All Things BWCA Newsletter – April 2017

What's Going on in the North Woods

  • bwca ely MinnesotaAround The Base
  • The Fishing Corner
  • Wilderness Wisdom
  • The Scouter's Scene
  • Tips For the Outdoor Photographer
  • More Great Information

This newsletter is designed to help keep you current on the issues of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Quetico Provincial Park, to give you information on Williams and Hall Outfitters, and to share some of our knowledge and love of the outdoors and the BWCA wilderness around us. We hope you enjoy these articles and share them with your friends.


Around The Base

Ice Out - That Blessed Event -Is Not Far Away

Williams and Hall Outfitters Ely MN

This is the time that we look forward in the Northwoods to - ICE OUT - that blessed event that means we can get about enjoying the new season.  There is not a more anticipated event than Ice Out in our neck of the woods.  No, we do not run naked through the streets of town. That is in Alaska, or maybe International Falls.

Whether man or beast, we all are excited to see the ice go out of Moose Lake and open water replaces the glassy ice.  We watch for signs, listen to the old timers prognosticate, and simply guess at the exact moment.  Those of us that wager, have placed our best bets in any number of pools hoping to finally win the pot.

We have had a crazy winter this year with temps going up and down a staggering number of times. Just when the drive to our lodge melts and the rocks are showing, here comes another Arctic blast of snow and cold.  Perhaps we have seen the last of our sub-zero days, but the lake still has a thick layer of ice on it.  So, nothing is imminent.

We will let you in one true factor that has been proven time and again.  The only sure predictor of the last snow storm of the year is this.  The day after we take the snowplow off of our truck, it will without a doubt snow.  Just the way it works. (and we aren’t telling). We’ll keep you posted.  For now, it's back to the window to keep an eye out for cracks in the ice.

Boundary Waters Quetico Williams and Hall Outfitteres Ely, MN

Adventure On!


The Fishing Corner

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You will just have to keep dreaming about fishing for now...........but the time is getting close.  Better start organizing your tackle and oiling up your reels.  Dave is out in Montana doing a little spring fishing.  It's a good way to wait for ice out back on Moose Lake!

Fish On!


Wilderness Wisdom from Our Team

BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME

How To Prepare for Your Canoe Trip

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Last summer on one July evening when we were awash with Boy Scouts and their leaders, I looked outside the shop. On the log benches set two guys opening the packages of two brand new GPS rigs. They then got out the instructions and went to work trying to figure them out. Seems that they had never used a GPS before.  We were working with another group and they had brought their own camping stove.  The group leader and proud owner of the stove asked me how much stove fuel he would need.

While taking a wilderness canoe trip is a relatively simple endeavor that is too often over-thought, there are some things that the erstwhile wilderness traveler can do before they get to our base to make their trip go smoothly.  Here are a few tips based on years of our careful observations.

Check out new stuff before you come.  Whether it is clothes or gadgets, we all like to get the new thing before we go on a trip.  So here is the tip, open it up, check it out, and figure it out before you get here.  The night before you go into the woods is not when to figure out a new electronic gismo, or a new stove, or a new rainsuit.  Take the time to make sure you have everything you need, batteries, etc. and have fired it up to make sure it works properly prior to your arrival.

Fishing stuff needs your love.  It always pays to check out your fishing gear. Look at the time of year that you plan to come to the BWCA and fine tune your gear.  Maybe you don’t need those mid-summer deep-running lake trout lures in May!  Leave them home.  The night before your trip at our bunkhouse is nowhere to recall that you were having trouble with your reel at the end of last season.  Here is the best tip of all:  Change your line.

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Get good advice.  Be careful who you take your advice from.  Just as I am sure that you would not want to take advice on picking stocks to invest in from me, I am sure that you need to get advice on gear for your canoe trip from someone who knows what is going on. Case in point: buying a plastic canoe from K-mart because it was on sale.  Big waves and our portages are not friends of a plastic on-sale canoe, without a portage yoke. Leave stuff that is unproven or chancy at home. Always feel free to ask us if you have a question.

Do not assume all your stuff is ready to go.  Over the years, I have found it puzzling how I can put gear away in the Fall in serviceable condition only to pull it out for my first trip of the season and find something screwed up.  I mean, really, how did that happen?  My rubber knee boots, that many of us up here use as our canoe trip footgear, are a perfect example. They  definitely did not have a hole in them before the trip, but sure as shooting they leak like a sieve in May.  Go figure. There is danger in assuming, check it out.

Sage advice from Blayne and Charlene!

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Our 2017 Sport Show and Boundary Water Nights

Great to have seen everyone during our tour through out the midwest for the Sport Shows and Boundary Waters Nights culminating with Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin.  We can't remember a busier time in recent memory.  Thank you for taking the time to stop by the booth to hello!

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Blayne in the Booth at Canoecopia.


The Scouter's Scene 

The BWCA Offers Boys A Real Chance to Learn

Williams and Hall Outfitters Ely MN

"The BWCA is a great place for young boys to learn about themselves and grow to be young men. They will test thing they never thought they could. They will learn to work with nature not against it."

The quote above comes from a post to our Facebook page.  The person who wrote this was reacting to our ad to attract Boy Scout troops.  I wish we could be as eloquent.  This post sums up beautifully what the BWCA offers Boy Scouts.  As a Scouter, there are few things as great as seeing a boy learn something new, particularly about nature.  Wilderness is like no other classroom for boys to learn in.

At Williams and Hall, we know scouts better than anyone else outfitting trips into the Boundary Waters.  Trust us to help you plan an incredible high adventure.  Just click here for more info.

Duty On. Be Prepared to Live Free.


Tips For the Outdoor Photographer 

Spring Time Offers Great Landscapes  

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Spring time is a great time to get outside with your camera.  Head to a park or arboretum and try shooting some landscapes.  Spring offers color and change in the landscape.  Here are a few tips to consider from picturecorrect.com:

  • Spring landscapes are colorful and the new spring growth looks great against a blue sky. To make the colors more saturated—particularly the blue sky—use a polarizing filter.
  • Look out for symmetrical shapes and unusual views, such as rows of strong green vegetation or views through tree blossom. Try to frame your landscapes with tree branches, doorways, arches, window frames, etc.
  • If you have a wide angle lens, take it out of hibernation and use it to incorporate a foreground view as well as the landscape in the distance.
  • Don’t forget about your depth of field. To get everything in focus, use a higher f number, such as 11 or 22

Shoot On!


We Can Help You Secure Your 2017 Permits for Boundary Waters  and Quetico

Quetico Park permits are available no sooner than 5 months, to the day, ahead of the actual start date and Boundary Waters permits became available for application on a first-come, first serve basis beginning in mid-January.  Now is the time to apply.

Remember...We are happy to secure your Canoe Country permits at no extra charge!


We are looking forward to seeing you this summer!

Thank you sign

At the risk of sounding redundant, we say again, how much we appreciate You, our Guests...our Friends. We wouldn't be here without You. As always, let us know how we can help with your future canoe trip plans to Moose Lake.

From your friends at Williams and Hall,                                                                             Charlene, Blayne, Dave and Kevin

Williams and Hall Outfitters and Canoe Adventures
williamsandhall.com                                                                                                  paddleonbefree.com
(218) 365-5837
[email protected]

Paddle On.  Be Free.