your paddlesports destination

Lake Michigan in Wisconsin

Trip Overview

North Bay, Lake Michigan

I spent three hours on Independence Day morning test paddling a new kayak on North Bay, an inlet from Lake Michigan in Door County, WI. The bay is well protected and in most places is less than three feet deep, although there is a channel in the middle which can be used for powerboats. On this date there was a light wind from the SE into the mouth of the bay, causing swells up to 2-3 feet in the deeper portion. Otherwise, calm reigned.

I put in and took out at a small public boat launch in a remote location, described below. I was there three times over two days and never saw more than four other people using it. Excellent place for a near beginner like me to perform without an audience. Also, I had the entertainment of watching two young men having to pole their bass boat from rock to rock with their oars in order to get back to the ramp. As I said, shallow, and perfect for yakking.

I followed the shore leftward to the mouth, then came back down the deeper center. Nice psuedo-surfing effect on the larger swells while returning with the wind at my back.

Spent some time exploring the shallow western section of the bay. Lots of birds, including a flock of wild swans. Large fish (carp and bass) visible in the shallows.

The kayak was a 13' Dagger Catalyst which I had just obtained on closeout the day before. This was my first experience with a rudder. I can see how one could be of great help in difficult conditions, but all I did was get used to the controls. Great time, over all.


No concessions or bathrooms. The only things at this area are a small dock, concrete boat launch, and gravel parking for just a few cars. Sister Bay is a resort town with everything you'll need.




From Sister Bay, WI, head east on Maple Street/County ZZ for about three miles and turn right onto North Bay Road. Follow to the end, about another three miles. The road turns to gravel and terminates at the public launch on North Bay.

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip