Welcome to Waneta Lake
Waneta Lake is a small lake in the Finger Lakes region of the state of New York in the United States. The lake straddles the border of Schuyler County and Steuben County, and is within the towns of Tyrone and Wayne. Waneta Lake is 3.5 miles long (north-to-south) and half a mile wide (east-to-west), and lies just east of the southern branch of Keuka Lake. The lake is at 42°27′56″N 77°06′17″W / 42.46556°N 77.10472°W / 42.46556; -77.10472 (Waneta Lake).
Location: Township of Tyrone (Schuyler), Wayne (Steuben)
Access Waneta/Lamoka: CR23 Channel Launches
Area: 781 acres
Shoreline: 6.8 miles
Elevation: 1099 feet
Maximum Depth: 29 feet
Mean Depth: 15 feet
Bottom Type: mud / gravel
Water Clarity: turbid
Oxygen: poor in summer below 10 feet at the south end
(This does not affect the fish at all.)
Boat Launch Site: Lamoka and Waneta Lakes are accessed by their respective DEC launch sites off county route 23, 2 miles west of Tyrone. These launch sites are on either side of a CR23 road culvert giving access to the channel connecting Lamoka and Waneta Lakes. The road culvert will only allow small fishing boats to pass between Lamoka and Waneta lakes due to its limited height and width. There is a parking area adjacent to the launch sites. There is a rough road leading to the north end or Waneta Lake for the town of Wayne.
Plant Life: Extensive rooted aquatics are found in water up to 20 feet deep. Algae blooms occur regularly in summer causing turbidity. The southern end of the lake is shallow and generally classified as a wetlands area.
General Information: Waneta Lake, like Lamoka Lake, is a water supply reservoir for the NYSE&G hydro-electric plant on Keuka Lake. Details of this power plant and water level control can be found in this section on the Lamoka Lake description. Details of the channel connecting the two lakes and the boat launches is also described in the Lamoka Lake description.
Waneta Lake is very similar to Lamoka Lake in many respects. It too has a good forage base, including a very large population of alewives, or sawbellies, enabling most predator species to grow to very respectable sizes. Two of the most sought after species in this lake are largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. Unlike Lamoka Lake, their populations here are pretty evenly divided. Largemouth bass have more habitat (weed areas) than the smallmouth (gravel). Generally speaking the largemouth can be found in waters shallower than 20 feet (oxygen depletion becomes a problem beyond that depth) where weed beds exist. Stand out areas include the Waneta/Lamoka channel, especially from the Waneta ramp north to the lake proper, all season long. Bass of the same size have been found in Waneta Lake as described in the Lamoka Lake section (10# max., 4-6# average). The south-east portion of the lake exhibits a lot of fallen timbers and brush piles for good bass and other fish cover. Near the north end of the lake, several hundred yards south of the small park at the north west corner, is a small submerged rock filled crib. Approach this area with caution – a lot of boaters locate this structure with their props! In general, approach Waneta’s shoreline with caution due to its minimal depth and slow bottom drop-off.
The habitat available for smallmouth bass is a bit more limited, but the lake offers some fine fishing for these scrappy fighters. Like Lamoka Lake, the smallmouth are only of average size (1 to 11/2 pounds). The majority of the fish are taken from the east side of the lake where much of the shallow water areas have a gravel bottom.
Unlike Lamoka Lake, Waneta Lake has an excellent population of muskellunge, and stocking programs continued longer in Waneta Lake than Lamoka Lake. All stocking has been discontinued for some time now. While the Muskie numbers are higher, the size record still belongs to Lamoka Lake. The most notable method of fishing for muskie is to troll the outer boundaries of the weed beds at a rather rapid pace. The preferred lure is a large jointed plug in the shape and coloration of the yellow perch. The plugs are large and often weighted. October and November are notably good months for Muskie fishing on Waneta Lake.
Chain Pickerel is another species that can be found practically anywhere in this lake. Their size is impressive as is their toothy smile! The average pickerel taken from Waneta Lake is about 3 pounds, with real trophy sizes in the 6 pound range. An exceptionally good pickerel area is in the lower end of the lake and up the east side to where the gravel beds start. Good numbers of pickerel are also taken from Waneta through the ice.
The panfish population is very healthy in Waneta Lake. Black crappie are the principle panfish and are found throughout the lake wherever you find concealed or submerged structures. The Waneta/Lamoka channel offer excellent crappie fishing in the spring. Good crappie and panfish fishing can be found along the south-east shore where brush and submerged timber areas abound, and along the submerged wall on the north-west corner. The lake has excellent year round fishing for other panfish including big yellow perch, rock bass, bullhead, and sunfish. Waneta Lake and Lamoka Lake freeze early due to their shallow depth and altitude. This promotes good ice fishing and winter recreational activities, but limits the opportunity for late migratory duck hunting. November 15th is an average freeze over date.
Waneta Lake is more shallow than Lamoka Lake, and its bottom drop-off is much more gradual. Boaters need to be much more cautious when approaching the shoreline in Waneta Lake. Access to Waneta Lake is easier due the open area surrounding the uniform shape of the lake and the paved highways along either side. Both lakes are connected by a recently expanded bridge where County Route 23 crosses the cannel connecting the two lakes.