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In this paper, we report the room temperature spectroscopic and thermal properties and continuous-wave (CW) laser operation of a new Yb:CaNb2O6 crystal. The peak absorption cross section for the E||a polarization is 0.97 times 10-20 cm2 with a full-width at half-maximum of 28 nm at 975 nm. The stimulated emission cross section is 1.19 times 10-20 cm2 at 1062 nm. The thermal conductivities at room temperature are 5.40, 5.15, and 6.05 Wm-1K-1 along the a, b-, and c-axis, respectively. The fracture strength of Yb:CaNb2O6 single crystal is 315 MPa. The properties of Yb:CaNb2O6 crystal were compared with those of typical Yb-doped materials. A CW output power of 801 mW at 1062 nm was obtained with a slope efficiency of 19% by use of diode pumping.