Keuka Lake 10/12


Guided Chris and Herb today, both people who work with my buddy Jarrod, who took out another business friend of his. The weather forecast was ominous with high winds, cold temperatures and some rain forecast. As I left my apartment the wind was blowing hard out of the north and the rain was falling. As I approached Penn Yan, a call to the weather line (for the airport) had winds down to 2 mph. We had a good window!

Boats were launched around 8 am and we ran to the bluff. Fishing was very good and both boats landed plenty of lakers up to Jarrod’s 26″er. I’m seeing more large lakers this year (and last) on Keuka. Plenty of fish were kept for Chris’s smoker. The weather did get pretty crazy and we wrapped up just before noon as north winds kicked up. Water temp was 61. Lake level is low but launchable. There are fish everywhere around the bluff area from at least 80′ on out. Bait numbers aren’t bad either.

Fishery Thoughts – I’m very happy with the decision by DEC Region 8 to increase the laker number maximums (as part of a 5 salmonid limit) on Keuka to 5 fish per day per person. I don’t think it’s necessary on Seneca Lake, but I don’t think it will hurt over there. I think it will also help Canandaigua Lake a lot too. I love eating Keuka Lake lakers just about any way – grilled, fried or baked, but these fish smoked are by far the best. To go to Keuka as a single angler used to require 2 trips for me to get enough fish for the smoker. Now I can do it in just one trip. I enjoy the number fishery on Keuka and I’m sure it’ll continue, but the fish here are clearly somewhat stunted. You don’t find 17″ fish on Cayuga or Seneca with developed eggs or milt. You do on Keuka – as a matter of fact, it is the norm here.

The overharvest of lakers in a lake like Seneca or Cayuga with lamprey populations can be detrimental to the rainbow, brown and salmon populations. Lakers are better at surviving lampreys and drawing lampreys to them. Remove too many lakers and the eels hammer the other salmonids. But in lamprey-free lakes like Canandaigua and Keuka, the main impediment to rainbows, browns and/or salmon populations (and newly stocked salmonids) is laker predation. Remove a good number of lakers and there’s more food for the other salmonids. It’s worth trying. We all love lakers, but we would like a more balanced fishery on Canandaigua and Keuka Lakes. I encourage anglers to fish Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes and keep their share of lakers. Keeping fish on Owasco wouldn’t hurt either.