West Caroga Lake, New York, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Capital-Saratoga -

West Caroga Lake brushes up against the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The 319-acre freshwater lake has become a year-round destination in eastern New York’s Capital-Saratoga tourism region. Fishing in the warmer months is a big draw and when winter rolls around and the lake is capped with a three-foot sheet of ice, snowmobiling, skiing and ice fishing take center stage.

West Caroga Lake is one of 44 lakes in Fulton County. Several of those lakes surround the small town of Caroga, which sits between West Caroga and East Caroga Lakes. The two bodies of water are joined by a channel that is navigable by boat. A number of other lakes are located less than a half-hour drive away.

Native Americans used to live in the area and named it Caroga, which means “by the streams or water-ways.” Later, those same creeks, streams and lakes drew settlers to the area. In the early years, logging, hunting and tanning pelts sustained the economy but now, tourism is more important.

Taking in the natural beauty of the area while fishing West Caroga Lake has always helped anglers reel in big catches. The reflection of the mountains on the water while fishing for one of the many varieties of fish West Caroga Lake has to offer is irresistible to folks who enjoy the outdoors. Lake whitefish, rainbow smelt, smallmouth bass, Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and yellow perch all make their home in West Caroga Lake.

The Caroga Lake New York State Campgrounds are open from mid-May through Labor Day. Many of the camp sites allow you to take in beautiful mountain and lake views from your tent or RV. The grounds boast 161 tent and trailer sites, bathhouses, boat launch, beach, boat rentals and picnic facilities.

Pack your clubs and wildest golf shirt. The Nick Stoner Municipal Golf Course is a par-70 course in Caroga just minutes from the campground. Hitting the links is a treat made sweeter by the stunning views courtesy of the Adirondack Mountains.

Hiking is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. Some trails to trek include Kane Mountain Trail, Willie Marsh Trail, Hamilton Mountain Fire Tower trail and the Nine Corner Lake Trail. The trails offer views of mountain ridges and even some lake vistas of West Caroga Lake.

In the fall, the skyline turns into a sea of bright red, orange and yellow foliage and visitors come to drink in the colors of the season. Hunters come in search of big game, migratory fowl and furbearer hunting and trapping. Check with the NY Department of Environmental Conservation for dates and regulations.

With winter comes an average of 12 feet of snow. Nearby mountain resorts are popular for downhill skiing. Cross-country skiing is widespread around Caroga and snowmobile races are common for those who enjoy a faster pace. In January, ice fishing huts pop up on West Caroga Lake like daisies in the springtime.

The town of Caroga has around 1400 year-round residents and that number more than doubles in the summer. The little resort town does not have a host of hotels; vacation rentals on West Caroga Lake are in the form of private homes or cabins for rent. Hotels are available in the cities of Johnstown and Gloversville.

The Caroga Historical Association and Museum and the Adirondack Museum of Blue Mountain Lake offer a glimpse into the area’s past. There are exhibits depicting pioneer life and the area’s role in the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars.

West Caroga Lake is surrounded by New York State’s Adirondack State Park. The park is a six million-acre preserve created in 1892 to protect the region’s forest land. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation operates several campgrounds in the park. There are also more than 2000 miles of trails and designated areas for canoeing, hunting, fishing, trapping, snowmobiling, skiing, mountain biking, and rock climbing.

West Caroga Lake and the surrounding area offer year round entertainment. Whether you chose to enjoy the lake from the deck of one of numerous lakeside cabins or take in the natural beauty by doing one of countless outdoor activities, West Caroga Lake is a destination worth reaching.

Things to do at West Caroga Lake

  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Rock Climbing
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Hunting
  • State Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at West Caroga Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Perch
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Salmon
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Smelt
  • Trout
  • Whitefish
  • Yellow Perch

West Caroga Lake Photo Gallery

    West Caroga Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

    Surface Area: 319 acres

    Shoreline Length: 3 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,453 feet

    Average Depth: 34 feet

    Maximum Depth: 70 feet

    Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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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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