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Indian Lake

Indian Lake is a large impoundment built in 1898 that is the source of the Indian River in central Hamilton County. The present dam raises original water level approximately 33 feet when the reservoir is full. The water is drawn down approximately 10 feet in the fall for flood control in the spring. This lake can get quite rough due to the northeast orientation of the lake. Indian lake has mostly a rocky substrate and shoreline. Boating can be hazardous with numerous unmarked shoals.

Physical characteristics:

Elevation: 1650 feet
Area: 4255 acres
Maximum depth: 80 feet
Mean depth: 39 feet
Maximum Width: approximately 1.5 miles
Length: approximately 14 miles
Thermocline: ~ 20-25 feet

Indian Lake contour map (PDF) (223 KB)

Access:

Within the Indian Lake Islands DEC Campground: access from Route 30, 14 miles north of the Village of Speculator. There is a hard surface ramp with parking for 50 cars and trailers. It is not safe to launch boats near the dam on the north end of the lake.

General fishing information:

Game fish are lake trout, brown trout, brook trout, smallmouth bass, lake whitefish, and northern pike. Panfish are brown bullhead, yellow perch, rainbow smelt, rock bass and pumpkinseed sunfish. The main forage is rainbow smelt, but other forage includes yellow perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, and golden shiners.

Fishing for lake trout and lake whitefish is best in the northern part of the lake toward the Hamlet of Sabael. Trolling or casting in the spring, near where smelt spawning streams meet the lake, is a good bet for brown trout and lake trout. Try flatline trolling near shore in the spring or fall while the water is still cold. Trolling with downriggers or vertical jigging over the deeper water in summer can be good. Ice fishing for lake trout and brown trout with tip-ups can be good as well.

The bays on the southern end of the lake are where most of the northern pike fishing takes place. Their numbers may not be numerous, but they are good sized when you catch one. There is great smallmouth bass fishing around the island campsites. The western tributaries of the lake are popular for smelt dipping in the spring.

Fishing Regulations:

Special regulations apply
Special dip netting regulations apply (near end of page)

Fisheries management:

Trout season is open year round. Approximately 6,400 lake trout are stocked as well as 6,500 brown trout. This lake also receives periodic infusions of surplus brook trout. The current state record pumpkinseed (1 lb. 9 oz.) was caught here in 1994.