NOTE: I have scaled back on doing trips on this lake as of 2015, not due to tough fishing or things of that nature, it's just that the drivetime for me is very long. A 1/2 day trip here winds up being a 9 hour day for me. I will still being doing occasional trips here, but all trips will have a $50 surcharge attached.
The crash of this lake's alewife population has been the biggest change here on Keuka Lake. Fish are behaving differently with smallmouth bass apparently keying in more on crayfish and perch. Lake trout fishing has been spottier - though still good, with fish often feeding up high in the water column on perch fry. I'm sure we'll notice more changes. Brown, rainbow and salmon fishing may have shown a slight improvement in 2016. DEC Diary data may support this - we'll see.
DEC isn't sure exactly what management strategy they will take on this lake. There is talk of possibly introducing a native forage species like ciscoes that have long been absent, or at least seriously diminished from the lake's fauna. DEC also feels that the alewives could bounce back.
The lake trout fishing here is still good and downright excellent at times during the late fall and early winter. They are starting to eat more freshwater shrimp and perch fry. The condition of the lakers here was fair in 2016, not poor like Skaneateles Lake's fish tend to be. We shall see how this fishery continues to evolve in 2017.
Over the past decade, Keuka Lake brown trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon have been more of a bonus fish. Most anglers I see fishing here target the lakers and set occasional lines for the other salmonids. If the laker population here drops, targeting the other salmonids may wind up being more of a surer bet. The area around Hammondsport and near the State Park, as well as the points and coves across from the college can be good bets for non-lakers if that's what you're after.
This is a solid lake for largemouth bass and smallmouth bass fishing from the early season opener in May through the fall. Both fish reach trophy sizes on this lake. I've heard more stories of 8lb+ largemouths on this lake than on any other Finger Lake! The lake also offers a variety of other fishing options including lake trout jigging, some HUGE pickerel and giant yellow perch. I consider this lake to be a good secondary option when winds aren’t conducive to fishing Cayuga or Seneca Lakes. This lake is protected from strong west winds since it is surrounded by hills. The Penn Yan branch usually freezes over and on occasion most of the lake will freeze up.
Keuka is a very interesting lake in many respects. Some of the deepest water is found further north (relatively speaking) than on other Finger Lakes. The lake trout are abundant and all wild. They taste great! The lake trout spawn later here than on other Finger Lakes and they tend to hit very well throughout the fall. Very interesting structure here too.
Recently, we've been spending some more time targeting bass on this lake. It's a deceptively large lake and there are plenty of areas that harbor nice bass. Many of these areas don't "jump off the map". It takes time to learn them. The pickerel population is very large and we had a 28"er in 2011.
Other species found on Keuka Lake include crappies, northern pike, rockbass and bluegills/sunfish. Pike numbers seem to be on the rise, but they would still be considered bonus fish on this lake. In 2006 I managed to catch a 35" beauty on this lake and we had some good pike in 2010 - including a 36"er. They are around, but not something I'd necessarily target here. A 23lb northern was taken through the ice here during March of 2009!