Located in the heart of central New York wine country, Keuka Lake lies 17 miles southwest of the City of Geneva. Shaped like a Y, Keuka ranks third in size among the Finger Lakes. The hamlet of Branchport is located at the tip of the lake's northwest arm and the Village of Penn Yan tips the northeast arm. At the lake's south end is the Village of Hammondsport.
Elevation: 715 feet
Area: 11,584 acres
Length: 19.6 miles
Maximum width: 1.9 miles
Maximum depth: 183 feet
Thermocline: between 30-35 feet
Keuka Lake's water is very clear and well oxygenated at all depths, enabling fish to occupy both shallow and deep water habitats. The lake serves as a public water supply for Hammondsport, Branchport, Penn Yan and Keuka College.
Rooted aquatic vegetation is confined mainly to the northernmost ends of the lake's two arms, and to the lake's south end. There are also weedbeds around prominent points and deltas. Eurasian milfoil is the dominate species but pondweeds, stonewort, musk grass, and eel grass are also present.
Public Access Sites
Keuka State Park - Located off Route 54A just east of Branchport. Concrete ramps; pumpout; parking for 50 cars and trailers. A Park user fee is charged. Winter launching possible if icy conditions do not exist on a ramp. Operated by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Village of Penn Yan Site - Located off Route 14A. Multiple hard surface ramps; docks; parking for 120 cars with trailers; no charge. Operated by the village of Penn Yan.
Indian Pines Park - Located off Route 54A on Old Pines Trail Road in the Village of Penn Yan. No boat launching facilities; maintained for ice fishing access. Operated by the Village of Penn Yan.
Guyanoga Creek Site - Located at Route 54A bridge at Branchport. Gravel ramp for cartop and small trailered boats. Guyanoga Creek- approximately 250 yards north of lake. Parking for four cars with trailers. Operated by the DEC.
Historically, Keuka Lake has had excellent lake trout and smallmouth bass fishing. Of the four salmonids now present, "lakers" are the most prominent, with their population maintained completely by natural reproduction. Rainbows were introduced around the turn of the century and soon became self-sustaining. Most spawning occurs in Cold Brook, at Keuka's south end, and in Guyanoga Creek (also called Sugar Creek), which enters the lake at Branchport. Landlocked salmon stocking was initiated in Keuka in 1976 and continues today. Though brown trout have occasionally appeared in the Keuka lake fishery for many years (including a 22lb. 4oz. former state record in 1979), direct stocking of "browns" by DEC did not begin until 1980. Earlier brown trout catches are believed to have been escapees from the Bath State Fish Hatchery.
Forage for Keuka's salmonids is provided by alewives and smelt. Alewives have been present in the lake since the mid-1860's, smelt appeared in the 1960's via unknown sources.
While smallmouth bass are the dominant species in Keuka's bass, an occasional northern pike and panfish including yellow perch, bluegills, pumpkinseed, rock bass and black crappie are also available. Much of the angling opportunity for these species (except smallmouth) is associated with the relatively shallow, weedy areas at the north ends of the lake's arm and at the south end.
An ongoing angler diary cooperator program provides DEC fisheries staff with useful data on Keuka Lake's salmonid population trends. If you are interested in signing up as a cooperator, please contact the DEC Region 8 Fisheries Office.