McCargoe to Chippewa Portage Trip

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

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tfrey
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McCargoe to Chippewa Portage Trip

Post by tfrey »

For anyone who's planning on a trip from McCargoe to Chippewa, it was an awesome adventure. My buddy and I went in early June, Wednesday to Sunday. We took a canoe and took the McCargoe-Chickenbone-Livermore-LeSage-Richie-Intermediate-Siskiwit-Wood-Whittlesey-Chippewa route. 8 total portages over that span. It was grueling at times but extremely rewarding. You definitely need to be in decent shape (we're both in our mid 30's).

As far as fishing goes:
- McCargoe. Don't waste your time. We fished it for 6 hours and didn't catch anything.
- Chickenbone. Great walleye lake. We caught around a dozen wallys and two big northern. We had shore lunch and fed a hiker who came by. Walleyes were in the "V" in the shape of the lake out in the middle. Northern were along the northeast shoreline.
- Livermore and LeSage. Both tiny lakes. We didn't fish them hard but simply passed through. Caught a few snake northern.
- Richie. Huge lake that left us wanting more. Tons of northern here. Plenty of snakes but some decent pike in the mid 20's. Did not catch any over 30' but they're in there.
- Intermediate. This was a paddle through and troll-the-middle lake. Fishing was marginal, but we didn't try very hard.
- Siskiwit. Best lake of the trip. Caught lake trout after lake trout. We stuck to the islands on the east. Being early June, they were in the shallows. We trolled in and out and they seemed to be biting in about 30-40' of water with our baits running 10' below the surface. We did not venture out to Ryan Island due to white capping (which was scary at times).
- Wood Lake. Paddled through this one also. Not much due to effort.
- Whittlesey. Also known for walleye, we did not catch anything here. The west end has more depth and structure. Our technology/depth and fish finder was not working so we likely missed out due to that. Definitely worth revisiting this lake. Many swear by this lake.
-Chippewa was like McCargoe. We paddled, trolled, and cast into bays. Nothing. The paddle was very pretty though.

Camping: we spent a night at McCargoe, Richie, Wood Lake, and Chippewa. Richie was the best since it had a paddle-only site. We were the only people for miles and miles. We saw heavy moose traffic around Wood Lake camp and saw a mom and baby swim across the water between Siskiwit and Wood Lake.

We are going back this year in 2022. We plan to take almost the same trip except be more efficient with fishing. We are also ending at Malone Bay instead of Chippewa. Our plan is to get to Chickenbone on day one and eat and fish walleye all afternoon, set up camp, and fish again in the morning. Night two will be at Richie. We want to explore that lake more for trophy northern. Night three and four will be at Siskiwit/Wood Lake camp. We may spend a night on Ryan Island or the island just to the south of there. If we get bored, we may try packing light for a day trip to Whittlesey, but I have a feeling the lake trout fishing will be awesome again and keep us plenty entertained.

Having a depth finder and fish finder is a must, especially for Siskiwit. Rod holders are a must. Prep for bad weather (it rained briefly every day). Enjoy!
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Midwest Ed
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Re: McCargoe to Chippewa Portage Trip

Post by Midwest Ed »

Very nice fishing report. Can you add some information regarding lures used, both successful and otherwise?

Unless something has very recently changed in the regulations I believe spending the night on Ryan Island (or any island) would be off limits.
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Re: McCargoe to Chippewa Portage Trip

Post by kolo »

We may spend a night on Ryan Island or the island just to the south of there.
This...
I believe spending the night on Ryan Island (or any island) would be off limits.
The islands at Isle Royale National Park where camping is allowed include:
Beaver Island
Belle Isle
Birch Island
Caribou Island
Grace Island
Tookers Island

I certainly hope that you will follow the regulations when you visit this special place, Isle Royale!
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Midwest Ed
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Re: McCargoe to Chippewa Portage Trip

Post by Midwest Ed »

kolo wrote: Fri Apr 15, 2022 10:09 am
We may spend a night on Ryan Island or the island just to the south of there.
This...
I believe spending the night on Ryan Island (or any island) would be off limits.
The islands at Isle Royale National Park where camping is allowed include:
Beaver Island
Belle Isle
Birch Island
Caribou Island
Grace Island
Tookers Island

I certainly hope that you will follow the regulations when you visit this special place, Isle Royale!
Thanks for the additional information but I was referring to tfrey's statement "We may spend a night on Ryan Island or the island just to the south of there." i.e. no camping is allowed on any island on Siskitwit Lake. I should have been more explicit. Also, cross-country camping is not allowed on ANY island. The ones you listed allow camping ONLY in designated campgrounds.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013
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Re: McCargoe to Chippewa Portage Trip

Post by kolo »

Thanks for the additional information but I was referring to tfrey's statement "We may spend a night on Ryan Island or the island just to the south of there." i.e. no camping is allowed on any island on Siskitwit Lake. I should have been more explicit. Also, cross-country camping is not allowed on ANY island. The ones you listed allow camping ONLY in designated campgrounds.
I was referring to tfrey's statement too. I wanted to back up what you wrote Midwest Ed!
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Re: McCargoe to Chippewa Portage Trip

Post by tfrey »

My apologies on the regulations. We certainly will not camp there if not allowed.

For tackle, we caught just about everything on Rapala rattle raps with the barbs clipped - the 2.75" and 3.25" with a leader. The colors green and silver worked best.
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Re: McCargoe to Chippewa Portage Trip

Post by Midwest Ed »

I once brought a huge floating Rapala "like" floating/trolling lure that was almost 12 inches long. At Ritchie I caught a small northern with it that was shorter than the lure. That's reflective of just how crazy active the fishing can be there, and also the natural aggressiveness of Northern, although often they don't start fighting until they see you or the canoe.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013
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