All Things BWCA Newsletter – October 2017

All Things BWCA Newsletter – October 2017

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 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

What A Great Season!

by Blayne

williams and hall outfitters ely boundary waters

A Canoe Country Season Begins

As April comes to a close and the May page on the calendar is turned, Moose Lake wakes up from its very long and sleepy winter.  All the residents return from winter travels and the lake comes to life.  You hear the buzz of chainsaws clearing away winter tree falls, and leaf raking is the sport du jour.  All the projects that should have been done during the past season get restarted.

With the ice going out in late April or early May comes the return of the loons and their loud announcement that they are back.  The first towboats are headed up the lake and the first fisherman heading out to see what they can find besides cold fingers.  Everyone is busy taking the wraps off their places to see what surprises the winter has brought.  It seems like it will be a million years until September and the end of the season.

And Ends…

Now all too soon, the season has come and gone.  We have seen May, June, July, and August flash by. We are all wishing that we had a few more days in the month.  Boats are pulled from the water, docks taken in, equipment cleaned, inventoried and put away, final yard work done.  The seasons pass by in a flash.  There is a kaleidoscope of faces that have passed down our steps and onto our docks and out into the Boundary Waters on their canoe trips.  They have returned wet, dry, hot, cold, tired, rejuvenated, but always with great stories of their adventures.

It is the greatest thing in the world to be able to be a small part of these trips, and we want to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to all of you who have visited Williams and Hall this summer.   We realize there are lots of choices out there and we are so glad you choose us.

Winter Sport Show Dates

Please catch up with us this winter at a sport show or Boundary Waters night near you. The dates are now posted on our website. You can see them by clicking here. These are great times to visit and plan your next excursion into this wild country.  We will do our best to continue to reach out to you through our blog and newsletters.  We will let you know of any changes in rules or regulations that come down the pike just as soon as we can.

A Big Thanks and Start Planning For Next Year

Thanks to all of you who have shared photos of your trips with us.  Look for them in our gallery over the coming weeks.  If any of you would not mind sharing pictures of your trips, please send them, we would love to make them a part of our site.

Whenever you get the group together and start to think of next year’s visit let us know.  We are always open and look forward to getting you any information you may need to put together your trip.  We wish everyone a great “off-season.”  Thanks again from the crew at Williams and Hall.  See you soon!

Adventure On!

The Fishing Corner

Keeping An Open Mind

by Dave, our resident fishing expert.

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One of Dave’s Fine Catches

35 Years and More to Learn

Having lived and fished on Moose Lake for thirty-five years, you’d think there wasn’t much more to learn about the lake. It’s not that hard to let complacency creep into our lives either. This past fishing season was yet another learning experience for me on Moose Lake.

Generally, September and October are a little different type of fishing for me with factors like fall turnover (the process of the lake mixing and cooling until ice up) and short days. I’ll fish my traditional spots, often with a minnow on a slip bobber rig in 20+ feet of water looking for deep bass and walleyes (little to no topwater bass this time of the year).  Occasionally I’ll troll around trying to dig up a deep pike.

It was mid-September when I was trolling a “regular” spot when I realized the spot was a complex of deepwater reefs I never knew was there! On another day of scoping things out, I found yet another deep hump I never knew was there either. I’ve since fished those spots, along with my regular “milk run” of spots with some success, catching bass, walleyes, and pike. To think, after all these years, I now had two new fishing spots within a minute of my dock!

Step Out of your Comfort Zone

The real point in all this is the fact that it is easy to become complacent in things you are familiar with. Stuff just becomes routine. When you realize you’re doing the routine…try stepping out of your comfort zone and do something new and different.

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Each time you take a Boundary Waters trip, go into a new lake or try a new route. If you typically like to base camp, try some new fishing spots or a lure/technique you haven’t used before. If you normally go with the same group of people, maybe invite someone new to join your next trip. It can be very comfortable being in that familiar place, but be willing to look for something new once in a while. You never know what might be waiting for you on the other side of that new portage.

Fish On. Be Free.

Wilderness Wisdom

Wisdom and Knowledge Comes in Many Forms

by Kevin

williams and hall outfitters bwca ely minnesota

Learning + Experience = Wisdom

We learn in many ways.  Hopefully, the things we learn can be combined with experiences to become wisdom.  In our digital age, sometimes we ignore one of the great sources for learning – books.

Recently, I came across a list of 8 books that every paddler should read.  In no particular order, these books are:

  1. A Thousand Miles in the Rob Roy Canoe by J. MacGregor
  2. Paddling My Own Canoe by Audrey Sutherland
  3. On Celtic Tides: One Man’s Journey Around Ireland by Sea Kayak by Chris Duff
  4. PaddleNorth: Adventure, Resilience, and Renewal in the Arctic Wild by Jennifer Kingsley
  5. Arctic Crossing: A Journey Through the Northwest Passage and Inuit Culture by Jonathan Waterman
  6. Kabloona in the Yellow Kayak: One Woman’s Journey Through the Northwest Passage by Victoria Jason
  7. Paddle to the Amazon by Don Starkell
  8. Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling

The list of books, along with a description of each can be found by clicking here.

A Little More Wisdom

As the weather turns colder and the canoe and paddles are “resting up” for next year, head down to your library and check out these books.  By the time you head out on the water next year, you might just have a little more wisdom for your effort.

Paddle On.  Be Free.

The Boy Scout Scene 

Tips For Planning a Boundary Waters High Adventure Trip

by Kevin

williams and hall outfitters boundary waters ely

The Time to Plan is Now

Fall marks the time of year that Scouters and Boy Scouts begin planning their troop’s high adventure trip for the next summer.  High adventure trips can be the highlight of the scouting year if planned and executed well.  Here are some tips to help get the process going.

  1. Determine the destination and learn all the rules you need to know about that destination, such as to permit requirements, group crew size limitations, trip difficulty, etc.
  2. Determine scout eligibility for the trip.  Do you want to have a minimum age requirement?  How about a minimum rank requirement?
  3. Determine crew sizes and desired crew make-up.  For instance, what combination of scouts and adults should be in each crew?  Do you want to separate crews by skill set or combine varying skills in each crew? Keep two-deep leadership in mind.
  4. What will the adventure cost and is this cost realistic?  Will the troop have a fundraiser to help subsidize the cost?  How much will be charged to each participant?

These are just a few of the questions to think about.  The Boundary Waters is a great place for a Boy Scout troop high adventure because of the multiple options available depending upon the skills, desires and goals of each crew.  For instance, routes can be chosen that are easier or more challenging.

We Want to Help

We would very much like to help Boy Scouts plan Boundary Waters trips.  As Scouters, we are dedicated to helping out any way we can.  If you have any questions during your planning process, just give us a call.

Duty On. Be Your Best.

Tips For the Outdoor Photographer 

New iPhone 8 Plus Camera Features 

By Kevin

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Cell Phones as Primary Cameras

Many of you use your cell phone as your primary camera these days, and for good reason.  Cell phone cameras continue to improve.  The camera capabilities of the new iPhone 8 Plus are no exception.  Here are just a few of the new enhancements.

  1. The sensor, while still 12 megapixels, is larger than its predecessor.  As a result, the sensor can take in more info which can lead to better photos.
  2. A new software feature is Portrait Lighting.  This feature blurs the background of the photos the primary image stands out.  You also now have 5 post-photo lighting adjustments.
  3. The phone offers what Apple calls “deeper pixels”.  Each pixel stores very precise light photons, increasing color definition.
  4. The phone offers great buffering capabilities that eliminate shutter lag.

Great Adventure Camera

It sounds like the iPhone 8 Plus can be a great adventure camera because of its relatively small size and great features.  You can a full review of the iPhone 8 Plus camera in Outside Magazine

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!

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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 thank you for the great 2017 season!

Thank you sign

We hope you 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.