Towing in Rock Harbor

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

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Emceekenzie
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Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by Emceekenzie » Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:19 pm

I am coming to the island in late June via the Ranger. I am bringing my 17' Thompson boat, and 3 people. We arrive at Rock Harbor Lodge, and plan on taking the Thompson down Rock Harbor to Moskey Basin and camp for 4 days. Then back up to the housekeeping cabins for 4 more days of "luxury".

Normally I wouldn't worry about storage of gear if it were just me. But I am bringing my two sons (and my dad), and I am bringing some creature comforts (camp chairs, cots, bulkier items). My boat is small, and will only have room for the 4 people, but not much else. So I wanted to ask this:
What is the best way to get all my gear from Rock Harbor to Moskey Basin? I don't think that they would be good for storage of all the extra gear. I own two small kayaks, with no rudders, which would be good for tooling around in calmer areas. But I don't think they would be easy to portage to inner lakes with my dad.
A friend of mine offered to loan me his ABS canoe (no keel), which I think would be perfect for storage, and for portage to inner lakes. But I am concerned about towing a canoe without a keel, with a lot of my gear. Afraid it might tip or something. One recommendation I got was to tie an oar off the bow of the canoe, and it will tow at an angle, but steady. I am in no rush, so I can go slow down to Moskey... I guess my question is should I look for a better canoe, that would tow better, or try the flat bottom canoe? This question might be better suited for a boating forum, but any advice here would be appreciated.

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Ingo
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Re: Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by Ingo » Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:18 pm

Canoes don't tow very well at all. I once towed a canoe from R.H. to Moskey (and back) but would never do it again. Absolutely nerve racking with constant attention required. You have to go VERY slow, and any kind of chop on the harbor creates bigger issues--larger swells a huge problem. And wakes from other boats could easily flip the canoe as well. It was an aluminum Grumman with a keel, and I don't think that helped. Other than only bringing what you can fit in the boat, the only alternative I can think of is to plan 2 trips--it may take somewhat longer, but it's a whole lot safer.

Also, I don't think you'd really enjoy portaging a canoe the 2+ miles into Lake Richie and back for a day trip. It's a long haul one-way. Although grabbing the fishing poles and shore fishing is a possibility.

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Re: Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by IncaRoads » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:12 am

Emceekenzie wrote:I am coming to the island in late June via the Ranger. I am bringing my 17' Thompson boat, and 3 people. We arrive at Rock Harbor Lodge, and plan on taking the Thompson down Rock Harbor to Moskey Basin and camp for 4 days.
FYI, I just checked the Isle Royale Greenstone Newspaper (https://www.nps.gov/isro/planyourvisit/ ... nstone.pdf) on page 6 and it indicates that the consecutive night stay limit at Moskey Basin is 3 days, so plan accordingly.


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Re: Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by Emceekenzie » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:33 pm

After some additional research, I've decided that it would be safer to skip the canoe and kayaks all together. I don't want to spend the time worrying about it. Rather focus on my boys and ensure they have a good time. My dad and I decided that if we can't fit the gear and all the people at once, why not take two trips? No sense in putting anyone at risk.

And shore fishing Lake Ritchie sounds like the best play as well. I've never fished an interior lake on IR, so I'm looking forward to it!

As for the 4 night stay issue, I merely meant that I would have to camp somewhere for 4 days within Rock Harbor (due to the limitations of the boat size). We might start at Moskey and then skip over to Raspberry Island or Daisy Farm for a night. I think my boys would enjoy the educational aspect of Daisy Farm. Do you know if they do Ranger programs during late June?

Thanks for all the advice. Can't wait to get to the island!

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Ingo
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Re: Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by Ingo » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:40 pm

In the past, Candy Peterson (wife of a wolf/moose researcher) has done a talk at Daisy Farm on Wednesdays, I believe. Highly recommend if she's still doing it next year. Check at the R.H. visitors center when you get there. Also, a day hike up to Mt Ojibway is great--about 5 miles round trip from Daisy.


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Re: Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by Tightlines01 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:17 am

Ingo wrote:In the past, Candy Peterson (wife of a wolf/moose researcher) has done a talk at Daisy Farm on Wednesdays, I believe. Highly recommend if she's still doing it next year. Check at the R.H. visitors center when you get there. Also, a day hike up to Mt Ojibway is great--about 5 miles round trip from Daisy.
Last year Candy (and Rolph) came across on Wednesday and Saturday. My boys were 9 (just shy of 10) years old and thoroughly enjoyed it. I wanted to make sure we got to it at least once, but we did it twice as it just worked out that way for our trip.


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jerry
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Re: Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by jerry » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:19 am

The Peterson's invited us over the next day after their presentation (at Daisy Farm) on a Wednesday. We were able to see their collection of animal skulls, etc. across the Harbor from Daisy Farm. Followed that up with a visit to the Fishery and Lighthouse nearby.


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Re: Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:05 pm

jerry wrote:The Peterson's invited us over the next day after their presentation (at Daisy Farm) on a Wednesday. We were able to see their collection of animal skulls, etc. across the Harbor from Daisy Farm. Followed that up with a visit to the Fishery and Lighthouse nearby.

An invitation is always appreciated but for others reading this I think it is acceptable to visit the outside areas around the Bangsund Cabin which is the Summer home of the Petersons, without an invitation first. They are used to people just dropping by. They may not be home and I would never think to go inside without an invitation. When I was there, both Rolf and Candy were home and she invited everyone inside to visit and sign their guest register.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


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Re: Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:24 pm

Canoes aren't made for towing. The safest way to transport a canoe with a 17 foot runabout is to lash it empty upside down to the boat. Obviously that defeats your entire purpose. I've seen canoes towed, but the trick is to make the tow point under the keel about 1 or 2 feet back. The other recommendation is for it to be either empty or just a modest, stable low riding load toward the stern. That light loading recommendation defeats your purpose. Lashing two canoes or kayaks into a catamaran of sorts is also popular and makes for a more stable tow.

The maximum towing speed should not exceed a few knots (like 4 to 6 tops). Canoe construction is not designed to handle even modest towing speeds. Damage to the canoe can result.

I wonder if a side tow has ever been tried much. It would require extra bumpers but I bet it would work. I would test first.

And then there is the inspirational recommendation of every boating enthusiast..... Buy a bigger boat. :roll:
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


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Emceekenzie
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Re: Towing in Rock Harbor

Post by Emceekenzie » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:06 pm

I'm definitely going to skip the tow. I might have true it on my own, but with my kids with me, I want to play it safe. The two trip idea might work best. There is plenty to do at Rock Harbor for a couple hours, even just a quick hike up scoville would be nice. I have attended talks in the past with Rolf and Candy as well when I was a child. I remember being invited to his cabin as well. Great memories. Hoping to pass similar ones with my kids...

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