Owasco Lakeowasco-lake

"The Crossing Point" "Floating Bridge"

Physical Characteristics

  • Length: 11 miles
  • Width: 1 mile
  • Average Depth: 95 ft
  • Maximum Depth: 177 ft
  • Volume: 212 billion gallons

History and Surrounding Area

  • Wasco, a site at the northern end of the lake, was once home to one of the earliest settlements of the Cayuga tribe. Unfortunately, it was wiped out by the Sullivan Campaign during the Revolutionary War.
  • In the early half of the 19th century, Owasco Lake was known for its resorts and casinos, which catered to the upper class and social elite. The Syracuse Railway, ran down the west side of the lake, and passenger steamboats were used to transport vacationers from one high-profile destination to another. Today, the pace of living has slowed down a bit, and the once rowdy shores are now filled with private homes and cottages.
  • The town of Moravia lies at the southern end of the lake. It is the birthplace of President Millard Fillmore and was the childhood home of John D. Rockefeller.
  • Auburn is located 2.5 miles north of Owasco Lake, and is one of the most populated areas in the Finger Lakes. In this city  you can find the former home of Harriet Tubman and William Seward, Secretary of State to Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, and a leading figure in the purchase of Alaska (Seward's Folly).

Water Facts

  • Owasco is the 6th largest of the Finger Lakes
  • The largest tributary that runs into the lake is the Owasco Inlet, which accounts for almost 55% of the surface water that enters the lake.
  • Owasco Lake supplies water to more than 70% of Cayuga County.
  • The shallow water allows for warm water temperatures in the summer, which make the lake ideal for swimming and boating.
  • There is a public beach access, located at Emerson Park in Auburn.  The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse is located here too. There is also a beach at the Owasco Lake Inlet, the Owasco Flats boat launch.
  • The lake is home to an abundance of fish, including walleye, perch, smallmouth bass, trout, Northern Pike, and salmon.  It is also an ideal ice-fishing location during the winter months especially at the northern end.