North Bay Oneida Lake by Denise Weatherly
© Denise Weatherly

Oneida Lake

Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, and Oneida Counties, NY

Oneida Lake, located ten miles north of Syracuse in Oneida and Oswego Counties, is the largest lake lying wholly within New York State.

Oneida Lake is a relatively shallow natural lake with an average depth of 22-feet and is named for the Iroquois Nation Oneida Tribe. The Oneidas called the lake “Tsioqui” or “white water”, a reference to the wave action on the lake on windy days.

Oneida Lake is best known for its walleye and yellow perch fishery. In the spring walleye can be found in shallow water adjacent to spawning areas and tributaries. During the summer months’ walleye are usually found in deeper water. As the water cools in the fall, walleye move back into the shallows. Fishing from shore after dark this time of year with stickbaits and blade baits can be fantastic. Walleye can also be caught through the ice around shoals, drop offs and deep water flats. Ice fishing for yellow perch is very popular on Oneida Lake and normally takes place around deepwater flats in 30-40 feet of water.

Oneida Lake is a fantastic bass fishing location, and numerous bass fishing tournaments are held each year on the lake. Oneida Lake has become a popular tournament stop for professional bass fishing organizations such as BASSMASTER and FLW. Smallmouth bass can be caught around the many shoals while largemouth bass are found in the larger bays and anywhere there is good vegetation growth. Panfish can be found throughout the lake. Big Bay is a popular ice fishing location for panfish and one of the first areas on the lake to ice up.

(607) 753-3095  (DEC Region 7 Cortland Office)

Learn more