Lake water aluminum concentrations have a significant influence on the composition of microfossil assemblages of diatoms and chrysophytes deposited in lake sediments. With the paleolimnological approach of multilake datasets in the Adirondack region of New York, USA, the authors use canonical correspondence analysis to describe past trends in lake water Al. Four lakes, previously investigated regarding acidification and fishery trends, are used to demonstrate that paleolimnological assessment can also provide direction, timing, and magnitude of trends for both toxic metals and fish resources. Additionally, the authors use weighted average regression and calibration to obtain quantitative reconstructions of past lake water Al concentrations. Such reconstructions provide further insight into fishery resource damage and can be compared with modelling results. According to paleolimnological reconstructions, some of the naturally most acidic lakes in the Adirondack region had preindustrial lake water concentrations of inorganic monomeric Al near 4/micromol times L. Although these high concentrations are surprising from a geochemical point of view, they may partially explain the preindustrial absence of fish, as has been independently determined by paleolimnological analysis of phantom midges (Chaoborus). Fishery resource deterioration in acidified Adirondack lakes was coincident with major increases in lake water Al concentrations.