About the Finger Lakes
Lakes and NYS Canal
There are 11 gorgeous Finger Lakes in total! We love our lakes and are proud to share these interesting stats and facts about them.
Question #1 is always: What are the names of all the Finger Lakes?
The sparkling waters provide a spectacular way to enjoy so many recreational activities, such as water biking, kayaking, swimming, to jet skiing, sailing, and fishing.
How the Finger Lakes were formed is a story in itself. More than 550 million years ago, the lakes were formed during the Pleistocene Ice Age. Glaciers crept through the area and carved deep slices into the land. The ice pushed the land and rocks south. Gradually the ice melted and the glaciers receded, leaving shale valleys of water, which are now the Finger Lakes. This is one story.
The other story surrounds Native American culture rooted in this area. According to Native American legend, the lakes were formed when the great Spirit laid his hands on the land to bless it. His fingers left imprints that filled with water, hence the name “Finger Lakes.”
The Cayuga-Seneca Canal connects New York's legendary Erie Canal to Seneca Lake in Geneva. Port Gibson is the only area in Ontario County with access to the original Erie Canal.
More Quick Facts about the lakes:
- There are a total of eleven lakes in the Finger Lakes Region which are called major lakes. There are additional smaller lakes, like those near Keuka, Waneta, and Lamoka.
- Seneca Lake is the deepest of the Finger Lakes (618 ft. depth).
- Honeoye Lake’s maximum depth is approximately 30 feet.
- Despite its Native American translation meaning "Long Lake," Canadice Lake is the smallest of the Finger Lakes - measuring under 4 miles long.
- Seneca Lake is Ontario County's waterway connection to the world, due to its accessibility from the Erie Canal, St. Lawrence Seaway, and the Atlantic Ocean.
- The annual NYS Department of Environmental “shocking” of the fish takes place in Naples Creek, just a few weeks before the opening of trout season on April 1. The shocking involves bringing fish to the top of the water so they can be analyzed, tagged, and counted.
- Port Gibson is the only area in Ontario County that is accessible from the original Erie Canal. The Cayuga Seneca Canal connects the Erie Canal to Seneca Lake.
- The Finger Lakes were formed by glacial activity over 100 million years ago, during the Ice Age. Glacial activity also formed the Bristol Hills and its surrounding valleys. These geological features are clearly visible from Jump Off Lookout at the Ontario County Park in Naples.