Kaykaing Isle Royale TR

-- Last Updated: Jun-05-06 7:53 AM EST --

Last year in the fall, we stopped at Malone Bay to pick up others on the Voyageur.
I said to Tricia, we have to come here next year. Thankfully time passed quickly and we were able to spend time there and Chippewa Harbor.

We met up with a friend Dan, who we had met on the island last spring. He let us use his canoe to fish Lake Ritchie. We met up in a Wayside north of Chippewa Falls in WI. We said our quick hellos and were off. We stopped in Grand Marais, MN at the Angry Trout for dinner. Some folks we met last year from Duluth said they always go there on their frequent trips to the Boundry Waters. I highly reommend it for the food and the setting!!

We spent the night at Rydens in Grand Portage. I didn't sleep much, I normally don't the night before departing. After a quick breakfast, we met up with Fritz and the crew of the Voyageur.
We stopped at Windigo for our LNT talk and permitting and were on our way to Rock Harbor. The ride along the North Shore was pretty, we could see ice and snow patches along the shore.
After dropping some folks off at McCargoe, we were back onto the lake into a gale force wind. The waves were increasing in size and becoming steeper, and the tops were being blown off, a sure sign of Gale force winds. We were rocking pretty well, one wave in particular was enough to cause the port engine to cavitate, it was slow coming around off that one. Once we rounded Blake Pt., we were fine.

Dan headed off to Merritt Lane for the night, we opted to stay in Rock Harbor.

We enjoyed a nice hike out to Scoville Pt. We were able to get some good pictures of Calypso Orchids. When we returned to Rock Harbor, we saw Dan. Apparently Merrit was occupied so he was headed to Tookers Island.We enjoyed a fine dinner of Beef Stroganoff Tricia had made at home, froze and vaccumed sealed. The next day we were up early and on to Chippewa Harbor.
The ride there was uneventful. We were dropped off and took the shelter a backcountry ranger was using. She told us of the occupants of another shelter who had gotten video of 2 wolves in camp!! We had heard of an active eagles nest as you enter the harbor on the east shore. We were able to spot the nest and climbed up the ridge later to get some pictures and video.

We quickly set up camp, got the water filter working and were on our way to sample some of Lake Mason's pike fishing. I caught 4 pike, all about 24". We let them go, hoping to get some pike out of Chippewa Harbor.
It was a warm afternoon. We returned to Chippewa for lunch and a brief nap. Along the way, I stopped to take a few photos of a wreck on the shore. Anyone remeber the name???
Dan showed up shortly after. We helped him get his gear up to the next shelter. That night we had Chili Mac, which Tricia made at home and vaccum sealed, with fresh parmesan. I went down to the dock later, I had gotten a 24 hour license from MI DNR and set it to start at 7:00 pm. I was casting hoping to catch a laker but hooked a 26" pike. We fished untill dark and went to bed. Woke up to a nice morning, frost on the grass and roof. Dan and I paddled down to the narrows nad each caught a pike, Dans's was close to 30" and had fresh teeth marks a big gash near its tail. We were both excitred by this and put on the biggest baits we had-but no fish!! We returned to camp for french toast.

Soon, one of the park maintenance staff, Julie, showed up. WE helped her clear a blowdown on the trail near the dock. She left as another park service boat with the Superintendant, Phylis Green and the Chief Enforcement Ranger and a Representative of an organization representing 4 NP's in the Great Lakes area. We had a nice conversation about the Backountry and Wilderness Plan and the status
of the wolves. It will be an interesting summer on Isle Royale!! We heard from a group of canoists who stayed at Whittlesy that they had a wolf come through their site. Nicew group of guys from Duluth.

The next morning after a quick breakfast, we packed up and headed down to the Lake Whittlesly portage. I had made a portage yoke and was interested in how it would work. Once I figured out how to balance it, it worked well.
The bugs were terrible and at the other end of the portage, we threw our gear into the kayaks to get away from the blackflies.
Lake Whittlesly is beautiful, the North Shore is a grand stand of Birch trees, stunning against the blue sky!! We plan on going back there in the fall some year!!
We pushed on to the next portage to Wood Lake our planned destination for the night. The next portage was much easier than the first.
Wood Lake was nice, we went to the campsite and got out and were immediately attcked by blackflies. We opted at this point to push on to Malone Bay.

We arrived to find 2 of the shelters taken, so we each took a shelter. We got settled in and started the filter going. We rehydrated and set up camp. We left the kayaks on Siskiwit, hoping to catch some lake trout. It was early to bed, we were both tired. Got up early and had egg, cream cheese and candian bacon on bagels.
Dan had decided to paddle to Sikiwit Bay to see it. It was raining when we woke. After it cleared off, Dan took off. I went down to the cabin which had reading material and a journal to read. Great place to spend some time. Off in the distance, we watched a front approaching. We checked the marine radio for a forecast update. Strong thunderstorms over the lake.
We watched one particularly well defined front approach. The wind suddenly picked up and the temperature dropped about 15 degrees. We were having Hawaiian pizza for dinner and we invited a guy from another shelter who posts on an Isle Royale site, for pizza and wine. After a pleasant dinner, we went to sleep. We saw dmdhiker off the next morning.
I spent some time birding around Malone Bay. It seems we were alone. I ran into Cliff, the enforcement ranger assigned there (his 4th season there). We had a nice chat, it was his first day back.
We enjoyed a good dinner, chicken with broccali fettucini alfredo and wine. Dan returned later with his own tales of adventures. He was able to avoid the worst of the previous days storms, thankfully.

We agreed to head over to Wood lake tommorrow to try for pike. We got up ate breakfast and grabbed our fishing gear and headed out.
We headed toward Wood lake. Along the way, we stopped to fish the lee side of an island along the dropoffs for lakers. Dan hooked one almost immediately. I started casting and soon had one on. I was quite excited as this was my first lake trout and we had heard from Fritz that others had not done well on Siskiwit. Dan had kept his first and caught another, I caught 2 more. We never made it to Wood lake. We returned to camp for a lake trout lunch!! It was time for a nap!!
Later we went back out on Siskiwit for an evening paddle.
We paddle the little bay west of the portage. Dan hooked another laker off the point. Tricia paddled around the point and saw a cow with a calf. She was trying to get Dan's attention on the other side to let him know the moose were heading his way. Dan was otherwise occupied. A rather large, he estiamted 40" laker had decided to make a meal of the laker he had on his stringer. As I rounded the corner, he was being towed backwards I paddled over to help him (do what I wasn't sure). I saw a lrge fish swirl on the surface and then he stopped. The laker he caught was there, it had big bite marks on its head. We returned to camp for lake trout and cheddar potato soup!!

We got up early the next day and after a breakfast of freshbaked multiberry muffin (we baked one big muffin instead of individaul muffins in the Outback Oven) and lake trout, we paddled to Wood Lake. I wanted to catch a pike on a fly rod. I fished the neck between Wood and Siskiwit but a pike was reluctant to take my fly!!
Next time!!

We returned to Malone, portaged the kayaks across to the the Lake and carried our paddling gear across too.
We enjoyed our last afternoon on the island. I went down to speak to Cliff about staging our gear for the next morning. We ended up talking about the island, and life back in the real world. He was telling me about paddling the Everglades, something I have wanted to do!!.

The Voyageur showed up on time the next day despite the fog. We loaded up and were on our way in heavy fog. Thanks for GPS!!!

We arrived in Windigo, The fog had lifted. We had a 20 minute break there and were on our way out of the harbor, when I heard the
engines slow and we turned around. There was a sever storm approaching and we would seek shelter back at the dock. The winds kicked up quickly and the harbor was very wavy. We ran up to the Shelter of the Visitors' Center. Fritz told us it would be at least an hour.
Looking forward to our return trip in August to do a circumnavigation of the island.
Our ride home had the usual post trip blues especially with the temps hovering in the high 80's.
We did see a rather large black bear on 53 south of Superior, which was a bonus!!
All in all another great trip!!


Well, I came to the right place
Hi, John

Yeah well I did it and bought a perception Carolian 13.5, a good starter boat.

A friend of mine here in Clare is on the Board of directors of the Isle Royale Commission and I sat through one of his many photo trip reports (he’s a professional photographer). It seems that I too will have to make the journey. It isn’t an easy trip even living here in Mich., it’s much more accessible to those of you on the “other” side of the pond.

Hey Wheelz,

Welcome to the site!!

Glad you got a boat, sorry we didn’t hook up and chat before you bought your boat!!

I was busy finishing work and getting ready for the trip.

Kayaking up there is awesome, and so is the fishing!!

Maybe we can get together and paddle sometime!!

Take care


Nice report. Great pics but I didn’t catch where that “sauna” was. Is that a secret loc?

I’m sure it was a balmy 45 degree hot tub!