Keuka Lake draws visitors, fishermen and swimmers

Staff Writer
The Steuben Courier Advocate

Keuka Lake is an unusual member of the 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 (pronounced: kyoo-kuh) means canoe landing in the Iroquois language.

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 lake is about 20 miles long and varies in width from a half mile to two miles, with  a shoreline of about 60 miles.

 It has 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 or sawbellies.

The village of Penn Yan is at the northeastern tip of the lake, and Branchport is at the northwestern tip. Hammondsport lies at the south end of the lake, with Bath locates seven miles south of the lake.

Keuka Lake State Park is located on the eastern 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.

The Keuka Lake Association 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.