Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

Moderators: johnhens, Ingo

Post Reply

Topic author
fishrman47
NewbieCake
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 4:34 pm

Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by fishrman47 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 10:12 am

I'm planning a solo canoe trip after Labor day. Probably getting a water taxi from RH to the Belle Isle area, then fishing/paddling/portaging my way to Siskiwit. Biggest question in my mind is how best to get from Siskiwit to RH given 3 or 4 days. Should I risk the open water and paddle the big lake from Malone? Or should I stick to the inland route with lots of portaging? I'll have a weather radio so I can get a forecast, and if I have to get up early and paddle that's OK. I've done 15 miles in a day in Quetico so this isn't my first rodeo, but it is my first trip to IR.

All input appreciated.

User avatar

jrwiesz
May actually live on IR
Posts: 331
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:42 am
Isle Royale Visits: 3
Location: Michigan

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by jrwiesz » Tue Jun 07, 2016 12:19 pm

The inland lakes route would be the most reliable.(Siskiwit, Intermediate, Richie, Moskey Basin, RH)
It all depends on the weather, as always.
"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."
Jim DuFresne


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 888
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:26 pm

I agree with jr. Unless you are actively pursuing a Lake Superior paddling experience and are also totally prepared for all the possibilities, I would take the inland route. Also, that stretch of open water between Malone Bay (or Chippewa Harbor) and Daisy Farm would be near the bottom of my list for a first venture into The Big Lake on the south side of the Island. I guess portage distances are all relative but the only one you'd encounter that is quite long is Lake Ritchie to Moskey Basin and while long at 2 miles there's not much elevation change and nothing steep. The rest of Siskiwit to Ritchie is not bad. The more rugged portages in that vicinity are the stretch in and out of Whitlesey and Chippewa Harbor but you might not even be going that way.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


Topic author
fishrman47
NewbieCake
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 4:34 pm

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by fishrman47 » Wed Jun 08, 2016 9:40 am

Midwest Ed wrote:Also, that stretch of open water between Malone Bay (or Chippewa Harbor) and Daisy Farm would be near the bottom of my list for a first venture into The Big Lake on the south side of the Island.
I think I'm hearing that the scenery, still being better than my cubicle, would be fairly static and the inland route significantly better.


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 888
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:42 am

I say it is near the bottom of the list, not for lack of scenery but because of the probable dangers, especially in a canoe and solo. Do a search for "Saginaw Point". You will find several references and reports on the stretch of Superior between Malone Bay and the Rock Harbor Channel. The water taxi typically quits running (the entire lodge and concessions close) on the weekend after Labor day.

If you go through Lake Ritchie, it has some of the best Northern fishing on the Island and Moskey Basin is at or near the top on almost everyone's favorite campgrounds list. Lake Ritchie also has a very nice paddler's only campground.

Chippewa Harbor via Lake Superior by canoe by bergman

One of treeplanter's pictures of that shoreline from a different thread:
Image
Last edited by Midwest Ed on Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013

User avatar

Ingo
Forum Moderator
Posts: 1305
Joined: Wed Sep 12, 2007 1:11 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 10
Location: Hillsborough, NC

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by Ingo » Wed Jun 08, 2016 10:49 am

Having canoed I.R. quite a bit, I'd never do the open stretches solo in a canoe. I've have done stretches I wouldn't otherwise recommend to others, but always with a very capable paddling partner. Regardless of the forecast, conditions can change on the lake very quickly. My general assumption is if I/we go in the lake we're dead, and therefore am pretty conservative in my risk calculation. And even so have gotten into a couple situations that were inadvisable.

So going Siskiwit -> Intermediate -> Richie -> Moskey -> RH is the most direct and shortest route. But the Wood -> Whittlesey -> Chippewa paddle is more interesting, portages not bad, and I'm told good fishing. I have caught small northern in the Wood Lake narrows and at the Chippewa Harbor creek (toward Richie)--and if I can catch them, probably anyone can :? . The only portage I haven't done is the one from Chippewa -> Richie but I understand it's got some up and downs and fairly long.

If you can, consider taking the Voyageur II from MN--it can drop you off at Belle Isle and pick you at either Malone Bay or Chippewa Harbor (and R.H. too, of course). But if not, make sure the water taxi is still operating for your start date. Pretty sure it's done for the season by the end of your trip though.

Have a great trip! It's pretty close to what my ideal trip might be: Belle Isle -> McCargoe -> Richie -> Malone (thru Intermediate) -> Wood -> Chippewa. Hits all the lakes and skips the worst portages :).


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 888
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Jun 08, 2016 12:00 pm

Ingo wrote:If you can, consider taking the Voyageur II from MN--it can drop you off at Belle Isle and pick you at either Malone Bay or Chippewa Harbor (and R.H. too, of course). But if not, make sure the water taxi is still operating for your start date. Pretty sure it's done for the season by the end of your trip though.

Have a great trip! It's pretty close to what my ideal trip might be: Belle Isle -> McCargoe -> Richie -> Malone (thru Intermediate) -> Wood -> Chippewa. Hits all the lakes and skips the worst portages :).
The Voyageur II would be the perfect solution and make for a great paddling trip with a drop off at BI and pickup at either CH or MB. As you say, this skips some of the longer/harder portages. I've never done those in and out of Livermore and LeSage but that has to be some steep terrain albeit short in distance. While at Belle Isle, if I had the time, I would also make the easy portage ventures into Stockly Bay and Duncan Harbor.

We did the RH/Moskey/Ritchie/Intermediate/Siskiwit/Wood/Whittlesey/Chippewa in October. It snowed and all our water froze solid the night before the Voyageur pickup at CH.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


treeplanter
Bushwacker
Posts: 297
Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:57 pm
Isle Royale Visits: 12
Contact:

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by treeplanter » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:35 pm

fishrman47 wrote:........Should I risk the open water and paddle the big lake from Malone? Or should I stick to the inland route with lots of portaging? .........
From somebody who has kayaked extensively around Isle Royale over the past 25+ years, take the inland lake route from Siskiwit Lake to Rock Harbor. You don’t want to solo paddle a canoe in Lake Superior. The Lake is just too unpredictable, especially after Labor Day when the weather starts to turn. Plus the stretch of shoreline from Saginaw Point to Malone Bay is mostly bedrock, often cliff-like over long distances. Very little places to put in if you have to.

User avatar

head2north
Trailblazer
Posts: 173
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 9:46 am
Isle Royale Visits: 9
Location: River Falls, Wisconsin

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by head2north » Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:18 am

You could paddle Superior from Siskiwit/Malone to Chippewa Harbor. If you don't feel comfortable you could always turn around; or once at Chippewa, you could continue
around Saginaw Point or Portage to Richie. Its really all about the conditions. I have been on the Siskiwit with 1-2 foot waves and Portaged over to Lake Superior/Malone and
found the Big Lake still as glass (I could never figure that one out)


Topic author
fishrman47
NewbieCake
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue May 24, 2016 4:34 pm

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by fishrman47 » Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:47 pm

Well, the trip is in the books. Great time. I ended up getting a water taxi to Chippewa, then doing a loop Ettlesey, Wood, Siskiwit, Intermediate, Richie, Moskey, RH. Got a walleye out of Ettlesey and lots of pike in Wood and Richie. Got skunked on Siskiwit.

Appreciate the advice posted here. Superior was boiling and angry for most of my trip, so good thing I didn't stray too far out in that open water.

Folks I met on the trails and on the IR Queen were all superstars.

User avatar

jrwiesz
May actually live on IR
Posts: 331
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:42 am
Isle Royale Visits: 3
Location: Michigan

Re: Best canoe route from Siskiwit to RH?

Post by jrwiesz » Thu Sep 15, 2016 7:06 pm

Great to hear all went positive.

Walleye, a bonus!
"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."
Jim DuFresne

Post Reply