Wular Lake is the largest fresh water lake in Asia and measures 24 kms across and surrounded by towering mountains. The jade green water of the Wular Lake swirl gently around a curious bubbling spring in the middle of the lake. There is a small picturesque island that was once the pleasure resort of a great king of Kashmir, Sultan Zain-ul-Abidin.
It plays a significant role in the hydrographic system of the Kashmir valley by acting as a huge absorption basin for the annual floodwaters. The lake, along with the extensive marshes surrounding it, is an important natural habitat for wildlife. It is also an important habitat for fish, accounting for 60 per cent of the total fish production within the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is a source of livelihood for a large human population living along its fringes. The catchment area of the lake supports magnificent coniferous forests, alpine pastures and orchards, adding to the natural beauty and biodiversity of the wetland area.
The lake acts as a huge absorption basin for floodwaters and regulates the water regime of the region. The lake along with its satellite wetlands, is a suitable wintering site for a number of migratory waterfowl species such as the common teal, pintail, shoveller, common pochard, mallard and others.
It is an important habitat for fish and contributes about 60 percent of the fish yield of the Kashmir valley. The lake sustains a number of endangered and endemic species of flora and fauna.
The Wular lake is an important habitat for the fish fauna of the region. It provides about 60 per cent of the fish yield of the Kashmir region. The dominant fish species found in the Wular are: Cyprinus carpio, Barbus conchonius, Gambusia affinis, Nemacheilus sp., Crossocheilus latius, Schizothorax curvifrons, S.esocinus, S.planifrons, S.micropogon, S.longipinus and S.niger.
The Wular lake with its characteristic features sustains a rich population of avifauna. Terrestrial birds observed around the lake are the black – eared kite, sparrow hawk, short – toed eagle, Himalayan golden eagle, hawks and vultures, monal pheasant, chukar partridge, kiklas pheasant, blue rock pigeon, cuckoo, small cuckoo, alpine swift, Kashmir roller, Himalayan pied woodpecker, hoopoe, common swallow, golden oriole and others.