The Boundary Waters Journal Blog

News and Stories from the Boundary Waters Journal

April 20, 2016

Spring has arrived in the Ely area! Blueberry Lake near our place saw the ice go out on April 17, exactly the historical average. It's been mild lately so even the bigger lakes should go ice-free within the week.

 I will be exhibiting/speaking at the Midwest Mountaineering Expo in Minneapolis on April 22, 23 and 24. My talk on Canoe Country fishing will be sometime around noon on Saturday.  After this show,  I'm heading to northwest Nebraska to turkey hunt.  Will truck camp and hunt public ground in what is called the Pine Hills region.  Another new adventure that I'm looking forward to.

May 21 I start guiding five consecutive 8-day Quetico fishing trips, all made up of 5 clients. I'm looking forward to some great trophy action with great people—some familiar, some new.

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May 14, 2015 BWJ Blog Entry

May 14, 2015

The beaver pond below our house saw the ice melt off on April 11.  Overnight, the mallards and robins appear and the sounds of spring are in the air.  On nearby Blueberry Lake, the ice went out on April 13, about one week earlier than the historical average.  Most of the larger Ely area lakes were open a week later, so all in all, we have had a nice, early spring. 

It has been great to run the dog through the woods before green up and the bugs take over.  We are getting one or two grouse points an outing so hopefully, they will have a good nesting season and there will be some birds to hunt come October.  I have had time to brush some trails and work on laying in another winter’s wood supply. 

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JANUARY 8, 2015

JANUARY 8, 2015--  Happy 2015 all you loyal BWJ readers out there.  Sorry about the long, unplanned hiatus from these blog entries.   What can I say other than I prefer to spend every spare minute in the woods every fall than at the computer.   I can only vow to do better now that winter has settled in and I am back at my desk full time.    Michele and I spent the recent holiday period between Christmas and New Year’s out in South Dakota for our annual pheasant hunt.  Despite spending over 150 days a year guiding wilderness canoeing/fishing /hunting trips, this South Dakota trip with Michele and our English Pointer , Custer, may very well be the most fun I have all year.  The trip is always very cold with super-challenging, wild-flushing birds but I will never be able to get enough of that rush of adrenaline as another beautiful rooster bursts from the cattails and tests your composure and shooting skills.  We filled our possession limit of 30 roosters for the 5-day hunt but the highlight was the outstanding dog work of Custer.  Custer really came on as a grouse dog this fall so I was hopeful he would be able to carry that over to these super-wary SD pheasants.  Over half the birds we shot were over locked-down solid points where we had to boot the bird into the air.  Anyone who has hunted late season pheasants in South Dakota will tell you it takes a hell of a dog to point and hold these birds.  I am so proud of Custer and really excited for the next grouse/pheasant season.  The hundreds of walks we have taken on our back 40 the past four years have really paid off. 

We finally got some decent snow cover in Ely- about 6 inches of powder on the ground right now.  December was warm and snowless- great for the area deer herd that desperately needs a mild winter, but not so good for daughter Taryn and the Ely high school cross country ski team.  It has turned cold the last few days but mid-January is typically our coldest stretch around here. 

I have been busy writing/editing articles for future issues of BWJ and can only tell you that we have some our best ever stories in the works in our 28 years of publishing- so stay tuned.  I am also busy setting up all my Grand Slam Guide Service trips for 2015.   All of my June trips are full but I still have openings for July Quetico trips, 1 last opening for the August Sutton River brook trout trip and a couple open spots for Colorado elk archery and my BWCAW Fall Color Trip.  Give me a call at 218-365-5168 if interested in joining me in 2015. 

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July 16


July 16, 2014  Just back from my Ely to Beaverhouse trip.  It is no easy matter to guide/lead 3 senior citizens 100+ miles across Quetico in 8 days.  You have to keep up a steady pace and it hurts to pass on through primo fishing water without time to do it justice.  All you can do is hope you make it into camp several nights with enough time and energy to get after the fish a little bit.  Despite rain every day except one, we had good bass fishing on Lost Bay of Basswood, Camel, Sturgeon and Quetico Lake.  We even got a few trophy walleyes on Conmee the one night we were there and caught our one walleye feast in just a half-hour of angling on Sturgeon.  We caught a few trout our last night on Quetico Lake to capture the Grand Slam. 

Those portages from Isabella to Sarah were brutal-  it was pouring rain so hard that day the slopes of those trails were 3-4 inches deep of running water.  It got so dark in the woods during afternoon thunderstorms I was wishing I had my headlight on for some of the portaging.  A couple days later we triple- portaged the Death March Portage route into Delahey Lake- this was a picnic compared to the hilly, rocky, wet, treacherous footing into Sarah.  I am not in any hurry to portage from Isabella to Sarah again. 

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JULY 1, 2014

July 1, 2014

Just back from my fourth Grand Slam Guide Service trip.  Took 3 guys into Conmee area for the walleyes.  They were above average paddlers and portagers so we moved along at a good clip.  They had never fished topwater smallmouth but they were quick learners to my favorite style of canoe country fishing and we caught over 350 smallies on Crooked, William, Suzannette and Wicksteed.  Lots of 18 and 19 inch fish with 10 trophies going over 20 inches.  The smallmouth are still catchable on the shoreline cover but during the mid-day it is mostly smaller fish.  Be sure to fish 6:30 to 9:30 p.m each evening for those bigger bass moving in onto the rocky structure to feed.  We all picked up a couple trout trolling Dr. Spoons on Suzanette with the largest going 26 inches.  We decided to camp for 4 nights on Suzanette which meant going over to Conmee for the evening walleye bite and portaging back in the dark.  This actually worked out pretty well and is a strategy I will use again.  I would love to get into Suzanette earlier next year and hit the peak of the bass spawn period.  The habitat looks great in there.  The problem is the bass fishing is great all over the place in early June.  Wish I could be about ten places at once that week.  We ended up netting 9 trophy walleyes on Conmee and 1 on Suzanette.  These 27-28 ½ inch heavy, golden beauties have exceptional power and completely put to rest the reputation of walleyes can’t/don’t fight very hard.  So we all were able to get the Canoe Country Grand Slam with some trophy bass and walleye included in that. 

The weather continues to be very unsettled with lots of low pressure, cold fronts, east/south winds and rain.  As most anglers know, high pressure and west wind is best for fishing.  Still, when the wind has settled down, the fishing has been very good. 

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