All Things BWCA Newsletter – June 2018

All Things BWCA Newsletter – June 2018

What’s Going on in the North Woods

  • bwca ely MinnesotaAround The Base
  • The Fishing Corner
  • Wilderness Wisdom
  • The Boy Scout Scene
  • Tips For the Boundary Waters 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


by Blayne

Irony, according to Webster, is an outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected.  Well our little post in the wilderness was overcome last week by a huge case of irony. It all started with a big ol’ storm on Tuesday, May 29th.  This was an event that was not forecast, but was, you know, one of those weather “bonuses”.  In fact, Kevin, had just arrived from Chicago for a Spring visit, and he, Charlene and I decided to get in an evening of fishing.

Williams and hall outfitters

A Canoe Country Weather Bonus Strikes

So off we went.  Famous last words:  “Well, if it gets bad, it will only take us 5 minutes to return to the lodge.” The storm did strike.  Out on the water, it went from dead calm to over 3 foot white caps in less than a minute’s time.   As our lives flashed before our eyes and we gave thanks that we did not catch a fish that might have delayed us, we made a mad dash for our docks.   Which docks, by the way, were bucking so high that some of our guests ran down to help us land.  For that assistance, we were deeply appreciative.

We made it into the corral safely, if a bit shaken, but the power lines not so much.  There is something about power lines running 25 miles through the woods that never works out well for us.  Anytime it even looks like a big storm, we lose power.  Many of you reading this have experienced firsthand the joy of being here when our power is out. We have no water (runs on pumps), no hot water, no toilets (need water). Fun, fun, fun!   During a particularly brutal storm in 2016, we were without power for six fun-filled days.

Don’t Worry – We Have a Generator (or do we?)

BWCA lodge

Well, we took action and installed a big old state of the art generator last summer.  It runs the place pretty much top to bottom. So, problem solved, right?   Well as fate would have it, that generator runs on propane.  We have a 1000 gal. propane tank, that, of course, never has run out.  So who bothers to check said tank to see if we need to order propane or not?  Well, why would you check it?  The tank gets filled once a year, no problem.  Now, many of you are seeing the “irony” of the situation.  The outcome of the power outage was definitely not what was expected.  The tank went dry about two hours before the 2-day outage began.  Hence, the brand new generator was useless.  The fuel truck did make an emergency run the next morning.  So we were only out of power for a few hours.  However, there were a few folks that had the same joy of no shower and no flushing, again!!!

Our Promise – Not To Run Out of Propane Again

ely minnesota boundary waters

Rest assured, however, that it has been pointed out numerous times since the storm, that it was MY responsibility to check the level in the propane tank.  Good news is, the generator sprang to life and we were able to iron out all the kinks so the next time the power goes, we will be in business here.  No more showers in the lake.

Adventure On!

The Fishing Corner

Get Them Involved, Keep Them Invovled

by Dave, our Resident Fishing Expert

Well our season is already clipping along! The fish are biting…the bugs…not so bad. One of the things I look forward to each season is our summer staff. These are young adults with a passion for the woods and a desire to hone their outdoor skills. One of the secrets to success for any business is the quality of the folks that work for the company. Over the 18 years I’ve been working for Williams and Hall Outfitters (Tom & Woods in the earlier years), I’ve been fortunate to have had many great young adults working with me through the seasons.

bwca fishing love

Annual Crew Fishing Contest

Each season I try to put together a crew fishing contest. Some years there is marginal interest and other years the participation is much higher. This season, pretty much the whole crew and even a couple of the neighbors have “kicked in”. The enthusiasm is high and the competition is strong! As one with a love of fishing, I’m truly excited to be part of this annual Williams and Hall experience.

bwca smallie

Much pleasure comes from spending time with the “kids”, teaching and sharing what fishing knowledge and skills I have. I wish I could do more of it. The real thrill though, comes from seeing the results of a successful day on the water.

Getting and Keeping Kids Interested in the Outdoors

The most important point here, is for those with experience be willing to share their skills and knowledge of the outdoors with anyone wanting to learn…especially our youth. It plays a very important role in keeping a connection to the outdoors with our kids and will help keep participation in camping, fishing and the outdoors healthy for generations to come.

bwca walleye

Remember…share your skills, take a kid fishing, take a kid camping and make the outdoors a part of your plan.

Cast On!

Fish On. Be Free.

Wilderness Wisdom

williams and hall outfitters bwca ely minnesota

Will I See a Wolf on a BWCA Canoe Adventure?

by Kevin

boundary waters wolf

Timber Wolves, commonly known as Gray Wolves, do make the Boundary Waters and Quetico home.  However, wolves are very rarely seen on canoe adventures.  It is even rarer for wolves to bother humans.

Tips For The Very Rare Wolf Encounter

However, here are a few good tips should you unexpectedly encounter a wolf in  a campsite.

  • Act aggressively toward the wolf, clapping your hands, yelling and banging on things.
  • Keep eye contact with the wolf until they depart.
  • Retreat slowly.
  • Do not run at the wolf.

wolf in campsite

To keep wolves from nosing around your campsite, follow these recommendations:

  • Keep your camp clean.
  • Wash cooking utensils immediately after meals.
  • Secure your garbage.
  • Secure your food.
  • Don’t leave personal articles strewn around your campsite. Wolves are inquisitive and will be tempted to take a look.

Many of these recommendations are the same as for keeping bears out of your campsite.  Follow them and stay safe.

Paddle On.  Be Free.

The Boy Scout Scene 

Pre-Plan for a Great High Adventure

by Kevin

As Allen Lakein once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.  This simple admonition applies to a Boundary Waters high adventure trip for scouts.  Many scouts have never been to the Boundary Waters wilderness, or even spent much time on a canoe trip.  However, with a little pre-planning, your troop can have a trip of a lifetime.

Williams and Hall boy scouts

Two Great Planning Resources

There are two great resources that Scouters and Scouts can use to plan a high adventure trip.

Resource 1:  The Boy Scouts have a website that features an outdoor adventure planning guide.  This is known as The Adventure Plan, or TAP.  The TAP website has great tools to assist in planning your next high adventure.  You can find these tools at

Resource 2:  We suggest your troop use a Boundary Waters outfitter to help with the planning process.  A qualified outfitter (like Williams and Hall) will know the tips and tricks related to a successful paddling adventure.  Routing, equipment, and food suggestions are just a few areas of Canoe Country-specific advice that can be invaluable.

Using these resources will make a big difference in your troop’s experience.

Duty On. Be Your Best.

Tips For the Boundary Waters Photographer 

Enhance Cell Phone Photos with a Lens

By Kevin

We all know how far cell phone cameras have come in the last few years.  In fact, camera quality has become a significant factor when considering which phone to buy.  In addition, the onboard software allows for many ways to manipulate your photos.  And, of course, sharing photos with others has become a snap.

Add One or More Lenses

Because of the size of a cell phone and the reasonably high quality of the photos available, use their cell phones as their primary camera on wilderness trips.  If you are one of these people, you might want to consider adding a cellphone camera lens to your phone.

bwca photography tips

Single lenses or lens kits are available for both iPhones and Android phones.  As you can see from the picture above, these lenses clip on to the body of your phone over the onboard camera lens.  You can buy lenses for the following applications:

  • Macro lenses for close-up work
  • Wide angle photos, including fisheye lenses
  • Long-range photos using telephoto lenses

Of course, quality will impact the price of these lenses.  You can see a good article featuring an array of lenses and lens kits by clicking here.

Shoot On!

We Can Help You Secure Your 2018 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!

williams and hall outfitters ely bwca permits

williams and hall outfitters quetico ely







Purchase Williams and Hall Merchandise Online

Need a great gift for that paddler in your life.  You can always find Williams and Hall merchandise online.  Just click the “Shop For Gear” link at the top of our home page or go directly to

Welcome to the 2018 season! We Are In Full Swing.

gateway to boundary waters canoe adventure

Please give us a chance to help you plan your 2018 Canoe Country adventure.

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

Williams and Hall Outfitters and Canoe Adventures                                                                                        
(218) 365-5837

Paddle On.  Be Free.