All Things BWCA Newsletter – May 2017

All Things BWCA Newsletter – May 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

Up and Running!

The docks are in…the towboats are ready…the water is running (where it’s supposed to), the kitchen is “fired up” and the rooms are inviting. I guess that means we’re off and running for yet another season on the edge of the greatest canoe country in the world.

The amazing part of this whole process is the fact that just a few short weeks ago, Moose Lake was still thick with ice.  Thoughts of warm breezes gently pushing a canoe down the shore while tossing a top water bait were deep within the imagination.  It truly is a spectacle to witness the transition from the remnants of winter to the renewal of spring.

williams and hall outfitters bwca quetico ely mn

This year however, it seemed that winter didn’t want to give up without a fight. Ice left Moose Lake early this spring (April 13th) but in the next couple of weeks we saw high temperatures struggle to reach the 30’s and days when you couldn’t see the lake (because of the falling snow). We have had some hearty souls venture out into the woods, though.  Being prepared for the worst made for some wonderful “payback” days for those that braved the elements. Preseason fishing for species other than walleyes (Quetico & some parts of border lakes in the Boundary Waters) yielded some nice northern pike and lake trout. As the waters warm, the bass will heat up as well!

williams and hall outfitters bwca quetico ely mn

In the spring, there is a reality. As much as we look forward to 70° and sunny…so is everything else! The trees are budding, the suckers are “running”, the warblers are returning, the spring peepers are croaking, the grouse are drumming and yes, the bugs are coming out. Fortunately, the cool nights keep those guys to a minimum these days. For those of you who have visited us early in the season, we can happily report that the midges down at the dock are in full force! Thankfully they don’t bite…otherwise we’d have been gone years ago! There is a trade-off however, with all the “new life” buzzing around, the spring birds are having a field day with the new food sources.

Williams and Hall outfitters ely mn

The spring process lasts for several weeks around here. It is definitely worth the experience. So grab your gear and let us know how we can help make a spring adventure happen for you!

All the Best for the New Canoe Season!

Adventure On!

The Fishing Corner

May and June Offer Incredible Fishing

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May and June offer incredible fishing opportunities in the Boundary Waters and Quetico. Species such as walleye, northern pike, bass and lake trout are all active during this time.

Good lure variety is a must, but you must be judicious and pack lightly.  Hard baits, including floating and suspended minnow baits, shad-shaped crank baits, bass-style crank baits, and lipless crank baits work well.  Also, a top-water bait can be a lot of fun if conditions are right.  Live baits, such as leeches and night crawlers, work well.

Finally, you need to decide if you want to bring a net.  Handling large fish in a canoe can be tricky without one.  And, if you are inclined to have a fish dinner, remember the stringer.

More great tips can be found here.  And you can always talk to our resident fishing guru, Dave, in our shop.

BWCA Quetico Ely Fishing

A few fishing tackle items in our shop.

Fish On!

Wilderness Wisdom from Our Team

Some Training Tips For Your Upcoming Trip


williams and hall outfitters bwca quetico ely mn

The fun part about preparing for your canoe trip is getting all of your equipment out of winter storage and maybe even buying something new.  However, don’t forget to get your body out of winter storage as well.  Paddling requires the use of some muscles that you might have forgotten about.  Here are a few easy exercises to do in the weeks before your trip.

Focus on your torso.  Start with some crunches.  Even better, invest in a swiss ball to do your crunches on.  Next, move on to some planks.  Finally, get some more use out of your swiss ball by grabbing the ball between your legs and lifting your legs to pass the ball to your hands, all while laying on your back.

Strengthen your shoulders.  You can do a lot of great shoulder work with a flexible workout theraband (like a big rubber band).  Internal and external rotations do wonders for your rotator cuffs.  Push-ups are always good.  Finally, you can use your theraband to do rowing exercises.

Build up your endurance and flexibility.  Any type of aerobic exercise will be of help to you.  Certainly, running will help.  But don’t underestimate the value of taking a long walk every day.  Finally, stretch every day in order to avoid stiffness and soreness.

You can find more detailed explanations on how to do some of these exercises here.


The Scouter’s Scene 

Know Your Compass

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One of my treasured possessions is my Boy Scout compass.  I have had it for almost 50 years now.  And I always have it out and accessible when I am in the wilderness.  My compass and a good map are great insurance that I will not get lost.

Teach how to use a compass.  If your troop is planning a trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area wilderness, make sure you spend some time in a troop meeting reviewing how to use a compass, with and without a map.  And make sure each boy is equipped with a compass before heading into the wilderness.

Have a good set of maps.  One of the great things about the Boundary Waters and Quetico wildernesses is the high quality maps that are available.  At Williams and Hall Outfitters, we prefer maps by W. A. Fisher Company.  They are accurate, have campsites marked and portage lengths indicated.  We can help you purchase the quadrants that will be relevant for your route.  We suggest two sets of maps per travelling party, in case one map is lost.

Williams and hall outfitters bwca quetico ely mn

Duty On. Be Prepared.

Tips For the Outdoor Photographer 

Have You Considered An Action Camera?

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Action cameras, like those from GoPro, Garmin and others just keep getting smaller and better.  They offer a great way to capture the live action of a paddling adventure, whether it be catching that huge fish, viewing bald eagles or moose, or sitting around the campfire. Because they are small and lite, they are are easy to bring along on your trip.

Know how to use your action camera.  Make sure you spend some time learning how to use your camera before your trip.  Learning how to use a camera while sitting in a canoe can be pretty tough.  Understand the settings your camera offers so you will optimize the quality of your photography.

Have the proper memory card.  Memory cards differ in quality and capacity.  If you will be going out into the wilderness for more than a day, bring along the proper card or cards needed to capture all of the great moments.  For instance, a 32 gb card will capture about 3 hours of video.

Use your camera modes.  Action cameras come with a variety of modes such as single shot, time lapse, slow motion and continuous shooting.  Have fun using all of the modes available to you.

REI offers some good tips for using action cameras here. 

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

We are working hard to prepare our facilities and equipment so that you can have a great paddling adventure.  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.