Cazenovia Lake Fisheries Survey (2012)
Survey Number: 712007
Survey Dates: May 9 and 10, 2012
On May 9 and 10, 2012, an electrofishing survey was done on Cazenovia Lake, Madison County. The DEC Centrarchird sampling plan was followed, and approximately 7.4 miles of the 9.5 miles of shoreline was fished over the two nights (78%), for a total of 6.7 hours of "on-time." The surface water temp was below the suggested 59 F, and was 57.5 F and 55.1 degrees F. Seven hundred eighty-two fish were caught representing 17 species. Largemouth bass were the most numerous with 415 caught (53% of the catch), followed by bluegill and pumpkinseed sunfish, 92 and 89 respectively (11.8 and 11.4% of the catch). Two walleye were caught: 9 and 21 inches. Walleye have not been legally stocked in Cazenovia Lake since 1989; that stocking was done by the Nelson Sportsman's Club.
The Cazenovia Lake largemouth bass population is dominated by bass in the 12 to 15 inch size range. The proportional stock density (PSD) for largemouth bass was 86.8. A PSD of 40 - 70 represents a balanced population. A PSD of 86.8 indicates an "unbalanced" population with a higher number of bass over quality length (12 inches). Though many of the largemouth bass were over the quality length, few were of preferred length (15 inches). The Relative Stock Density (RSD15) was 5.8.
The 9 inch walleye captured was aged at two years old and the 21 inch walleye was aged at nine years old. As the last legal stocking of walleye took place in 1989, these fish were either wild (hatched in the lake) or where from an illegal stocking. If they were wild, it shows some natural reproduction taking place.
Survey Number: 712009
Survey Dates: July 10 and 11, 2012
On July 10 and 11, 2012, a General Biological Survey was done on Cazenovia Lake, Madison County. Eight standard gill nets were set over two nights. Gill nets were set around 1500 and lifted around 0900 hours for soak times that ranged from 18.5 to 18.87 hours.
Four hundred ninety-nine fish were caught representing 12 species. Yellow perch were the most numerous fish caught (138), followed by 69 largemouth bass, 63 bluegill, 62 pumpkinseed sunfish, 62 black crappie, and 50 walleye. The 50 walleye caught was surprising, as Cazenovia Lake has not been legally stocked with walleye since 1989. Catch per unit effort (CPUE) ranged from 0 to 18 fish/net with a mean of 6.25 fish/net. The bulk of the catch was comprised of 35 two-year-old walleye ranging between 11.4 and 13.0 inches.
Ten yellow perch and largemouth bass were collected for Toxic Species Monitoring Program (TSMP) sampling and will be sent to Hale Creek Field Station.
|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%|
|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%|
One of the objectives for doing the survey was to determine if walleye stocking should be undertaken on Cazenovia Lake. Cazenovia Lake was stocked periodically by the DEC with walleye from 1961 to 1978; stocking was discontinued because of access problems. However, some walleye were stocked after 1978 by the Nelson Sportsman's Club, with the last stocking taking place in 1989. The gill net catch of 6.25 walleye per net was very unexpected, as a gill net catch rate of 5 walleye per net generally indicates high abundance (Forney et al 1994). Walleye ages ranged from two to eleven years. Given the time frame since the last known stocking, these walleye were either wild (hatched in the lake) or from multiple illegal stockings. A few anglers we spoke with during the gill netting survey did mentioned that they had heard another angler "bragging" about stocking walleye that he had caught while fishing Oneida Lake into Cazenovia Lake. However, given the number captured during our sampling efforts, it is highly unlikely that one individual angler could be responsible for all these walleye. Cazenovia Lake also has a large abundance of potential walleye predators. Research conducted by Cornell University indicated that low survival of stocked walleye was observed in lakes with electrofishing catch rates of >5 fish/h of largemouth bass and esocids >381mm (Jackson et. al. 2003). The average combined electrofishing catch rate for largemouth bass and chain pickerel >381mm (15 inches) was 5.5 fish/h, indicating that we would expect survival of stocked fingerling walleye to be low if we were to stock them.
Due to the high gill net catch rate of walleye and, to a lesser extent, the high density of other predators, the Department is not prepared to stock walleye in Cazenovia Lake at this time. Additional sampling in the near future is recommended to determine whether walleye are naturally reproducing. The relatively high abundance of Age 2 walleye in this survey, whether from an unauthorized stocking or natural reproduction, provides hope that a walleye stocking program could be successful if undertaken in the future.
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.
Forney, J.L., L.G. Rudstam, D.M. Green, and D.L. Stang. 1994. Percid sampling manual. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.
Jackson, J.R., T.E. Brooking, A.J.VanDeValk, and L.G. Rudstam. 2003. Factors Affecting Walleye in New York Lakes. Cornell Warmwater Fisheries Unit. Cornell University Biological Field Station. Bridgeport, NY.