Lime Lake, New York, USA

Lake Locations:

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

Lime Lake is nestled in the remote Chautauqua-Allegheny region of southwestern New York. The Chautauqua-Allegheny tourism region is known as the “Wild West” of New York with scenic trails and serene waters. There are thousands of acres for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, horseback riding, and snowmobiling. The picturesque scenery is evident year-round and will make a vacation unforgettable.

Lime Lake used to be called Limestone Lake, getting its name from the shell lime deposits found on the bottom. Located in the quaint town of Machias in Cattaraugus County, Lime Lake spans approximately 154 acres. There is a public boat ramp on the northern shore of the lake that is accessible to small boats. Spend a leisurely summer day boating, canoeing, or kayaking the crystal blue waters of Lime Lake. If angling is your sport, you will be happy to know that Lime Lake is stocked with a variety of catches such as bluegill, largemouth bass, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, black crappie, rock bass, brown bullhead, walleye, and tiger muskie.

In the 1800’s and early 1900’s Lime Lake was a bustling economic area. It was used to supply water power to sawmills and grist mills, as well as a source of ice. The ice industry flourished throughout the early part of the 20th century until electric refrigeration became common. The ice was better than other areas because it came from pure spring water; and at its peak, 145,000 tons of ice were harvested annually.

Robert Ripley, author of “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not,” shone the spotlight on Lime Lake in 1940. Ripley focused on the fact that Lime Lake was the only lake on record that had two outlets but no inlets. The lake receives its water from underground springs that supply a constant flow of 50-degree water from the subsurface water table. At that time Lime Lake had two natural outlets: the northerly outlet to Cattaraugus Creek and the southerly outlet into Ischua Creek. However, the southern outlet was closed off by gravel companies in the 1950s, and this former outlet is now a spring water inlet. A dam at the north outlet regulates the lake’s water levels.

Just south of Lime Lake is Allegany State Park, the largest state park in New York. With over 35 trails and over five miles of paved bikeways, this park is the perfect four-season recreational asset to the area. Ball fields, tennis courts, picnic areas and playgrounds are available as well as horseback riding trails, snowmobile trails and cross-country skiing trails. If action-packed days are not your style, you are more than welcome to fish and boat along the lakes inside the park. The park offers fun events such as art shows, bluegrass festivals, raccoon rallies, and concerts. To the west of Lime Lake is Lake Erie State Park. It sits right along the shore of the Great Lake and offers campsites with beautiful views of the lake. Another interesting park is Rock City Park, located in Cattaraugus County. The park is a prehistoric ocean floor consisting of huge monolithic formations three and four stories high. The rocks are millions of years old and the largest formations of their kind. The park has enchanting views as well as a museum to spark your interest.

Lime Lake experienced a growth in residential development during the last half of the 20th century, both year round and seasonal homes, so visitors will find vacation rentals within the Lime Lake community. Should you decide to plant more permanent roots in the area, real estate is offered for sale. So, spend some time meandering the quaint Main Streets of Cattaraugus County and take home some antiques and souvenirs. Savor the region’s foods and wines that are sure to capture your heart. Spend quiet afternoons on the serene waters of Lime Lake, and you may decide to stay a lifetime.

Things to do at Lime Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • State Park
  • City Park
  • Museum
  • Playground
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Lime Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Lime Lake Photo Gallery

    Lime Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Lime Lake Cottage Owners Association

    Surface Area: 154 acres

    Shoreline Length: 4 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,650 feet

    Maximum Depth: 36 feet

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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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