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Cazenovia Lake

Cazenovia Lake is a medium sized lake located in Madison County in the Village of Cazenovia.

Physical Features

Elevation: 1,200 feet
Area: 1,164 acres
Length: 3.9 miles
Maximum Depth: 45 feet

Thumbnail of Cazenovia Lake contour map.
Click on thumbnail to access
a large map in PDF (214 Kb)

Plant Life

This lake traditionally has had significant rooted aquatic vegetation along the shoreline, out to about 15 feet of water, with extensive weed growth in the north and south ends of the lake. Most of this vegetation consisted of the exotic invasive Eurasian watermilfoil. The lake was chemically treated in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 in an effort to reduce the amount of watermilfoil. With the milfoil reduction native vegetation should begin to increase in the lake.

Public Access Sites

McNitt State Park off East Lake Road. Hand launch and carry down. Approximately a 75 yard carry to water. Parking for 10 cars. Park hours are from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM

General Fishing Information

Largemouth bass and chain pickerel are the main gamefish found in the lake. There are also some smallmouth bass and an occasional walleye caught in the lake. Though walleye are rare, when one is caught it's usually very large, over 10 pounds. For largemouth bass try along the shore line and weed edges with Senko style baits, rubber worms and crankbaits or over the vegetation with spinnerbaits. There is a sunken Island (or hump) about halfway up on the east side that's a good location for panfish and bass. Try anchoring and fishing minnows or worms on the edge of the hump or tossing topwater baits over the hump. Chain pickerel can be caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits and minnows fished along the many weed edges. The north end of Cazenovia Lake is a very popular ice fishing location for black crappie and bluegill. For the bluegills, try fishing during the day with small jigs tipped with spikes in 10 to 15 feet of water. Night anglers do well on the black crappie with small minnows fished from just below the ice to just off bottom. Just remember the State Park closes at 9:00 PM. Yellow perch are also found in the lake but are more elusive then the bluegills or crappies. Rock bass are often overlooked by anglers but are plentiful in the lake.

Fisheries Management

DEC began to actively manage Cazenovia Lake in 2012 due to improvements in access to the lake. Two surveys were done in 2012: an electrofishing survey in May and a gill net survey in July. One of the prime objectives for the surveys was to address the issue of restarting a DEC walleye stocking program in the lake, which last occurred in 1977. Additionally, another objective was to develop a picture of the overall fish community of the lake. In total 1,281 fish were caught, representing 17 species. Largemouth bass were the most numerous with 484 caught, 38% of catch, followed by 190 yellow perch, 155 bluegill, 151 pumpkinseed sunfish, 52 walleye, and 50 smallmouth bass. The number of walleye caught during the gill netting survey was surprising, as Cazenovia Lake has not been legally stocked with walleye since 1989. Catch per unit effort (CPUE) ranged from zero to 18 fish/net with a mean of 6.25 fish/net. The bulk of the catch was comprised of two year old walleye in the 290-329 mm range (70% of catch).

Recommendations coming from the 2012 surveys was to conduct additional sampling to determine if walleye are naturally reproducing or not. A fall 2013 walleye electrofishing survey caught only a single walleye 17.6 inches long that was 4 years old. In May of 2014, a walleye fry trawling survey was conducted to determine if walleye were naturally reproducing. No walleye fry were captured during this survey.

Given the results of the 2013 and 2014 surveys, the Department recommends stocking Cazenovia Lake with walleye for five years beginning in 2015. Whether Cazenovia Lake will actually receive walleye this year is yet to be determined, as walleye stocking is dependent on number of walleye produced in the hatchery system.

Based on the abundance and other population characteristic of the species sampled, there appears to be no need to change any sportfish regulations at this time.

Read the full 2012 report (PDF) (630 KB)

Number of fish collected in 2012 during electrofishing and gill netting surveys on Cazenovia Lake
Species Scientific name Electrofishing Gill netting Sum Sum Percent
Chain Pickerel Esox niger 18 6 24 2%
Golden Shiner Notemignus crysoleucas 5 0 5 0%
Spottail Shiner Notropis hudsnius 4 0 4 0%
Spotfin Shiner Notrpois spilopterus 13 0 13 1%
White Sucker Catostomus commersoni 6 13 19 1%
Yellow Bullhead Ameirus natalis 2 2 4 0%
Brown Bullhead Ameirus nebulosis 6 2 8 1%
Banded Killifish Fundulus diaphanus 11 0 11 1%
Rock Bass Ambloplities rupestris 23 21 44 3%
Pumkinseed Lepomis gibbosus 89 62 151 12%
Bluegill Lepomis macrochirus 92 63 155 12%
Smallmouth Bass Micrpterus dolomieui 39 11 50 4%
Largemouth Bass Micrpterus salmoides 415 69 484 38%
Black Crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus 1 62 63 5%
Tessellated Darter Etheostoma olmstedi 4 0 4 0%
Yellow Perch Perco flavescens 52 138 190 15%
Walleye Sander vitreum 2 50 52 4%

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