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Mike is exactly right. I would only add that the velocity of the wind from any direction can become critical. At about 10 mph the lakes will develop white caps from the north and south direction and the waves will build as you go further from either direction so if you are in a small boat it can become real important because it can be deceptive the closer to land you are in the prevailing wind condition. Keuka Lake is a bit of an oddity as it is kind of like fishing three different lakes because of the three branches orientation. On the west branch a strong west wind can become like a north or south is on the other two branches. The larger Finger Lakes are nothing to mess around with in a small boat  if the wind is strong regardless of direction. The exception might be hunkering down in a carefully selected cove or bay in which the wind is blocked by land form elements such as steep banks and/or significantly elevated treeline which exist on some of the lakes.

Edited by Sk8man

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Sk8 i fished from small boats for about 7 years mostly aluminum smokers a 14 and 16 i decked them out with riggers and gear. 

you say the finger lakes are nothing to mess with so true!!!

many close calls on Canadaigua south end it would start out flat at 530am with a light variable wind and by 730 rolling 2 footers from the north .

 

some fun times navagating back to Woodville launch so be careful in any small boat and Cayuga is whole different animal .. good advice!! i had a few close calls and white knuckle events 😟

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All good and accurate posts, I have gone out in 20-25 kt winds north south blows on cayuga and experienced 3-5 foot wind swept waves. Mine is not a small boat and can handle it, but because of the nature of wind swept waves they have short intervals they can swamp a small boat quickly. In those cases I took water over the hard top...I wont do it again for fishing it was just too much work, I will only do it for rescues....


Sent from my iPad using Lake Ontario United

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 Is it just me or does the wind on all the finger lakes blow ONLY due north or due south, despite what direction the wind is blowing inland?

 

 I have been on Cayuga ,Seneca,Skaneateles, Owasco Lakes dozens of times  getting blown up or down the lake, but on the shoreline 100 feet from the waters edge the  flags were barely moving.. In 28 years fishing these lakes, I don't think I ever remember even once getting blown ACROSS these lakes either east or west.. Only north or south.. Pretty unusual.. In the ocean the winds will  due east or west at times, more commonly they quarter from SW ,NE, or NW....bob

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The wind/waves do like to have a north south flow to them.  Not always but more often then you would think.  Could be because they are carved out which funnels the wind.

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Because of the tall east & west shorelines/cliffs around much of the lake, when the wind blows from the east or west, the lake often appears fairly calm, because the bulk of the wind is blocked by the land and passes above the lake level at a higher altitude.

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