Canadohta Lake, Pennsylvania, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - Mid-Atlantic - Pennsylvania - Great Lakes -

Canadohta Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in Pennsylvania. Its tree-lined shores and spring-fed waters are located in the Keystone State’s Great Lakes tourism region. This sportsman’s paradise is famous for its year-round fishing and the tournaments it hosts, in particular the ice fishing tournament held every February.

Native Americans once camped along the shores of 168-acre Canadohta Lake. The lake was formed by glaciers thousands of years ago — its average depth hovers around 26 feet, though it plunges to 45 feet in some areas. The ground and water in this area was rich in oil; appropriately, Oil Creek originates at the lake. The Cornplanter tribe of the Seneca Nation used blankets to soak up oil floating on the water’s surface and used it for medicinal purposes and for burning in lamps.

Washington Lake was the first name given the body of water. As the story goes, during the Revolutionary War, George Washington was a friend of Colonel Crawford, the namesake of the county in which Canadohta Lake rests. The name was changed in the 1800s to the more aptly descriptive Oil Creek Lake. Prospectors and developers bought and sold land around the lake until about 1900, when a group of rich men bought up all the property around the lake. They changed the name to Canadohta after Cornplanter Chief Canadaughta. A lawsuit opened up the lake to the public, relegated ownership of Canadohta Lake to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and denied the Canadohta Club private use of the water.

Canadohta Lake is one of eight lakes in Crawford County. The waterways draw outdoor enthusiasts to the area for hiking, sailing, swimming, fishing, camping, biking, canoeing and numerous other activities. Anglers are delighted to hear that big fish stories are no lie at Canadohta Lake; the state stocks Canadohta Lake annually with pan fish, bluegill, perch, sunfish, northern pike, muskellunge, walleye, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. The Pennsylvania Fish Commission runs a public boat launch. Near the launch, visitors will find a small water park, complete with a beach and slide, and a lakeside restaurant as well. Note that there is a 10 horsepower limit on all motors, so swimmers, boaters and anglers can coexist comfortably.

Canadohta Lake’s nearly three miles of shoreline is sparsely populated. There are about 1000 private homes and cottages surrounding the lake, which is known for its pristine waters, so available real estate can be challenging to find. Most homes are seasonal and many are vacation rentals. Canadohta Lake visitors can enjoy summer canoe races and fishing contests for children and adults as well. The view from the water or shore is very quaint, with clear water and beautiful homes painting a wonderful picture no matter the season. In the winter, Canadohta Lake is commonly used for ice fishing and lantern light reflecting off the ice is a beautiful sight. Many of the roads winding around the lake are dirt or gravel; the state maintains them well during the winter months.

Off-water activities near Canadohta Lake include art galleries, two miniature golf courses and a regulation golf course within three miles. Crawford County has numerous lodging options, including additional vacation rentals and real estate. Attractions in the county include hiking the trails at Erie National Wildlife Refuge. The Erie Wildlife Refuge is 8800-acres dedicated to providing waterfowl and other migratory birds with nesting, feeding, brooding, and resting habitat. It also supports a wide range of wildlife making it a prime location for wildlife observation. There is a wildlife observation deck, a driving route and five nature trails ranging in length from one-half to three miles to view wildlife. There are nine public fishing areas. Crappie, yellow perch, bluegill, large and smallmouth bass, and trout swim in the refuge’s waters. Hunting seasons start September 1 and run through the end of February. The most popular game includes deer, turkey, rabbit, and waterfowl. Check the U.S. Fish and Game Web site for regulations governing fishing and hunting in the Refuge.

There are several State Game Lands near Canadohta Lake. The closest is Number 199 just south of the lake. There you can hunt, trap, hike and observe wildlife. Hunting and trapping are allowed in season only. Deer, turkey, rabbit, waterfowl and a wide variety of small game make the area their home in State Game Lands 199. Check with the state fish and game department for the appropriate licenses for each hunting season. Motorized vehicles, horses and bicycles are not allowed on the trials.

You can also fish, hunt and swim at Pymatuning State Park. At 21,122 acres, Pymatuning is Pennsylvania’s largest and most visited state park. There are three campgrounds with cabins for rent along the shores of the park’s lake. The Pymatuning Reservoir is the state’s largest lake at 17,088-acres. There is a 20 horse power motor limit on this lake. The park has seven miles of hiking trails which offers great opportunities for observing wildlife. In the winter there is ice fishing, cross country skiing, sledding and snowmobiling. This massive park is about an hours drive south from Canadohta Lake.

There are several museums in Crawford County that are within a half day’s drive from Canadohta Lake. The Drake Well Museum is located on the site where Edwin L. Drake drilled the world’s first oil well in 1859. The 219-acre park is located outside of Titusville and has outdoor oilfield exhibits. The Baldwin Reynolds House in Meadville is a home turned museum that depicts what life was like in the 1800’s.

Crawford County is also a good place to go antiquing or hunting for Amish Furniture. The City of Spartansburg has several quaint shops selling Amish oak furniture, gifts and antiques. In July, the skies near Canadohta Lake are dotted with hot air balloons. The Thurston Classic hot air balloon race takes place at the end of July over the skies of Meadville. Meadville is also the site of the Crawford County Fair in August; a carnival, demolition derby, harness racing, tractor pulls, farm animal judging and everything you can imagine a country fair has to offer.

Canadohta Lake is a marvelous stop during your trip to Northwestern Pennsylvania. It offers the outdoor beauty of clear waters and wooded shoreline with a mix of fine dining and great shopping.

Things to do at Canadohta Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Horseback Riding
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Wildlife Refuge
  • State Park
  • Museum
  • Miniature Golf
  • Antiquing
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Canadohta Lake

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Smallmouth Bass
  • Sunfish
  • Trout
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Perch

Canadohta Lake Photo Gallery

Canadohta Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Surface Area: 168 acres

Shoreline Length: 3 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 1,391 feet

Average Depth: 26 feet

Maximum Depth: 45 feet

Water Volume: 3,138 acre-feet

Lake Area-Population: 572

Drainage Area: 8 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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