Rainbow Lake and Rainbow Narrows

Back Country Camping

Fishing Holes

Flatwater Paddles

Ice Fishing


Rainbow Lake and the Rainbow Narrows, which connect to Lake Kushaqua, offer a quiet paddling experience with plenty of beautiful scnery. The quiet waters, while open to motorboats, are more often dotted with loons. In addition to fishing and wildlife viewing, the Narrows allows access to the much more remote-feeling North Branch of the Saranac River for those that want to get away from civilization for a little while. If staying at the nearby state-run Buck Pond campground, you may be able to paddle right from your campsite into the beautiful Rainbow Lake!


How to get there:

From Malone, follow Route 30 south to Paul Smiths. Turn left on Route 86, then the second left onto Jones Pond Road/Route 31. Continue to Clark Wardner Road on the left, just past Jones Pond. Access is off of Clark Wardner Road on the right.

Boat access: the launch is a hand-launch. For best fishing opportunities, cast from a canoe or kayak.

Highlight species: walleye

Walleye season opens the first Saturday in May to March 15 and the daily limit is five, with a minimum length of 18 inches. Walleye's "wall-eyed" appearance enables them to see very well in low-light and even dark. Take to the narrow, 3 miles long, lake at dawn or dusk when they are most active. If you like to fish from a canoe or kayak, this is your place. The paddle from Lake Kushaqua to Rainbow Lake, through the narrows, is a nature-lover's paradise. Reeling in a walleye would be icing on the cake!

Other species includes largemouth- and smallmouth-bass, northern pike, brown bullhead, yellow perch and sunfish

Special Regulations: always follow state fishing regulations and be sure to pick up a NYS Freshwater Fishing Guide at your local outfitters or regional NYSDEC office.

Ice Fishing

Look for northern pike, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, and walleye. No special regulations.


A great way to start a paddling day of any length with so much to explore. Rainbow Lake and Rainbow Narrows lead to Lake Kushaqua and The Flow.


There are four primitive tent sites on the shores of the lake. Motorboats may operate on the lake. Paddlers using the Lake Kushaqua Boat Launch will be required to pay a day-use fee when the campground is open.


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