Links to sections below:  2016 lake recreation season  Recreation days and hours  Contact us Boating Directions to Cane Creek Reservoir  Directions to University Lake  Fees  NC fishing licenses Body contact with water not allowed  Picnicking  Pets  Safety  For people with disabilities  Lake rules

2016 lake recreation season  

Saturday, March 26 (Lightning Brown Day)  through Sunday, November 13.

Hours and days for recreation 

In the recreation season, our lakes will normally be open 6:30 AM* - 6 PM* on the following days.**

University Lake:             Fridays** through Sundays
Cane Creek Reservoir:    Fridays** and Saturdays

We close in bad weather.

** Our lakes are open for the Memorial Day, July Fourth and Labor Day holidays and closed on Good Friday if it occurs during our lake season (for example, on April 14, 2017).

To contact us

University Lake:            919-942-8007; e-mail: University Lake

Cane Creek Reservoir:  919-942-5790; e-mail: Cane Creek


We offer kayaks, canoes and flat-bottomed boats for rent. (Please see the fees listed below.)

Citizens may use small private boats if they are brought in or on a car or truck; are clean of mud, vegetation, etc.; and are inspected by our lake staff. (Boats on trailers are not permitted.)

The limits on private boats are intended to help prevent aquatic weeds, which cause problems for fish and water treatment, from getting into the reservoirs.

To help protect water quality, we allow only electric motors at University Lake and the Cane Creek Reservoir. You may use your own electric motor after we inspect it for aquatic weeds, etc. or you may rent an OWASA electric trolling motor.

Directions to University Lake

  • Click here for interactive University Lake Recreational Facilities Map.
  • Vicinity Map
  • From the east: follow Main Street west through Carrboro to Jones Ferry Road; turn left onto South Old Fayetteville Road; go 400 feet and turn right onto University Lake Road, the entrance road to University Lake.
  • From the west: follow NC 54 or Jones Ferry Road east and turn right (south) onto Old Fayetteville Road; follow Old Fayetteville to University Lake Road, the entrance road to University Lake.

Directions to Cane Creek Reservoir

Lake recreation fees

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, checks with proper identification, and cash. An identification card with a photo is required for renting a boat. We accept identification cards from the Faith ID Network. The minimum age for renting a boat is 16.


OWASA Customer or Orange County Resident

Other Citizens

Boat rental (flat bottom or canoe)

$4.50 plus lake use fee(s) per person

$8 plus lake use

fee(s) per person

Kayak rental

$15 plus lake use

fee(s) per person

$20 plus lake use

fee(s) per person

Lake use fee, ages 13 to 64

$4.50 per person

$5.50 per person

Lake use fee—child (under 13)

$2 per person

$2.50 per person

Lake use fee-- senior citizen (65 and older)


$2.50 per person

Launch fee for a private boat (for inspection by OWASA)

$3.50 plus lake use fee(s) per person

$7 plus lake use

fee(s) per person

Electric trolling motor rental



Individual pass for boat rentals


not offered

Individual pass for lake use (ages 13-64)


Individual pass to rent a boat and electric motor


GROUP pass for 3 people--boat rental


GROUP pass for 3 people--boat and electric motor rental


Fishing Licenses

Under State law, a fishing license is necessary for anyone 16 or older except on July the Fourth. For more information on licenses, please contact the NC Wildlife Resources Commission at 888-2huntfish (888-248-6834) or, or please see the license information on the Commission's website, You can purchase a State fishing license by mail, through the NC Wildlife Commission's website, and at other places including Wal-Mart and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Swimming and other body contact with lake water are not allowed because our lakes are public water supplies.


We have free picnicking and sunbathing areas at both lakes. The Cane Creek Reservoir also has a nature trail with about 60 identified plants.


To protect water quality, pets are required to be on a leash at all times at our lakes. No pets are allowed in our boats and domestic animals are not allowed within 50 feet of the water.


All citizens who use the lakes are encouraged to put safety first.

  • Both lakes are alcohol-free facilities.
  • Life jackets are available in various sizes for adults and children at no charge, and we have a few life jackets for infants. However, people with unusual size requirements or other special circumstances may need to bring their own life jackets. Under Federal and State rules, all lake users are required to use a properly fitted lifejacket or  equivalent flotation device suitable for the person’s size and weight.
  • For more recommendations about boating safety, please click here.

For people with disabilities

Citizens with disabilities can receive assistance from OWASA staff as needed to enjoy boating and other recreation at our lakes. University Lake has a fishing dock for use by people with disabilities.

Lake recreation rules