Keuka Lake

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Keuka Lake
View of Keuka Lake.
Location Steuben / Yates counties, New York, United States
Group Finger Lakes
Coordinates 42°29′47″N 77°08′46″W / 42.49639°N 77.14611°W / 42.49639; -77.14611Coordinates: 42°29′47″N 77°08′46″W / 42.49639°N 77.14611°W / 42.49639; -77.14611
Type Ground moraine
Primary outflows Keuka Lake Outlet
Basin countries United States
Max. length 20 mi (32 km)
Max. width 0.5-2 mi (1-3 km)
Surface area 11,730 acres (4,750 ha)
Average depth 101 ft (31 m)
Max. depth 187 ft (57 m)
Shore length1 60 mi (96 km)
Surface elevation 715 ft (218 m)[1]
Settlements Penn Yan, Hammondsport, Branchport
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Keuka Lake (/ˈkjuːkə/ KEW-kə)[2] is part of the Finger Lakes in the U.S. state of New York. It is unusual because it is Y-shaped, instead of long and narrow, as the other Finger Lakes are; 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.[3]


The Y-shaped 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 (32 km) long and varies in width from a half mile to two miles (1–3 km). The length of the shoreline is about 60 miles (96 km). It has a surface area of 11,730 acres (47 km²), and a maximum and mean depth of 186 feet (57 m) and 101 feet (31 m) respectively.

Lake ecology[edit]

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.

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.[4][5] Furthermore, their sharp shells can cause lacerations on the feet of bathers. Bathers may wish to wear water shoes when swimming in the lake.


William E. "Gink" Doherty coaxes the structurally modified Langley Aerodrome into the air above the surface of Keuka Lake near Hammondsport, New York in 1914.

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. Camp Iroquois, run by the New York State Sheriffs Institute, is located on the eastern side of the bluff. YMCA Camp Cory is located on the eastern side of the northeast branch of the lake. Camp Good Days and Special Times is 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.

Wine trail[edit]

List of vineyards included in the Keuka Lake Wine Trail:

See also[edit]

Bluff Point on Keuka Lake



Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]