Located in western St. Lawrence County, the Cranberry Lake area was the last section of New York State to be settled, and the area remains a place where Loons call, virgin timber stands, and people can venture into pure wilderness.
Cranberry Lake plus the Cranberry Lake Wild Forest and the Five Ponds Wilderness Area comprise the Cranberry Lake region. The lake itself covers nearly 7,000 acres where 40 of the 55 miles of shoreline are state-owned and undeveloped.
One of the largest remote lakes in the Adirondacks and it's proximity to 50,000 acres of wilderness, intermingled with 50 miles of well-developed trails makes Cranberry Lake the outdoor enthusiasts perfect vacation spot. Whether it's fishing, boating or just laying back and enjoying your well-deserved vacation, Cranberry Lake is the spot for you. The lake has been stocked with trout in the past, and many of the ponds, streams, and rivers support excellent trout fishing. The perfectly formed forest canopy in the campground provides excellent shade on hot summer days while the undergrowth provides excellent privacy for campers. From Cranberry Lake to other Adirondack Campgrounds requires only a short trip on a major highway.
In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Cranberry Lake was a mecca for brook trout anglers, but a number of factors contributed to the fish’s demise. To restore the brook trout fishery, DEC began a stocking program in 1981. Today, the lake’s brookies average 12 to 16 inches, and fish in the 4- to 5-pound range are taken annually. Prime locations in spring and fall include the mouths of tributaries. During the summer, brook trout hold near spring holes where water is cooler. Popular techniques include casting a Mepps spinner or trolling a Lake Clear Wabbler and worm. Fly fishers use a sinking line to troll streamers, nymphs, and flies.
The lake has a thriving population of smallmouth bass. The 55 miles of shoreline hold bass throughout the summer, particularly in rocky stretches, on points, and along shoreline dropoffs. Other prime spots include similar structure around the lake’s islands. Wind-blown areas can be especially productive. Successful techniques include drifting live minnows or crayfish, casting in-line spinners and small crankbaits, and trolling minnow plugs. WORKING AN AREA WITH A JIG AND MINNOW, TUBE BAIT, OR JIG AND TWISTER TAIL SHOULD PUT PLENTY OF BRONZEBACKS IN THE BOAT.
Pike and Panfish
Northern pike were not native to the lake, but the fish were illegally introduced a number of years ago. The species has taken hold, and now Cranberry Lake yields pike over 15 pounds. Panfish species include rock bass, yellow perch, brown bullheads, and pumpkinseeds. Panfishing is popular among shore anglers who suspend live bait below a bobber.
The DEC-operated Cranberry Lake Public Campground features over 150 tent and trailer sites. This popular facility has a picnic area, bathhouse, hot showers, handicapped-accessible sites, handicapped-accessible fishing pier, and marked hiking trails to the peak of Bear Mountain where climbers get an awesome view of Cranberry Lake and surrounding wilderness. Forty-six designated sites along the lake’s shoreline and on Joe Indian Island also offer public camping. Boaters will find public access at a state-owned ramp off State Route 3 near the outlet dam.