Bass Islands in Lake Erie

Does anyone have any specific info on paddling around the Bass Islands in Lake Erie. I would like to put in at Catawba Island and paddle out and camp on South, Middle, or North Bass Island. I’m not sure what is available for camping there these days.

Or how about Pelee Island on the Ontario side of the lake?

I’d like to get a trip going sometime in June if anyone is interested…

Bass Islands

– Last Updated: May-19-04 1:40 PM EST –

What did you have in mind?

I am planning on doing some paddling there in August, but I will be out there for something else and will just be doing morning paddles.

I would love a trip earlier than that if I can fit it in my schedule.

South Bass (where Put-In-Bay is) has a state park with campgrounds.

Getting back is sometimes the problem with as quick as the weather can change. Saw that yesterday when the water on Maumee Bay was a mirror all afternoon, and then in a 5 minute span it went from the mirror to whitecaps as a front rolled through. The Ferry is always an option to get back if the wheather gets bad.

The places 2 paddle section has some write-ups on what options are there as well.


Used to sail Lake Erie
Lake Erie can be a fickle lady. Even if the weather is nice you will have to be prepared for large wakes from powerboats. If you want to launch from Catawba, you can paddle up toward Mouse Island then cross the gap to South Bass from there. If you can get into Put-In-Bay then paddling to other Islands is not bad. The initial crossing to South Bass will be your trouble area.

Another way is simply to take the auto ferry to South Bass, put in there and paddle around the islands.

Just make sure to carry a VHF and keep appraised of the weather. That lake can go from nice to nasty in just a few minutes.

Pelee Island
Just got back from a weekend trip to Pelee Island. My two friends and I paddled across from Leamington, Ontario. Camped one night at the Lighthouse. Next day played in the surf and paddled around to East Dock for the ferry back to Leamington. Pelee Island has lots of cyclist. Camping is limited.

P.S. Camping on the Ohio side is even worse as campgrounds fill up well in advance.

that area is no place for beginners…
The freighter and large boat traffic is always heavy in that area. Take the ferry. There is a state park campground on Kelly’s and no matter if it’s full, if you paddled to Kelly’s, they will find room for you. Again, take the ferry. What kind of boat do you have? You need a long, fast boat that is extremely visable. Quite frankly, unless you attempt the crossing very early in the morning, before the lake “wakes up”, you’d be pretty foolhardy. Especially if your skills are at a beginner’s level. Otherwise, as you probably know, the lake is apt to change in less than a moment’s notice. It gets ROUGH…