Hi, new to the forum and to the area. I’m an intermediate-ish paddler with a 17’ Kevlar Wilderness Systems Tempest. Most of my experience is in and around the California Bay Area. I live in Pittsburgh now and finally got my hands on a sea kayak and and I’m excited to get out to some open waters. I row on the rivers here in the meantime. Lake Erie is the closest huge body of water, and while I’m comfortable in relatively high winds and rough waters, I am just unfamiliar with the lake from a kayaking standpoint. Does anyone have recommendations on good launching beaches, day paddles, danger zones and weather info specific to the area? I figure there are some good books on paddling the Great Lakes, any faves? We are getting into the cold season, which doesn’t really happen where I’m from. Any tips on assessing conditions prior to hitting the water? I imagine it’s quite different from the Pacific.
I put in an answer to your other post but here is a little more.
Magic Seaweed does have surf reports for some Great Lakes Locations. You will find the the swell period is rather shorter than you may be used to. A quick look at on location has primary swell at 4ft at 6s, Air 49 deg, Sea 59 deg F.
Windy will also come up with a range of forecasts of the Great Lakes.
Thanks, I had thought the post had been erased and re-wrote it. I’m looking forward to the rapid, 4’ waves…
I grew up a stones throw from Lake Erie and have been on and around it for 65 years. It can be like glass one minute and a beast 15 minutes later. Show it a lot of respect and you will be fine.
There is a nice launch point if you follow Rt 98 north to the lake. Ample parking and the mouth of a small creek is right there Trout Run. There is no ramp or large boat access to deal with so in the event you need to get in quick there isn’t much to deal with. There will be at some times a lot of steel head fishermen there, but that is true at all access locations.
Come down I79 and over I90 a couple exits and head north. You can get a good view of the facilities on google maps.
Big lake, big water and lots of fetch. It is cold a lot of the time. Watch the weather, dress for immersion, practice rescues and don’t go solo. Stay near shore. Work on bracing. Use a spray skirt. Follow this rules and avoid bad weather and your chances of improving your paddling are good.
Just head to Presque Isle and paddle around Presque Isle Bay for a while and then maybe venture out into the big lake a little bit at a time from there. Don’t go alone. Be prepared for anything. Waves can get pretty big even in the bay let alone the big lake.
Presque Isle State Park has some great inland lagoons and such for rec paddling lots of summer wildlife etc. The Erie harbor “Bay” is a good size body of water and you are correct and gets a lot of summer power boat traffic and can get pretty choppy. I personally wouldn’t take the channel out between the bay and Lake Erie as those water can really be a challenge and you have every size and type of boat and ship passing thru there up to lake freight ships coming in for repairs. The walls on both sides are high.
Lake Erie is 100% weather dependent and the problem is if you want to do long distances or far from shore you would need to really study the weather and not venture past the point of no return.
As a kid and young man we would fish 4 miles out with a 16’ powerboat with a 50HP outboard. When we would see dark skies to the west we would high tail it back to Walnut Creek protected launch. Sometimes even then we didn’t stay ahead of the storm.