Keuka Lake is the third largest of the Finger Lakes. Shaped like a Y it
is just less than 20 miles long in length. It is the only Finger Lake which
flows into another. Keuka Lake empties into another Finger Lake, Seneca
Lake, from a stream, called Keuka Lake Outlet, at the lake's northeastern
end in Penn Yan, New York. The stream empties into Seneca Lake at the
village of Dresden. At one time the outlet was developed into a canal, the
Crooked Lake Canal, connecting the lakes. This canal was later replaced by a
railroad branch line which is now a hiking and cycling trail. The deepest
part of the lake is just less than 200 feet deep. Keuka Lake is an unusual
member of the New York's Finger Lakes because it is Y-shaped, instead of
long and narrow. Because of its shape, it was referred to in the past as
Crooked Lake. Keuka means "canoe landing" in the Iroquois language and "lake
with an elbow" in the Seneca language. The lake is about 20 miles long and
varies in width from a half mile to two miles. The length of the shoreline
is about 60 miles. It has a surface area of 11,730 acres, and a maximum and
mean depth of 186 feet and 101 feet respectively.
Keuka Lake has a good population of lake trout, rainbow, browns and
landlocked salmon. Bass both smallmouth and largemouth abound in its clear
waters. Northern pike, perch, crappie, rock bass, bluegills, and bullheads
are plentiful here as well. At one time Keuka Lake held the state record for
brown trout at 22 pounds, but the larger waters of Lake Ontario have given
up many larger specimens since then, including the current New York State
record brown trout which weighed 33 lb. 2oz. This body of water possesses
large and healthy populations of lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout,
landlocked salmon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and yellow perch. The
productive fishery is supported by huge numbers of baitfish, most notably
alewives (sawbellies), and is a very popular lake with area fishermen.
The village of Penn Yan, New York is at the northeastern tip of the lake,
and Branchport is at the northwestern tip. Hammondsport lies at the south
end of the lake. Hammondsport was the home of Glenn Curtiss, a pioneer of
naval aviation, and is now the site of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum.
While the shore of the lake is primarily residential, Keuka College is
located in Keuka Park on the western shore of the east branch and Keuka Lake
State Park is located on the eastern side of the northwest branch of the
lake. YMCA Camp Cory is located on the eastern side of the northeast branch
of the lake. Camp Good Days and Special Times are located on the western
side of the northwest branch of the lake. An important component of the
economy of this region is based on grape growing and wine production and
vineyards cover some areas sloping down to the lake.
Humans, fish, and wildlife depend on the rich ecology of the lake habitat.
The complex ecosystem is subject to contamination of the watershed, largely
by storm water runoff. The Keuka Lake Association (KLA) monitors the water
of the lake to ensure that it is suitable for its many uses, such as
drinking, fishing, and swimming. Tributary streams, groundwater, and the
lake itself are regularly tested for water quality. Additionally, KLA
collects and publishes data about the lake level. The infestation of
European Zebra Mussels, which has impacted many North American bodies of
water, has also affected Keuka Lake and other Finger Lakes in New York. In
addition to disrupting the lake's ecosystem, Zebra Mussels can be a nuisance
to lakeside homeowners. Their small size enables them to clog water intake
pipes. Furthermore, their sharp shells can cause lacerations on the feet of
bathers. Bathers may wish to wear water shoes when swimming in the lake.
• Food and Beverage of choice. ( Beer, Wine, Liquor is ok )
• Appropriate seasonal clothing. Rain gear is a plus.
• Polarized sunglasses can be a great help.
• A cooler for the catch if you choose to keep some of your catch