Time to bring a dry bag with dry clothes

I think it’s a sneaky dangerous time of year. It’s been unseasonably warm in Michigan for weeks…86 last Saturday with folks swimming in Lake Michigan and still low 70’s today. But I see the river temp has been dropping one degree per day. And when it suddenly gets cloudy and rains a little (while I’m out paddling) I realize that if I end up swimming miles from my put-in it could be quite unpleasant and maybe even dangerous. So I changed purses…I mean day packs.

Even here in Florida I am starting to change over to my fall paddling setup - got out of the car on a (relatively) brisk and breezy morning this past weekend at the launch site and realized that I need to start bringing my paddling jacket all the time now. I ended up not needing it but it was a good reminder.

I don’t know, it may be December before you need the drybag gear… Last weekend, I had to surf around several swimmers in shorts and bikinis. This time of year? Totally ridiculous!!!


Temps are in water?

I usually carry a clean shirt. It beats a sweaty one any day.

Northeast Florida water temps are still in the 80s.

Water temps in MassBay have fluctuated between 62-65 in October. So, we still have the long distances swimmers way out beyond the break zone swimming in just bathing suits or .5 mm tri-suit and towing their orange/yellow swim buoys along. Last weekend, we still had a few adventuresome parents and kids swimming/playing in the surf.

Highly unusual for October. Water temps should be down into the mid-high 50s.


Average Boston water temps:

67 here on Long Island time for gear soon.

I’m planning on wearing my paddling suit for our overnight trip on the AuSable this weekend. If nothing else it will make helping the kayakers at the Dam(n) portages drier. It looks like cool mornings and pleasant afternoons (low 30s AM, low 50s PM some sun & little breeze)

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Might try to get another couple days on the gulf week after next. Right now water temp is 81F :-). No jacket required.

The local creek I paddle has just hit 59 degrees F, which is surprising because it’s still so warm here. The Ohio River, which the creek feeds into, is 10 degrees warmer.

Once I have my new kayak (Monday?) it’ll be dry suit time for me.

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we had some high water events that brought up water temps on the new and kanawha rivers for a few days, I switched to a semi drysuit about 3 weeks ago, a month ago I got cold on the top gauley (above the lake). The temp went down in just a week’s time. I found myself wishing I had more than a paddling jacket.

Water temp in the St Joseph river (my most frequent paddling venue) is at 59F today, down from 68 a week ago. I’ve been looking forward to the Fall paddling weather so now I’m just hoping for normal/average weather. Just FYI the water temp at the southern tip of Lake Michigan was 67 yesterday.

That’s chilly. Lake Michigan water temp is 61F at the northern tip and 64F in Little Traverse Bay.

Sure has been a beautiful month for paddling. Needed a break from fall leaf clean-up so took a quick trip to Lake Charlevoix yesterday afternoon. Sun, textured water, and not a boat in sight made for a wonderful time.

Major weather change today so now it’s time to get the dry suit out of the closet.

I always take dry clothes with me, at least shirts.
On hot days , synthetic wicking shirts can get really gamey after awhile. Dry clothes feel better after a day on the water especially if you are wearing waterproof outer layers.

My better half complains that my synthethic/athletic wear “games up” the laundry and her clothes. :slight_smile:

But, domestic peace was successfully restored with me storing and doing all of my laundry from a separate hamper. :slight_smile:


Are you all measuring water temps yourself or relying on nearby gauges etc? If measuring yourself, how? In an effort to try tracking temps in my favorite paddling spot, I started trailing a pool thermometer behind my canoe, but it’s really only getting surface temp unless I stop long enough for it to sink and then reach a final reading. I think reaction time is pretty slow on it…with a breeze up it starts to get impractical.

The ones I cited came from NOAA buoys.

I greatly appreciate NOAA buoys and USGS stream gauges whenever I can. Sadly the inland waterways I paddle most don’t tend to have any sensors on them. Thanks for the reply though!

Generally, the top water layer is a couple of degrees warmer than the mid and bottom layers. If there have been strong wind activity witth the past day, the temperature would be more uniformed from the mixing.

If you want a quicker reading than afforded by your mercury thermometer, you can do what I and some other salminoid flyfishers have done – switch over to a infrared thermometer that gives an instant reading. Something like this: