St. Lawrence Fishing Communities - Black Lake, NY
The area known as Black Lake is actually comprised of five towns around this 20 mile- long lake, which is part of the Oswegatchie River. Black Lake falls within the boundaries of a few towns including Hammond, Rossi, Oswegatchie, Depeyster, and Macomb. A majority of cabins and cottages along the northwestern shores of the lake have been catering to fishing enthusiasts for more than three decades. The small hamlet of Edwardsville includes a few small restaurants and a grocery store for the supplies needed for a day on the Lake.
The community hosts the Panfish Marathon every year from about mid-May to the beginning of July. Participants purchase a badge which allows them to fish for one day, or up to the full extent of the tournament. Crappies and panfish are tagged in early May and released back into the Lake. Anglers catching the special tagged fish win cash and prizes.
Black Lake boasts of incredible populations of panfish including black crappies, yellow perch, bluegills, pumpkinseeds, sunfish, rock bass, and bullheads. Crappies, perch, and bluegills rank as the lake's most sought after panfish, and all three species are very catchable throughout the year. A small jig fished below a bobber works well for these fish. Many anglers prefer to tip their jigs with a grub or small minnow.
Panfish can be found the entire length of the lake, and prime spots include weedbeds, bays, points, and mid-lake shoals where weeds are present.
Both largemouth and smallmouth bass fin the waters of Black lake. To protect the quality of bass fishing here special regulations require that fish measure a minimum of 15 inches before anglers may keep them. While bass can be taken through season, early summer and fall see the best catches. To improve mid-summer catch rates, anglers are advised to fish early morning and evenings.
Largemouth bass are found in the lake's numerous bays and along the weedy shorelines of both the mainland and the islands. Work the weed edges, openings in the weeds, and areas where both weeds and rocks are present. Traditional offerings such as spinnerbaits, plastic worms, the jig-n-pig, and surface lures work well.
To locate smallmouth bass, look for rocky points and mid-lake shoals. Popular artificial lures include minnow-imitation plugs and tube jigs. Live minnows and crayfish will catch smallies throughout the season (third Saturday in June until November 30). In August, live bait out produces artificial.
The Lake has quality northern pike fishing from opening day on the third Saturday in May until the season closes on March 15. The best fishing, however, occurs in winter when anglers set live shiners below their tip-ups. During the open water seasons, a live minnow fished below a bobber ranks as the most popular technique, but casting minnow plugs, spinnerbaits, in-line spinners, or bucktail jigs also work well. All of the weedy bays, especially the larger ones, have decent pike populations.
The walleye is Black Lake's new kid on the block thanks to habitat improvement and stocking efforts on the part of the Black Lake Fish and Game Association with the support of the DEC. Each year more anglers are seeing incidental catches of walleyes, and a growing number of anglers are targeting and catching walleyes regularly. Bucktail jigs and spinner and worm rigs will take marble eyes. The best locations have mild current present so check out the Indian River inlet, the Narrows, the Route 58 bridge, and the Oswegatchie outlet.
While many of the Cottage businesses offer boat launches for their guests, there is also a State launch along Route 6, about in the middle of the length of the lake. For map of many of the boat launches and marinas in St. Lawrence County, click here.
Places to Stay
Other information on lodging and dining can be found through the Black Lake Chamber of Commerce.