Lake George Facts and FAQs

Lake George is rich with history — and rich with lore. The Lake George Association’s goal is to separate fact from fiction and correct the record about “facts” that have circulated about the Lake.

If you are looking for facts about Lake George, or details about the “Queen of American Lakes,” you will find it here.

Please scroll to read the information or click one of the twelve topical links here:

Boating

Camping

Feeding Ducks & Geese

Fishing

Ice-in Ice-out Dates

Lake George Facts

Lake-Friendly Living

Lodging & Tourism Info

Natural Resource Projects

Permits, Zoning

Plants – Aquatic & Terrestrial

Water Quality Concerns & Testing

The Lake George Association, which saves Lake George every day with our in-the-ground projects that protect Lake George water by reducing stormwater and pollution runoff among other problems, has been the repository of knowledge about Lake George and the watershed for more than a century.

If you have any questions that are not answered on this page, please call us at 518-668-3558 or email us at [email protected]

Lake George Facts

Lake Length: Average Width: Average Depth: No. of Islands: Lake Surface Area:
32 miles 1.33 miles 70 ft. over 170 45 sq. miles
Max width: Max Depth:   Watershed Area: Elevation above Sea Level: Watershed Max. Elevation:
2 miles 196 ft 233 sq. miles 320 ft. 2646 ft.
Shoreline: 176 miles (20 miles of which are state owned and about 40 miles of which are “island shorelines” and not “lake edge shoreline”)
Volume of Water: 550 billion gallons
Sources of Water: Streams 55%, Precipitation on lake surface 27%, Groundwater 18%
Number of streams and storm sewers: 141.
Eight major streams: West, East, English, Northwest Bay, Finkle, Indian, Hague, and Shelving Rock.
Jumping into a cool Lake George on a hot summer day is one of the joys of the season.
  • Can you drink the water in Lake George?
    Absolutely. Many people have historically drawn drinking water from Lake George and many continue to do so. Lake George is designated a Class AA-Special water body in New York State. This designation prohibits the disposal of floating solids, oil, sludge, toxic wastes, other deleterious substances or wastes, heated liquids, sewage, or other waste effluents in the water. Learn more about Lake George being drinking water here.
  • How long does it take the water to reach the outflow?
    Lake George flows south to north but has a significant retention time. It takes about 8 years for the water to reach the outflow at the northern end of the lake.
  • How many mountains surround Lake George?
    A variety of mountains surround Lake George: Prospect, Tongue, Shelving Rock, Buck, Little Buck, Sleeping Beauty, Pilot Knob, French, Black, Cat, Thomas and Cook.
  • What is a watershed? 
    A watershed is the area of land where all of the water that is under it or drains off of it goes into the same place. Watersheds come in all shapes and sizes. They cross county, state, and national boundaries. In the continental US, there are 2,110 watersheds; including Hawaii Alaska, and Puerto Rico, there are 2,262 watersheds (USGS).
  • How large is the Lake George Watershed?
    The Lake George watershed area — including every place where water can drain into Lake George — is 233 square miles, or more than two-thirds the size of New York City.
  • How is Lake level managed?
    The lake level is managed at an outlet dam (the “A Mill” dam) and a penstock (a pipe ten feet in diameter) located at the hydroelectric power plant at the entrance of the La Chute River in Ticonderoga. The dam, built in 1903 and currently owned by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, is located about three-quarters of a mile beyond the natural rock dam at Ticonderoga. When the water level is high, the dam and penstock offer a means of discharging the excess water into the river and out of the Lake. At present, the Lake George Park Commission is responsible for managing the lake level under an agreement with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in cooperation with La Chute Hydro, Inc. The lake level typically varies between 319 and 320 feet above sea level with flood stage at 320.5 ft. Lake level is monitored in real time by the US Geological Survey through a gauge station north or Rogers Rock. Official records of lake levels on Lake George date back to July of 1913.

Boating

  • How do I register my boat and/or dock?
    Boating on Lake George: Please ensure your boat is Clean, Drained and Dry before launching on Lake George.

    State Law requires that, in addition to registration required by the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, any vessel 18 feet or longer and any vessel mechanically propelled by 10 h.p. or greater, must register with the Lake George Park Commission and display a registration decal. The Lake George Park Commission also has a dock registration program. Call the Lake George Park Commission at 518-668-9347 or visit their website here.

  • Do I need to get my boat inspected before I can launch into Lake George?
    Yes. You need to ensure that your trailered boat is “Cleaned, Drained and Dry” before being launched into Lake George, or it will need to be cleaned. All trailered boats are required to be inspected and possibly decontaminated before being allowed to launch. The inspections are done by the Lake George Park Commission to ensure that invasive species are not being carried into Lake George. Inspections and any decontamination are performed at no cost to the boater. The Lake George Association is contributing $30,000 to pay for part of the program in 2017. For more information, please see the Lake George Park Commission’s Boat Inspection website.
  • Are there public boat launches on Lake George?
    Yes. Check the list of public launches at http://www.lgpc.state.ny.us/faq.html
  • How old do you have to be to operate a boat and/or PWC and do I need a boating certificate? NYS requires all persons regardless of age must complete a safe boating course to operate a PWC. Anyone born after 1996 must complete an approved eight-hour safety course to operate a power boat without direct adult supervision.
  • Where do I find information about Safe Boating Courses?
    Information can be obtained by accessing the New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation website.
  • Are there special boating rules for Lake George?
    Yes, contact the Lake George Park Commission, 518-668-9347 visit their website here.
  • Do I need a sealed head on my boat to launch it on Lake George?
    Yes, by law all boats having toilet facilities must have a sealed holding device to prevent discharge into Lake George. Many marinas around the lake are equipped to with pump-out facilities to empty holding tanks.
  • What marinas have pump-out facilities?
South Basin:
Boardwalk Rest. 518-668-4828
Castaway Marina 518-656-3636
Dunham’s Bay Sea Ray 518-656-9244
Fischer’s Marina 518-656-9981
Hall’s Boat Co, 518-668-5437
Harris Bay Yacht Club 518-656-9028
Lake George Boat Co. 518-656-9203
Mooring Post Marina 518-656-9206
Yankee Boating Center 518-668-2862
North Basin:
Bolton Landing Marina 518-644-3474
Norowal Marina 518-644-3741
Performance Marina 518-644-3080
Mossy Point, Ticonderoga , No charge, (no phone)

Camping Best Practices

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All the money raised by the Lake George Association stays in the Lake George watershed and is used to protect Lake George projects from Ticonderoga to Lake George Village.
Lake George Association

Lake George Association