Oxbow Lake, New York, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Adirondacks -

A perfect view over a perfect lake: that describes beautiful little Oxbow Lake in the Adirondack region of New York. Other lakes may be bigger than Oxbow’s estimated 140 acres, but few are more picturesque and none are cleaner. Spring-fed Oxbow Lake has been adjudged the cleanest lake in the Adirondack Region by the State of New York. A mile long, the north shore is partially enclosed by Jessup River Wild Forest Area. A portion of the west end of the lake is wetland. The only development is concentrated along the south shore, assuring that every property owner has unspoiled vistas across the lake to the wooded expanse of Adirondack Park.

Oxbow Lake is an all-sports lake. Gasoline motors are allowed, but most visitors feel the narrow lake is more perfectly suited to canoeing and kayaking. Water skiing and tubing are possible but would likely be more enjoyable on a larger water body – the lake is only a quarter of a mile wide at its widest point. The south shore is sandy, allowing for ideal swimming beaches. A small resort rents boats and allows for paid boat access for visiting anglers. Most visitors are content to swim, paddle-boat, row and paddle the lovely lake. An evening around a campfire on the beach or a night view from the deck provides a perfect ending to a picture-perfect day at Oxbow Lake.

Most visitors come to Oxbow Lake for the fishing. The lake is an excellent fishery for largemouth bass and pickerel, particularly along the undeveloped north shore. The lake also holds smallmouth bass, bluegill, perch and sunfish. Relatively shallow, the lake is an ice fisherman’s dream. Many of the vacation rentals are four-season, so anglers visit the lake in winter to enjoy the ‘hard water’ sport of ice fishing. Perch are the prey of choice for these hardy sportsmen, although several other species will do for a catch. A New York fishing license is required, and all fishing regulations must be obeyed.

The area around Oxbow Lake is filled with the sights and sounds of the Adirondacks. A number of trails and hiking paths in the Jessup River Wild Forest Area offer excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, of which bird watching is a favorite. The Perkins Clearing area northeast of Oxbow Lake is a favorite of birders to view several species of warblers, while the nearby Northville/Lake Placid Trail meanders into wetland areas where Great Blue Heron, Common Loons and several duck species nest. Ospreys are often seen hunting above the area lakes-a good pair of binoculars is a must!

Oxbow Lake is a perfect spot for outdoor activities any time of the year. Hiking in the area is a favorite, with the Northville/Lake Placid Trail passing directly past the southern shoreline. The Village of Speculator offers access to over 650 miles of groomed snowmobile trails across area mountains and lakes. Trail maps are available online and at local Speculator businesses. The Adirondack Park itself offers myriad trails for mountain biking, horseback riding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, dog sledding and hiking. The park also provides areas for whitewater rafting, rock climbing, trout streams for fly fishing and rustic camping. Several excellent golf courses are located in the area, and a nearby ski center offers downhill skiing and snowboarding in winter.

Oxbow Lake area contains a variety of eating places varying from the casual to more formal. Some are located directly on the lake, while others in the area are located at nearby Piseco Lake, in the Villages of Piseco and Speculator and all along Route 30. All desired daily services can be found locally, and several artists and craftsmen have studios located in the area. The area is home to a number of antique shops and a few of the most picturesque country inns and bed-and-breakfasts in northern New York.

Oxbow Lake offers a variety of vacation rentals from family-owned motels and cottage resorts to private residences. Most offer lake frontage or lake access and often include canoes, kayaks, paddle-boats and rowboats as part of the rental. There is a small RV campground at Oxbow Lake plus camping at three state-maintained campgrounds at Piseco Lake a mile to the west and in Adirondack Park itself. For those wishing to own their own private Adirondacks camp, real estate is sometimes available on Oxbow Lake. Even when lake properties aren’t available on Oxbow Lake, other waterfront properties can often be found in the immediate area. But one must experience Oxbow Lake before appreciating the true beauty of this outdoor paradise. So pack up the outdoor gear, the fishing rod, binoculars, mountain bike and spend a week at Oxbow Lake. But, a word of warning: the peace, serenity, beauty and slow-paced lifestyle are addictive. Once you visit, you’ll find it necessary to come back again and again!

Things to do at Oxbow Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog Sledding
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Oxbow Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout

Oxbow Lake Photo Gallery

Oxbow Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 140 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,706 feet

Average Depth: 10 feet

Maximum Depth: 17 feet

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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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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