What's Going on in the North Woods
- Around 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
We Are Ready for Spring!
I just heard our General Manager (and fishing expert), Dave, answer the phone. “Yes, I am ready for spring, don’t get me wrong, I like the winter, but I AM ready for spring.” We are ready for spring. Yes, that is the problem with Northwoods winters, they last FOREVER. Good news, no bugs. Bad news, we are ready to get going with the new season.
A Crazy Winter
It has indeed been a crazy winter. It was slow getting started, then super cold, and not much snow. Now lots of snow and not so super cold. Well, it was 8F this morning - guess that is cold by some standards. A friend in Florida was complaining about 55F days this winter down there. It’s all relative, I guess. The current snow load does promise good lake water levels in the Boundary Waters when it all finally melts.
Betting On Ice Out
Bets are being made in every “Up North” community this time of year about the exact day and hour of Ice-Out. I have done about as well betting on that as NCAA March Madness, not well. In typical Northwoods stoicism, we just adopt the attitude that “God put the ice here and he will take it back, at some point….probably.” Here are a few pics of what some of the places you are familiar with in the summer look like now. Quite a different look, isn’t it?
But, It's Essential Gear
So meanwhile, we lay out our gear and make needed repairs/replacements. We make countless justifications to our wives about just why these expenditures are essential. Don’t miss the nuances here guys - essential is a much more compelling adjective than needed. As only old fishermen know, it is not just oiling the reel and changing the line, but the relentless pursuit of the next greatest lure, that will define the success of the upcoming fishing season.
So Charge!!!!, the season is almost upon us.
The Fishing Corner
by Dave, our Resident Fishing Expert
Well, now that we’re on daylight savings time…we can look at frozen solid Moose Lake later in the day, for another 7 or 8 weeks. Regardless as to whether you like the time change or not, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed with the time. With this winter’s long cold stretches, we’re still quite a way away from open water.
There comes a point where you run out of reels to re-spool and oil for the new season and tackle boxes to organize and re-organize. With warmer days and still cold nights, the snow on the lake will melt down to the ice surface and freeze at night. What this does is provide a giant, flat “proving grounds” (or “waters”, if you prefer) for two little known spring, Moose Lake activities.
Frozen Lakes and Fly Casting Practice
The first is honing the fly fishing skills. With all that un-impeded space, one can practice, or learn one of the secretly fun things to do on a Boundary Waters trip…Fly Fishing, Casting. Out on the ice, you can practice casting to your hearts content, while avoiding all obstacles. Even the most seasoned fly fisherman can benefit from a little “warm up” for the open water season. For anyone interested in learning or just getting into it, find a friend who’s into it and bug ‘em to teach, while the conditions are good (and safe). By the way, if you don’t have a safe frozen lake to learn or practice on…a nice, big, flat grassy yard will do the trick!
Be careful, though, a giant smallmouth on a flyrod might just end up becoming another “hobby” to spend time and money on.
A Little Known BWCA Moose Lake Activity
Oh, and that other little known late Moose Lake ice activity? Yes, of course…flying a kite!
Fish On. Be Free.
Layer Up For Early Season Canoe Trips
Ice out is a big deal on Moose Lake. Once the ice is gone, canoe season is open. But, it can still be cold in the Boundary Waters and Quetico. Staying warm is key to enjoying an early season trip. Warmth keeps you safe as well.
Take the Three Layer Approach
The best way to stay warm is to dress in layers. We can divide layers into three categories – base layer, middle layer, and outer layer.
Base Layer - for moisture management
- Moisture wicking underwear
- Breathable long underwear – choose among different weights to match the weather conditions
- Sock liners
Middle Layer – for insulation
- Fleece vest – water and wind resistant is best
- Down (or synthetic) insulated jacket – remember that down is the most efficient but looses its insulating efficiency when damp.
- Merino wool / Smartwool socks
Outer Layer – for wind, rain and snow protection
- High quality, waterproof, breathable rain suit – separate pants and jacket with hood
- Wind resistant cap that covers ears
- Cold-weather paddling gloves
Paddle On. Be Free.
The Boy Scout Scene
Consider the Fifty-Miler Award
When planning a trip to the Boundary Waters, troop leadership may want to consider completing the requirements for the Boy Scout Fifty-Miler Award. The award is designed to promote personal fitness, self-reliance, and outdoor knowledge and experience
Fifty Miles is No Walk in the Park
A 50-mile canoe trip is doable but difficult. Generally, only older boys will have the stamina and strength to go 50 miles. Also, accompanying adults will need to be in appropriate condition for such an effort.
The basic requirements to earn this BSA badge are:
- Appropriately plan the trip
- Trip must be 50 consecutive miles in length and last at least 5 days
- Participants must spend at least 10 hours doing group trail or related work
- Completion of the Fifty Miler Award Application
Don't Lose Sight of Making It Fun
Williams and Hall can help you plan your 50-mile route. Just keep in mind that such a trip is hard. Give yourself plenty of time so that everyone can enjoy their trip. Enjoyment and safety should always be the prime objectives – not just distance.
Duty On. Be Your Best.
Tips For the Boundary Waters Photographer
Don’t Forget the People On The Trip
When we are in an incredibly beautiful place like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness, we want to try to capture that beauty through photography. We tend to focus on shooting the wilderness in its pristine state – and ignore the people travelling with us. This is a mistake.
Create Memories For Your Group
Photography creates memories. Make sure your memories include not just where you were, but also who you were with. Here are a few tips for group photos:
- Try to have background that gives context to the shot
- Take multiple shots to insure at least one good one
- Get in close
- Think about light so you eliminate dark or squinting faces
- For large group shots, try to elevate yourself by standing on a rock or stump
- Try a few shots using the camera timer so you can be part of the group photo
- Tell Your group to smile
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!
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 www.paddleonbefree.com.
The 2018 Spring Road Show Has Ended
We just returned from Canoecopia in Madison Wisconsin. That ends our Spring travels to outdoor shows and customer nights. We enjoyed every minute of our time visiting with friends, new and old. Thanks for coming to a show or customer night near you.
Welcome to the 2018 season! We Are Ready For You.
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