First Time Visit--advice for best fishing sites

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

Moderators: johnhens, Ingo

Post Reply

Topic author
IRhiker
NewbieCake
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:08 am

First Time Visit--advice for best fishing sites

Post by IRhiker » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:24 pm

Hi all:

Looking for some help with planning our first trip to the park. Will be visiting the island with my two boys at the end of this month for 5 nights/days. Starting/ending in Rock Harbor. Looking for advice on a good trip plan with fishing in mind. We plan on hiking/camping the entire time but open to renting kayaks if it makes sense.

My boys are in much better shape than me but I'll do my best to keep up! Would love to catch/release some great fish and I hear that the fishing on the island is awesome! Can't wait!

Thanks for the help!


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 1036
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: First Time Visit--advice for best fishing sites

Post by Midwest Ed » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:03 pm

Welcome to the forums. What are you plans for arriving and departing (which ferry or plane)? Your two best bets for fishing on a 5 day trip out of Rock Harbor (and returning to Rock Harbor) are Lake Ritchie and/or Chickenbone Lake. Fishing from shore can return successful results, especially at Lake Ritchie. Other lakes on the northeast end have fish but they will be very difficult to reach since none are on designated trails. Off trail travel almost everywhere is usually very rough going. At the top of this subforum there is a sticky post with a chart of lakes. Also, it is easy to search this forum. Use the advanced search button (the little gear icon next to the search box).

Lake Superior fishing, especially from docks or shore, can be fruitful but is typically quite spotty. It also requires a Michigan fishing license. Remember to read the park rules for fishing regarding restrictions (no barbs on hooks, no live bait, size/species restrictions and control of invasive water fleas.

With only 5 days, you could maximize your time at these 2 lakes by taking the water taxi to Moskey Basin or Chippewa Harbor or McCargoe Cove. This can be a bit pricey for 3 but it will make things more efficient. Lastly, if you plan on staying a night at Chickenbone Lake, then the West campground is by far the more preferred CG vs the East one.

Without a water taxi you will have to cover some miles to get in some decent fishing. If seeing the island is a greater passion than fishing then you could be more flexible (and easier going) with your days but still maybe make it to Lake Ritchie for some fishing time.
If you were more than just kidding about keeping up with your kids, I suggest you consider this itinerary:
Night 1: Daisy Farm or Three Mile
Night 2: Moskey Basin
Night 3: Lake Ritchie (or Moskey Basin again with day trip to Lake Ritchie for lunch and fishing)
Night 4 Daisy Farm
Night 5: Rock Harbor (or Three Mile assuming a 2:45 departure on Queen)
If you are still feeling good after day 4, then I suggest taking the longer route back via the Greenstone Ridge. It has some great views you will otherwise miss.

If you feel serious about 8 to 12 mile days you can try to cover more territory but one good thing about Isle Royale campgrounds is that you can alter your itinerary each day if your hopes and dreams exceed the endurance of your feet. But based on your comments I suggest a softer going approach for your first trip.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


Topic author
IRhiker
NewbieCake
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:08 am

Re: First Time Visit--advice for best fishing sites

Post by IRhiker » Mon Aug 13, 2018 4:23 pm

Thanks so much Midwest Ed—great advice. I think I’ll tone down the fishing and try and focus more on the beauty of the island itself...we arrive and depart on the Ranger III. So day one won’t start (I am assuming) until 3:30 or so, if the trip is indeed 6 hours from Houghton...thanks again...I’ll continue to search the Forums for useful tips...we are psyched to hike the island!


Midwest Ed
IR Expert
Posts: 1036
Joined: Sat Jul 03, 2010 1:25 am
Isle Royale Visits: 8
Location: Quad Cities, IL

Re: First Time Visit--advice for best fishing sites

Post by Midwest Ed » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:21 am

A 3:30 start will be about right. You'll still have over 5 hours of daylight since Isle Royale really should be in the Central Time zone and is further north. Your return trip departs at 9 am, so unless you are early risers you'll probably want to be back in Rock Harbor the night before.

How old are your kids? No Michigan license is required if under 17. You can get an adult, 24 hour non-resident license for $10. Unfortunately, you must specify the date when purchased. I think a 3 day is $30 (nice price break?). Or maybe you're a resident? You or the boys could still try your skills somewhere along the way. Or if you get back to Rock Harbor early enough, the restaurant serves fresh Lake Trout or Whitefish. :D

I still suggest some variation of the itinerary I posted. If you cut things a bit shorter and get back to Rock Harbor early in the day you could rent a canoe. Keep in mind that only one consecutive night's stay at Rock Harbor is allowed. Three Mile CG is also one consecutive night.
8 trips, 1975 x 2, 1976 x 2, 1978, 1985, 2000, 2013


Topic author
IRhiker
NewbieCake
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:08 am

Re: First Time Visit--advice for best fishing sites

Post by IRhiker » Wed Aug 15, 2018 8:17 pm

thanks again...great call on the Michigan fishing license...one of my boys is 16 and the other is 19...I'll buy at least one license, for me...I'm more of a fishing enthusiast then my boys...can't wait!

Post Reply