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Keuka Lake Fishing Tips

Keuka Lake is the third largest lake in the Finger Lakes Region, providing 60 miles of scenic shoreline. Its unique y-shape makes it one of the region's most distinct bodies of water, and at 22 miles long – it is one of the best places to catch trophy fish in New York State.

Anglers will find ideal freshwater fishing conditions along Keuka's diverse lake habitats. The Lake's varying depth provides ample spring fishing in the shallower tributaries such as Sugar Creek and Keuka Lake Outlet. As the season matures, fish species such as Lake Trout move to deeper waters where they will remain throughout the summer and fall.

Keuka Lake Trout and Salmon

Grab some Golden Shiners, White Spoons and worms and head out on Keuka Lake in early spring when the Brown Trout are plentiful. In Keuka Lake, Brown Trout average 3 pounds – though record-breaking catches of over 20 pounds have been reported. Spring, early summer and fall are the best seasons for Brown Trout. Experts recommend that sportsmen stick to the shoreline and shallower tributaries, fishing the Lake's warmer waters for the best catch.

Brown Trout fishing hotspots:
• Keuka Inlet
• Kendall Point
• Hammondsport Wall

Rainbow Trout are often found in Keuka Lake's seasonal Brown Trout habitats, preferring the same temperature variances of their less colorful counterparts. Rainbow Trout in Keuka average a maximum weight of 3 pounds; though some sportsmen have been lucky enough to land a trophy catch over 20 pounds.

Rainbow Trout fishing hotspots:
• Keuka Inlet
• Cuyanoga Creek
• Kendall Power Plant

Landlocked Salmon

Keuka Lake is home of a large Landlocked Salmon population, which flourishes in early spring near Keuka Inlet and Kendall Point. The shoreline near Hammondsport and Keuka Lake State Park offer the best spring Salmon fishing and offer easy boat launch access for boaters and paddlers. Brown and Rainbow Trout, as well as Landlocked Salmon are all Salmonids. These species of fish are plentiful throughout the cooler months, especially during the ice-fishing season.

Northern Pike and Pickerel Fishing

In Keuka Lake, Northern Pike and Pickerel stick to the shallow, weedy and rocky areas in the northern and southern ends of the lake. Northern Pikes can be up to 59 inches long, and weigh up to 55 pounds in Keuka Lake. Pickerel are smaller, averaging 16 inches in length, and weighing around two pounds in adulthood. In spring, Pike will spawn in weedy areas of the lake, choosing to remain in the shallows for added protection. When these fish reach maturity, they will venture into deeper waters, providing ideal fishing conditions throughout the season.

Best places to fish for Northern Pike and Pickerel:
• Weed beds around Branchport, Hammondsport and Penn Yan
• Keuka Inlet
• Guyanoga Creek
• Marshes around Penn Yan and Kendall Power Plant

Steuben County Bass and Perch Fishing

Smallmouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass spawn mid-June in Keuka Lake, resulting in plentiful fishing from late June through mid-July. After sunset, Bass will swim to shallower water to eat crayfish – and this is the best time to fish for them. Having the right type of lure is key during this time in the evening. Steuben County offers many tackle shops for extra fishing supplies and lure types.

Smallmouth Bass fishing hotspots:
• Bluff Point
• Urbana and Willow Points
• The waters near Keuka College
• Eggleston and Marilena Points

In winter, Smallmouth bass are plentiful in the waters near Penn Yan and Bluff Point.

Largemouth Bass

Similar to their Smallmouth counterparts, Largemouth Bass are found in shallow weed beds around Branchport and Penn Yan, as well as the southern tip of Champlain Beach and Brandy Bay. The best time to fish for Largemouth Bass is early in the morning and once the sun sets. From mid-July through September, the bass will stay in the shallow weed beds. As the seasons cool, bass will move into deeper, colder waters. Branchport and Penn Yan are the go-to spots for bass fishing in winter.

Yellow Perch

Yellow Perch prefer shallow, reedy waters like those found around the southern branch of the lake near Penn Yan. Perch are easy to catch, and are a perfect fish for younger, less experienced anglers. Minnows, worms or small lures are perfect for catching Perch. Though Perch are plentiful in the early spring, summer is the best season for them as they often stay at a depth of 40-50 feet.

Keuka Lake is the ideal spot for fishing in Steuben County, and fishing guide services and charters provide an exciting experience regardless of skill level. Fully guided kayak tours are available, as well as trolling expeditions. Learn how to fly fish or simply enjoy a day on the lake.

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