Public access site in town of Verona will enhance recreational opportunities for residents and visitors

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos announced the start of construction of a new boat launch on the Barge Canal at Cove Road in the town of Verona, Oneida County, to enhance fishing and boating recreational opportunities.

The boat launch will connect to Oneida Lake and provide additional access to world-class fishing in Oneida Lake for all visitors, including people with disabilities.

“DEC continues to invest in new facilities to provide safe and accessible experiences for anglers, boaters and outdoor enthusiasts,” Seggos said. “Once complete, the Barge Canal Cove Road boat launch site will attract more visitors to enjoy boating and fishing on Oneida Lake and its tributaries, as well as those just looking for a place to experience Oneida County’s natural surroundings.”

Construction is underway on the Cove Road handicapped-accessible boat launch site.

State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said the state’s Canal system is a tremendous recreational resource for boaters, paddlers and anglers seeking to explore and enjoy the great outdoors of upstate New York.

“DEC’s new launch on Cove Road will provide safe access on the east end of Oneida Lake, Stratton said. “Recreational boating increased on New York’s canals this past season and through infrastructure upgrades like this new launch, we expect more and more residents and visitors to discover our waterways in 2023.”

Photos courtesy NYSDEC
Cove Road boat launch site construction crews mobilized and work is in progress.

“The Oneida Lake Association is thrilled to see construction of the Cove Road boat launch site underway,” said John Harmon, President of the Oneida Lake Association. “It represents a great achievement by the DEC and the broader Oneida Lake community. The Cove Road launch site is the result of several years of advocacy and collaboration on the part of many people and agencies in our community. This launch site fills an important need for our members who want to utilize the great resources and recreational opportunities of Oneida Lake.”

As DEC continues to expand recreational opportunities for people of all abilities, the site will have several Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant features. Plans include a two-lane, concrete launch ramp with floating docks, canoe/kayak launch, fishing pier, parking area with 24 car and 49 car/trailer parking spaces, including some accessible parking and port-a-johns.

Once complete, anglers will have additional boating access to Oneida Lake, New York’s most heavily fished inland water. Oneida Lake is the largest lake lying wholly within New York state, with a surface area of 50,894 acres. The lake’s waters support walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish, among other fish and wildlife species.

Lake sturgeon can be found in the lake and its tributaries; however, lake sturgeon are on New York’s threatened species list and cannot be fished for or possessed.

The projects is being funded with $1.6 million from the Environmental Protection Fund and NY Works. Under the state’s Adventure NY initiative, DEC is making strategic investments to expand access to healthy, active outdoor recreation, connect more New Yorkers and visitors to nature and the outdoors, protect natural resources and boost local economies.

Anglers are reminded that statewide fishing regulations apply in Oneida Lake, and it is an angler’s responsibility to know:

  • When the seasons are open in their area;
  • The size, daily and possession limits; and
  • legal methods of taking fish.

For current state fishing regulations, consult the 2022 Fishing Regulations Guide or go to the freshwater fishing regulations webpage.

Earlier this summer, DEC launched the new ‘Tackle Box’ feature to enhance fishing-related tourism and help new and experienced anglers enjoy the great fishing offered throughout New York. The Tackle Box feature is available on DEC’s HuntFishNY smartphone app, (available for iOS and Android) and can provide information on Oneida Lake and nearly all other waterbodies, as well as fishing regulations, state-operated fishing access sites, stocking information and other useful features like photos to help identify fish likely found in a certain river, lake or stream.

More information on the HuntFishNY mobile app can be found on DEC’s website.

The EPF is a critical resource for environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, recreation access, water quality improvement and environmental justice projects.

Among environmental victories in the 2022-23 state budget, Governor Kathy Hochul increased the EPF from $300 to $400 million, the highest-ever level of funding in the program’s history.

For more information, contact Jana Lantry, Aquatic Biologist 2, Region 6 Fisheries Manager, at jana.lantry@dec.ny.gov.

By martha

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