Keuka Lake out of Keuka Lake State Park 2/1 PM


Lakes are finally starting to settle out after all the run-off of the past two weeks.  According to the NYS Canal System water level chart, Cayuga Lake is up two feet from just about a week ago.  Seneca is up a foot, and for what it’s worth, Oneida Lake is also up just over a foot.  Tributaries and small run-off “rivulets” are still pumping in a good amount of water into our area lakes.

Keep in mind, that there are still large areas (“swaths”) of muddy and murky water, primarily on the south ends of the larger Finger Lakes.

Now’s the time to get out after landlocked salmon on Seneca Lake, target deep lakers on Cayuga Lake or do some fly-fishing or shallow casting on Keuka Lake for lake trout.  The days are gradually getting longer and it’s more worthwhile fishing this time of year – it’s peaceful and quiet outside and there’s still daylight at 5:15 pm!  It beats the heck out of late-December, when it’s getting dark around 4:30 pm.

I arrived at Keuka Lake State Park at 12:30 pm today.  I was the only boat that was out today that I could see.  The lake level is good and there’s no ice anywhere.  Water temperatures on the surface are at 40 degrees.  I was last out here on December 14th and had 44/45 degree water on top with lake trout still hanging around spawning areas and very few in shallow feeding.  I didn’t encounter a single shallow laker on that day.  I figured by today, there would be some decent numbers of lake trout up shallow.  I was fishing my area at 1 pm and on my third cast with my fly-rod, I connected with a nice 22″ lake trout shallow.  Fishing was not hot and heavy by any means, but I averaged about a lake trout per hour of shallow casting (10′ to 25′ of water.)  I put down the fly-rod after an hour and went back through my area with a tube jig, just to see if the fish were there but just not responding to my presentation.  I did pick up another two lakers on the tubes in fairly short order.  I also hooked a decent smallmouth bass (on my fly!) and lost it after it jumped.  I was impressed by the vigor of the bass in the cold water!  I wasn’t expecting a jump.

No walleyes today or perch.  I also nabbed a largemouth on the fly that went around 15″.  I spent the latter two hours of my day trying different areas to see what was up.  One area looked good but wound up being a complete bust; the other area coughed up another lake trout for me (this time on a bladebait.)  I also lost/missed a couple more lakers on the blade.  All in all, very solid fishing – not spectacular but worthwhile.  Last year I hit a couple really hot days on Keuka Lake, but the wind was up for both of them.  Today was a nicer day on the lake, but the lack of wind probably hurt the shallow bite a bit, as did the lack of sun.

Nothing was in any of the lake trout stomachs.  The fish here are thin – there are no two ways about it.  Fortunately they aren’t quite as thin as Skaneateles Lake fish, but Keuka Lake seems to be heading in that direction.  We really need a couple of frigid winters so the ice-fishermen can knock down the abundant population a bit.  There just isn’t enough food for these fish out on Keuka.

My phone and email are starting to get active – if you’re looking for any of the aforementioned trips, book now for the best availability!

Wild 22" Keuka Lake lake trout on the fly!

Bonus Largemouth Bass on a Clouser Minnow