Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Questions about how to get to the island and where to stay near points of departure.

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Rexbo
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Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by Rexbo » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:52 pm

Hi,

I'm new to this forum and just heard about the island last year and now I'm planning my solo 10 day trip for the end of August this year. I plan on boating to the island with my bass boat. My original goal was to transit from Cooper Harbor to Rock Harbor, but due to the unpredictability of Lake Superior I feel better departing from Grand Portage, MN. My goal is to work my way around the entire island going from harbor to harbor exploring as I go.

Question about Permits? I know I need a permit for my entire trip. I'm having trouble understanding the rules with regards to knowing where I'm going to stay each night. I've been ready so much info online about needing permits for each night, but I have no idea where I will be each night. I just plan to explore each day and where I end up that evening is where I will sleep. I plan on sleeping on my boat each night in a safe protected harbor.

Question about Boating the Island? Has anyone done the trip abound the island and can you share some points of interests and lessons learned?

Thanks,
Rex


Midwest Ed
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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:30 pm

Welcome to the forums Rexbo. In your research thus far have you found the National Park Service's webpage for Isle Royale Boaters? That page and its links along with the Greenstone Newsletter 2016 I think your questions will be answered.

The permitting is for each night stayed whether in campground or moored at a dock or even at anchor as the park boundary extends quite a distance into Lake Superior. The Greenstone has a chart for each campground covering maximum nightly stays, water depth at the dock and noise restrictions for such things as on board generators (they are banned at some campgrounds). Permitting and payments only happens once, either when you arrive or in advance. It is OK to alter your itinerary as you go but if you bump into a park ranger along the way it's a good idea to update them so they know where to start looking, just in case.

I made a power boat trip with 3 friends in 2000. We came from Houghton in a twin engine 24 foot RIB but Grand Portage is certainly the safest option. With any boating but especially with Lake Superior, preparation is everything. Beyond the normal safety gear you should have a good marine radio with weather channels and current charts or chart plotter. The water is very cold and while Autumn typically breeds more rough weather, it can turn nasty most anytime and do so quickly. Ask most any seasoned meteorologist and they will say the forecasts for the upper Great Lakes is among the most unpredictable.

If you review or search the Boating forum and the Trip Report forum here, you will find several reports on past trips.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by fishrman47 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:56 pm

This idea sounds a little crazy.

Saw a couple guys fishing from a good-size Lund in Rock Harbor last year. The story behind that was, they put that boat on one of the ferries that service IR. Or to say it another way, they didn't use the Lund (which probably has a deeper hull than your bass boat) to get to the island.

Maybe you have experience and I don't know what I'm talking about, but I really suggest you talk about this with someone who boats there a lot. We had 5' swells on the IR Queen return trip, that boat was rockin and rollin. Solo and in a bass boat in the open water of that lake would be too risky for me.


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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by johnhens » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:05 pm

I will 2nd what Midwest Ed said. A good VHF and a chartplotter are a must as fog comes up unexpectedly. Also the marine chart of IR (backup in case your chartplotter fails). A good compass too. If you don't have an inreach or the like, would be good to have one. I use one when kayaking (I also carry a VHF).


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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by drobarge » Sat Jan 28, 2017 5:35 pm

There are several areas on the island where a chart plotter is not accurate, North Gap for example.

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jrwiesz
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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by jrwiesz » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:59 am

The Ranger can transport up to an 20' craft to the Isle for a fee.

Check the website:

https://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvisit/ ... i-info.htm
"And standing on the the crest of the Greenstone Ridge, I suddenly had this desire to retreat north to where I just come, to stay in the backcountry, to spend another day in a place where the only deadline I had was to pitch the tent before dark."
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Midwest Ed
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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by Midwest Ed » Sun Jan 29, 2017 3:36 pm

I'm positive my memory is correct that an old NPS Isle Royale brochure had a recommendation for minimum boat length for making a private transit to the island. I say "old" because I searched now and can't find any reference. The risk management lawyers in the government most likely had something to do with removing the reference (or I just missed it today). Vessel length is but one of many factors in evaluating the risk in venturing anywhere in a boat. If I had a 20' boat I would gladly pay the Park Service the $140 (each way) to insure safe passage. My one boat trip was in a 24 foot, rigid inflatable boat that had twin engines and also included an automatic EPIRB, cold water exposure suits for all 4 crew, dual marine radios, radar, chart plotter and an added reserve fuel tank.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by Tampico » Fri Feb 03, 2017 6:01 pm

I've taken my boat (a 23' Boston Whaler) to the island four times. Always from Grand Portage. I have many friends (also with Whalers) that have made the trip from Eagle Harbor many times.

The trouble with the big lake is that it can be like glass or dangerous, and everything in between. Sometimes in the same day. Your bass boat likely has very low freeboard. I would not make either crossing in a such a boat.

The NPS will transport your boat on the Ranger for a fee and you can use it around the island. I would avoid the northwest and southwest shores of the island, as there are very few refuges in case the weather turns on you. Everywhere else you will likely be fine.


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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by Rexbo » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:34 pm

Thank you for all your responses, much appreciated! :D

I'm a retired Navy Veteran of 21 with over 8 years on the water. I understand the unpredictably of weather and water and will take every safety precaution possible.

My original idea was to have my bass boat loaded on the Ranger III and transported over to the island. My boat length by title is 20' 4". I have tried to e-mail the Ranger III and my e-mail keep getting rejected. They may be closed during the winter months and turned off their servers, but I will keep trying. Does anyone know if the 4" would make a difference and also do they have a weight limit?. My boat is 2300 lbs dry.

Any Points of Interest??

Thanks,
Rex


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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by johnhens » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:21 pm

Thanks for your service! In winter, the NPS has a minimal crew and sometimes due to heavy snow, the office is closed. I would call the NPS 906-482-0984 and ask. I can't imagine 4" is going to make a difference. I will be interested in their response.

John

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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by Ingo » Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:21 pm

A few of my favorite points of interests, by no means exclusive:
McCargoe Cove: Hike a couple miles to the Minong mine, there's a shaft you can crawl into and interesting mining artifacts.
Birch Island: Brady Cove is known for some large northern. Haven't fished it myself, but hope to this summer.
Belle Isle: My favorite campground. Saw my most incredible sunrise ever there.
Passage Island: I think it's about 4-5 miles out from Merritt Lane, and you do cross a shipping lane. The dock is in the cove on the SE side, then about a mile hike to the lighthouse. You cannot go in, but still cool. I would probably think twice about going out there solo, however. At least carry a VHF on the hike--who knows when someone might be along.
Hidden Lake Dock: Hike up to Lookout Louise for a great view from the ridge. About a mile up, then back.
Daisy Farm: 5 mile round trip hike to Mt Ojibway tower on the ridge. You can climb up the stairs, but the platform is locked. Great view down the ridge of the island (and all around). Clockwise around the loop is easiest.
Rock Harbor Lighthouse/Edisen Fishery: You can climb up the lighthouse. Fishery has interesting old tools of the trade.


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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by Rexbo » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:59 am

I finally received some feedback about getting my boat on the Ranger III. The answer is NO! My boat is titled at 20' 4" and their maximum length is 20'.

Their official response is "We would go by the official registration size, and therefore are unable to accommodate transporting your vessel". Officially they do not transport any vessel 20 feet or longer unless in an emergency.

This is ok with me, it was just another option I was looking into. I will launch from Grand Portage, MN and make the short run to the island. This also gives me more options of being on my own schedule.


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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by Rexbo » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:32 am

Truck and trailer parking....

Getting ready for my trip this coming Friday, leaving from Grand Portage, MN

Where is a good place to park my truck and trailer for the 10 days that I'm on the island?

Thanks,
Rex

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Ingo
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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by Ingo » Sat Aug 19, 2017 8:12 am

Rexbo wrote:
Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:32 am
Getting ready for my trip this coming Friday, leaving from Grand Portage, MN
Where is a good place to park my truck and trailer for the 10 days that I'm on the island?
Rex, I'm assuming you'll be launching from the Grand Portage Marina http://www.grandportage.com/marina.php. From what I've seen there's parking there, but assume it will cost something. Pretty sure there isn't any other option, but hopefully someone who's done it will chime in. Have a great trip!

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Re: Boating Question (Bass Boating to the Island)

Post by IncaRoads » Sat Aug 19, 2017 10:36 am

Parking is also available at the Hat Point Marina; this is where the Voyageur II docks.

link ---> http://www.isleroyaleboats.com/faq.html

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