Keuka Lake out of Hammondsport 9/11


Met the Hermans around 7 am and we headed out from the Motel launch. Wind forecasts were originally for strong southerlies so “Hport” (I don’t feel like spelling Hammondsport out every time I type it) was the call. By the day before the trip the forecast moderated, but we decided to stick with the plan. Keuka Lake State Park offers great fishing, but can be brutal for launching and retrieving a boat with strong south winds.

We’ve had some steady weather and the big cold front is forecast to come through before Friday, so I was very optimistic about the fishing prospects today – no matter what the target. We started with lakers right on the south end of the lake and the bite was tentative to start, which was surprising. A few hits were had, but they weren’t really gobbling the jig, apart from one hit Eleonore had on bottom. It would’ve been easy to throw in the “laker towel” and switch to some smallmouth bass fishing, but I encouraged the Hermans to stick the laker bite out for a bit. I just refuse to not catch lakers on Keuka in September. Finally, by around 9:30 or 9:45 the lakers turned on with a vengeance. Around a 1/2 dozen were landed in less than an hour. Fish were averaging 20″ to almost 24″, which is better than the usual 18″ to 22″ we usually catch on Keuka. It’s a subtle difference, but the laker size was clearly a step up from what I’m used to seeing here. There was a lot of bait around Hport too. Large expanses of the bottom were covered in it. I don’t necessarily think Keuka’s average laker size has gone up, but the biggest fish are almost always around the most bait – like on the N. end of Seneca early in the year, and that looked to be the case here.

I felt today would offer up some good to excellent smallmouth bass fishing, so we switched gears after we got the laker itch scratched a bit. It didn’t take long to get into some nice bass, with Eleonore having the first few hits. She landed a 15″er that we kept for supper. After that, it was catch and release. Superflukes and tube jigs resulted in some beautiful fish, including a 19″ and 20″er for Eleonore. The bigger one was probably well over 4lbs, but not quite 5. Great fights and action with quite a few fish missed/dropped as well. I saw at least two other 4lb+ fish follow in the flukes. John threw a tube jig a bit and landed a smallmouth, pickerel and rockbass. He missed a few hits on the Superfluke. Most bass came in or around deep water – like upwards of 40′ and casting inwards. Bait was clearly in the area – I saw a fish pop something near the surface. Great day and it didn’t feel too hot out there with the nice breeze out of the south. We finished what went from a half, to a six hour day around 1:15 pm. Water temp was around 70 on top.