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Madison Reservoir

Madison Reservoir, also known as Lake Moraine, is a highly developed water body located in Madison County near the villages of Madison and Hamilton. It is one of the numerous area reservoirs that was built to supply water to the Erie Canal.

Physical Features

Elevation: 1,300 feet
Area: 251 acres
Length: 1.62 miles
Maximum Depth: 45 feet

Plant Life

Traditionally Madison Reservoir has had significant rooted aquatic vegetation growth around much of the lake with the areas around Snake Island, the large bay on the west side and the portion of the reservoir found north of the causeway being heavily weeded. In an effort to reduce the amount of the exotic invasive plant, Eurasian watermilfoil, the reservoir was chemically treated in 2006. There are a variety of native aquatic plants now growing in the reservoir along with the remaining watermilfoil.

Fish Species

Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, tiger musky, walleye, black crappie, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill, redbreast sunfish, rock bass, brown bullhead, golden shiner, white sucker and creek chubsucker.

Public Access Sites

On County Route 87 (East Lake Road), 3 miles south of Madison. Concrete ramp. Parking for 13 cars and trailers.

General Fishing Information

Casting along the shoreline or weed edges with spinnerbaits, stickbaits and lipless crankbaits works for largemouth bass, chain pickerel and tiger musky. The reservoir is well known for producing large chain pickerel up to 24". Another method that's productive for largemouth bass is using rubber worms or flipping jigs along the weed edges or in the holes in the weed beds. If targeting tiger musky or chain pickerel, don't forget to use a wire leader as both have sharp teeth.

Fisheries Management

Madison Reservoir is stocked yearly by the NYSDEC with approximately 780 tiger musky. The Lake Moraine Association has started an experimental walleye fingerling stocking in the reservoir in an attempt to reduce the number of panfish. With fewer panfish the number of aquatic invertebrates that feed on Eurasian watermilfoil should increase in the reservoir thus helping to control the watermilfoil naturally.

Lake Moraine Fisheries Survey 2014

Two fisheries surveys were conducted on Lake Moraine during the summer of 2014. The first was a two-night electrofishing survey in June, and second was a two-day gill and fyke netting survey in July. One of the prime objectives for the surveys was to determine if stocked tiger musky are surviving and recruiting to the fishery. Additionally, we hoped to develop a picture of the overall fish community of the lake. In total, 1,093 fish were caught, representing 15 species. Pumpkinseed sunfish were the most numerous with 224 caught (20% of catch). The next most numerous species was bluegill (n = 171, 15% of catch), followed by yellow perch (n = 137, 13 % of catch), golden shiner (n = 134, 12% of catch), chain pickerel (n = 132, 12% of catch), and largemouth bass (n = 110, 10% of catch). Thirty-two walleye were also caught (3% of catch). No tiger musky were captured or observed during the survey, indicating little or no recruitment in recent years. Because of the lack of (or limited) tiger musky recruitment we considered terminating the tiger musky stocking for Lake Moraine. However, after some discussion it was decided to not "throw in the towel" on the tiger stocking. Boat stocking the tiger musky will be tried for several years to see if survival of stocked fish improves.

It does appear, from the number of walleye collected, that the walleye stocking conducted by the Lake Moraine Association is seeing some success. With the apparent walleye survival the department will consider the feasibility of a walleye stocking program on the lake in the future.
Based on the abundance and other population characteristic of the other species sampled, there appears to be no need to change any sportfish regulations at this time on Lake Moraine.

Read the full 2014 report (PDF)(560 KB)

Number of fish collected in 2014 by electrofishing, gill net and fyke net on Lake Moraine.
Species Electrofishing Gill Net Fyke Net Sum
Chain Pickerel 124 8 0 132
Golden Shiner 8 126 0 134
White Sucker 4 2 0 6
Creek Chubsucker 2 1 0 3
Yellow Bullhead 4 0 4 8
Brown Bullhead 29 0 4 33
Rock Bass 23 4 0 27
Redbreast Sunfish 2 0 0 2
Pumpkinseed Sunfish 157 9 58 224
Bluegill 115 12 44 171
Smallmouth Bass 6 0 0 6
Largemouth Bass 98 11 1 110
Black Crappie 7 41 20 68
Yellow Perch 72 53 12 137
Walleye 9 23 0 32



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