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When we say everything leads back to the water, we’re not kidding. In addition to breathtaking Keuka Lake, there are a number of smaller lakes that make exceptional spots for fishing, kayaking, canoeing and other water activities. 

In addition to the four rivers that pass through Steuben County, there are 120 Brooks, Creeks, and Streams, some with fascinating names such as Monkey Run, Trout Run, and Onawasa Creek. Of course, beyond the names, locals know some of these smaller bodies of water make for the best fishing around. 

Steuben's Other Lakes

Depending on your definition of what constitutes a lake (in other words reservoirs are included here), there are nearly two dozens lakes located throughout Steuben County.

While Keuka Lake and the region’s other the namesake Finger Lakes are the main draws, some smaller, lesser-known lakes like Waneta, Lamoka and Loon are great for fishing and paddling. 

Heck, thanks to their size, you can even do some ice fishing if the weather gets cold enough.  

Some smaller “lakes” and ponds are located in parks like Kanakadea Park or Birdseye Hollow which also offer awesome outdoor activities like camping, hiking, fishing and more. 

Fishing Waneta Lake
Fishing Waneta Lake courtesy Summit to Stream Adventures

Lamoka & Waneta

While Waneta Lake isn’t actually in Steuben County, part of Lamoka Lake is (the area known as Mill Pond). and the two lakes are often spoken of together as they are quite literally just across the road from each other. 

Fish in the three-quarter mile channel that connects these two bodies of water or put in your kayak or canoe and take to the open water for some lake fun.

Keuka Outlet Trail Cascade Falls
Keuka Outlet Trail courtesy Evan Williams

Lamoka, formerly known as Mud Lake, is approximately 588 acres located about two miles west of Tyrone. 

Lamoka Lake is connected to Waneta Lake by a 0.7 mile channel that flows through the Waneta-Lamoka Wildlife Management Area.  

Don’t be surprised if you also catch a glimpse of nature along the shores or in the water of these two smaller lakes, as a variety of birds and other wildlife can be found in the area.

Black Crappie Fishing
Black Crappie photo by Steve Oehlenschlager

Loon Lake 

Located in in the small town of Wayland, Loon Lake is a 141-acre body of water that allows boating (including motor boats).

Please Note: Loon Lake does not have public access. In the past, access has been granted for a fee by Laf-A-Lot Restaurant in Wayland, but you will want to inquire (585-728-3722).

Look Lake is popular spot for fishing, including ice fishing during winter months when some of the smaller bodies of water freeze.

Boys Fishing from Dock at Depot Park Summer
Fishing from Dock at Depot Park

You’ll find Yellow Perch, Sunfish, Black Crappie, Pickerel and Statewide Regulations apply (link to Fishing Regulations page). 

Click here, for the DEC’s contour map, but note the map is not intended for navigation.

Visit this website for updated information from the Loon Lake Association and Loon Lake Watershed Improvement Alliance.

Waterfront dining
Waterfront Restaurant courtesy Stu Gallagher

Speaking of winter months, ice fishing is also allowed at Almond Reservoir (statewide regulations apply). A man-made reservoir created as part of a flood control project that resulted in a dam on Canacadea Creek, the surrounding landscape consists primarily of forested and lightly developed land.

Black crappie, brown bullhead, common carp, golden shiner, pumpkinseed, shiner, white sucker, yellow perch, and largemouth bass are found at Almond Reservoir. 

Click here for more information.

To learn more about other local ice fishing options, visit Steuben Sportsman

Sanford Lake
Sanford Lake courtesy Kevin Peterson

Sanford Lake 

Sanford Lake, located partially within Birdseye Hollow State Forest off Kettle Road or Sanford Lake Recreation Area located off of Round Lake Road, offers shore access and a boat launch (electric trolling motors only). 

Species found in Sanford Lake include banded killifish, black crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, chain pickerel, common shiner, golden shiner, largemouth bass, pumpkinseed, and yellow perch.

Not all of the sundry bodies of water found throughout Steuben County are accessible or open to the public, but quite a few of them are providing locals and visitors alike with an abundance of exciting outdoor activities.

Brooks, Creeks and Streams

Don’t be fooled by their size, though, because several of these tributaries are prime spots for fishing.

For example, Neil Creek (sometimes called Neils Creek or Neil's Creek) and Cold Brook (also known as the Keuka Lake Inlet) offer some of the best trout fishing around. As a matter of fact, according to the DEC, Cold Brook offers some of the best in New York State. 

Neil Creek 

A tributary that enters the Cohocton River near Avoca, Neil Creek contains a “healthy  population of wild brown trout in this stream that offers excellent fishing opportunities.” The creek is managed under special countywide regulations and Public Fishing Rights (PFR’s) apply (private landowners have granted easement along the bank in certain sections of the creek (you will see signs indicating such). Check with the DEC with regards to any restrictions and regulations. 

Brook Trout Fishing
Cold Brook Trout courtesy Bob Magee

Cold Brook

Found between Bath and Hammondsport, and located at the northern end of the Cold Brook Wildlife Management Area, the Keuka Lake Inlet (also known as Cold Brook) at the southern end of Keuka Lake. 

Kayakers and paddle boarders sometimes enter the Keuka Lake Inlet at the southern end of Keuka Lake (about halfway between Depot Park and Champlin Beach (where you can rent kayaks and paddle boards). The inlet heads inland near scenic Curtiss Park and is a great spot to see wildlife like turtles, great blue heron, and even fox. It's also a popular spot for fishing.

From the DEC: “There are public fishing rights (PFR) on the Keuka Lake Inlet/Cold Brook which runs to the north of both parts of the WMA. The spring runs of wild rainbow trout and fall runs of brown trout offer some of the best seasonal trout fishing in New York State.” Finger Lakes tributary regulations apply, so please consult the New York Freshwater Fishing Official Regulations Guide.

A handful of streams and rivers are stocked each spring with brown and rainbow trout to compliment the wild trout found in these waterways, as well as Keuka Lake and others. To learn about spring stocking dates, visit the DEC website.

Fish Hatchery
Bath Fish Hatchery courtesy Bob Magee

Fish Hatchery and Spring Stocking

The DEC operates 12 fish hatcheries throughout New York State including the Bath Fish Hatchery which produces close to 1,000,000 fish each year, specializing in brown trout, rainbow trout, and lake trout. A great stop for families interested in nature, you can even visit the hatchery and see the fish being raised. 

Red Fox
Fox courtesy Bill Banaszewski

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