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      Isle Royale - by canoe?

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PINETREE
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04/07/2012 08:35AM
Anybody tried taking the boat over to the island, then canoeing or kayaking around in the protected bays or inland on the Island? A friend mentioned the bays around the Island, but would they be too wind swept or are there enough islands and irregular shoreline to break the wind up?
 
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Woodtick
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04/07/2012 09:32AM
quote PINETREE: "Anybody tried taking the boat over to the island, than canoeing or kayaking around,in the protected bays, or inland on the Island. A friend mentioned the bays around the Island,but would they be to wind swept or is there enough islands and irregular shoreline to break the wind up? "
I've been dreaming about taking my canoe to the island for a long time. When I do go, I'll be taking the ferry to McCargoe Cove, then paddle towards the east end of the island. I do plan to take the portage between duncan bay and tobin harbor as I've heard that going around Blake Point on the far eastern tip of the island can be very rough even for sea kayaks. I'll finish up the trip near rock harbor.

I'm not much interested in paddling the inland lakes on the island. If I want to paddle inland lakes, I'll just stick to the bwca. When I go there, I want to experience the big lake.

Jackfish
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04/07/2012 09:38AM
Isle Royale is a legitimate destination for canoers and kayakers. Most of the paddling is done on the east end of the island from Rock Harbor to Moskey Basin to Chippewa Harbor or Lake Ritchie, then northward toward McCargo Cove. There is a loop route from Chippewa Harbor to Siskiwit Lake and back around to Ritchie.

Once you're at McCargo, getting around to the northside involves a short paddle in open water past Birch Island and through a short portage into the area known as Five Fingers. The area is mostly protected from the main part of Lake Superior and is supposed to be a paddler's paradise. There are maybe a half dozen campsites in this area.

You complete the loop back to Rock Harbor by doing a very steep and rugged portage from Duncan Bay into Tobin Harbor.

I haven't done this trip yet, but several friends have and we have it "penciled in" for late August or September 2013. Can't wait.

For a bulletinboard dedicated to Isle Royale, check out Isle Royale Forums .
isleroyaleguy
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04/07/2012 09:55AM
We have paddled the inland lakes quite a few times. It's an awesome trip. We go in mid-September. No bugs, hardly any people, fishing's great, moose are rutting. If you want a BWCA-type trip, but add the solitude, it doesn't get any better then this place.

Sorry, I can't help with the big lake yet. We plan to do the McCargoe cove thru Five Fingers trip next. There are huge pike in the bays and coves of the island. We have also hiked it up and down. Its an incredible place. If you get a chance, go.

IRG
nojobro
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04/07/2012 11:29AM
I want to do the inland route sometime. You start and end at the big water and that's enough for me. I especially want to go to the largest island on the largest lake on the largest island in the largest lake. When the conditions are right, there is also another lake with another island, so it's the largest island on the largest lake on the largest island on the largest lake on the largest island in the largest freshwater lake.

;-)
04/07/2012 11:34AM
My wife teaches with a gal whose husband claims he and some buddies used to paddle canoes to Isle Royale from somewhere along the North Shore. He says they would leave around midnight. Crazy bastards, if it's true!
RaisedByBears99
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04/07/2012 12:09PM
quote Frenchy19: "My wife teaches with a gal whose husband claims he and some buddies used to paddle canoes to Isle Royale from somewhere along the North Shore. He says they would leave around midnight. Crazy bastards, if it's true!"
My grandfather did it - and a Dr Wilson who interned in Grand Marais did it. Both went at night.
AdamXChicago
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04/07/2012 03:17PM
Always thought about a trip like that - would be interested in anyone's trip report, if available.
Woodtick
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04/07/2012 03:27PM
quote PINETREE: "Anybody tried taking the boat over to the island, then canoeing or kayaking around in the protected bays or inland on the Island? A friend mentioned the bays around the Island, but would they be too wind swept or are there enough islands and irregular shoreline to break the wind up? "

Another great place to go canoeing on the big lake is Pukaskwa NP. In some places it's pretty exposed though. I went there a number of years ago with my wife (before kids) and was blown away by the scenery. I can't wait to go back.
PINETREE
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04/07/2012 03:48PM
Woodtick I have been looking into that one also. I just don't know about the wind. Sounds like it is wild country. Did you fish there?
Canoodler
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04/07/2012 06:07PM
I agree that canoeing along the Lake Superior facing shores of Isle Royale could be dangerous. I would only canoe from Siskiwit Lake through to McCargo Cove after a Voyageur II ferry to and from each end of this route.
Canoodler
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04/07/2012 06:16PM
Jackfish, sorry I missed you at Canoecopia last month. It was the best show Darren has put together yet, I think.
Jackfish
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04/07/2012 06:22PM
quote Canoodler: "Jackfish, sorry I missed you at Canoecopia last month. It was the best show Darren has put together yet, I think. "
Lee, we didn't miss each other completely, remember? We talked briefly in the foyer of the Clarion. Wish we could have chatted longer though.
04/07/2012 10:32PM
Over the years I've often looked over maps and read literature about an Isle Royale trip. I sure hope to make the trip someday.
Canoodler
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04/08/2012 12:41AM
quote Jackfish: "quote Canoodler: "Jackfish, sorry I missed you at Canoecopia last month. It was the best show Darren has put together yet, I think. "
Lee, we didn't miss each other completely, remember? We talked briefly in the foyer of the Clarion. Wish we could have chatted longer though."

Oops! Yep, we did talk briefly and then you disappeared for good! Almost like we missed each other!!!

oldgentleman
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04/08/2012 08:00AM
My son and I did that a few years ago. We took the Isle Royale Queen to Rock Harbor. We paddled and portaged across Tobin harbor, Duncan bay, Five Fingers etc to Pickerel Cove. A short portage from Pickerel to Lake Superior. It's about a mile on the open lake to McCargo Cove. From there we portaged across to Chickenbone Lake, Livermore, LeSage to Richie lake. We did a day trip from there to Siskiwit Lake, then up through Chippewa and back to Richie.

While on Siskiwit we landed briefly on Ryan Island. We were on 'the biggest island in the biggest lake, on the biggest island in the biggest lake in the world.'

From Lake Richie, it's a 2 mile portage to Moskey Basin. From there it's an easy paddle back to Rock Harbor.

It's a wonderful trip. we did it in a week. There are no bears but the foxes will not only steal food, they'll steal your shoes and clothes.

Next time we won't take the Isle Royale Queen. The captain was a real jerk.

PINETREE
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04/08/2012 09:00AM
Oldgentleman sounds like you had a great time. What Canoe type you had? What is the normal open span length of open water you encounter? I see Siskiwit lake is the only inland lake with lake trout.
I have paddled in August along the shore of lake Superior on the Minnesota side and just amazed at water clarity. Like I am sitting on a glass window.
I would probably try it in my Prism solo canoe and throw a line out for lake trout as I cruise along. Maybe they are too deep for just a plug and line(max about 25 feet down). Nothing else forget the fishing and cruise,scenery must be awesome and a August trip you would be air conditioned from the lake.
Do you have to designate certain campsite ahead of time?
lundojam
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04/08/2012 01:17PM
isleroyalguy-
That sounds like a wonderful trip; say more about the fishing!
PINETREE
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04/08/2012 03:11PM
I think a few of us are getting excited about Isle Royale.
AdamXChicago
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04/08/2012 03:48PM
quote PINETREE: "I think a few of us are getting excited about Isle Royale."
Yep - am also curious if anyone who's already been there bumped into the wolves that populate that island. Any photos?
PINETREE
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04/08/2012 04:06PM
DayDreamin
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04/08/2012 04:43PM
I hiked the Minong trail with a buddy last june. At the N dessor campsite, we had a lone wolf come out of the woods between the site, and the lake, and walk right through our campsite. It was about the size of a large Germain Sheppard. Fortunatly, it wanted nothing to do with us, and headed up the hill into the woods. Unfortunatly, I did not have a camera ready to snap a pic.



Woodtick
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04/08/2012 05:03PM
quote PINETREE: "Woodtick I have been looking into that one also. I just don't know about the wind. Sounds like it is wild country. Did you fish there?"
The wind can be a real problem. I think we were in the park for four days and never saw anyone else around. It felt completely empty and it was Memorial Day weekend too. We never did any fishing. Just spent our time exploring the coast.

PINETREE
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04/08/2012 07:16PM
That is beautiful looking country.
oldgentleman
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04/08/2012 07:45PM
quote PINETREE: "Oldgentleman sounds like you had a great time. What Canoe type you had? What is the normal open span length of open water you encounter? I see Siskiwit lake is the only inland lake with lake trout.
I have paddled in August along the shore of lake Superior on the Minnesota side and just amazed at water clarity. Like I am sitting on a glass window.
I would probably try it in my Prism solo canoe and throw a line out for lake trout as I cruise along. Maybe they are too deep for just a plug and line(max about 25 feet down). Nothing else forget the fishing and cruise,scenery must be awesome and a August trip you would be air conditioned from the lake.
Do you have to designate certain campsite ahead of time? "

We took our Minn II. The fjords on the north east end of the island are long and narrow. When cutting across, we did more portaging than paddling. Going lengthwise down McCargo and Rock Harbor, among others it's a long, easy paddle.

Campsites aren't reserved. All the ones accessible from Lake Superior have screened shelters. On the inland lakes, like Richie, it's tent camping.

About that air conditioning, Isle Royale has its own micro climate. Things can happen fast. We were out on Lake Richie when a wall of fog came over the hill and rolled down over the lake. When it got to the canoe, the temp immediately dropped 20 degrees and we could barely see the length of the boat. Just before the fog hit, we each took a compass bearing on the camp site and that's the only way we found our way back.

PINETREE
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04/08/2012 08:14PM
Thanks for the nice report.
isleroyaleguy
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04/08/2012 09:16PM
Fishing is mainly for pike and there a lots in every lake on the inland route. And some big ones too. There are lake trout in big Siskiwit Lk. but everytime we are on it, we cant wait to get off because of wind. And there are walleye in Lake Whittlesey. Its a beautiful spot. fun to fish. We usually go with barbless hooks, make it easier to deal with big Northern's. I could go on for ever bout the island. As for wolves. We were on Wood lake for a night on our last canoe trip and we were out fishing and we spotted a young bull moose standing about 50 yd's out in the lake. Not wanting to spook it we slowly made our way closer. Only to see why it was out there. there were three wolves we could see that had him trapped and would cut him off when he would try to wade ashore. This went on all day. We went to bed that night wondering what would happen. Only to wake up the next day and they still had him trapped standing in the same area. Unbelievable to witness. We wondered how the moose could stand in that water that long. it was late September. IT had to be close to 48 hrs. We went over to Lake Whittlesey to fish for the day and when we came back they were all gone. We also got to meet Rolf Peterson on the ferry ride home so we told him our story. He was going to go back there and find out what happened. There was never a kill reported in that area so maybe the moose escaped or mama came to the rescue. And as for the cold water. Last year we hiked Glacier NP and watched a moose stand in a high alpine lake all day and seem to enjoy it. We could barely stand to wade in to get water.

derek5017
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04/09/2012 03:08PM
We did this trip 2 or 3 years ago.

Isle Royale video
derek5017
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04/09/2012 03:19PM
quote PINETREE: "Anybody tried taking the boat over to the island, then canoeing or kayaking around in the protected bays or inland on the Island? A friend mentioned the bays around the Island, but would they be too wind swept or are there enough islands and irregular shoreline to break the wind up? "

I know that the northeast end of the island can get very, very windswept. We're talking swells from Lake Superior. More ideal for yakers.
ZaraSp00k
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04/09/2012 04:57PM
if you paddle Lake Superior, be very vigalent of what is happening far off with the sky and be sure you have a good idea where you will go and how long it will take you to get there in the event conditions get bad

the skipper of a sailboat on Superior I used to sail with called PFD's "body preservers" IOW more likely to save your body than your life
oldgentleman
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04/09/2012 06:31PM
quote ZaraSp00k: "if you paddle Lake Superior, be very vigalent of what is happening far off with the sky and be sure you have a good idea where you will go and how long it will take you to get there in the event conditions get bad

the skipper of a sailboat on Superior I used to sail with called PFD's "body preservers" IOW more likely to save your body than your life"

Agreed.

When we paddled from Pickerel to McCargo we had agreed that if it looked at all chancy we would camp the night at Pickerel and see if the morning was calm. If the morning looked risky we would confine our exploration to the north east end of the island. When we arrived the lake was calm so we made a quick dash to McCargo.

oldgentleman
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04/09/2012 06:34PM
At Pickerel somebody had built a table out of driftwood. It was picturesque.
h20
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04/09/2012 11:11PM
quote nojobro: "I want to do the inland route sometime. You start and end at the big water and that's enough for me. I especially want to go to the largest island on the largest lake on the largest island in the largest lake. When the conditions are right, there is also another lake with another island, so it's the largest island on the largest lake on the largest island on the largest lake on the largest island in the largest freshwater lake. "
Whoah,,,what????
oldgentleman
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04/10/2012 12:49PM
Yes, Lake Superior is the largest lake in the world. Isle Royale is the largest island on Superior, Siskiwit the largest lake on Isle Royale and Ryan Island the largest island on Siskiwit lake.
PINETREE
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04/10/2012 01:11PM
Recent barge boat rate from Minnesota and canoe baggage?Did one of the boats that use to do it quit?
04/10/2012 06:24PM
quote derek5017: "quote PINETREE: "Anybody tried taking the boat over to the island, then canoeing or kayaking around in the protected bays or inland on the Island? A friend mentioned the bays around the Island, but would they be too wind swept or are there enough islands and irregular shoreline to break the wind up? "
I know that the northeast end of the island can get very, very windswept. We're talking swells from Lake Superior. More ideal for yakers."


@derek5017 - Great video, thank you for sharing your journey with us. Loved the opening scene, really made me feel as if I was tripping with you. I noticed you had a Shemagh on your head, how valuable do you find this piece of equipment?
oldgentleman
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04/10/2012 08:54PM
quote derek5017: "We did this trip 2 or 3 years ago.

http://youtu.be/bpKDHV2JRkY "

Good video.

Thanks.
 
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