All Things BWCA Newsletter – July 2017

All Things BWCA Newsletter – July 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

Canoe Corvettes

by Blayne

Always Cutting Edge Equipment and Supplies

Since 1994, the year we bought this outfitting business, we have done our best to make sure that we added something to help Williams and Hall Outfitters continue to ride high in the water in the Outfitter world.  We were the first outfitter to offer Kevlar canoes.  We are the first and only outfitter to include the new Luci Lights in our complete plus canoe packages.  We are the first and to my knowledge, the only Outfitter in the BWCA that exclusively offers Cache Lake trail meals. They are far superior to other outfitter food choices.

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And Now Carbon Fiber Canoes from Savage River

We are always looking for the next cool thing in the paddling world, and we think we have found it in carbon fiber canoes.  To our knowledge, we are the only outfitter that offers Savage River sleek beauties for rent in Canoe Country.  They are between 8 and 10 pounds lighter than similar Kevlar models.  They are made to travel fast.  Some of the layups are, in fact, similar to racing layups, a very significant advantage to someone that wants to travel light and fast.  Two good paddlers could easily attain speeds of 6 to 7 mph.  That means 7 mph X an 8 hour day equals a 56-miles a day.  Wheuuu! You might even think you are going to lift off and fly.

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John Diller of Savage River has been designing canoes for 35 years.

Our carbon fiber boats are built by an awesome company, Savage River.  They have been at it a long time and have really come into the spotlight on the Paddling Stage in the last few years.  We are the only Canoe Country outfitter that carries the Savage Riverboats at this time and we are pretty excited to be working with such a great company.   John and Ben Diller operate out of a small shop in Maryland.   This small family-owned operation works hard to get things right.


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Savage River canoes on the construction line.

Trip to The Savage River Canoe Factory

We were recently at their shop and spent some time with the Dillers.  While I was there they were finishing off several boats, getting them ready to meet their new owners.  I was very impressed with the care and attention to detail that went into each boat.  John was gracious enough to share some of his techniques for boat care and repair while I was in the shop.  We really respect a manufacturer that knows he has a vested interest in helping us keep their boats in good condition.

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Almost Ready to Ship.

This is our third year of featuring these very impressive boats.  Each year the demand for the boat increases as more serious paddlers become aware of the advantages they provide.  The boats are not for everyone, they are more pricey (as you would suppose), and you must take good care of them.

But, hey, isn’t that what you expect from a Corvette?

Adventure On!

The Fishing Corner

Mid-Summer Fishing Action in the Boundary Waters and Quetico

by Dave, our resident fishing expert.

Hard to believe we’re at the halfway point of the Canoe Country season, but here we are. Usually, by now the bass and the walleyes are heading for the deep points and mid-lake reefs. This has been a relatively cool summer, however, and the lakes are up with all the rain we’ve had so far.

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Some Fine BWCA Walleyes

Plenty of Fish to Be Caught

This has meant that there is still plenty of fish to be caught along the shoreline in many of the area lakes. Having the opportunity to get out and do a little fishing of my own yielded a successful day of walleye fishing with a few big smallmouth …to boot! The thing is though, they were anywhere from about 6-7 ft. down to as deep as 18 ft. But the hunt & effort is worth the results.

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Landing a Big Boundary Waters Bass

As the water reaches peak temperature in the next few weeks, those aforementioned deep points and reefs will produce well. Suspending fish will also be a good target for open water trolling with deep-diving plugs.

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A Fighting Pike Always Give a Thrill!

Many of our guests and some of the kids on our staff have met with anything from casual success to outstanding tallies of pike, bass and walleyes.

One thing is for sure…though the catching varies, fishing in the Boundary Waters is ALWAYS good!

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Nice Catch.

Take a Kid Fishing in the BWCA

All that said, there’s nothing like sharing the excitement of a youngster catching a big one or their very first fish.  Take a kid canoeing…take a kid fishing. There’s lots of summers left and you’re sure to make some life long memories.

Happy Summer!

Fish On!

Wilderness Wisdom

Who Hear the Fishes When They Cry?

by Kevin

williams and hall outfitters bwca ely minnesota


Henry David Thoreau is one of the great American outdoor writers of all time.  Most famous for his discourse, “Walden; or, Life in the Woods”, Thoreau was born 200 years ago this week.

Thoreau’s Canoe Trip

Six years prior to taking up residence on Walden Pond, Thoreau took a two-week canoe trip in New England.  He saw first-hand the beginnings of the impact of the industrial revolution on the rivers and lakes of our country.  He wrote these words: “Who will hear the fishes when they cry?”

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The Boundary Waters and Quetico are not industrialized New England and are protected by the Wilderness Act of 1964.  The Boundary Waters offers incredibly clean water and phenomenal fishing opportunities.  At Williams and Hall, we think people should have good access to these natural resources.  We think that immersion in the wilderness has many lessons for people in today’s modern world.

Let’s Keep The Fish From Crying in the Boundary Waters

I suspect that Thoreau would be impressed with the conditions of these great wildernesses today.  Our job, as canoeists and sport fishermen, is to keep the Boundary Waters and Quetico in this pristine state. Each time we use this great resource, try to leave it a little cleaner and healthier than when you arrived.  Pick up other waste.  Practice catch and release fishing (other than those fish for a shore lunch or camp dinner).  Otherwise, we might just start to hear the fishes start to cry.  And that won’t be good for any of us who love the Boundary Waters.

Paddle On.  Be Free.

The Scouter’s Scene 

Driving Scouts is a BIG Responsibility

by Kevin

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The Boundary Waters is a true wilderness area, making it a special place, and a great place for Boy Scout High Adventure trips.  However, it is not easy to get to.  Most troops will need to drive some distance to get to Ely, Minnesota.

Take Driving Boys Scouts Seriously

Scouters have very serious responsibilities when driving boys to any destination.  And, the Boy Scouts of America have some pretty specific rules to be followed as well. Some of the key rules regarding transporting boy scouts in private vehicles include:

  • Seat belts must always be used.
  • Drivers must be properly licensed and over 18.
  • Driving time should be limited to ten hours.

A full list of rules can be found on the national BSA website here.

New Scouter Driving Safety Program 

Interestingly, most accidents that involve boy scouts happen on the road, not during activities or wilderness adventures.  The Bryan on Scouting blog features a great article on a new program being offered by the BSA to help Scouters become safer drivers.  The course, called The Hartford Driver Improvement Program, is free.  Read about accessing this program here.  The program only takes about 30 minutes to complete.

Duty On. Be Your Best.

Tips For the Outdoor Photographer 

Taking Great Adventure Photos with Your Cell Phone

By Kevin

Many of us carry our cell phones into the wilderness these days, not to make calls, but to take pictures.  Our phones are usually smaller and lighter than cameras of comparable pixel quality so it makes sense.

Of course, you can always simply point and shoot with your cell phone to create great photo memories of your paddling adventure in the Boundary Waters and Quetico.  But you can do a few things that can really enhance your cell phone photos.

Try Using Panorama Mode

Panorama mode is usually accessed by swiping to left on your camera screen.  This mode is perfect to capture a very wide landscape like a Boundary Waters lake.  Simply aim your camera at the left side of the view, push the shutter button, and slowly pan the camera to the right until you get to the other edge of the scene.  Then push the shutter button again.  The camera, using motion-stabilization, will produce a panoramic photo for you.

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Great example of a panoramic photo of a Boundary Waters Lake

Practice Using the Rule of Thirds

Mentally envision two horizontal lines and two vertical lines on your phone screen that create a 9 square grid.  Then position your photo’s key elements along these lines or where the lines intersect.  The off-center composition can make for more interesting photos.

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This is an example of the Rule of Thirds being utilized.

Watch Out for Trees Growing Out of Heads

There are a lot of trees (and other distracting things) in the Boundary Waters.  Make sure you take a look at what’s behind your subject before hitting the shutter button.  A great photo can be ruined when someone appears to have a tree growing out of their head.

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Well, I think you get the idea!

Finally, remember to take more than one shot if you can.  That’s the beauty of digital photography. The more shots, the more likely, you will capture a great photo.

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!

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

We are looking forward to seeing you this summer!

Thank you sign

Summer is our favorite time of year.  Life on Moose Lake during these warm days is wonderful. We look forward to seeing you soon.

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.