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Boundary Waters BLOG

Sophia - age 2!


Sophia Lee, just 2 years old. She really did catch her limit

of sunfish today and was only helped bring in 2 of them!

This was her first time fishing, ever! Congrats Sophia!

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Greg & Kevin 2018 Winter fishing

Greg & Kevin came up a few times again this winter!

Here are a few pictures:  Greg with 2 trout & Kevin with a nice Pike.


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Ontario Fish & Wildlife News - April 2018

Ontario Fish and Wildlife News – April 2018  
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Anglers and hunters,

Welcome to the FIRST edition of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's (MNRF) Ontario Fish and Wildlife News. This is your quarterly peek at how your licence dollars support Ontario's fish and wildlife resources. You are receiving this newsletter because you are a current or recent Outdoors Card holder.

Check out the topics in this edition:
Lynx    Licensing service    Fish ON-line    Moose    Muskellunge  

Did you know?

When you buy a fishing or hunting licence in Ontario, 100% of your fees go directly into the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account. It costs over $100 million annually to pay for our fish and wildlife programs and services, of which the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account pays for about two-thirds. Programs supported by the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account include fish culture and stocking, wildlife population studies, research and enforcement.

We hope you enjoy this newsletter. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date between newsletters.

Ontario's lynx and bobcat mystery

comparison of lynx and bobcat
The Canada lynx is a classic Canadian species.This snow-and cold-loving carnivore has super-sharp vision, allowing it to spot mice 75 metres away, and an acute sense of hearing, which is sharpened by those cool ear tufts. It also has extra-large feet with toes that can be fanned out like snowshoes, allowing them to spring through the snow with ease. Snowshoe hare is the favourite meal for lynx, and historically their populations have gone up and down along with that of the hare.

Now, something else besides hare populations is affecting lynx. MNRF scientists and partners have discovered that the range of lynx in Ontario has been shrinking. In fact, since the 1970s, the southern edge of this species’ range has moved about 175 km north! At the same time, the climate has been warming and snow depth has been reduced, but scientists don’t yet have enough evidence to put all the blame on climate change.

Another possible culprit is not-so-friendly competition from bobcat, a lynx cousin. While the southern part of lynx range has been shrinking, the range of bobcat has been expanding up from the Great Lakes states into Ontario. Scientists have also found that lynx and bobcat can interbreed, although that’s pretty rare. In the future, if such inbreeding continues, it could result in loss of genetic diversity especially in lynx, the more vulnerable of the two cats.

What we are doing

To help improve our understanding of what’s happening between lynx and bobcat in Ontario and why, MNRF scientist Jeff Bowman, and partners from Trent University and the University of Toronto, are studying two possible scenarios:
  1. Canada lynx is pulling back from the southern edge of its range due to climate change (avoiding areas with reduced snow depth), leaving an opening that the bobcat is only too happy to take advantage of.
  2. Bobcat is taking advantage of milder winters to move farther north, and lynx is pulling back in response to having a savvy competitor.
So where are scientists testing these scenarios? They are focusing mostly along the north shore of Lake Huron between Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, which is one area where lynx and bobcat ranges currently overlap.

We will report back on findings of these studies as they become available. This research is made possibly partly through funding from Ontario's Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account, and will help those who make management decisions about lynx and bobcat.

Renewing Ontario's licensing service

licensing service headline graphic

Fish or hunt in Ontario? Changes are coming this fall for Ontario anglers and hunters. Here are some highlights.

Updating our fish and wildlife licensing service

This November we're making updates to our licensing service. Our goal is to make it easier for you to buy fishing and hunting licences. A couple of exciting features in the new service include:
  • A single version of the plastic Outdoors Card. (Hunter accreditation will no longer appear on the Outdoors Card; it will be tracked in the new service.)
  • A Licence Summary that lists all your valid fishing and hunting licences.The Licence Summary can be printed from home but you also have the option to store it on a digital device such as your smartphone.

Future regulation changes

Next, we're making improvements to some fishing and hunting rules. Fishing regulation changes will come into effect in November 2018, and hunting regulations will change in January 2019. Here are some things that will be different for hunters:
  • In 2019, game seals will be replaced by "tags". You'll have the option to print your tag from home, making it easier to prepare for hunting season. Plastic see-through luggage tag holders can help protect your tags from the elements.
  • Reporting rules for hunters are also changing. All hunters who are issued a tag in 2019 will be asked to submit a report whether or not they hunted or harvested an animal. This new mandatory hunter reporting will replace the current mix of hunter/harvest reporting and voluntary hunter questionnaires.

Apprentice hunters

Also starting in 2019, all hunters between the ages of 12-14 will be considered apprentice hunters. Apprentice hunters will buy their own Outdoors Card and continue to hunt under the direct supervision of a mentor, with a shared firearm. Apprentices will have the option to buy select licences and tags not obtained through a draw.

Want more info?


Look no further: Fish ON-line

Close up of a cell phone showing Fish ON-line website

Are you looking for a fishing spot? Boat launch? How about where Ontario is stocking fish?

Fish ON-Line, is Ontario’s mapping tool for anglers that can get you all the information you need to plan your next fishing trip. Last year more than 400,000 anglers accessed Fish ON-Line! We continually improve the tool to give anglers across the province current information about what’s swimming in the lakes and rivers near them.

Fish ON-Line is also a great way to access fishing regulations information. One click on the waterbody where you’ll be fishing and it will show all the regulations that apply to those waters. Sanctuaries appear on the map for quick reference.

Fish ON-Line is one example of how the MNRF is using your fishing and hunting licence dollars through the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account to provide you with an efficient and quality service. Other valuable contributions to fish and wildlife management include monitoring and assessment, enforcement, regulation and policy, licensing, fish culture and habitat management. We are working to continually improve your fishing and hunting experiences and make sure that you have the tools and information that you need for your next trip.
Thank you for your continued contribution to the Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account through your fishing and hunting licence dollars.

Moose aerial surveys

moose in the snow

If you're a big game hunter you probably have your eye on the calendar. In April the moose draw opens and by August you'll know the results. But did you know that it is the work MNRF biologists do over the winter that tells us where moose numbers are strong and where they need help? Aerial surveys are one tool we use to better understand Ontario’s moose populations.

Here are five things to know about moose aerial surveys:
  • These surveys help us track trends by estimating the number, age and sex of moose.
  • Surveys are flown in mid-winter, when moose are most easily seen.
  • Most surveys are done from helicopters.
  • We have done these surveys every year since 1975.
  • The last three years of data show that the province has about 92,000 moose.
Ontario’s moose population is generally healthy, but has decreased in some areas over the last 15 years. Changing climate, habitat, hunting, predators and parasites are some of the reasons for this decline. The results of this winter's surveys will tell us more.

Tag – you're it!

surgery to implant a tracking tag in a muskie

With spring now in their sights, many anglers are counting down the days until the opening of the fishing season for their favourite species. Muskellunge (or muskie) season dates are set to allow fish to wrap up their spawning period before being targeted by anglers. Avid muskie anglers have to wait only until the first Saturday in June in most of the southern part of Ontario, and the third Saturday further north.

Muskies are the undisputed top predator in Ontario lakes and rivers. In fact, Ontario is a premier fishing destination for muskie hunters.

One prime spot for a record-breaking catch is Lake St. Clair along the Ontario-Michigan border. But there are so many unknowns. What habitats do these muskies use? Where do they move? How long do they live?

Tag team research

In 2016, we forged a partnership with Michigan, Ohio, the US Geological Survey and Muskies Canada to answer some of these questions.

In May 2016, 20 muskies were tagged in the Detroit River. In October 2017, we tagged 19 near the mouth of Ontario’s Thames River. Another 20 were tagged in Lake St. Clair in 2017.

The tags should track the movements and habitat use of these fish for the next 7 years. We’re already receiving interesting data. For example, one athletic Detroit River muskie swam the entire length of Lake Erie in 2016!

This is just one of the many valuable programs that support effective fish and wildlife management. All are made possible with funding provided by your fishing and hunting licence dollars.
smartphone calendar

Save the date!

  • March 1, 2018: Antlerless deer draw opened and will accept applications until July 3
  • April 18, 2018: Moose draw opens and will accept applications until May 31
  • June 30-July 8, 2018Licence-Free Family Fishing Week
View the current Ontario Hunting Regulations Summary

View the current Ontario Fishing Regulations Summary

Visit the automated licensing website to:
  • Purchase Ontario hunting and fishing licences or your first fishing Outdoors Card
  • Renew an existing hunting or fishing Outdoors Card
  • Apply to big game draws
  • Check draw results
  • Submit your hunter activity/harvest report
Visit Fish ON-line to plan your next fishing trip:
  • 18,000+ waterbodies
  • Customizable fish stocking lists
  • 2,000+ fishing access points


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Greening July 2017 trip

Lynn/John -


I just wanted to thank you so much for the wonderful trip with my son and grandson!   You all made everything easy and the equipment top-notch.   Thanks to Grant for driving us out and picking us up.  I will tell all my friends about your shop and we will use you again!

Thanks again,

Dennis, Wade and little Jack GreeningGreening_boys_July_2017.jpg

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King Family 2017 trip

Couple of photos of my girls on their first trip to BWCA. They did well despite some challenging weather on the afternoon and evening of day 1. We fished, swam, explored and of course ate well during the four day trip. Thanks again for everything.


Tim and Jana King



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Winter Fishing 2

Here is Kevins Rainbow Trout from January 2017...

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor
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2017 Winter Fishing

Greg has been come up for Ice fishing this year. He & a friend have stayed in our Loft for a few weekends.

Here is a nice Trout they caught on their last stay.


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New Gazette

New 2017 Gazette!

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Yearly BWCAW permit update

We have had a really nice fall with temperatures still in the 50’s the second week of November!  Karyn has been going through all our gear and has a nice assortment of used gear for sale that should be added to our online store in a few weeks.  If anyone is planning on visiting Ely for winter activities don’t forget we do have our loft bunkhouse available.


This winter I will be in the office Monday thru Friday 10am till 3pm to answer any questions and help you plan your next trip!  I will have some phone help from April (food room manager) & Samantha (my daughter) this winter so please be patient if you reach one of them.  You can also see John & Lynn, Jacob, Kurt & or Nick at next year’s sport shows (see our website for the updated list).


I also wanted to remind you to call in before December 15th to lock in your 2016 rates for 2017…you don’t have to know exactly how many people for your trip, or the exact dates of your trip, or the exact outfitting for your trip.  Just call to make your anticipated reservation and deposit. 


Example:  Hi this is Jane Smith and I would like to start an early 2017 reservation.  I am thinking of coming in June and probably 4 people and want to go complete outfitting.  Here is my credit card for the $240.00 deposit.
(Or we just need two canoes – deposit of $80.00)


The limited lottery will be open for applications on December 14th, 2016 through close of business January 11th, 2017. The lottery results will be released by January 18th.  


This lottery includes only the following entry points (letters D, F, and G are day use motor entry points):

·       D Fall Lake and Beyond (motor);

·       24 Fall Lake (both overnight motor and paddle);

·       25 Moose Lake (both overnight motor and paddle);

·       F Moose, Newfound, and Sucker (motor);  

·       G Basswood over Prairie Portage (motor)


The Go-Live Date for all entry pointswill be January 25, 2017.


You can give us a call at (800) 848-5530, go to our website and make the online reservation (also make a note in the comments area that you are an early bird reservation and/or a previous customer so we don’t miss any of your discounts), or email us at one of the following email addresses; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..




Have a great & safe Holiday Season!




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Non-Quota Season Rules

Non-Quota Season Rules:
A permit is always required when a group goes into the BWCAW.
From October 1 through April 30th people use the non-quota, self-issue permit form whether they are 
staying overnight or just in for the day and whether they are using a motor on the motorized areas 
or are travelling without a motor.
The BWCAW rules and regulations are the same in both quota and non-quota seasons
with these exceptions:
•     Snowmobiles are only allowed in two places in the BWCAW : Crane Lake to Little Vermilion and 
the eastern portion of Saganaga.
•     During the ice-travel season, people may camp off of the designated sites. In fact, we prefer 
people camp offsite to avoid messes created when  the snow is deep and the latrines are hard to 
•     When snow is on the ground, fires may be built outside FS fire grates. However, care should 
be taken to locate fires where fire scars will not be left behind. Charred wood should be scattered 
out of sight. The use of a firepan is encouraged.
A few rules that stay the same but are sometimes for- gotten:
•     No more than 9 people should be gathered togeth- er anywhere in the BWCAW—even at the picto- 
•     Groups must have a permit.
•     No cans and bottles.
•     If you packed it in, pack it back out.
•     Cat holes (self made latrines) must be 150 feet from any water source,
       even if the lake or stream is frozen.
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David Peterson's trip


John and Lynn,
I want to thank you for planning our trip.  Here are the results.

and trip report

View or comment on David Peterson's post »


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Hurry 2015 trip

We did a day trip just for pike fishing. First pike in the canoe was 39". Caught several 36" including this one that Jim is holding, and numerous 30"+. Nothing under 30" and we put nearly 2 dozen  in the canoes. My son-in-laws were in awe (me too).


David Hurry

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Collins/Marks 2016 trip

Dave: Thanks for forwarding the pictures of our trip to Lynn. I also would want to thank Lynn, John, and their helpful staff in making this a great trip. This is my 5th trip with VNO and they provide great equipment and knowledge to get the most out of a trip in the BWCA. Thank you so much and I look forward to many more trips in the future.



William K. Collins


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After trip "Thank you"

Just now left Ely on our way home. Another great trip! We just want to say thank you for your friendly service! See you next year!


Jeff Goodwin

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Quetico Fire ban

Quetico Fireban Details:

As of May 7th and until further notice, Quetico Provincial Park Interior and Dawson Trail Campground will be under a Restricted Fire Zone. No fires are permitted at any time.

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2014 Late October trip to Triangle Lake (North Kawishiwi entry)

Since we had some really nice weather at the end of October so I took a friend out for an overnight trip to Triangle Lake.

This area is where the entry #29 North Kawishiwi River is located - you have to start at Ojibway Lake, portage 5 rods to Triangle Lake, & paddle across to the portage.

My friend Katie and I decided that we would camp at Triangle Lake and walk the portage to the Kawishiwi River to check it out...Its 190 rods & not an easy portage, not horrible but It
would be more difficult to carry packs or canoes across.


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Jack on Nina Moose 2013


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Ely Rebrands Fall as "Getup"




               ELY, MINN. — SEPTEMBER 12, 2013 —It’s time for fall colors everywhere. But this year, America’s Coolest Small Town, Ely, Minn., is launching a campaign to encourage tourists to Getup — instead of Fall. 


               "Fall is such a negative word. And yet for hundreds of years, that's what we've been calling these post-summer months,” says Ely mayor, Ross Petersen. “Time for a change, we say, to do this season justice. With all there is to do this glorious time of year in Ely, well, we're just going to go ahead and rename it Getup."


               “We know we’re messing with a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. We know there are potential astronomical and meteorological implications with renaming a season,” adds Petersen. “But really, it’s bad karma. Temperatures fall. Leaves fall. Let’s turn it around.”


               So Getup to Ely and experience its stunning bright orange, reds and yellow foliage. Enjoy uncrowded lakes and easy permits in the BWCAW, as well as great hiking, biking and bird watching. The days are warm, the nights are cool and everything slows down a pace or two.


               “In years past, we’ve told the story of Ely’s "legendary" leaf painting family, the Zueniks.We have a lot of fun pulling tourists’ legs in Ely,” says Petersen. “But this is no joke. It’s truly time to Getup here before the snow flies — and experience the opposite of Fall. What a downer. Fall. Who thought of that, anyway? Getup already!”


               Get up to Ely, named “Coolest Small Town in America” by Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel; and to book a vacation that’s less than four hours from the Twin Cities, visit

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All boaters must do this!

Before traveling to Minnesota every boater must:

  • Clean all aquatic plants, zebra mussels and other prohibited invasive species from boats and trailers.
  • Drain water from boat, bait buckets and motor; drain live well and bilge by removing drain plugs.
  • Keep drain plugs out while transporting watercraft.

In Minnesota is it illegal to:

  • Transport watercraft without the drain plug removed.
  • Arrive at lake access with drain plug in place.
  • Transport aquatic plants, zebra mussels, or other prohibited species, whether dead or alive.
  • Launch watercraft with prohibited species attached.
  • Transport water from Minnesota lakes or rivers.
  • Release live bait into the water.

More information about Minnesota’s AIS laws is posted on the DNR website at Resorts, chambers of commerce, convention and visitors bureaus, and lake associations may also provide trip-planning information and links to AIS laws.

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Heather & kids first trip

b2ap3_thumbnail_298226_2492269623334_1583685596_n.jpgMy friend Heather wanted to go on her first canoe trip, so we choose a simple 3 day base camp on Isabella Lake for the end of August. The kids really had a good time & were really good campers!



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