My inland kayak route

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

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Mike Denton
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My inland kayak route

Post by Mike Denton » Mon Mar 07, 2016 12:52 pm

Hello! Thank you for reading. I am very excited to be going to Isle Royale for the first time. I regularly camp/kayak/hike alone but if you have any recommendations please share them. I am planning on being there in Mid June, I know this can be a dangerous time due to moose and I will be alone so any tips are appreciated. I have put my extra days around chicken bone lake as I've heard the pike fishing is fantastic, especially in June. I know the water taxi service is expensive, but with my Kayak it is the route that I am most comfortable taking.

I will be bringing the same gear list I would bring if I were doing a similar trip in the BWCA.

Is this a pretty doable itinerary? How far in advance do I need to arrange the water taxi?

Itinerary:
Friday June 10-Driving most of the way to Copper harbor
Saturday June 11- Copper Harbor to Rock Harbor- water taxi to Chippewa Harbor end the long day camping at lake Whittlesey
Sunday June 12- Paddle/portage to Ryan island and then camp at Wood lake/Siskiwit Lake campground
Monday June 13- End the day camping at lake Richie
Tuesday June 14- Camp at Chicken bone Lake
Wednesday- Extra Day
Thursday-Extra Day
Friday- Water Taxi from McCargoe Cove to Rock harbor (possibly paddle to three mile campground depending on how much lodging costs.)
Saturday- Wake up at the Rock Harbor lodge (or three mile campground) and get back to Copper Harbor/drive home


Thanks!

Mike

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Ingo
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Re: My inland kayak route

Post by Ingo » Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:34 pm

Hey Mike, welcome to the forums! You have a nice trip outlined there. So long as you're accustomed to portaging your kayak those distances you shouldn't have any issues.

You could avoid the water taxi if you took the Voyageur II out of Grand Portage and did the trip in reverse from McCargoe to Chippewa Harbor. It drops off and picks up at both places. But may not work with your schedule. Also, there is a campground at Rock Harbor, so if you decide against the lodge you don't have to go to Three Mile. I would go ahead and make water taxi reservations as soon as you're set on your dates. It's not a busy time of year, but you never know--there may be only 1 boat/captain running and someone could book an all day fishing charter or something.

Not sure what the current map shows, but if yours shows something different, the portage between McCargoe and Chickenbone was lengthened to about 1.2 miles a few years ago from the .7 or .8 it used to be. It starts/ends at the McCargoe dock now, not up the creek--I believe it was done to protect a loon nesting area. Just FYI.

Personally I'd do the trip in reverse whether you use the water taxi or the VII. I'm not sure the fishing is any better at Chickenbone than any of the other lakes, and while it's a nice campground I'd rather spend an extra day or two at Wood Lake, Lake Richie, or Chippewa, and I don't like to use my down days too early in the trip. And if you're looking for solitude you may have the canoe only CGs to yourself that time of year. Just a couple things to consider--you won't go wrong either way.


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Mike Denton
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Re: My inland kayak route

Post by Mike Denton » Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:48 pm

Ingo! Thanks for the response. Unfortunately with the extra extra 600 miles round trip going to grand portage I can't pull it off. A company car is a blessing but 1,000 mile trips can be hard to explain some times...

I'll look into doing it in reverse though! I still have a little research to do on what lakes I want to spend the most time on.

I'm planning on possible 25-40 degree nights and 50-65 degree days with water temps in the 40s-50s does that sound correct?

Thanks again.

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Ingo
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Re: My inland kayak route

Post by Ingo » Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:58 pm

Mike Denton wrote:I'm planning on possible 25-40 degree nights and 50-65 degree days with water temps in the 40s-50s does that sound correct?
You'll be covered with those assumptions. I think freezing temps are unlikely but not unheard of. Water temps may be warmer this year because it's been a warmer winter. In '14 Lake Superior was only 38 in July! But the inland lakes were warmer. Do be prepared for skeeters and flies as for the BWCA--could be bad that time of year.


3MTA3
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Re: My inland kayak route

Post by 3MTA3 » Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:00 pm

My canoe trip:

1: Rock Harbor, day trip to Lookout Louise
2: Taxi via Voyager to Malone Bay, camp at Wood Lake
3: Day trip to Whittlesey (good fishing), camp at Wood Lake
4: Portages to Lake Ritchey Canoe Campground
5: Day hike to McCargoe, camp at Ritchie Canoe
6: Portage to Moskey, camp at Moskey
7: Paddle to Rock Harbor, camp at Rock Harbor

I post this to let you know that you can paddle back to Rock Harbor and avoid the 2nd taxi. Maybe you're not as cheap as I am. :D

As Ingo said: that portage from Chickenbone to McCargoe is longer than advertised, & I'd also suggest spending another day at one of the campgrounds he suggested over Chickenbone.


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Mike Denton
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Re: My inland kayak route

Post by Mike Denton » Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:06 pm

I think I will definitely start at McCargoe Cove and end at Chippewa then.

Do you know if they drop off at the mouth of the cove or farther in?

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Ingo
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Re: My inland kayak route

Post by Ingo » Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:24 pm

Mike Denton wrote:I think I will definitely start at McCargoe Cove and end at Chippewa then.
Do you know if they drop off at the mouth of the cove or farther in?
Either one. I'd suggest Birch Island (at the mouth)--supposed to be large pike in Brady Cove, it's a beautiful 2 mile paddle up McCargoe, and you have the time. (Oh, and it's cheaper :) ).

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head2north
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Re: My inland kayak route

Post by head2north » Mon Mar 07, 2016 2:47 pm

3MTA3 wrote:I post this to let you know that you can paddle back to Rock Harbor and avoid the 2nd taxi. Maybe you're not as cheap as I am. :D
Arriving before noon would also allow enough time to paddle to either Chippewa Harbor or Birch/McCargo Cove. From Snug Harbor Chippewa Harbor
is about 12 miles and Birch Island is about 18 miles. It may seem long if you are not accustomed to paddling. You could be in either place before supper
if needed. It would also depend on Lake Superior conditions and your comfort paddling the Big Lake.

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