Otisco Lake, New York, USA

Approximately 20 miles southwest of Syracuse, New York, Otisco Lake is the easternmost of the 11 Finger Lakes. Just under six miles long, 3/4 miles across at its widest point, and 60 feet deep at its deepest point, it is seventh in size among the Finger Lakes. It is fed at the southern end by Spafford Creek, Amber Brook, Rice Brook, and Willow Brook. Its northern outflow feeds Onondaga Lake – READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Otisco Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Otisco Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Otisco Lake! Article topics include:

Looking for Otisco Lake cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore more of our favorite travel partners.

All About Otisco Lake

Lake Locations: USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Finger Lakes -

Approximately 20 miles southwest of Syracuse, New York, Otisco Lake is the easternmost of the 11 Finger Lakes. Just under six miles long, 3/4 miles across at its widest point, and 60 feet deep at its deepest point, it is seventh in size among the Finger Lakes. It is fed at the southern end by Spafford Creek, Amber Brook, Rice Brook, and Willow Brook. Its northern outflow feeds Onondaga Lake by way of Nine Mile Creek and then Lake Ontario by way of the Seneca and Oswego Rivers. Surrounded by wooded hills of the Finger Lakes vacation region, the quiet countryside of the area makes Otisco Lake a great place to picnic, boat, or fish.

The Iroquois named the lake Otisco meaning “where waters dried away.” Prior to 1869, the water level of the lake fluctuated greatly and often dried up completely resulting in mostly unusable marshland. In 1869 a dam was built on the northern end outlet into Nine Mile Creek to raise the water level by nine feet and to provide a water reservoir for the Erie Canal. In 1908 the dam was rebuilt raising the water level an additional four feet to provide drinking water for Onondaga County. The dam is owned by the Onondaga County Water Authority.

Otisco Lake is divided into two distinct basins by a rock causeway at the south end. The causeway was originally built to carry a road for use by wagons to cut across the lake rather than go around it. The road is no longer used. A break in the causeway near the west bank allows boats to travel between the upper and lower parts of the lake. The southern smaller basin is rather shallow and extremely turbid which contrasts sharply with the relatively clear water of the main lake. Although not maintained as a public facility, the causeway is a favorite fishing spot and offers a beautiful view of the lake.

Despite the small size of Otisco Lake, its natural beauty and proximity to Syracuse has made the lake a desirable place to live. It now has more than 550 lakefront properties. This has greatly limited the public’s access to the lake. Fishing is allowed, but the shoreline available to anglers is first come, first served. Like most of the smaller Finger Lakes, Otisco Lake has little wind and is more suited to motor boating than sailing. The lake is extremely popular in the summer months and experiences a huge increase in population every Memorial Day. An annual fishing derby sponsored by the Otisco Rod and Gun Club, usually around the second week in June, fills the lake with boats.

Although limited, access to Otisco Lake is not impossible. The last will and testament of Waldemar F. and Marjory G. Hirsch contained a gift to Onondaga County. Three acres of land owned by the Hirsch family was to be used as a park, and not be sold for individual lots or private development. Otisco Lake County Park was dedicated on July 12, 2000. It has four commemorative benches, towering evergreens and 600 feet of shoreline. It is open year-round from dawn until dusk. Parking is limited to five cars, and pets and swimming are prohibited. There are restrooms and hand launch boating. The park is located at 2525 Otisco Valley Road in the town of Marietta.

The Otisco Lake Causeway has parking for eight cars. 600 feet of shoreline are perfect for fishing, but again, no pets or swimming. It is open year-round from dawn until dusk and offers hand launch boating. The west side of the causeway offers a unique chance to see the lake from the surface.

On West Valley Road, 2 miles north of Saw Mill Road, is a small and popular hand launching area. Parking is limited to ten cars, and there is a small pier. The Otisco Lake Marina also provides public access to the lake; it is located at 1697 Otisco Valley Road in the village of Marietta.

If you’re a fisherman, Otisco Lake has much to offer. The lake is stocked yearly with 3,500 brown trout, 45,000 walleye, and 7,500 tiger musky. The north end of the late is noted for good panfishing (bluegill, pumpkinseed, white perch, yellow perch, crappie, rock bass and bullhead). Largemouth and smallmouth bass also frequent these waters. Largemouth bass over 20 inches are frequently caught. Walleye fishing is best during the spring, early summer and fall months. Casting from shore or the causeway at dusk is best for walleye. Brown trout can be caught in the spring by trolling. The tiger musky makes a nice trophy for the skilled angler, and Otisco Lake might be one of the best waters in the state for this fish. Tigers are most often caught in the weedbeds at the north and south ends of the lake. Carp are also found throughout the lake, usually in the shallower areas. The north end usually freezes over in the winter and offers good ice fishing.

Currently the lake is experiencing a problem with zebra mussels. These non-native mollusks cling to the rocks, docks and pretty much anything else in the water. This invasive species was introduced by outside boaters and has since become a large problem for lake management. The sharp shell of this mussel can easily slice through skin, so swimmers and waders should wear foot protection.

If fishing isn’t your idea of fun, try a scenic drive along East Lake Road. You will be able to see neighboring Skaneateles Lake as well as Otisco Lake. The two lakes are separated by a high rolling hill that offers a fantastic view of both lakes. Photographers and nature lovers will enjoy sightings of geese, ducks, loons, blue herons, white-tailed deer, muskrats and beavers throughout the area.

Whether it be fishing, boating or just the need for peace and quiet found in the upstate New York countryside, Otisco Lake has much to offer.

Things to Do at Otisco Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Picnicking
  • Wildlife Viewing

Fish Species Found at Otisco Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Trout
  • Carp
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • White Perch
  • Yellow Perch

All About Otisco Lake

Best hotels and vacation rentals at Otisco Lake

The Otisco Lake map shown above is a simple and stress-free way to search for trip accommodations. But if you want to take a deeper dive to find the ideal waterfront home, cabin, condo, hotel or resort, visit our favorite lodging partners by clicking the buttons below.

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.


More Ways to Book a Otisco Lake Vacation

While our interactive map above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME rental homes (with VRBO) and nearby hotels (with Booking.com), there might be times when you need to expand your search with a different type of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you might want to explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our full disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Otisco Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


More Sites to Book a Otisco Lake Vacation

Our interactive lodging map shown above is perfect for comparing LAKENAME VRBO rental homes and nearby Booking.com hotels, there are times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodation. Here are some other LAKNAME lodging partners you can explore:

Check TripAdvisor
Explore RV Rentals
Find a Campspot
View All Resources

Note: These are affiliate links and we may earn a small commission. Read our disclosure policy here.


Recommended Sites to Book a Otisco Lake Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Otisco Lake lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Onondaga County Water Authority

Surface Area: 2,214 acres

Shoreline Length: 13 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 788 feet

Average Depth: 33 feet

Maximum Depth: 76 feet

Water Volume: 64,753 acre-feet

Completion Year: 1908

Water Residence Time: 2 years

Lake Area-Population: 3,500

Drainage Area: 36 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

We strive to keep the information on LakeLubbers as accurate as possible. However, if you’ve found something in this article that needs updating, we’d certainly love to hear from you! Please fill out our Content Correction form.

More Otisco Lake news from LakeLubbers.com

  • Advertise your vacation rental property or local business: DETAILS HERE
  • The Otisco Lake forum has been discontinued: HERE’S WHY
  • New Otisco Lake photos coming soon!
  • You’re invited to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!
  • Share this Otisco Lake article with your fellow LakeLubbers:

Do you have a vacation rental property at Otisco Lake? Coming in 2022, LakeLubbers will have an opportunity for you to showcase your listing and put it in front of thousands of lake lovers searching our site for homes, condos or townhomes to rent for their upcoming lake trip this season.

Please get in touch with our advertising team HERE and we’ll provide you more details on this upcoming advertising opportunity.

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Looking for the Otisco Lake forum?

LakeLubbers previously offered visitors the ability to create accounts and participate in lake forums. When we overhauled the site’s content management system in 2021 we had to disable those features. We’re evaluating options and welcome your comments and feedback here.

We also encourage you to join our lake-lovin’ community on Facebook and Instagram!

Click here to advertise your Otisco Lake vacation rental or local business.

The former Otisco Lake forum is closed. Find out why here.

New Otisco Lake photo gallery is coming soon.

Please share this article with your fellow lake lovers!

Spread the word! Share our Otisco Lake article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

Explore local Otisco Lake vacation rentals and hotel accommodations using our interactive map. Clicking on listings below will allow you to compare nearby properties, best rates and availability for your dates.

Looking for the old Otisco Lake forum group? Click Here

New Otisco Lake photos coming soon!

Vacation Home Name

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  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 bathrooms
  • hot tub
  • wifi