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289-Chautauqua Lake, New York

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Chautauqua Lake is the largest inland lake in western New York and is situated in the southeast corner of Chautauqua County. The lake is roughly 17 miles long and at its greatest width, 2 miles wide; it has a maximum depth of 78 ft., a shoreline of roughly 41 miles, and an elevation of 1, 308 feet above sea level, and is one of the highest navigable waters in North America. Formed by three glacial pauses during the period of glacial retreat at the end of the Ice Age, Chautauqua Lake being created in the form of two basins. The glacier first paused at Jamestown, creating the southern end of the lake, with the second pause occurring at Bemus Point, and a third pause occurred at Mayville.

The lake's name is derived from the now-extinct language of the Erie people. It is unclear the exact meaning of the word “Chatauqua,”, but it is believed that two possible translations, including “bag tied in the middle” and “place where fish are taken out.” The lake empties first into the Chadakoin River to the south, in Jamestown, New York, before continuing east into the Conewango Creek. The Iroquois Indians are believed to be the first inhabitants on Chautauqua. The first settlement was made on the outlet of the Chautauqua Lake, in 1806, by William Wilson, as well as James Culbertson and William Prendergast, who became one of the earliest settlers in the Chautauqua Lake Region.

Today, tranquil and appealing communities on the lake includes the popular City of Jamestown at the southern end of the lake, and at the northern corner, the Village of Mayville. Other notable communities include Bemus Point, Maple Springs, Ashville Bay, Greenhurst, Stow, Lakewood, Celoron, and Chautauqua, home of the Chautauqua Institution.

Lake Chautauqua serves as an important transportation route, a fishing place and a recreation source. It is known for its muskellunge fishing and boating., with  two very popular boating locations on the lake being "Sandy Bottoms", and Long Point State Park, situated near Maple Springs. There are several different species of fish in Lake Chautauqua, including largemouth and smallmouth bass, muskellunge, walleye, panfish, grass pickerel, bluegill, rock bass, shiners, carp and darters.


Other activities that can be enjoyed in the Chautauqua Lake region includes hiking in the 320-acre Long Pointe State Park, which gives the opportunity to explore nature and enjoy wildlife viewing. During winter, snowmobiling and skiing on the slopes offers an exciting adventure. Quaint and fun is what makes Chautauqua an awesome place.

All sizes are approximate. 


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