All Things BWCA Newsletter – May 2016

All Things BWCA Newsletter – May 2016

What’s Going on in the North Woods

  • bwca ely MinnesotaAround The Base
  • The Fishing Corner
  • The Scouter’s Scene
  • 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 wilderness around us. We hope you enjoy these articles and share them with your friends.

Around The Base

If You Can’t Walk on Water…Walk in It!

Well, here we are, off to another canoeing season in the Northland! As percentages have it, we’re as likely to have snow on opening weekend as we are to be in the 70’s. Guess which one we had this opener?

As we excitedly begin a new season we are always faced with some timely, unsolved issues from the past. The question of footwear always seems to be at the top of the list. In the past, I’ve chosen to address the issue by offering my thoughts and suggesting some styles. This year however, I’m going to tell it the way it is. If you can’t walk on water…walk in it!

So, first of all, if there is someone out there that can do the first part…I want to meet you! For everyone else, listen up. If you’re going into the Boundary Waters or Quetico Park, you’re going to walk in water or at least step in it, so why not have footwear appropriate for the job? But there are so many choices??  There are two things you need first. Number one is arch & ankle support. Number two is decent traction (for rocks and roots).  Once you’ve figured that out, you should then ask yourself one question…Do I want wet feet? (Caution; your answer might be different depending on whether your trip is in May or July).  If you said, NO! I don’t want wet feet, then you should be wearing a knee high rubber boot (my recommendation in a moment). If you said, I don’t care, then your choices are nearly endless! Either way, you’ll want to have a pair of dry gym shoes or light hikers to wear around camp.

Williams and Hall Outfitters Ely MN

La Crosse Burly Boot

I don’t typically name brands but over the years, hundreds and hundreds of guides and towboat drivers can’t be wrong! Hands down, the most popular knee high boot is the 18” La Crosse® “Grange” followed by the “Burly” model. (Click here for more info.) They are waterproof, have good support and great traction…especially on the rocks. Don’t fool yourself with those cheap black mud boots. The material is too stiff and the traction isn’t good. There are many other good knee high boots out there as well.


When it comes to Kevlar and Carbon Fiber, walking in the water is a MUST to properly care for those superlight canoes! If you’ve spent all your canoe tripping days teetering on the rocks trying to load and unload your canoe, walk in the water

Williams and Hall Outfitters Ely MN

La Crosse Burly Boot

!  You will save your back, ease your portaging tasks and won’t beat the heck out of your canoe.  The only thing left to decide is, do you want wet feet or not?

Portage On!


The Fishing Corner

Off to a Swimmin’ Start in BWCA and Quetico!

The fishing, that is! Well to be more accurate, the fishing season has just opened. We did however, have our first group of guys go up into Quetico a couple weeks ago. They did pretty good catching some lake trout on Carp Lake and the Man Chain. (Ontario fishing, except for walleyes, is continuous). A couple weeks ago some friends and I made our pilgrimage up to the Splash Lake rapids to witness one of the fascinating rituals of spring in the North Country…the Walleye Run!

Williams and Hall Outfitters Ely MN

Thick with Walleyes

The “run” lasts just a few days and once they’ve done their thing the walleyes move off into some deeper water to recover for a week or so. Now, and in the coming weeks…into early summer, look for those walleyes to be in relatively shallow water (4’- 10’) in many situations. As the water warms towards late June and early July, many walleyes move to their mid-summer haunts out on mid-lake humps, reefs and deep points. Now don’t come back from your trip and tell me there are no walleyes in the lake!

Williams and Hall Outfitters Ely MN

Just Another 10 Pounder

Fish On!

The Scouter’s Scene 

Rank Advancement and Merit Badges During your BWCA Canoe Trip

Williams and Hall Outfitters Ely MN


As your troop plans its Paddling High Adventure trip to the Boundary Waters, remember to think about rank advancement and merit badge possibilities during your trip.  High adventure trips offer a great chance to work on scouting skills such as camping and cooking.  In addition, a Boundary Waters trip offers the opportunity to earn many merit badges including canoeing, fishing and nature.  If possible, pre-train some adults who will be on the trip as merit badge counselors.  Or work with your Council to have sign-offs completed upon return from the trip.

There is still time to work with Williams and Hall to create a 2016 high adventure and to help make your troop a great one.

Remember to Secure Your 2016 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 are available for application now. All BWCA permits became available first come, first serve in late January.

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

We are officially open.  The Season has started!

Thank you sign

We look forward to helping you plan your 2016 Boundary Waters Paddling Adventure!

From your friends at Williams and Hall,
Charlene, Blayne, Dave and Kevin
Williams and Hall Outfitters and Canoe Adventures
(218) 365-5837