Canadice Lake

Outline of the Finger Lakes with Canadice Lake highlighted
Maximum Length3 miles
Maximum Width0.3 miles
Average Depth55 feet
Maximum Depth95 feet
Route Length6.9 miles

The lake’s name derives from the Haudenosaunee word Ca’-na-dice or Ska’-ne-a-dice. Oddly enough, the translation is “long lake”.1Beauchamp, W.M. Aboriginal Place Names of New York. New York State Education Department, 1907. p. 155 Even though Canadice Lake may be the shortest lake of the Finger Lakes, its length impressed me.

Given that this was my first Finger and also my first ever solo2Kayaking solo is risky. Always tell a buddy your float plan, stick to the plan, and bring an extra paddle, bilge pump, paddle float, and of course your PFD! kayak outing, I was a bit nervous. I launched from the boat launch on the eastern side.

What I like most about Canadice Lake is its wilderness. Since the lake is designated as a public water supply, the shores and surrounding lands have been bought up and consolidated as a State Forest to preserve its pristine waters. Not even swimming is allowed. Probably because swimmers have a propensity to relieve themselves in the water.

I went south, following a clockwise route around the lake. Rather than obsessively hug the shoreline, I kayaked from point to point. I strayed from the shoreline no further than about 50-100 feet. Canadice rewarded me with some great views.

The waters were gently rippling, almost glassy, allowing me to see clearly the bottom of the littoral zone.3The part of a lake that’s near to the shore It was full of driftwood, rocks, weeds, and innumerable small fish. Once in a while, I spotted large fish on the hunt, stalking its prey.

Aside from a few buildings on the northern end, the entire shoreline was undeveloped. The sides of the valley that cradled Canadice’s basin were carpeted with trees. I saw many ducks with tufted heads, like they were on their way to a punk concert. After some research, I found that they were common mergansers.

I arrived at the southern end of the lake, which was very weedy and marshy. Many birds took flight as I arrived. This told me two things. 1) This place is full of life a.k.a. bugs! 2) I was too loud; I must be quieter. The lake whittled down into a stream cutting through the marshes, as wide as a sidewalk.

Canadice Inlet (at the southern end of Canadice Lake)
Canadice Inlet

Too narrow and buggy for me, I continued clockwise around the lake. At the northwestern end, I took a break nearby an electrical shed. I also parked atop a fallen tree to snap a photo of the view. Up to now, it had been a beautiful summery day. Till the clouds rolled in.

Looking south at the northern end of Canadice Lake
Better get a move on

I figured I better get a move on. I made my way about the northern end, landed, and strapped up. It had begun to rain just as I closed my car door. I finished my first Finger Lake! It took me 2.4 hours to kayak 6.9 miles around the lake. As I drove home, I felt an old but familiar burn in my shoulders and back. I got a much-needed workout. One down, ten to go. On to Honeoye Lake!

Trip Summary of Canadice Lake