Keuka Lake out of Keuka Lake State Park 4/10 PM


This elongated winter has made me a bit stir-crazy so I decided I'd give Keuka Lake a try. Cayuga's been fantastic but I do like to change things up on occasion. I'll be on Cayuga Lake all year long! Regarding Keuka, last year I fished it once from shore without luck – that was it. I no longer guide over there on any regular basis. (If the laker fishing became great again, I could see Hammondsport as a good option when south winds are really strong – but that isn't going to happen anytime soon.) This year I would like to fish a few of the Finger Lakes that I haven't hit in a while, including Canandaigua and Conesus.

Angling Zone friend Jeff was on Keuka last weekend with two buddies and they managed a decent day, landing a dozen lakers. I really wanted to see if the lake's fishing had changed much. Would I be able to catch lakers hopping tube jigs along the bottom in shallow? Are there notably more perch around with the alewife collapse?

Unfortunately I really wasn't able to answer those questions. It was damn COLD out there! I dealt with snow storms – basically mini-flurries coming through and swirling winds interspersed with sunny periods. So I spend most of the day working laker jigs like I used to out there. I did see a ton of small perch in by the boat launch. These were not fish big enough to bother fishing for, but I hadn't seen that before over there this time of year. Laker jigging was slow for the most part. The fish were in the same old areas I've always caught them in, but there was noticeably fewer of them and no bait to speak of. I caught one laker casting a jig in around 40' to 60' of water. I had follows in water from around 70' to 165' (feet deep.) In four hours I landed just that one fish, then I tried one of my earlier areas and caught two more in short order for a grand total of three 19" lakers in 5 hours. Some of it was the weather pattern. Even in Keuka's laker heyday I remember strong west winds and overcast/snowy conditions being tough for lakers over there in April. The two I caught quickly came after the sun broke through and winds set up from the north. Nothing to speak of in their stomachs apart from a small perch in one of them. Two of them had gorgeous pink meat. Water level is high (a little) and temps were 38 on top. Nothing about Keuka makes me want to forego Cayuga.

PS: If any of you reading this like baked goods, check out Tabora Farm & Winery's bakery between (just N. of) Glenora and Dundee on 4978 Lakemont Himrod Road. They have some good stuff very reasonably priced. I was impressed.