It was a warm summer Friday in August and I was hoping to go to Isle Royale on my boat for some of the finest lake superior fishing, following a couple of my buddies behind their larger boats. I had my 19 foot welded aluminum Harbercraft. (Yes it is spelled Harber, not Harbor…) and they had 22 foot and 26 foot fiberglass boats. Judging from the strong breeze with 25 mile per hour winds I was starting to think that I was not going to be able to go.
It gets pretty rough out on the open waters of Lake Superior, even with 20 mph winds, so I was pretty sure I’d have to stay home. The plan was to leave Eagle Harbor at 5 pm and as I arrived at our cottage at Lac La Belle, it was nearing 4 already. Looking at our lake and the strong westerly wind, I reluctantly made the decision not to go. I called Doug, one of the other captains and told him not to wait for me, it’s just too windy for my small boat. “This is just a land breeze” he says. We sometimes joke about the wind in this way, just calling it a land breeze in order to get out there on the water, so at first, I thought he was either crazy or just joking. Since he seemed to be serious, I said I would check the data buoys out in the middle of Lake Superior on the internet. I was totally surprised to see that the data buoys were showing 1 to 2 foot waves and the graph showed that they were subsiding. “OK, I’m in” I told Doug when I called him back, “I’ll get there as soon as I can.” I had loaded my boat on the trailer the night before and had all of my gear ready, so it was just a matter of hooking up and driving the 10 miles to Eagle Harbor to launch the boat and begin the 40 mile crossing.
Watching the trees bend from the wind on the way there, I still did not quite believe the data buoys, but remembering other occasions where we had calm waters far out and wind at the shore, I was hopeful.
The first mile or two was pretty bumpy and I was still thinking about turning back to stay in the safety of land, but we could tell that the wind was subsiding as we got away from the land. It still was a little difficult keeping up with Doug’s 26 foot Tiara, but we made it before nightfall. In my little 19 footer, it was quite a workout, with my right hand on the throttle lever and left on the streering wheel, continually working both so that we did not pound too hard on the waves that were coming on our port-side bow.
Calvin and I caught our limit of fish each of the 2 days that we fished at the island and had a very flat return crossing. What a place to catch fish! If you want to catch trout with some of the best trophy fishing in Lake Superior, Isle Royale is the place to go.