Boating Guide

Powerboats and sailboats docked.
Plan ahead to have a safe and enjoyable boating experience.


Isle Royale Summer 2018 Boating Guide

Isle Royale National Park regulations are intended to protect park resources and appropriate visitor experiences. Visitors are responsible for adhering to regulations. The park’s boundary extends 4-1/2 miles into Lake Superior from the outer islands or to the international boundary. No pets are allowed. within park boundaries

Fees, Camping & Docks, Restricted Activities, Acquatic Invasives, Generators, Fishing, Firewood, Ferry Dock Closures


Camping permits are required for all overnight stays, including anchoring. Permits may be obtained at visitor centers or you may permit in advance by contacting the park. Visibly display permit when at dock or anchorage. When staying ashore, display your permit on tent or shelter door.


Park Fees

Visitors to Isle Royale, including those fishing in park waters, are required to pay a $7 per person daily entrance fee. This fee is charged to enter or remain within the park per calendar day. Children 15 and under are exempt.

The Isle Royale Season Pass ($60) includes up to 3 adults traveling with the pass holder. All Federal Recreation Passes will be honored for the pass holder and up to 3 accompanying adults. You must present your pass upon arrival in the park.

Camping and Docks

All dock space and small-party campsites (including shelters) are available first-come, first-served. They may not be reserved or held for others. From late-July to the end of August, expect crowded conditions at docks and campgrounds. Observe stay limits for campgrounds, in effect June 1 through Labor Day

Boaters already set up at a tent site or shelter and who have a valid camping permit must be given priority access to dock space (when not in camp, many boaters leave fenders attached to the dock to indicate occupancy of a campsite.)

You may only use one shelter and shelters may not be used solely for cooking or storage. Do not use staples or nails on shelters. A tent may be erected inside, but not outside a shelter. Do not alter the landscape by digging, trenching, etc.

Generally, only docks that adjoin campgrounds are open for overnight use. The Rock Harbor Marina provides nightly slip rentals with utility service hook-ups.

The following docks are open for day use only, from 6 am until 10 pm eastern time:

  • Amygdaloid Island Dock
  • Any NPS of concessoin fuel dispensing dock
  • Crystal Cove Dock
  • Edisen Fishery Dock
  • Hidden Lake Dock
  • Mott Island Docks
  • Passage Island Dock
  • Raspberry Island Dock
  • Shipwreck Mooring Buoys (for active diving only)
  • Wright Island Dock
  • Any other dock posted or signed as closed to overnight use

The following docks are closed to public use:

  • America Dock
  • Malone Bay Dock (north side)
  • Ranger III Dock at Rock Harbor
  • Ranger III Dock at Mott Island
  • Any other dock posted or signed as closed to public entry

Back to Top of Page

Three Spiny Water Fleas viewed under microscope.
Spiny Water Fleas are found in Lake Superior. Please help prevent further spread of this invasive species, especially into non-infested waters like Isle Royale's inland lakes.


Restricted Activities

  • Water skiing and personal watercraft (e.g. jet skis and waverunners) are prohibited.
  • Vessels with motors (even if not in use) are prohibited on inland lakes and streams.
  • No drones are allowed within park boundaries.

The operation of electronic and motorized devices such as stereos, televisions, radios tuned to commercial stations, and portable generators is not permitted except in developed and open water motorized zones. Developed areas include Windigo, and Mott Island. Open water motorized zones include waters outside of designated Quiet/No-Wake Zones.

Aquatic Invasice Species

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) pose a serious threat. All vessels (including non-motorized craft) visiting or transiting park waters, along with associated equipment must be decontaminated by an approved method prior to entering park waters.

See the park newspaper, The Greenstone for details on decontamination methods. For large non-trailered vessels, owner must inspect vessel hull, outdrives, trim tabs, and motors for AIS.

Back to Top of Page


On-board Generators

The operation or use of permanently installed (by manufacturer) on-board vessel generators is allowed from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT in developed zones, and at the following docks: Beaver Island, Belle Isle, Caribou Island, Grace Island, Hay Bay, Malone Bay, Rock Harbor, Tobin Harbor, and Windigo.

The operation or use of permanently installed on-board vessel generators is prohibited at the following public docks: Birch Island, Chippewa Harbor, Daisy Farm, Duncan Bay, Duncan Narrows, McCargoe Cove, Merritt Lane, Moskey Basin, Siskiwit Bay, Three Mile, Todd Harbor, and Tookers Island.

The operation or use of permanently installed on-board vessel generators is permitted between 6:00 am and 10:00 pm EDT by vessels at anchor within Quiet/No Wake Zones except when anchored within 1/4 mile of designated park docks (listed above) where on-board generator use is prohibited.

Quiet/No Wake Zones

These zones protect the natural quiet and wilderness values sought by most Isle Royale visitors and reduce wake impacts. Within Quiet/No-Wake Zones, vessels must not exceed 5 mph OR create a wake in excess of surrounding seas. Quiet/No-Wake Zones are not marked by buoys. Boaters are responsible for knowing the locations of Quiet/No Wake Zones.

Back to Top of Page

Stern of boat with fish pole trolling for fish in Lake Superior
A Michigan Fishing license is required for fishing in Lake Superior.



A Michigan Fishing license is required for fishing in Lake Superior, including narrow bays and harbors, and when transporting fish from the park to the mainland. Licenses are not required to fish inland waters. Michigan size, season, and possession limits generally apply. See the park newspaper for exceptions.

All fish in your possession count toward your limit, regardless of where and when they were caught. All fish in your possession must be measurable and identifiable by species.

Only barbless hooks and artificial lures may be used in inland lakes, streams, and creeks. The possession or use of fish or fish parts as bait for fishing in Lake Superior waters of the park is limited to fish and/or fish parts that are caught within the park. Transporting fish or fish parts for use as bait to the park is prohibited.

Disposal of Fish Remains

Lake Superior Campgrounds: In Rock Harbor and Windigo use the fish cleaning station. At campgrounds and docks, clean fish away from the dock and campsites. Do not throw pieces to gulls or into the water near shore. Scrub and rinse away all blood and slime from any onshore surfaces. Puncture swim bladder and cut fish remains into less than 4" pieces then dispose of in water deeper than 50 ft.

Back to Top of Page



  • Fires are allowed only in provided metal rings and grates. Very few campgrounds allow fires. Dead wood on the ground may be collected for use as fuel for campfires.
  • Do not bring wood from mainland as it may harbor disease or insect pests.
  • Take your trash with you; do not burn it.

Ferry & Tour Boat Dock Closures

Dock closures to accommodate passenger ferry operations. Closures in EDT.

Daisy Farm


9:00 am to 10:00 am

Chippewa Harbor


9:30 pm to 11:00 am

Malone Bay


10:30 am to noon

McCargoe Cove


2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Belle Isle


2:30 pm to 3:30 pm


Thurs/Sun (7/13 – 8/17)

Noon to 2:30 pm



10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Dock closures to accomodate The Sandy tour boat. Closures in EDT.

Edisen Fishery

Tues and Thurs

10:00 am to 1:00 pm


2:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Hidden Lake

Tues and Thurs

9:30 am to 11:30 am

Passage Island Wed

2:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Mon and Fri

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Raspberry Island

Tues and Fri

8:00 pm to 9:00 pm


3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Back to Top of Page

Last updated: March 28, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

800 East Lakeshore Drive
Houghton, MI 49931


(906) 482-0984

Contact Us