Keuka Lake out of Hammondsport 6/6 AM


I’ve cut back my Keuka Lake guiding over the past couple years to no more than 5 trips a year. I used to average 20 to 25 trips a year here for primarily lake trout but also smallmouth bass. It was more feasible to do the drive when I lived in Trumansburg. Now I’m in Lansing and it’s a bit too far. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to get out here for the first time this year and see what was happening with the lake trout bite.

The alewives here are gone. There’s no doubt about that. Nobody I know has seen a “sawbelly” in a laker’s stomach since just after the heavy winter/ice fishing season of 2014/2015.

Larry and Cecilia showed up at the wrong place so instead of our 6:30 am launch time we wound up putting in at around 7:15. We did a 6 hour trip. It was calm and sunny out. We fished the south end, the bluff area and some points in-between. The wind got to be very heavy by around 10 am. On the day 6 lakers were landed and we kept three. They bit consistently throughout the day, which often isn’t the case on Keuka in June. Nothing was in any of the fish I cleaned. The condition of the fish was fairly poor. They weren’t as emaciated as Skaneateles fish, but every one I saw was thin and a couple were getting noticeably thin – where the head is the thickest part of the fish. Best action was from 80′ to 100′ for us.

Bottom line of what I took from today is that the slow summer bite might be a thing of the past on Keuka Lake. With the scarcity of food, these fish may hit a lot better during the dog days of summer than they used to. We’ll see. We are also heading towards a Skaneateles Lake-like situation. We’ll see an occasional 20lb giant come out of the lake, but the vast majority of fish will be from 16″ to 22″ and skinny. Ours today ran from 18″ to 21″.