Canandaigua Lake, New York, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Finger Lakes -

Canandaigua Lake, located in Ontario County’s “Lake Country,” is the fourth largest Finger Lake, stretching out over 15.5 miles in length and 1.5 miles in width. Canandaigua is Iroquois for “chosen spot,” a fitting name, as it is an area of stunning natural beauty; 50% of its shoreline and surrounding land is still forested.

The lake is home to Squaw Island, one of the only two islands in the Finger Lake region. The island, located at the north of Canandaigua Lake, is over 11,000 years old and is the smallest Fish and Wildlife Management area in New York. As oral tradition explains, the island was once used in the 18th century to hide Seneca women and children during the Sullivan Expedition against the Six Iroquois Nations. Unfortunately, Squaw Island is a victim of severe erosion, and has shrunk from a size of approximately 2 acres in 1853 to only 55 feet by 145 feet today. The Squaw Island Preservation Society has since been formed to protect the island and its unique history.

Canandaigua Lake State Marine Park is located in the City of Canandaigua at the north end of the lake. The park provides boat launch facilities from May to mid-October. Two parks operated by Ontario County are located on East Lake Road. Deep Run Beach provides a swim beach and picnic facilities from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Ontario Beach Park is available for picnicking only. The town of Canandaigua also operates seven public parks. Onando Park provides swimming, fishing, picnicking, hiking trail, and cabin and pavilion rentals. West Lake Schoolhouse Park is primarily a swimming beach with lifeguards on duty. Other city parks provide recreational facilities such as walking trails, picnic tables and grills, baseball diamond, soccer field, sand volleyball court, playground equipment, sandbox, basketball backboard, and pavilion rentals.

The town of Naples, located at the southern end of the lake, is part of the Finger Lakes wine region. You can visit seven wineries along the 41-mile Canandaigua Wine Trail to sample their Pinot Noir, Merlot, Riesling, and Traminette wines.

The motto of Ontario County’s Lake Country is “the fun of it all.” Enjoy a variety of water activities, including sailing, boating, and swimming. Anglers can try their luck at catching lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, and panfish.

Make sure to spend some time off the water enjoying the area’s special events and spectacular inland scenery. Star gaze while attending a summertime concert at the Finger Lakes Performing Arts Center, an outside amphitheater. Savor the area’s famous Grape Pies in the fall during the grape harvest. Drive the quiet roads to view the spectacular fall foliage. In winter, hit the nearby slopes. Ski “the vertical” or enjoy the slower pace of groomed cross-country trails.

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historical Park sits on 50 acres overlooking Canandaigua Lake. The Queen Anne Victorian-era mansion was built in 1887, and the extensive gardens were planted between 1902 and 1920. In addition to tours from May through September, the site hosts special events such as the annual Orchid Show, Rose Week, Moonlight Strolls, and the annual Arts at the Gardens show.

Canandaigua Lake invites you to discover “the fun of it all” in the heart of the Finger Lakes region.

Things to do at Canandaigua Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • City Park
  • Playground

Fish species found at Canandaigua Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Brown Trout
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Lake Trout
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Trout

Canandaigua Lake Photo Gallery

Canandaigua Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Water Level Control: City of Canandaigua

Surface Area: 10,553 acres

Shoreline Length: 36 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 688 feet

Average Depth: 127 feet

Maximum Depth: 276 feet

Drainage Area: 174 sq. miles

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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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