Boating into the fall

Shelburne Bay. File photo
Shelburne Bay. File photo

By John Freeman of Small Boat Exchange

Vermonters start pulling their boats out of the water starting Labor Day. What a mistake. Granted, some boaters are heading south for the winter, and some are parents of school-aged kids with weekends filled with sporting events and other activities. But for the rest of us, we should take full advantage of fall boating.

The biggest plus of fall boating versus the spring is the warm water temperature. It’s the end of September and the temperature is still over 70 degrees. Even if you’re not swimming, the warmer water keeps the ambient air temperature quite warm, which results in very pleasant boating.

For sailors, the great advantage of the fall season is wind. After two months of unreliable wind, September and October offer up dependable wind, which combined with the warmer water, brings some great sailing.

For fishermen, the cooling water and lower sun angle equate to better fishing. Come October, I look forward to a couple months of good salmon fishing. All species, not just salmon and trout, are coming to the surface, which means better casting and trolling.

With the warm September we’ve had, the foliage hasn’t started around the lake. When it does come, it’s magnificent. In my book, the views around the lake are the prettiest in the fall and the foliage lasts the longest with the warmth of the water mitigating the frosts. With the cooler temperatures, the humidity breaks and you get wonderful clarity over the Adirondacks. The mountains are no longer obscured by haze.

For me, and I’m sure others, the best things about fall boating is that you have the lake to yourself. There are no crowds or wakes, just the views and the crisp air. If September is any indication of the fall weather, October could be a corker. Get out and enjoy the season.