Department of Environmental Conservation

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Balsam Pond

Balsam Pond is a small, shallow water body located in Chenango County near the Hamlet of McDonough. It is located in the 2,679 acre Balsam Swamp State Forest area.

Physical Features:

Elevation: 1,600 feet
Area: 153 acres
Shoreline Length: 2.6 miles
Length: 0.89 miles
Maximum Depth: 10 feet
County & Town: Chenango County, Town of Pharsalia

Aquatic Plant Life:

Significant rooted aquatic vegetation in the pond.


Off County Route 7, approximately 4 miles north of the Hamlet of McDonough. Hard surface ramp. Parking for 8 cars and trailers. Universally accessible fishing pier.

For more information on this launch including Google Maps driving directions, visit the Boat Launch Sites for Chenango County page.

Fish Species:

Chain pickerel, largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, pumpkinseed sunfish, yellow perch, brown bullhead, and golden shiner.


Chain pickerel and largemouth bass are the main gamefish found in the pond; weedless lures are recommended when targeting either. The north-end and eastern shoreline are both lined with stumps that provide good cover for largemouth bass. Largemouth bass up to 15 inches are regularly caught, with some 20 inch fish being taken each year. Though growth rates are good, panfish tend to run on the small side with pumpkinseeds and bluegills in the 6 inch range being common.

Fisheries Management:

Statewide Fishing Regulations Apply.

Fisheries Survey:

A fisheries survey of Balsam Pond in Chenango County was conducted in June 2013. The survey showed that pumpkinseed and bluegill sunfish were the most prevalent species in the pond, followed by yellow perch and largemouth bass. Largemouth bass over 10 inches were caught at a rate of 7 fish per hour. Pumpkinseeds and bluegills were caught at 159 and 143 per hour, respectively. The growth rates for pumpkinseed and bluegill were generally slightly better than the reported statewide average, while largemouth bass grew a bit slower. One factor in looking at the growth patterns in Balsam Pond is the partial draw-down which occurred in 2012 to facilitate construction of the new launch. This likely had a big impact on the fish populations in the pond since a large die-off of yellow perch occurred as a result of heat stress while the lake was drawn down.

Read the full 2013 report (PDF)