Finger Lakes

Keuka Lake
By Fred J. Kane

Few people know how great the history, beauty and fishing is at Keuka Lake. To the Seneca Indians, she was "Canoe Landing," and their fishing paradise. First, let me give you a little history of the lake. Arch Merrill, in his book describe Keuka Lake as "The Lady of the Lot." He stressed her beauty, her friendliness to those who love the outdoors. What Mr. Merrill neglected to say was, that being a lady, she is also unpredictable and she is the prima donna of the first waters. What this means you take a chance with Keuka and that is worthwhile.

BRANCHPORT - Near what is now Branchport lived Otetiani, the famous Indian Philosopher, better known as Red Jacket. Seth Green, The Father of Fish Culture invented and used the Seth Green rig for the first time at Keuka Lake.

Today there is Keuka Lake State Park with camping and launching facilities. Keuka Lake State Park is accessible by road from route 54. Across from the state park is a private campground and launch. Take note of the 24 foot hole across from the state park. This is a fine fishery in itself. On route 54 between Branchport and Penn Yan is Keuka College.

PENN YAN - In the early years at the end of the eastern arm the Pennsylvania Dutch and New England Yankees settled their sectional differences by changing the name of the town from Unionville to Penn Yan.On the east shore next to Morgan Marine is Red Jacket Park named after Otetiani. Picnics facilities, swings, green grass and a statue of Red jacket is at the park. South of Morgan Marine is the YMCA encampment, Camp Cory. There is a new and improved town launch in Penn Yan on Water Street. Once a year Tioga County Bassmasters of Pennsylvania and Flower City Sportsmen of New York meet for a day of bass and pike angling, comraderie, bantering and a cook out.

HAMMONDSPORT is a town from the past with two distinctions. Glenn Curtiss, creator of the World War I's famous "Jennie" made the first flight in the Empire State in 1908. It is also the hub of America's champagne industry. All-round the lake are vineyards and wineries open to visitors. Hammondsport has a town launch with private marina in the area.

BLUFF POINT - Down the center of the north and west arm is a road to Bluff Point. Along the way you may visit Garrett Memorial Chapel. This is open from July 4 to labor day for the summer residents.Another interesting fact about Keuka Lake is originally this is not a northern pike water. Dave Kosowski, a fisheries biologist from Region 8, Avon, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said, the northern pike (Esox Lucius) were introduced into Keuka Lake by a person that caught them in another body of water and released them in Keuka. The DEC never tried to manage them as they haven't disturbed the other species of game fish.

One thing nice about Keuka is the three arms. You can fish each arm in a day and find the honey holes on a weeks vacation. Because of the protection surrounding each arm, seldom is it to rough despite the weather to fish. Each place mentioned has excellent fishing off its shoreline. Whether you prefer lake or brown trout,Atlantic Salmon,pickerel, northern pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass orpanfish Keuka Lake will meet your demands.

Keuka,"The Lady of the Lot" has a little bit of everything. If you are going to make a date with the lady find out what mood she is in and place her in the position she earned, that of AN ELEGANT LADY.

Choose an arm to fish. Drift with the current angling for one species of fish. If successsful troll the area in deeper water back to where you started and drift over the spots again. Warm water and cold water species will be brought to the net on one fishing trip with "The Lady."


To arrive at Keuka Lake take route 90 to route 14A to Penn Yan.
From Penn Yan take route 54A to Branchport.
From Either Branchport or Penn Yan take route 54 to Hammondsport.

Finger Lake Association
309 Lake St.
Penn Yan, NY 14527
Phone: (716) 226-7488

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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