Keuka Lake is situated in New York State’s world-renowned Finger Lake region, Keuka is an unusual Y-shaped lake, in contrast to the long and narrow shape of the other Finger Lakes. Because of its shape, it was referred to in the past as Crooked Lake and forks out into a Y shape about halfway up. At the northern end of Keuka are the towns of Branchport and Penn Yan and at the southern end is Hammondsport. The lifestyle is complete with small cottages to contemporary homes and line the lakefront community and is a destination for visitors who come to enjoy the abundant wineries and craft breweries, excellent fishing and lakefront restaurants. The panoramic view of vineyards surrounding the lake make for what many describe as the most picturesque of all the Finger Lakes.
The Y-shaped Keuka Lake empties into another Finger Lake, Seneca Lake, through a stream called Keuka Lake Outlet at the lake's northeastern end in Penn Yan. 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 one-half mile (0.80 km) to two miles (3.2 km). It has a surface area of 11,730 acres (47.5 km2), and a maximum and mean depth of 186 feet (57 m) and 101 feet (31 m) respectively.
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. 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
These vineyards are included in the Keuka Lake Wine Trail:
The winery on the lake, but not listed on the official Keuka Lake Wine Trail, is Domaine Leseurre.
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. Furthermore, their sharp shells can cause lacerations on the feet of bathers. Bathers may wish to wear water shoes when swimming in the lake.
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