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Kayaking-Isle Royale

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Does anyone have any advice about a planned kayaking trip around parts of Isle Royale? My son and a friend plan on taking the ferry out and renting a kayak and also portaging in and fishing one of the inland lakes. Then taking the ferry back after 5 days or so. Any areas they should try to avoid? What type of camping sites are there, thanks,

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I've never been to Isle Royale but have been looking into going for years. I've spent hour talking to people who regularly travel the island. Here's the best advice I've been given from all those I've talked to.

1. The weather changes very quickly

2. Take good maps and know them

3. If kayaking make sure your experienced on Lake Superior and know basic kayak rescues, the lake can get rough quick

4. The camp sites are fairly rough

5. Mid summer the bugs can be really bad

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I've sailed in there multiple times. I have explored a little by dinghy after anchoring the sloop, but primarily I've explored it by hiking. Isle Royale should be on everyone's bucket list. It's great. Here's my advice. Always stay with at least one buddy, especially in the fall when the moose are rutting. Read and study as much as possible beforehand, and plan your stay. I'd recommend Washington Harbor, Siskiwit Bay, or Rock Harbor. You'll notice these are all leeward destinations - you'll have less wave action and struggles along the shore in your kayak because the prevailing winds are from the Thunder Bay side. You'll have plenty of fantastic kayaking opportunities on this side of the island as you gunkhole around these bays and inlets. You'll also notice there are Ranger staions near these three areas. If you kayak along the west side, such as Todd Harbor, you are putting yourself more at risk in terms of smashing into the rocks, etc. For the first trip at least, stay on the leeward side and reduce your risks. If it's calm, you could dash out to Rock of Ages Lighthouse from Washington Harbor. Notice I said dash, not dawdle. The other poster is right. Don't take chances on Lake Superior. Stay in the inlets and you'll have a blast. Stop at the Ranger Stations too- they have lots of good info. You clould go to the Amygdaloid islands, but that area gets pounded harder with wind and waves. I'd also recommend you research Isle Royale shipwrecks before going. There are several books on this - you'll be able to see a few just beneath the surface if you know where to look. One of them, as I recall, is in the Washington Harbor area; I think it's called the America. Promise us you'll post a report on the inland fishing there. I have seen a few of these lakes and they're just wild and isolated. Bring essential stuff; toilet paper, trailmix, knives, fire starting stuff, first aid stuff, windup flashlight, bug repellant, GPS, and your . . . fishing pole.

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I have paddled the inner lakes of Isle Royale a few times. The camping sites are great, usually near water, with toilets. The fishing can be phenomenal, especially for pike, with some walleye. Potential to see plenty of moose, possibly wolves. Most of the island is used for backpacking and paddlers on Lake superior, so getting into the interior lakes offers great solitude and fishing. I recommend tossing Mepps and spoons.

I have a trip report with pix from last fall here:

I'm sure they'll have a great time.

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

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