Region 8 Diary Summaries


I just received my diary summaries in the mail on Friday.  Here are the takeways:

Canandaigua Lake:  This lake continues to provide excellent lake trout and rainbow trout fishing.  It took cooperators targeting lake trout an average of 1.1 hours per legal fish.  That’s a great catch rate.  No word on what the largest lake trout taken was.  Twenty percent of Canandaigua’s lake trout taken were wild.  Rainbow trout catch rates were also excellent, at 1.4 hours to catch a legal rainbow.  All rainbows in Canandaigua Lake are wild fish.

Production of young fish in the Naples Creek system remains excellent.  Young-of-the-year production has been lower than in past decades, but age-1+ production is amongst the best it’s been since sampling records from the 1960s.

Diary cooperator numbers increased to 25 anglers, from 18 the prior year.  Canandaigua Lake will be surveyed this coming summer.

Keuka Lake:  Cooperator numbers are at an all-time low here, with only 20 anglers keeping diaries.  Because of this, trip numbers were also low this year, with only 296 trips recorded.  For comparison’s sake, in 1995, 81 cooperators recorded 2,342 trips!  That’s a huge difference by any account.  Not much has changed here – lake trout catch rates were slightly slower than in year’s past, with 1.6 hours to catch a legal salmonid (all being lake trout, with the exception of two rainbows.)  Kept fish averaged 19.4″ and 2.4lbs a piece.  Sixty-one percent of caught lakers were kept here – it’s probably the highest harvest rate in the Finger Lakes.  For my money, the Keuka Lake lake trout are the best tasting and are the perfect size to eat.  Salmon and browns haven’t been stocked here since 2018, so they are pretty much non-existent except for a very rare wild brown that may drop down on occasion from Cold Brook.

A few walleyes were taken by cooperators – the largest being over 8lbs!  The forage base, like Skaneateles Lake, is mainly young perch.  Alewife numbers are very low in Keuka Lake. Speaking of forage, the Bath Hatchery cisco-raising facility has now been completed and it’s hoped that production goals of 100,000 fingerlings per year will be met this year.  Cornell and DEC are trying to find ways to help their survival upon being stocked in the lake.

Seneca Lake:  Like Keuka Lake, cooperator numbers here are at an all-time low, with only 18 cooperators.  Trips were also at an all-time low, with only 157 trips recorded.   Back in 1991, 143 cooperators recorded 4120 trips!

Catch times per legal salmonid in 2023 were 3.3 hours.  Thirty-two percent of lake trout caught were wild fish.  About 1/3rd of the catch was harvested.  The average harvested lake trout weighed 4.5lbs and was nearly 23″ long.  That’s a well-fed fish!

Only 27 landlocked salmon were caught.  Around 2/3rds were released and about 2/3rds of the fish caught were legal sized.  No rainbows were caught by cooperators and only a few browns were landed.

Forage netting showed a very abundant alewife population.  Round gobies also showed up with 128 being collected of various year-classes.

More bass sampling was done, with most fish collected being sub-legal.  Larger adult smallmouth on this lake are mostly pelagic, which is probably why relatively few legal fish were sampled (this is my opinion here, not a statement from the DEC report.)   Legal sized bass here were 23% of bass collected.

The first perch sampling done in recent history was conducted in order to procure some baseline numbers.  DEC reported good numbers of 1 to 2lb perch here, which would constitute a “medium-high population.”  I think perch numbers here were much higher in the 1960s through 1990s.  Fishermen don’t seem to be taking too many perch here now, given how few boats are out and how often I do see the boats out perch-fishing moving around.  Either way, rest assured, if guys are doing well on perch here, they aren’t going to talk about it!

Lamprey control efforts (sampling and treatments) are slated for this year.  Wounding has been decreasing on adult salmonids over the past few years.

Many anglers I know are now keeping DEC diaries.  What I am seeing on Seneca and Keuka lakes, are very few anglers fishing at all.  The only real trout/salmon pressure I see on Seneca Lake is during the Memorial Weekend Derby.  Overall, I don’t get the impression that there are a lot of serious anglers out on Seneca and Keuka Lakes that aren’t keeping DEC books.  People are just fishing Canandaigua and Cayuga Lakes instead of Keuka and Seneca Lakes respectively.  Lake trout fishing is really getting good on Seneca Lake – we had great catch rates there, especially in June, July and early-August.  Even if you’re only fishing a few days a year on Keuka or Seneca, it’s a good idea to keep a DEC book.  Otherwise, with fewer inputs, the picture of what’s happening on the lakes becomes less clear.