Extends northward from the city of Ithaca through Tompkins, Cayuga and Seneca counties. Cayuga Lake ranks second in size among the Finger Lakes, only Seneca is larger. Cayuga Lake offers a diverse fishery for both coldwater and warmwater species. Cayuga Lake has a shallow weedy area at its north end which extends south for approximately six miles and occupies 5,800 acres. The remainder of the lake is deep and supports a coldwater trout and salmon fishery. Many of Cayuga's tributaries also offer a spring rainbow trout fishery and a fall landlocked salmon fishery.
Elevation: 381 feet
Area: 42,956 acres
Shoreline Length: 106 miles
Length: 38 miles
Maximum Width: 3.5 miles
Maximum Depth: 435 feet
Mean Depth: 181 feet
Thermocline: about 70 feet
County and Towns: Tompkins, Cayuga, and Seneca Counties, Towns of Covert, Fayette, Genoa, Ithaca, Lansing, Ledyard, Ovid, Romulus, Seneca Falls, Springport, Ulysses and Varick
Aquatic Plant Life:
The north end of Cayuga Lake supports good growth of aquatic vegetation, to a lesser extent so does the southern end. A narrow fringe of weeds also runs along the shoreline.
Hydrilla, an invasive aquatic plant, was found in Cayuga Inlet in August 2011. Hydrilla can easily be transported into uninfested waterbodies as plant fragments on boats from infested waters. For information on Hydrilla, control measures being taken, and what boaters can do to prevent its spread, please view Hydrilla Information Cornell Cooperative Extension under Links leaving DEC's Website (to the right).
Allan H. Treman State Marina- Route 89, one mile north of city of Ithaca. Concrete ramp. Pumpout. 141 cars and trailers.
Taughannock Falls State Park- Eight miles north of Ithaca on Route 89. Concrete ramp. Pumpout. 16 cars and trailers. (Boat & Shore)
Myers Point, Town of Lansing Park- Off Route 34B (Boat & Shore)
Stewart Park- City of Ithaca (Shore)
For more information on these launches including Google Maps driving directions, visit the Boat Launch Sites for Tompkins County page.
DECinfo Locator for PFR and parking areas (Decinfo Locator is best viewed on a desktop computer).
Fishing Map User Guide ("How to" instructions for using the fishing map on Decinfo Locator.)
Long Point State Park- Off Route 90, one mile southwest of Aurora. Hard surface ramp 35 cars.
Mud Lock- Off Route 90 on River Rd., three miles north of the village of Cayuga. Concrete ramp 16 cars and trailers.
*For the safest approach, please travel via Route 90 to avoid a narrow section of River Road near Route 20.
Frontenac Park- Off Route 90, in village of Union Springs.
For more information on these launches including Google Maps driving directions, visit the Boat Launch Sites for Cayuga County page.
Cayuga Lake State Park- Rte 89, three miles east of the village of Seneca Falls. Concrete ramp. Pumpout. 50 cars and trailers.
Dean's Cove State Marine Park- On Route 89, 24 miles north of Ithaca. Two concrete ramps. 48 cars and trailers.
For more information on these launches including Google Maps driving directions, visit the Boat Launch Sites for Seneca County page.
Lake trout, Atlantic salmon (also called landlocked salmon), rainbow trout, brown trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, northern pike, chain pickerel, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, yellow perch, channel catfish, brown bullhead, freshwater drum, common carp, longnose gar, white sucker, longnose sucker, alewives, rainbow smelt, gizzard shad, round goby and lake sturgeon.
Trolling in the south end during April and May is good for Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, brown trout and northern pike. Tributary fishing is good for rainbow trout during April in Cayuga Inlet, Fall Creek and Salmon Creek. Lake trout can be found in deeper water during summer by trolling and vertical jigging. Largemouth bass fishing is productive at the north end during spring and summer. Atlantic salmon fishing in tributaries like Fall Creek and Salmon Creek is good during the fall. Ice fishing in north end for panfish and pickerel can be good when there is sufficient ice. Shore fishing with minnows for trout and salmon at Milliken Station during winter can also be good. Largemouth bass fishing is popular on the north end of the lake and has become a favorite stop for professional bass tournaments.
For current fishing information a fishing hotline is available at Central New York Fishing Hotline or by calling (607) 753-1551.
Cayuga is stocked annually with approximately 60,000 lake trout, 25,000 brown trout and 40,000 Atlantic salmon. Cayuga's tributaries are stocked with 50,000 rainbow trout. These rainbow trout will spend a year or two in the stream during which time they will imprint on that stream then migrate to the lake. They will remain in the lake for 1 to 3 years then return to the streams they were stocked in as adults to spawn.
Cayuga lake serves an important role as a brood stock lake for lake trout and the Finger Lakes strain rainbow trout. Eggs are collected from adult lake trout in the fall and from rainbow trout in the spring. The eggs are then hatched at the NYSDEC Bath Fish Hatchery. For fishing regulations refer to the Finger Lakes and Tributary regulations in the fishing guide.
An ongoing angler diary cooperator program for gamefish provides DEC fisheries staff with useful data on population trends. We are always looking for new cooperators, so if you are interested please contact the Region 7 office at (607) 753-3095 ext. 213 or email the office.
Sea Lamprey Control
Sea Lamprey are a parasitic fish that feed off the blood and body fluids of many game fish. Controlling sea lampreys is an important step in sustaining the quality fishery in Cayuga Lake. Sea lamprey control is done mainly by means of barrier control at the Cayuga Inlet Fishway. Adult lampreys are stopped on their way up Cayuga Inlet during their spring spawning run, thus preventing them from spawning.
Cayuga Lake Contour Map (PDF)