Keuka Lake rates first for area trout fishing
TRI-COUNTY AREA—A Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) report indicates Keuka Lake ranks first in area trout fishing. This compares to Seneca and Canandaigua Lakes as far as time caught to catch a legal sized specimen.
Trout and salmon fishing has remained unchanged in Keuka Lake during the past three years. According to information provided by the DEC, the state of Keuka Lake fisheries remains largely unchanged between the years 2011 and 2012. Region Eight Acquatic Biologist Brad Hammers said the information was gathered from fishermen who partcicipated in the DEC’s angler diary program, who report the results of their catch so the DEC can manage the salmon and trout fisheries in the lakes.
“Based on the results from this year’s (2012) diary program, very little has changed in Keuka Lake since last year,” according to the 2012 Keuka Lake diary results. “A total of 2,060 legal sized lake trout were caught in 2012, slightly more than 2011. It only took 1.1 hours to catch a legal sized salmonine (salmon, trout, char, etc.), the fastest catch rate experienced on Keuka Lake since the diary program began in 1968. For comparison, diary cooperators on Canandaigua and Seneca Lakes’ averaged 3.5 and 2.2 hours, respectively to catch one legal salmonine in 2012. Ninety-nine percent of all salmonines caught were lake trout, indicating rainbow trout, brown trout, and Atlantic salmon contribute little to the overall cooperator catch.”
In Seneca Lake, catch rates were slightly down in 2012 compared to previous years. The diary results attributed less fishing effort as part of the decrease, but said the catch rate has also decreased compared to previous years.
“A total of 1,736 salmonines were caught by diary cooperators during the past year (2012), approximately 460 less than in 2011,” according to the 2012 Seneca Lake diary results. “Reduced effort can account for most of this difference, although catch rates were also slightly down. Of the total salmonine catch, 89 percent were legal sized, down slightly from last year. The catch rate of legal sized trout decreased from last year with anglers averaging 2.2 hours to boat a legal salmonine. For comparison, diary cooperators on Canandaigua and Keuka Lakes averaged 3.5 and 1.1 hours, respectively to catch one legal trout in 2012.”
The reports indicated lake trout were also a majority of the catches in Seneca Lake in 2012. This means the lake trout is also returning to a desirable level in the lake.
“A total of 1,210 legal sized lake trout were caught in 2012, comprising 78 percent of all legal salmonines caught,” according to the diary results. “This is the third year that lake trout catch did not contribute to over 90 percent of the overall catch. If the catch of lake trout is indicative of overall species composition in Seneca Lake, it appears that the lake trout population is returning to more desirable levels and should benefit other salmonine species.”
The reports provided by Hammers will be included in part of his presentation on the state of the western Finger Lakes fisheries meeting. The meeting will be held Thursday, Feb. 27 at Watkins Glen elementary school at 7 p.m.
“What we are going to talk about, there are two parts,” Hammers said. “The first section, with our current angler diary cooperators and just discuss the program a little bit and what we are seeing in the diaries they are returning and what we use the information for as far as management of the lake. The state of the lake meeting is the bigger portion. We are just going to give everyone an update on what we are finding out in the lakes from a fishery standpoint, what our management techniques are, what we think the status of the lake is from a sport fish fishery and what our plans are from a management standpoint going down the road.”
Hammers said the purpose of the meeting will be to present data while also describing the DEC’s future plans for fishery management.
“It’s just basically an overall of what we think is going on in Seneca Lake from a fishing standpoint,” Hammers said. “We are going to present data from past years, what we are currently doing and what we propose to do in the future.”
Hammers also said they will welcome feedback at the meeting and answer any questions audience members may have in regards to what the DEC does in the region.
“We want to get their feedback, what they think, how things are going,” Hammers said. “So it’s definitely going to be a question and answer to some degree. It will be a good chance for us to talk to the anglers and see what their experiences have been and also let them know what we are doing, because a lot of time they don’t know what we do.”