Keuka Lake out of Keuka Lake State Park (Branchport Arm) 5/31 – 6/1
Laker jigging is fair to good right now on Keuka Lake. Some areas and depths have been much more productive than others. Water level is high, but we didn't encounter any debris. Here's how things went over the past couple days:
5/31 AM: Guided Alan and his son Zach for a 1/2 day starting around 6:30 am. He's an accomplished hunter and recently bought a great fishing set-up and wants to become a more knowledgable fisherman. I appreciate tutorial trips and enjoy doing them. "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day, Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime – and so do his offspring!" Of course I added that last part, but it's true.
Basing your fishing on docktalk, baitshop info, weekly DEC reports and other anglers is a crapshoot and you always wind up behind the proverbial eight-ball, i.e. a day late and dollar short. In fishing, with the old info floating around, you're more likely 2 weeks late and (given the high gas prices) you'll wind up sixty dollars short. Being able to size up the fishing conditions and knowing how to adapt keeps you on the fish – and not just on a daily basis, but sometimes on an hourly one. I figured lakers would be shallow and showed Alan how to figure out laker post_title. We set up and within 10 minutes were onto fish. After about 2 hours, seven solid lakers were landed (with Zach nailing a good one or two,) so we decided to see how other areas of the lake – both deep and shallow were fishing. In a nutshell, we found out that our first area was the best. The winds came up and we called it a day.
We talked to two anglers that were taking a quick break. They hadn't caught a single fish that morning. They told us that "…the guy at the baitshop said to fish down 150' over 180' FOW" or something like that. That may have been true 3 weeks ago, but nobody with a motorized boat had been on the lake for 2 weeks, so it was old news. Nearly every boat we saw was working deep water – they were fishing "yesterday's news."
6/1: Guided Dave, Blake and Todd for a full day. After yesterday's early bite, I thought starting earlier might have been a good call, but we stuck with the 6:30 am start time. We tried yesterday's areas near the park and a couple fish were hooked and one landed, but things didn't seem as productive. So off to the Bluff we went. Fishing was slow until around 9 am, when action picked up a bit. We had a slow to moderately steady pick for a few hours, then fishing slowed a lot. By 2 pm we were back near the State Park and Blake had a good run – landing another 3 fish or so. We wound up with 13 fish landed on the day, up to around 24".
Keuka provides good to excellent laker action all year long, but the June to August period tends to strike me as the slowest overall. You can still have great days during the summer here, but getting up very early is often required. These fish (and Canandaigua's) do a lot of night feeding.
A lot of fish are shallow and high in the water column. I saw some very good fly-fishing conditions for lake trout here over the past two days. I intend to give it a try once I have time – this is probably the best lake in the area for laker fly-fishing during the May/June timeframe.