Black Lake, New York, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Thousand Islands -

Known as the best fishing destination in the 1000 Islands Region of upstate New York, Black Lake has been drawing anglers and vacationers to its shores for well over a hundred years. The natural lake covers 7,761 acres in a long, narrow ribbon gouged from the rock by the last glaciers in the region. The 20-mile long lake lies parallel the Saint Lawrence Seaway less than five miles to the north. Fed by the Indian River and Fish Creek, the lake flows into the Oswegatchie River and then into the Saint Lawrence River.

European settlement has occurred here since very early in the 1800s. Unlike many lakes, Black Lake never saw large towns develop along its shores. Instead, larger villages were concentrated along the St. Lawrence and father inland where stronger-running streams were better suited for the operation of water-powered mills. Even though mining for several minerals and logging occurred in the area, and at one point a steamboat transported ore down the lake, the water body itself never became economically important to the pioneering families of upstate New York. When word got out about the fishing, however, a whole new industry was born: tourism!

Black Lake is relatively shallow, with many sandbars, shoals and rocky islands that create ideal habitat for a variety of game fish. ‘Resort camps’, mostly for fishing, developed along the shoreline, and some of these camps have been operated by the same families for nearly a hundred years. As preferred activities of guests changed over time, the resorts increased their amenities. Swim areas have been developed. Boat-accessible restaurants, bait shops and convenience stores have become a part of the lakefront landscape. Resort camps offer both cabin rental and RV pads with amenities, WiFi, satellite television, fishing tournaments, bingo games and group excursions.

Several camps rent fishing boats, pontoons and water toys. Private cottages and homes around the lake have the best of both worlds; some of the lakefront properties are quite large, offering as much solitude as residents wish, but with neighbors near enough for company on occasion. Sailing, pontooning, water skiing and tubing are all popular on the lake.

Although there are a couple of public boat launches on Black Lake, most visiting fishermen launch their boats at one of the convenient camps that sell bait and gas for their boat motors. The lake is large enough that the proper fishing trip will require several days of intense angling to make sure no hotspot is left uncovered. Many fishermen arrange lodgings for a few days – or a week. Many make it an annual family vacation, as there are many attractions in the area to see.

Crappie, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike, walleye, channel catfish, muskie, bluegill and yellow perch test anglers’ skills. On summer evenings, the shoreline flickers with lantern light as bullhead fishermen spend an evening fishing ‘the lazy way’. As some resorts stay open all year to accommodate ice fishing, Black Lake makes an ideal base for hunting, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

The area around Black Lake is home to many Amish farm families. Farm stands sell fresh produce, baked goods, local crafts and woodworking items along the nearby country roads. Most regular visitors have several favorite stores where they purchase foodstuffs during their stays at the lake. The quiet roads are ideal for hiking and bicycle riding – sharing space with Amish buggies.

Organized trails exist for cycling; the Black Lake Bicycle Loop goes to Ogdensburg and back. In winter, a system of snowmobile trails crosses the area, connecting with other trails going in all directions. The local snowmobile club produces good maps showing parking areas and commonly-used way points.

Several local Wildlife Management Areas offer hiking, wildlife viewing and hunting in season. The Fish Creek Wildlife Management Area, a conservation area south of Black Lake, is accessible only by canoe. A variety of birds and native animals are found here, including white-tail deer, turkeys, cottontail rabbits, grouses, beavers, muskrats, minks, otters, waterfowl, marsh birds, and songbirds. Because there are no marked trails through the area, visitors should come prepared to tramp through a wet and wild wilderness. More accessible is the Indian Creek Nature Center, part of the Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area near Clayton. The Nature Center is handicapped accessible and offers several trails, including a Wildflower Loop and guided interpretive walks in the spring and fall.

A great destination for the budding geologist in your family is the Gouvernour Museum in nearby Gouvernour. The museum holds an extensive collection of minerals found in the area that have been mined in the past and are still mined in some instances. Meanwhile, the rest of the family can enjoy exhibits of the artifacts from early settlers’ lives in the area. At Canton, both the Antique Boat Museum and the ‘Traditional Arts in Upstate New York’ location provide displays of antique restored boats and traditional local crafts respectively. Nearby Ogdensburg is the place to head for formal art. The Frederick Remington Art museum, located in the famous artist’s widow’s old home offers not only a vibrant collection of his works but visiting collections by other artists.

A few miles south of Black Lake, along the St. Lawrence Seaway, Alexandria Bay holds a variety of interesting tours that you can arrange. A trip to Boldt Castle on Heart Island or a visit to Singer Castle on Dark Island gives visitors a sense of the opulent lifestyles enjoyed by wealthy residents at the turn of the last century. The Boldt Castle was never lived in after the death of the intended mistress of the house, while the Singer Castle housed family members into the 1960s. Both offer elaborately landscaped gardens, lavishly appointed rooms and a variety of outbuildings. Both are in heavy demand as wedding locations and are accessible only by water. A private attraction holds exhibits of native fish, reptiles and even alligators-a sure child-pleaser.

Besides resort camps and private rentals at Black Lake, the area is well-supplied with small family-run motels and several bed-and-breakfasts. Larger hotels can be found around the larger towns but not at the lake itself. As many resort visitors return each year, you should make reservations to assure yourself of lodgings for your visit.

Real estate is available for purchase, some with water frontage and often at extremely good prices. Less than 20 miles south of the international border, Black Lake is an ideal location for Canadian families to experience ‘cottage’ summers on the US side of the Seaway. So, bring the boat, water toys, the sunscreen and the kids. Black Lake is waiting for your visit and offers a hearty welcome to all.

* Some statistics are ‘best-guess’ estimates from available sources as there appears to be no official survey of this lake.

Things to do at Black Lake NY

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Canoeing
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Black Lake NY

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Catfish
  • Channel Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Black Lake NY Photo Gallery

Black Lake NY Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 7,761 acres

Shoreline Length: 60 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 272 feet

Average Depth: 8 feet

Maximum Depth: 40 feet

Trophic State: Eutrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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