While mechanisms of different carbon dioxide (CO2 ) assimilation pathways in chemolithoautotrohic prokaryotes are well understood for many isolates under laboratory conditions, the ecological significance of diverse CO2 fixation strategies in the environment is mostly unexplored. Six stratified freshwater lakes were chosen to study the distribution and diversity of the Calvin-Benson-Bassham (CBB) cycle, the reductive tricarboxylic acid (rTCA) cycle, and the recently discovered archaeal 3-hydroxypropionate/4-hydroxybutyrate (HP/HB) pathway. Eleven primer sets were used to amplify and sequence genes coding for selected key enzymes in the three pathways. Whereas the CBB pathway with different forms of RubisCO (IA, IC and II) was ubiquitous and related to diverse bacterial taxa, encompassing a wide range of potential physiologies, the rTCA cycle in Epsilonproteobacteria and Chloribi was exclusively detected in anoxic water layers. Nitrifiying Nitrosospira and Thaumarchaeota, using the rTCA and HP/HB cycle respectively, are important residents in the aphotic and (micro-)oxic zone of deep lakes. Both taxa were of minor importance in surface waters and in smaller lakes characterized by an anoxic hypolimnion. Overall, this study provides a first insight on how different CO2 fixation strategies and chemical gradients in lakes are associated to the distribution of chemoautotrophic prokaryotes with different functional traits.