Lower Saranac October

Hi all,
I’m planning a trip on Lower Saranac Lake for mid October.
We’ll be camping on Eagle Island and launching from first pond.
Seems like the air temp will be 55 and water temp will be in the 40’s with some rain no thunderstorms.
I’ll be taking some novice paddlers.
I have self rescue skills and was waterfront lifeguard certified and performed many canoe rescues.
For this water temp (I know the only way to know is to test it but I won’t have the opportunity) will 3mm wet suits with booties, gloves and balaclava with fleece and rain gear on top be reasonable?
I will be providing cold water education - gasp reflex, hypothermia, anxiety, etc.
Dry suits would be cost prohibitive - would they be necessary for this?

Any other tips on this route would be helpful as well.
Thanks for the advice

Welcome to the forum! There are a ton of very smart and experienced people here, so I’m sure you will get better advice than what I’m about to give.

I’m bumping this so maybe some people with cold water experience will give you a more comprehensive answer, since I do not own a dry suit and have consequently never paddled on any water under around 62 degrees.

I have a capable sea kayak, a partner with my level of experience, and we have both participated in a number of safety courses, and are reasonably competent in self rescue and simple assisted rescues - on flat water when not panicked, that is.

That being said, there’s no way I would personally kayak on any really cold water, because if you capsize you really need to be able to get back in your boat pronto, and I know that would be apt to entail conditions that would make it difficult for someone with my level of experience to perform a rescue.

I wouldn’t even consider kayaking in water temperatures as cold as you described, unless I had a dry suit, and was also with a person more expert than either of us. And I definitely would not want to take out any newbies in such conditions.

Been there many times You stay close to shore into the bays enroute to Eagle Island which is only 300 feet from the mainland
Wind is calmer before noon
Water temp will be cool but it wont drop to 40s till after mid Oct
If you hug the shore you ought to be able to go with getting right out and having clothing in an accessible dry bag
That end of L Saranac has homes occupied year round in Crescent Bay . If things are dicey on the day you depart the campsite head for the new marina and bail

The water is still quite warm after a very warm summer, it was unexpectedly so last weekend during the 90 mile race. I would be surprised if it cools down that much into the 40s in the next few weeks unless the weather dramatically changes. Fall can be very nice and comfortable in the Adirondacks. But the Saranacs can become very windy and challenging for the inexperienced paddler. It is an opiton to launch directly from Ampersand Bay, which is very close to Eagle Island, stick close to the eastern shore and you are never far from land. I expect to be paddling solo across Middle Saranac to work on a leanto repair job (with Lean2Rescue) during the last week of October.

Personally, I would want to be in a kayak with a dry suit and spray skirt for the conditions that you are anticipating. Air temperatures at night are dropping into the lower 40s later this week.

However, it’s a short paddle, probably about 3 miles. The thing to watch is the weather, and especially the wind. You will be hopefully hugging the eastern shoreline but the winds are predominantly from the west. The fetch can be considerable if the wind is from the southwest and the lake is large and can become pretty rough.

Paddling with a group with at least a couple of experienced paddlers and full 3mm wet suits should be safe enough if the weather cooperates. Have a plan B if the weather does not cooperate. Being on the water early sometimes helps with the wind.

Naturally having everyone properly wear a PFD should be mandatory.

I have a friend who is a skilled paddler who lives directly across from Eagle Island… Its really quite protected but that is no endorsement for not being careful… He lives in a boat house and paddles in circles year round ( he has a bubbler to prevent ice from encroaching on the house underpinnings)

The only downside is that the colors will be fading. Yes the lake could get rough or someone could capsize out of inattention. However its not as scary as Middle Saranac ( to me, with that bowl shape) We used to visit every mid Oct and did go wading out of a canoe… We liked to paddle down the length of the lake and return. Lunch on an island.
Here is a site with LSL water temps… Lower Saranac Lake, NY water temperature, information and forecast

Really doubt that water temps will be in the 40’s in mid Oct. with waters high thermal mass. Oct is not as cold as May water.

Be sure to rise early as the mist coming off the lake is awesome.

Thanks everyone!
I’m still feeling comfortable with this trip.
I’m going to explore the option of launching from Ampersand Bay. Seems like a good idea in anticipation of rain.
If anyone has cold water hacks aside from buying an actual dry suit I’d love to hear them

as we have indicated you should be fine. If the temps dive and stay in the 40s the water could get cold… But the ten day forecast is for air temps in the sixties. The morning mist on LSL is due to water being warmer than the early morning air temps which are in the 40’s.

I live on a similar lake in Maine and… we are still swimming jumping off the dock. Will we still be doing this in two weeks? Probably not. But May is the most lethal month… people totally unaware of the cold water just after ice out and basking in bathing suits in their craft on warm days.

If you need firewood buy it locally… Getting a fire going quickly and having hot non alcoholic bevarages and dry clothes avoid hypothermia too. I would suggest that everyone have a fleece or wool hat.

Tarp of course as the weather does swing from nice to not so much. Keep everyone dry ; sandals are not a great idea at this time of year. Feet get cold!

Are you doing a pre trip equipment shakedown? Nothing worse than finding someone did not bring the right stuff.

And say hi to the guy in the boathouse at the end of Crescent Bay.