Findley Lake, New York, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Chautauqua-Allegheny -

Findley Lake is a friendly hideaway in New York’s Chautauqua-Allegheny Region. This 292-acre lake was created in 1815 when Revolutionary War veteran Alexander Findley built a small dam over a brook to power his mill. The resulting impoundment joined two smaller existing ponds and created the lake named in his honor. Although his mill is long gone and the power his dam produced is no longer needed, Findley Lake remains much loved by the many residents who built homes along its shores.

The village of Findley Lake is centered near the dam at the north end of the lake, with homes and cottages lining the lakefront on nearly all sides. A small marina rents pontoon boats, paddle boards and kayaks, along with offering repairs and a full line of supplies such as water skis and tubes. One commercial campground shares shore space with the cottagers and a church retreat camp. Residents and their guests enjoy swimming, water skiing, canoeing, sailing and kayaking. The small-town atmosphere makes it easy to find companions for activities and to join together to make improvements to benefit ‘the neighborhood’. Bicycles are rented locally, and a canoe race is held on the lake nearly every year. All of the village roads are marked as accessible by snowmobiles, making this winter activity easy to participate in.

Fishing is popular at Findley Lake. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation operates a boat launch for hand-carried boats on the north end of the lake. A second boat ramp that can handle trailered boats is also located on the north side of the lake. Owned by the Findley Lake Watershed Foundation, the ramp is open to the public on weekdays. Northern pike and walleye are the biggest angling targets, but the lake also holds largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie, bluegill and pumpkinseed. Tiger muskie, a cross hybrid between male northern pike and female muskellunge, were planted as fingerlings for several years, ending in 2008. Because the tiger muskie are long-lived, they are still being caught. Fingerling muskellunge have been stocked annually since 2009. All New York fishing regulations are in effect, and a fishing license is required. Ice fishing is allowed, with primarily panfish caught.

Although Findley Lake lies within the larger Town of Mina, much of the surrounding countryside is small farms and woodlands. Findley Lake has its own volunteer fire department, library and local small businesses, including a grocery store, restaurants and ice cream shop. The lake is located in southwestern New York near the Pennsylvania state line, west of better-known Chautauqua Lake and south of Lake Erie. Both Erie, PA and Westfield, NY are less than 20 miles away. The lake is easy to get to from both east and west as it lies just south of the Southern Tier Expressway. Hotels can be found along the highways at major intersections. Several private residents rent their lakefront properties to short-term guests and make sure that their vacations are memorable.

Findley Lake and the larger Chautauqua County are ideally located in one of western New York’s favorite tourist regions. This is the heart of wine country, and vineyard tours, winery tours and wine tasting events are common during much of the year. Antique shops, unique artisan galleries, bed & breakfasts and quaint country inns are located everywhere near here-and often open for business year-round. Less than five miles away, one of the area’s prime ski resort areas has several downhill slopes, cross-country trails, a luxury spa, two noted golf courses and several types of accommodations for lodgings. Another campground and events center hosts several ‘clothing optional’ events throughout the year, with large gatherings celebrating New Age arts, natural medicine and spiritual mindfulness. Only three miles away, the new Lake Erie Speedway offers NASCAR sanctioned racing events. The Great Blue Heron Music Festival occurs each July in nearby Sherman. Within 20 miles, Lake Erie beaches beckon, while Erie, PA holds a water park that will excite the kids. There is never a shortage of things to do and see near Findley Lake.

The Findley Lake Watershed Foundation works to control aquatic weeds and invasive plant species, carefully monitoring water quality. The foundation owns and maintains the dam, one of the biggest issues to face lake dwellers in recent years. As with many older dams, major maintenance sometimes needs to be completed and funding becomes a problem. In recent years, sinkholes have developed near the dam which was rebuilt in 1900. An engineer’s survey found that water was leaking under the dam break wall, endangering properties below the dam. Because the dam is owned by the foundation, it is difficult to get assistance from the state as many grants are not available to private organizations. New environmental regulations have driven repair costs higher, which the foundation cannot handle alone.

As of 2016, a plan has been created and grant proposals submitted to the proper authorities for additional funding to fix the dam and alleviate all hazards. Water levels will be lowered to allow the work to begin, once funding is approved. This will temporarily curtail many of the water-based activities on Findley Lake. A shortage of funds is an all-too-common issue that faces many smaller reservoirs across the country. However, the Findley Lake Watershed Foundation is optimistic that funding is forthcoming and that the dam will be repaired soon. Findley Lake will survive-and is waiting for your visit.

Things to do at Findley Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Antiquing
  • NASCAR

Fish species found at Findley Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Findley Lake Photo Gallery

    Findley Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Findley Lake Watershed Foundation

    Surface Area: 292 acres

    Shoreline Length: 5 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,410 feet

    Average Depth: 11 feet

    Maximum Depth: 37 feet

    Completion Year: 1815

    Drainage Area: 5 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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