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The smallest of New York's famous Finger Lakes, Canadice Lake measures just 3 miles long and 1/2 mile wide. Its 640 acres are almost wholly undeveloped, making Canadice Lake appear as untouched as it did hundreds of years ago. As the highest Finger Lake in elevation, Canadice Lake also offers sparkling views and clean air, ideal for time spent getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday living.
At one time, Canadice Lake was like many of the Finger Lakes, welcoming vacationers and part-time residents to its cottage-dotted shores every year. However, in 1872, the City of Rochester (New York) decided to use the lake to supply clean drinking water to its citizens, and began purchasing up the lake's waterfront lands. Rochester began using Canadice Lake for drinking water in 1876, and up until 2010 the city owned all of the lake's waterfront real estate as well as much of the surrounding lands. In 2010 New York's Department of Environmental Conservation purchased Canadice Lake from the City of Rochester. Due to Candice Lake's high elevation, no pumps are needed to deliver its drinking water from rural New York to urban Rochester.
Because Canadice Lake is a drinking water reservoir, and thanks to the beautiful nature that surrounds it, the lake is one of the most pristine, tranquil spots in the state. During your stay, you can spend days outside without seeing a soul, canoeing into secluded coves, looking upwards to catch a glimpse of nesting birds, and throwing a line in to catch your next meal.
To visit the lake, you'll need to carry a Watershed Visitor Permit with you at all time, available online or at a park kiosk. Entrance to the lake is free, and there are two boat launches for your canoe, kayak, or motorboat up to 10 horsepower. Launching out onto Canadice Lake, you'll see vestiges of old cottages framing the shoreline, second growth forests growing up on the farmland around them. You are required to obtain a Watershed Visitor Permit, and read it, in order to boat along the lake. Please keep in mind that swimming is not permitted in Canadice Lake.
A favorite activity for reservoir visitors is fishing, and anglers make it a point to stop here whenever possible. The lake's idyllic location and quiet environment -- no water skiers, loud speed boats, or trickster jet skis in sight -- make fishing Lake Canadice an always-pleasurable experience. To make your day of fishing even better, the lake is home to both warm and cold water fish, including bluegill, brown trout, bullhead, chain pickerel, lake trout, largemouth bass, pumpkinseeds, rainbow trout, rock bass, salmon, smallmouth bass, and yellow perch. A fishing permit is absolutely necessary to fish along the lake, and each year.
As soon as you set eyes on Canadice Lake for the first time, you'll find yourself set back in time. Like the Seneca Indians/Native Americans before you, you'll be surrounded by untouched lands, towering trees, and a blue sky that goes on for miles. For many lake visitors, the best, most enjoyable way to explore the lake's acres is on foot. There are several area trails, ranging from easy and mostly flat to difficult and steep, that wind along the lake's shoreline, offering you wonderful water views and incredible New York scenery.
As you hike, keep your eyes open and your ears alert for the sights and sounds of Canadice Lake's native and migrating birds. If you're quiet, you'll find bald eagles, herons, kingfisher, and osprey playing, bathing, and hunting near the water. In the trees, listen close, and you'll hear the distinctive sounds of woodpeckers burrowing into the trees for their next meal. And during spring and fall, birdwatchers will find several species of migratory birds, especially warblers and other familiar songbirds.
Canadice Lake is a place to relax into nature and enjoy a trip back in time to the Finger Lakes before European discovery. Gentle songbird serenades, peaceful days spent canoeing, and long lakefront walks await you, with brilliant Canadice Lake sunsets serving as the perfect aperitif to a satisfying day.
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