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Hello from Upper Michigan Lake Michigan shore

Sep 11, 2023
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Rapid River, Upper Michigan
Hello, I am returning to boating, canoeing and fishing after around forty or so years. We are on the shores of Lake Michigan, in a shallow area. We got the old family 12’ rowboat going, but I find it a little too much for me alone, along with being very creaky and noisy, probably scaring away the fish. At least that’s what I tell myself.
As a kid, all summer long we camped in a small trailer and fly fished from our 17’ Grumman canoe, mostly in Canada. Now many years later, I am in a position to fish and do a little boating again. After struggling with the rowboat, I bought a battered 1981 Montgomery Wards 11 foot canoe, by Smokercraft. It does not track well, but that probably is my user error, as I basically have no paddling skills anymore. I plan on getting a kayak paddle which I think will work better for me. I am also working on a diy canoe cart, along with a milk crate supplies and rod holder box. I look forward to working on diy projects and rehab ideas I find here in these forums.
Best Regards, Lisa
Lisa, welcome to site membership! Feel free to ask any questions and to post messages, photos and videos, and to start threads, in our many forums. Please read Welcome to CanoeTripping and Site Rules! Also, please add your location to your profile, which will cause it to show under your avatar, as this is a geographic sport. Many of the site's technical features are explained in Features: Help and How-To Running Thread. We look forward to your participation in our canoe community.
Welcome! You live in one of my fave areas…the UP! So pretty! Enjoy your return to paddling. This site is a wealth of good info from good people. Glad to have you aboard.
Edit: guess I misread your post as being in the UP….but any part of Michigan is great!
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Welcome aboard!
I often use a double bladed paddle in my canoes. I also find that fore and aft trim can affect tracking. If you can shift your weight or add some moveable ballast, the boat might track better. Longer boats generally are more inclined to go straight, so your 11' boat will want some practice.
Try sitting in the bow seat backwards with some weight under the stern seat (I used to use rocks, water in gallon jugs, secured in a burlap sack or a pack so they don’t roll around) will make the canoe more even keeled, should make it handle bettter.
I don’t understand why people that live below the Mackinac Bridge (Trolls) insist on calling their area Northern Michigan. I was stuck in Southern Michigan in the military for a time near Battle Creek. Spent some time traveling to various radar sites thought the ones below the bridge were mid Michigan never felt in Northern Michigan until crossing the bridge going north. Just my personal rant….

We have some folks here that know what they are talking about & are a real great resource. We also have “Experts”, ex as in, has been, spurts as in, drips under pressure. The rest are somewhere in between.
Hope to hear more of your adventures. Welcome to our camp.
Thanks for all the kind replies. About halfway through my short voyage, I did switch seats and sit in the bow seat backwards and did a lot better. I think with my milk crate of fishing and other supplies towards the front, it will balance out even better. I just picked up my new paddle this evening. I’m hoping for good weather tomorrow so I can go out. It’s been rainy and/or very windy, with small craft advisories on some days. Plus I wanted to wait for the new paddle. The ones I have are kind of short And that doesn’t help, either.
Welcome to the forum. The UP is one of my favorite places, I have been visiting there for almost 50 years.