Onota Lake


Onota Lake

Town(s): Pittsfield MA
County: Berkshire

Size: 617 acres
Average Depth: 22 feet
Maximum Depth: 66 feet

Boating Allowed: Kayaks, Canoes, Sail Boats, Electric Motor Boats, Power Boats, Jet-skis, State & Local Rules & Regulations Apply, Other Restrictions
Swimming: Swimming Allowed, No Restrictions

Click to visit this lake's association site!

Find Onota Lake Vacation Rentals courtesy of LakeLubbers.com!

Onota Lake is a 617-acre lake located entirely within the City of Pittsfield, and is is owned and managed by the City of Pittsfield. Many recreational opportunities are provided by the lake and are enjoyed by area residents as well as those visiting the Berkshires. The watershed of Onota Lake is approximately 6,345 acres in area. Onota Lake is often described as “two lakes in one” due to the minimal water exchange between the north and south basins due to the old roadway that marked to north end of the original lake prior to the building of the dam. About 25% of the shoreline is protected within the boundaries of a city park, while another section is owned by a hospital. Development is primarily limited to the northeast and southwest ends of the lake. The outlet of Onota Lake, Onota Brook, flows southeast entering the West Branch of the Housatonic River, in Pittsfield. Due to its location, it is very heavily used by anglers, bathers, water skiers and sailors. Even so, the lake is in very good condition with a transparency of about 17 feet. Maximum depth is 66 feet; average depth is around 22 feet. Aquatic vegetation is abundant and very dense in most areas less than 10 feet deep. The northern coves are particularly weedy. Weeds choking Lake Onota, and in particular the cloying Eurasian Milfoil, continued to be a "Lake Onota Preservation Association" focus and concern.

Water Quality: No Known Issues, Town/State Monitoring
Vegetation Growth: Moderate
Non-native Species: Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum Spicatum), Fanwort (Cabomba Caroliniana)

Fishing Comments: The dominant fishery here involves the catchable trout. The MDFW stocks thousands of trout for put and take fishing every spring and fall. Most of these trout are caught within a month or two following their release, but Onota has long been known for its ability to produce trophy brown trout. As a result, it has been designated as a special brown trout water, with a 15 inch, one per day limit on browns designed to enhance the production of trophies. The bonus salmon, providing another outstanding opportunity to catch a trophy, will continue to be stocked here as long as they are available. Northern pike fishing is also a dominant fishery here, and extremely popular during the winter. Onota does not produce many pike, but it has a reputation for breaking state records for the species. While the fishing for pickerel, bass, yellow perch and sunfish is good, most of the harvest occurs incidentally to the pike and trout fishing. Carp fishermen should target this lake - a new state record is probably swimming in its depths.
Fish Species: Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Tiger Muskie, Northern Pike, Chain Pickerel, Salmon, Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Black Crappie, Carp, Yellow Perch, White Perch, White Catfish, Brown Bullhead, Sunfish, Bluegill, Golden Shiner

Boat Access: Access for Power and Non-power Boats
Ramp Comments: There is a double, concrete boat ramp and parking lot located on the southeast shore about 1/3 of the way from the southern end. To get there, take Lakeway Drive to Burbank Park from Valentine Drive. The ramp is suitable for virtually any class of trailered boat, and there is adequate parking for 75 vehicles. There is also a cement fishing pier located in one of the better fishing areas.
Parking Spaces: More than 40

Directions: Mass Pike to exit 2 in Lee to Route 20 towards Lenox, Route 7N to rotary to West Street, right on Valentine, left on Lakeway Drive, to Burbank Park and state boat ramp.
Shoreline Development: Unknown