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Waneta Lake

Waneta Lake is an approximately 778 acre lake located in northwestern Schuyler County about two miles west of Tyrone. Waneta Lake is often mentioned collectively with Lamoka Lake which is just to the south and connected by a 0.7 mile canal that flows through the Waneta-Lamoka Wildlife Management Area. Except for the southern most portion of the lake, the shoreline is composed of year round and seasonal homes and cottages.

Physical Features:

Elevation: 1,099 feet
Area: 813 acres
Shoreline Length: 6.5miles
Length: 3.1 miles
Max Depth: 29 feet
Mean Depth: 15 feet
Town: Tyrone

Aquatic Plant Life:

Because it is relatively shallow and highly productive, aquatic vegetation, particularly Eurasion watermilfoil, has been abundant throughout the lake, especially at the northern and southern ends. Recent chemical treatments have been applied to control Eurasion watermilfoil and have been somewhat successful. Although Eurasion watermilfoil has been reduced, other species of native aquatic vegetation are quite abundant throughout the littoral areas.

Access:

A state boat launch is located on the south end of Waneta Lake on County Route 23, two miles west of the Hamlet of Tyrone. Parking is located across CR 23 at the site of the Lamoka Lake boat launch. Use caution when travelling in the channel to the lake as it can be shallow in some areas, especially during late summer when lake levels are lower.

Fish Species:

Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, muskellunge, chain pickerel, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, black crappie, rock bass, brown bullhead, golden shiner, white sucker, common carp.

Fishing:

Fishing in Waneta Lake is very similar to Lamoka Lake providing anglers with excellent opportunities to catch quality sized largemouth bass, chain pickerel, and occasional smallmouth bass. Ample forage results in excellent growth and condition of these fishes. Largemouth bass can be found all around the lake in shallow water areas. During most summers, poor oxygen levels limit fish and fishing to the upper 20 feet of the lake. Recent surveys revealed numerous largemouth bass in the 4 pound range. Concentrate on structure and vegetation when fishing for largemouth bass. Spinner baits, jerk baits, crayfish, plastic worms, grubs, and tube baits work well for catching bass. Smallmouth bass are generally more common than in Lamoka Lake, but still make up a relatively small portion of bass within Waneta Lake. They can be found most anywhere, but are typically more abundant near gravel areas. Chain pickerel are typically associated with the abundant weedbeds and weedlines. Pickerel up to 5 pounds are common. Try casting spoons, spinners, spinnerbaits, stickbaits, and rubber worms in and near weedbeds. Large shiners suspended under bobbers also work well.

Unlike Lamoka Lake, an abundant muskellunge population maintained primarily through annual fingerling stocking by the NYSDEC provide anglers with an excellent chance to catch a trophy sized fish in Waneta Lake. Recent surveys have found numerous fish in the 30 pound size range with a few approaching 40 pounds. Sampling indicates that fish are in excellent condition with very good growth rates. Anglers typically troll along weed edges at somewhat fast speeds using larger stickbaits or jointed stickbaits. Perch or alewife colored imitations work quite well. Additionally, anglers cast large plastic baits along the weed edges around the lake.

Bluegills, yellow perch, and black crappie are plentiful and dominate the panfish catch. Black crappies provide excellent fishing opportunities in the shallow bays and within the channel in the spring. When fishing for panfish in other times of the year, concentrate on weed lines, openings in vegetation beds, and anywhere you can find submerged structure. Additionally, bullheads are very abundant throughout the lake and can be caught most anytime, although spring time is one of the better times to catch numerous bullheads.

In addition to the open water fishery, excellent ice fishing opportunities exist within Lamoka Lake with anglers targeting pickerel and panfish species. Try ice fishing with tip-ups baited with small minnows or jigging with spoons (like Swedish pimples) tipped with spikes, mousies or a minnow head. A popular area is around Red Bank Island found in the northern part of the lake.

Regulations:

Statewide Angling Regulations apply. Please review your Freshwater Fishing Guide. Ice fishing is allowed.

Fish Survey Report

Abstract

Trap netting for spawning muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) was conducted on 813 acre Waneta Lake during the month of April in 2005 and 2009 to assess the status of the adult muskellunge population after a whole lake herbicide treatment. Trap nets were also set for spawning muskellunge in 1970, 1971, 1979, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1997, and 1998.
The number of muskellunge captured per trap net night was 6.4, 2.1, 0.8, 0.3, 0.9, 2.0, 2.1, 4.3, 9.3, and 5.5 respectively for 1970, 1971, 1979, 1980, 1991, 1992, 1997, 1998, 2005, and 2009. No clips were identified on 26% of the fish caught in 2005 and 17% of the fish caught in 2009, indicating that some natural reproduction of muskellunge is occurring in Waneta Lake. In the 2009 netting, most males were between 651 and 800 mm (25.5-31.5 inches) and most females between 751-950 mm (29.5-37.5 inches) in total length. In the 2005 netting, muskellunge were slightly larger than in 2009, with most males between 751 and 875 mm (29.5-34.5 inches) and most females were between 851-1075 mm (33.5-42.5 inches) in total length. More adult muskellunge greater than 1100 mm (43.25 inches) were captured in 2009 and 2005 than in 1998. Age 4 and age 6 muskellunge were predominant in the 1998 trap net catch. These age classes survived very well, as four age 11 and one age 13 muskellunge were caught in 2005. There was poor survival of older muskellunge, especially males, past age 5, from 2005 to 2009. Low numbers of muskies that were age 3 and 4 in the 2005 nets, and age 6, 7, and 8 in the 2009 nets indicated poor survival of muskellunge that were age 0 to age 2 in 2003, the year of the treatment. Age 4 and 5 muskellunge were well represented in the 2009 sample. Growth rates for female muskellunge exceeded those of males at all ages. Growth rates of both male and female muskellunge in 1997and 1998 were similar to 2005. However, muskellunge growth rates for both males and females declined from 2005 to 2009. The mean total length of age 3 and older male muskellunge declined by 76 mm (three inches), and females declined by 25 mm (one inch), from 2005 to 2009 and is probably related to the low survival of age 5 and older males from 2005 to 2009. The mean Fulton condition factor and relative weight for each 25 mm (one inch) total length group was slightly higher in 2005 than 2009.

Waneta Lake Muskellunge

It would appear that the whole lake aquatic herbicide treatment in 2003 had no long term adverse effect on adult muskellunge abundance because adult muskellunge abundance increased after the fluridone treatment and the 2004 and 2005 year classes appear to be strong during years of low vegetation after the 2003 treatment. However, it is possible that the catchability of muskellunge in the 2005 trap nets was higher in absence of vegetation, as muskellunge may have been more mobile while seeking vegetative cover. Without vegetative cover, older legal sized muskellunge were perhaps more vulnerable to angling mortality. Stocked fingerling and juvenile muskellunge appear to have suffered heavy predation in 2003 when vegetation density was low or non-existent, since there was little cover for fingerling muskellunge to hide in to avoid predation. It is possible that the low density of submersed aquatic vegetation from 2003 to 2005 affected muskellunge feeding and growth by disrupting preferred hunting tactics and disassociating them from their prey. It is recommended that the present annual stocking policy of five muskellunge fingerlings per acre be maintained, the statewide fin clip be applied to each stocked year class in order to facilitate future aging, and clip quality checked so natural reproduction can be further assessed. Trap nets should set at the same three sites in 2013 to further monitor adult stocks, and the treatment of only small dispersed areas of aquatic vegetation should be permitted, rather than large whole lake treatments.

Summary of trap netting operations for spawning muskellunge in Waneta Lake, 1970-2009 at net sites 1, 2 and 3.
Year Netting Dates Effort,
# of net nights
# of fish caught Catch
per net night
Mean Length
Males (#)
Mean Length
Females (#)
1970 4/27-4/30 9 58 6.4 35.0 (27) 40.6 (34)
1971 4/26-5/7 30 63 2.1 35.6 (36) 43.5 (27)
1979 4/23-5/4 35 29 0.8 36.4 (25) 46.2 (12)
1980 4/23-5/1 41 12 0.3 30.2 (14) 39.0 (4)
1991 4/11-4/26 40 35 0.9 30.1 (31) 39.4 (8)
1992 4/13-4/29 45 90 2.0 30.2 (58) 36.7 (32)
1997 4/14-4/29 47 100 2.1 32.1 (53) 37.2 (47)
1998 4/13-4/23 23 103 4.31

32.1 (39)

36.1 (64)
2005 4/13-4/26 22 239 9.32 31.9 (18) 38.7 (82)
2009 4/14-4/24 26 158 5.53 29.1 (88)

34.9 (63)

Footnotes:
1. 98 fish divided by 23 trap net nights (5 fish captured in collapsed net over weekend)
2. 205 fish divided by 22 trap net nights (31 fish captured in collapsed net over weekend, 3 captured in biased net)
3. 143 fish divided by 26 trap net nights (15 fish captured in collapsed net over weekend)

See full report (593 KB PDF)


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