red Lake (205 KB pdf file) - Developed State Access
Group III- Deep Cold Water Lakes
The Group III lakes are deep coldwater lakes. All support populations of lake trout and smallmouth bass. In addition, Sixberry has walleye and Atlantic salmon; Millsite has ciscoes; and Lake of the Woods has lake whitefish and Atlantic salmon. Millsite also supports northern pike populations, which utilize ciscoes for primary forage.
Sixberry Lake (236 KB pdf file)-10 Hp motor limit - Developed State Access
Lake of the Woods (210 KB pdf file)-10 Hp motor limit - Developed State Access
Millsite Lake (255 KB pdf file)-10 Hp motor limit - Developed State Access
The 18 Indian River Lakes provide a diversity of fish species and fishing opportunity. Hopefully the lake maps along with information represented here will aid in reaching the lakes, locating productive fishing spots and catching fish.
When fishing any new lake, it pays to obtain up-to-date fishing information from local sporting good stores, marinas and other anglers. Some lakes receive stocked fish and this is subject to change annually. Questions for specific information can be addressed to:
Regional Fisheries Manager
317 Washington St, 5th Floor
Watertown NY 13601-3787 (315) 785-2263