Yankee Lake, New York, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - New York - Catskills -

Located on the top of West Shawangunk Ridge in the Catskill Mountains, Yankee Lake is located in Sullivan County, New York. Yankee Lake has a rich and colorful history that has survived to make Yankee Lake a thriving area for residents and vacationing visitors. Yankee Lake is located four miles west of the nearest town Wurtsboro, but the shoreline of Yankee Lake is occupied by a small village of the same name, Yankee Lake.

Around 1650, the Iroquois Nation moved to the area surrounding Yankee Lake after defeating the local tribes and taking over their land. With the great fishing opportunities from Yankee Lake in nearby streams and plentiful wildlife for hunting in the densely wooded areas, Yankee Lake was a great home to the Iroquois. Numerous artifacts from the Native Americans have been found in the area.

According to local legend, around 1800 a Yankee named Ellsworth hunted and fished in this area but kept his favorite fishing and hunting spots a great secret. A Dutch hunting party came upon Ellsworth’s hidden canoe, and correctly guessed that this was Ellsworth’s great hunting and fishing area and hence the name “Yankee’s Pond”, years later to be renamed “Yankee Lake.”

Around the 1820’s, the Delaware Hudson Canal Company originated to ship coal from Pennsylvania to New York City. It was then that Yankee Lake was first dammed to create an ample water supply for the canal system. A small stream called Pinekill was dammed to create a much larger Yankee Lake which flooded a large area whose remnants can be seen today as a petrified forest that has been preserved by water and weathering over the years.

On August 7, 1905 Yankee Lake was purchased by the newly formed Yankee Lake Company, Inc. when the Delaware Hudson Canal abandoned their interest in the area. In 1908, the New York Supreme Court ordered the Yankee Lake Company to lower the water level to the elevation that is in effect still today. The Yankee Lake Company restocked Yankee Lake with pickerel and perch, built a new access road to the area, and divided the land into lots or campsites each with 100 feet of lake front access. Those who purchased the parcels of land gained stock into the Yankee Lake Company. With the age of automobiles, Yankee Lake became only a short drive to escape from the heat of New York City and New Jersey. By 1911, the area boasted that a population of 3,000 made Yankee Lake their favorite getaway. In the 1940’s, a separate group called the Yankee Lake Association founded the Clubhouse as a place for social gathering, festivities, and a place where teenagers could hang out. In the late 1990’s, the Yankee Lake Company dissolved, and The Yankee Lake Association merged with a new group called The Yankee Lake Preservation Alliance to form today’s Yankee Lake Preservation Association, Inc.

Yankee Lake has maintained its reputation as a great fishing area for hundreds of years. The Yankee Lake Preservation Association annually stocks bass, perch, and other species into Yankee Lake. To ensure the tranquility of Yankee Lake, non-motor boats are only allowed on the lake as well as canoes, rowboats, paddleboats, sailboats, kayaks, and windsurf boards. Because Yankee Lake is a privately owned lake, access to the lake is allowed only for property owners and their guests or renters.

Boredom is never a factor at Yankee Lake. Sullivan County boasts that their number one industry is tourism and that if you are adventuresome, there is enough to do that you could try a new activity each weekend for a year and still have something new to do. All within a short drive from Yankee Lake, you could golf at PGA-caliber courses, shop at outlets or antique shops, visit a year-round harness horse racing track, take flying lessons or soaring lessons at local airports, or visit the historical Fort Delaware, as well as the many trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding, ATV riding and snowmobiling.

Vacation rental homes are available on Yankee Lake, so bring your family for a relaxing lake vacation in the Catskills.

Things to do at Yankee Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Antiquing

Fish species found at Yankee Lake

  • Bass
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike

Yankee Lake Photo Gallery

    Yankee Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Yankee Lake Preservation Association

    Surface Area: 410 acres

    Shoreline Length: 9 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,430 feet

    Average Depth: 8 feet

    Maximum Depth: 40 feet

    Completion Year: 1908

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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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