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Waneta Lake

Coordinates: 42.466°N 77.105°W

Elevation: 1099 feet/335 meters



Situated mostly in the Town of Tyrone in Schuyler County with a small portion in the Town of Wayne in Steuben County, Waneta Lake is not one of the Finger Lakes, though it is a lake in the Finger Lakes, and it is shaped like a finger--a pinky finger. The lake is only 813 acres in size, 2.8 miles in length, and 29 feet deep at its deepest point. Consequently, small lakes like Waneta are more subject to changes in temperature, freezing over completely in the winter and heating up in the summer. The later promotes algae blooms that result in lake turbidity.


Waneta Lake is connected at its southern end to Lamoka Lake by a half-mile channel owned by New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG). NYSEG operates a power station on Keuka Lake that is fed by both Lamoka and Waneta lakes from a large pipe system at the north end of Waneta Lake that draws down the lakes about 2 feet. NYSEG also has a dam and spillway at the southern end of Lamoka Lake.


One of the most interesting facts about Waneta and Lamoka lakes is that, unlike all eleven of the Finger Lakes, which flow north and eventually drain into Lake Ontario, Waneta and Lamoka flow south via Mud Creek and drain first into the Cohocton, then the Chemung, then the Susquehanna, which eventually empties into the Chesapeake.


The southern end of the lake is shallow and classified as a wetland, supporting many species of the birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects that are commonly found in wetland habitats of the region. The bottom of the lake is mud and gravel with a significant amount of rooted aquatic vegetation throughout much of the lake. The water is somewhat alkaline, which allows for more than a dozen species of fish--mostly introduced--to inhabit its waters.


The shores of the lake slope more gently than some of the larger lakes in the region, which allows for a wide variety of vegetation and animal life. Boaters should take care when approaching the shoreline as this lack of depth presents a hazard to propellers.


The lake is used by thousands of waterfowl every year during migration, both spring and fall. One can expect to see Canada geese; snow geese; mallards, black ducks, and other "puddle" ducks; a variety of gulls; and occasionally swans, and members of the "bay" ducks group.


The area including the wetland at the southern end of Waneta Lake, the channel connecting the two lakes, and the northern end of Lamoka Lake has been designated as the Waneta-Lamoka Wildlife Management Area and is administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The area has a boat launch (see below) but has no hiking trails or bathroom or picnicking facilities. In addition, camping, swimming, and off-road vehicles are NOT permitted.


Waneta Lake offers a wide variety of recreational activities, including boating, swimming, windsurfing, skiing, canoeing/kayaking, birding, and photography in the summer to ice skating, ice sailing, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing when snow is deep enough on the ice. What a great way to see the lake! Watch out for cars. Rumor has it that the lake has a traffic problem in the winter.

Kayak Rentals & Guided Tours
Summit to Stream Adventures

3471 Salt Point Rd.

Watkins Glen, NY 14891



Access to the Lake

Like most of the lakes in the region, Waneta's shoreline is mostly privately owned. Cottages dot the shore, some having been owned by the same family for many generations. The best access to lake is either from the boat launch below or from a rental property.

Boat Launch

On the channel inlet to the lake on the north side of Rt. 23, 2 mi./3.2 km. west of the Hamlet of Tyrone. Concrete ramp. Parking for 12 vehicles. Brochure.

Lakeside Rentals

Diversified Rental

Finger Lakes Premier Properties (formerly Rental Plus)





Resort Property Rentals of the Finger Lakes

Vacation Rentals by Owner



Waneta Lake Rental

Wright's Waneta Lake Cottages


Updated 17 March 2009








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