Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Questions about water transportation and fishing on the island.

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MattC
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Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by MattC » Sat Dec 08, 2018 12:14 pm

Its never too early to get into Isle Royale mode! Brother and I have decided to come back this year because we had such a blast in 2018.

This year we are centering our trip around fishing! We caught some good sized northern and perch last year but also hoofed it quite a bit. We always start out from Copper Harbor to Rock Island. This year we will take a water taxi with canoe in tow down to Chippewa Harbor for a couple nights. Fish and day hike. Leave there down the harbor to the portage to Lake Whittlesey for 2 nights then head down to Wood Lake.

We were inspired last year to try and check these places out by our cabin neighbors in Moskey Basin who raved how great the fishing in Wood Lake is and how hardly anyone will be there, especially that early in the season.

I am having a hard time finding canoe rental fees, so if anyone knows, please share the info! Will be there May 20-27 so will need it for 7 days.

We've blazed a lot of the trails so itll be nice to relax and fish! We had great success with 5 diamond and Fire Tiger spoons last year. Anyone have recommendations for other tackle that works well? Are NPSs charts of what fish are in each lake fairly accurate?

We also may try to make it to Ryan Island in Siskiwit Lake but that may be a stretch because we don't have a ton of canoe experience and worried about weather changes that time of year. But that would be sweet to claim on my IR bucket list: be on the biggest island, in the biggest lake on the biggest island in the biggest lake in the world!

This endeavor is a little different for us so any insight from your expierence is appreciated! Thanks IR fam!

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Ingo
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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by Ingo » Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:45 pm

The simplest thing would be to rent a canoe from the lodge https://www.rockharborlodge.com/rock-harbor-marina. I'd expect they'd have it on the water taxi ready for you to go. They're a little heavy and not necessarily the best for portaging, but you'll only be doing 2 lakes in over several days, so I'd go with that.

May 20th may be too early for the water taxi. Make sure you get confirmation from them before you make other commitments. The other option would be to add some driving and take the Voyageur II which could drop off/pick up directly from Chippewa. They also rent canoes.

Although there's been some contrary reports, the NPS fishable lakes chart seems fairly accurate. Basically northern and perch in most lakes, plus walleye in Whittlesey and Chickenbone, plus lake trout in Siskiwit.
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF


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MattC
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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by MattC » Sat Dec 08, 2018 2:16 pm

Ingo wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:45 pm
May 20th may be too early for the water taxi. Make sure you get confirmation from them before you make other commitments.
Yikes! I didnt think about that. Great point! Im going to have to give them a call. I saw a post from 2012 saying someone rented a canoe for 5 days for 250 bucks. A little steep if you ask me. I'll assume that price has since inflated, if thats the case. IR is always expensive but always worth it. Thanks for the reply.

mod note: edited format.


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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by johnhens » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:42 am

Five of Diamonds is my go to lure for Northern. I always bring a an assortment of spoons, Mepps (#4 and 5 Black Fury w/ squirrel tail with both silver and gold blades) and Rapalas (#13 jointed Perch) and surface baits (a blast to catch northern on). If you flyfish, try that for Northern, exciting. For Lake Trout, I have KO Wobblers (blue and silver and/or gold, green and silve and/or gold, orange and silver and/or gold) and deep diving Rapalas in blue and silver, red and orange/yellow, Hot and Tots (same colors and rainbow) . I have tried ratl traps with little success.

You could spend a whole week fishing nothing but Siskiwit and Wood lakes. We have caught whitefish there too. Before and after going out to fish, I always check where Siskiwit empties into the creek that goes to Superior. I sight fished for lake trout there once, wading out to the big rock and casting to them. Caught 1 laker, was a blast!!! The west bay is great for Northern as is the neck of Wood lake (also the 2nd to the last bay on the SW corner of Wood).

We usualy go to Siskiwit the week before Memorial day. May see you there!!


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MattC
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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by MattC » Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:46 am

Thanks for the advice, John! If you see two ding bats riding round in a canoe in those parts, thatll be us! 😂

Also, does anyone one know if water taxi runs that early in the season?


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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by torpified » Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:37 am

Unless things have changed, you book (or try to book---it can take some persistence) the water taxi through the lodge. Last year the lodge opened for "full operation" on June 5th. I don't know whether that was preceded by a condition of being semi-open and running the water taxi. You can talk to Forever Resorts people in the off season about opening dates, but in the past they haven't handled water taxi bookings.

The Voyageur seems like a great alternative to consider, given your dates.

https://www.rockharborlodge.com/


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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by MattC » Fri Dec 14, 2018 6:02 pm

torpified wrote:
Thu Dec 13, 2018 7:37 am
Unless things have changed, you book (or try to book---it can take some persistence) the water taxi through the lodge. Last year the lodge opened for "full operation" on June 5th. I don't know whether that was preceded by a condition of being semi-open and running the water taxi. You can talk to Forever Resorts people in the off season about opening dates, but in the past they haven't handled water taxi bookings.

The Voyageur seems like a great alternative to consider, given your dates.

https://www.rockharborlodge.com/
The park called me back this afternoon and informed me water taxis will start Friday May 24th so we'll easily be able to tweak our plans. Thats the good thing of planning and getting information well in advance! Thanks for the input!

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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by fonixmunkee » Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:46 pm

You're right, it's never too early to start planning an Isle Royale adventure.

You're really going to enjoy that time of year on Isle Royale...no one will be there, no bugs, warm days, cool nights...it's really quite perfect.

Also, smart to be cautious with a canoe on Siskiwit. From what johnhens has told me, it can be dangerous on there during a windy day even if you ARE an experienced paddler. Get a cheap marine radio to monitor the winds when you're on the island and adjusting your trip, or just use common sense.

I did a Google search for "Wood Lake" on the forums and came up with a few threads that may help you. Click here to view them.

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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by Ingo » Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:09 pm

fonixmunkee wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:46 pm
Also, smart to be cautious with a canoe on Siskiwit.
True, I've taken water over the gunnels before. SW winds can be nasty.
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF


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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by MattC » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:45 pm

fonixmunkee wrote:
Tue Dec 18, 2018 9:46 pm
You're right, it's never too early to start planning an Isle Royale adventure.

You're really going to enjoy that time of year on Isle Royale...no one will be there, no bugs, warm days, cool nights...it's really quite perfect.

Also, smart to be cautious with a canoe on Siskiwit. From what johnhens has told me, it can be dangerous on there during a windy day even if you ARE an experienced paddler. Get a cheap marine radio to monitor the winds when you're on the island and adjusting your trip, or just use common sense.

I did a Google search for "Wood Lake" on the forums and came up with a few threads that may help you. Click here to view them.
We went last year in May as well. Ive been deeper into the summer as well but I think May is our favorite time to go! Its perfect (for me) because of the warm days and cool nights.

Ive been reading a lot of the Wood Lake posts and cant wait to get out there and have it all to ourselves. Thank you for linking more!

Do you have any recommendations for a good marine radio? Ive never had to purchase one before.

We will be extremely cautious with Siskwit. If there is even the slightest bit of possible danger, we will not make the trek to Ryan Island. How choppy does it get in Chip Harbor and Lake Whittlesey? We plan to stay close to shore because Isle Royale can be unpredictable. Its not the lazy rivers we've been on! Thanks much!


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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by Midwest Ed » Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:13 pm

MattC wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:45 pm
Do you have any recommendations for a good marine radio? Ive never had to purchase one before.
At the top of this same forum there is a good thread discussing Guides to Handheld Marine VHF radios. Make sure to price shop because it can be easy to overpay for this type of gear. Standard Horizon has historically offered factory rebates after the first of each year but the one for 2018 did not include the unit I bought, the HX300. Were I to do it again, I would take a look at the Chinese units from BaoFeng. They are not water proof or floating, etc. and require some manual configuration with an optional USB programming cable to enter the desired marine channels but you can buy 3 or 4 of them for the price of other "good" models. I have not fully researched BaoFeng but I have read some of the newer model designs have been modified to meet the FCC requirements that Tom talked about in the aforementioned guide thread. As such, some of these may not receive the weather channels. Whatever you pick for a transceiver, make sure it can hit the marine channels and receive the weather channels.

MattC wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:45 pm
We went last year in May as well. Ive been deeper into the summer as well but I think May is our favorite time to go! Its perfect (for me) because of the warm days and cool nights.
Going later in the season during September can offer many of the same advantages although the later dates tend to have slightly more rain days on average and of course less daylight.

Here's hoping you can catch the same Rock Bass I threw back into Wood lake. BTW, it was a 5 pound flat round rock, about 6 inches in diameter with a hole right in the middle that I snagged. It took me a long time to land it and it was a lot of fun, especially all the laughing at the very end.

edit to fix broken link
Last edited by Midwest Ed on Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Preliminary Itinerary for May 2019 with fishing and canoe questions

Post by Ingo » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:38 am

Matt, I also have the Standard Horizon HX300. Although I haven't had to use it much except for weather, it's a good little radio. It's much better than my dedicated weather radio (Oregon Scientific) for picking up weather stations. But there are still times/places where reception is difficult.

Whittlesey and Chippewa Harbor tend to funnel the wind, being long and narrow. So it's almost always going to either be on your nose or on your back. I've experienced some rather annoying wind to paddle into, but not any overly concerning waves. You can certainly get choppy whitecaps if it blows hard enough, but won't see rollers like you can on Siskiwit.
79: worked RH, 01: BI-DB-RH, 02: MC-LR-WL-CH, 05: MI-CI-MB-DF-RH-TM-RH, 09: MC-BI-DN-RH, 11: WC-HC-WC, 12: MC-CB-HL-TH, 13: RH-PI, 14: BI-ML-CI-CH-MB, 16: RH-CI-TI-RH, 17: WI-IM-SB-FL-WC, 18: MC-PC-BI-DB-RH-DF

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