Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BWCA Permit lottery starts today

Don't forget to give us a call to enter you into the 2011 BWCA permit lottery. This is the first chance of getting a permit for 2011. If you want a permit for a specific entry point or date this is the time we want to get you a permit. Also, if you are looking at getting a day use or overnight motor permit, this is your best chance.

The lottery runs from December 1, 2010 to January 15, 2011. After January 15th permits will be opened up for first come first served booking.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are thankful for all our great clients. Many have turned into friends over the past 10 years of running Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters. There have been many great Bounday Waters and Quetico canoe trips memories made during this time.

We hope you and your families have an enjoyable Thanksgiving.

From our family to yours,
-Steve, Kathy & Ginny Nelson

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving is almost here

With Thanksgiving around the corner don't forget to talk to your friends and family about your next BWCA or Quetico canoe trip in Ely, Minnesota this coming summer.

Many agree that a Boundary Waters canoe trip is a great way to reconnect to nature and recharge your batteries. There's something about getting into the wilderness and leaving behind the busy world of cell phones and computers.

Sometimes, it's good to disconnect from the technology. We spend a lot of time worried about what email we have to return and what text message was just received. A canoe trip really gets you back to basics. You worry about where to fish for the afternoon, what's for lunch or dinner and if you can get a great photo of the sunset.

Taking a canoe trip brings enjoyment to many. Time and time again we hear how someone took a trip in their youth and hasn't been able to make it back since. Make 2011 be your year to rediscover what it means to explore the wilderness. Maybe you have been to the Boundary Waters every year for the past 15 years. Then tell someone about your trip or bring someone new. As our lives get busier it good to remember there are still places where life moves a little slower and we can reconnect to nature.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

BWCA in the Fall

What a great time to visit the Boundary Waters! This October has been great so far. Sure, you can get a rainy and cold day in the fall, but the beautiful warm sunny days really help make up for the chance of rain. The weekends are the busy time of the fall. Pick a start date mid-week and you may not see many people.

We have had some great color change in the leaves. It's a little past peak, but still looking pretty good. The next few days the forecast is calling for sunny and 70 to 77 degrees. There is nothing better than walking through the wood and hearing the crunch of leaves on the ground and smelling the pine trees. A warm fall day is something to cherish.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

And once again more great fish pictures

We would like to thank everyone that has been registering thier catches with Spirit of the Wilderness of the Ely Echo Angler Contest this summer. Just a few more weeks for the contest then it's over until 2011.

Fish Photos. What a catch!

We have been having a number of great fish entered into the fishing contest. Many of these fish were released back into the lakes to live to be caught another day.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Live Bait in the BWCA....Still OK.

As we work our way into July we keep getting questions about if live bait can be used in the Boundary Waters. The answer is yes, you can bring in Minnows, leeches and crawlers to name a few of the most popular types of bait. There are no rules stating you have to only use artificial baits. You do want to make sure that any left over bait is packed out of the wilderness and thrown in the trash.

The question for your group and your trip is what kind of bait do we want to pack in and fish with?

Night Crawlers are a pretty basic bait the will entice a number of types of fish. They are easy to put in your canoe pack or canoe. They just need to be kept in the shade and they will make it for most or all of your trip. The key is to make sure you have enough. The middle part of the summer is when night crawlers are most popular with the fish. This typically means mid-June to mid-August.

Leeches are another great mid-summer live bait option. Leeches take a little more care, but are hardy and loved by the Walleyes, Smallmouth Bass and a few other fun fish to catch. Leeches like to have fresh water a number of time a day. It is best to not get them too warm in the container. Leeches are best when the lake water has warmed a bit. Too cold, such as early spring, and you may not have as much luck with leeches. The warmer summer lake water allows the leeches to be a bit more active. Too cold of water and they tend to keep balled up on the hook. To take leeches on your BWCA canoe trip you should plan on having some sort of leech tote that has very small holes. Minnow buckets have hole much too large to keep the leeches confined. You want a container that allows you to easily change water to keep your bait happy.

Minnows are a great spring and fall a bit. The cooler weather makes it easier to keep healthy minnows. The typical types of minnows used in the Ely, MN are are fathead chubs, rainbows, shiners, and a variety of sizes of sucker minnows. You can use minnows year round. They get a little harder to keep when the weather turns hot. So most turn to leeches or crawlers for their mid-summer canoe trips.

Now a quick note to those of you headed into the Quetico Provincial Park in Canada. There is no organic bait allowed into this wilderness area. You also need to make sure you are using barbless hooks when fishing the Quetico.

If you have any questions please give us a call here at Spirit of the Wilderness 800-90-2709. We do stock minnows, leeches and crawlers all summer long. Just give us a quick call if you would like to pre-order your bait for your upcoming BWCA canoe trip. Need suggestions on what bait to take or what lures to pack or buy? Just stop in and ask. We talk fishing!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy June!

Well June is here and we are happy to say the fish seem to be biting. We have received some rain over the weekend to help the water levels a bit. It looks like this week we will be getting a little more rain. Any rain helps keep the fire restrictions away.

This past weekend was a very busy due to Memorial day. There were many campers that used the long weekend to enjoy some time in the north woods of Ely, Minnesota.

Here's to all that have service in the US Military....Thank you.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Today is Walleye Opener

Today is the day we have been waiting for. This is the start of the fishing season here in Minnesota. it will be interesting to hear the fishing reports. We had very early ice out this year, which means the water has had a chance to warm a bit more then normal. Th current water temps. are in the low 50 degrees.

We will try and post a few fish pictures from the weekend.

Happy Fishing!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Fire Restrictions lifted !!!

The US Forest Service has lifted the complete fire ban as of noon today, May 14, 2010. We got a slow stead soaking rain yesterday that must have given us enough moisture.

As always, when canoeing and camping in the BWCA, please be careful with your fires and keep them in the fire grates. When you are not attending the fire, make sure it is out cold.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fishing Opener!!!

The Minnesota Fishing Opener is just days away. May 15, 2010 we will be joining many other anxious anglers to get out in the canoe or boat to kick off our 2010 fishing season. It is almost a holiday in Minnesota.

At Spirit of the Wilderness we take this day very serious. We make sure to be stocked up on all the popular lures, rods, reels and of course we have bait. Since we are closed for the winter this is always an exciting time. We measure time in when we will be getting the bait in to start the 2010 fishing season. We always carry all sorts of minnows, leeched and crawlers.

The most popular minnows in the spring depends on who you ask. Many will tell you it's all about the shiners. Others swear by the rainbow or fathead chub. We like to think of ourselves as an equal opportunity minnow employer. You know, we do train our minnows to catch fish or die trying!

No matter what bait you choose or what lure is on the end of your line we hope you have a great Fishing Opener!

P.S. Don't forget to bring in your catch or a photo of it and we will sign you up for the local fishing contest and put you on the bragging board.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Fire Restrictions

As of today, May 11, 2010 the US Forest Service still has the Boundary Waters Canoe Area under complete fire restrictions. If you are headed up to canoe and camp in the BWCA plan on having a camp stove and fuel to cook on.

The forecast is calling for some rain this week. We will have to wait and see if it is enough for the fire restrictions to change. It has been a very dry spring and moisture is still in great need. The US Forest Service keeps telling us that we will need more than just a day of rain to make any restriction changes.

Check with us here at Spirit of the Wilderness outfitters for updates. You can email us at or call us at 800-950-2709 or 218-365-3149.

Minnesota Fishing License

Don't forget to pick up your Minnesota Fishing License for the Walleye Fishing opener this Saturday, May 15, 2010. The state of Minnesota has give out new touch screen computers to issue hunting and fishing licenses this year.

You must have your State Issued ID with you to purchase your license. If you have never had a license before you will also need your Social Security Number. Those of you who have had a MN license in the past will have already given your SSN.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


We are starting to see the tree bud and the early spring flowers are getting close to blooming. It is still quite early for the growing season. With a little rain we should see everything get more green with each day.

We are also starting to see another sign of spring that is unique to the canoe country of Northern Minnesota...canoes on top of vehicles. We know that summer is starting when we see the canoes around town. A few people are taking advantage of the early ice out.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Ice is out.

We have been enjoying a very early spring up here in Ely, Minnesota. The snow has been gone for a few weeks now. The ice has been out since early this week. There were a few bays that still had some ice as of Monday. After the continuation of our warmer than normal weather I'm sure that most of the ice that was around Monday is gone.

This is the earliest most of us can remember the ice going out in at least a decade. Last year we were hoping for a little warm weather to melt the ice for the fishing opener that was in mid May. We have been getting a few calls from those eager to get out paddling already this year. This is close to a month before last year.

With less snowfall this winter and early melting we are hoping for a little rain. The rain and the great sunshine we have been getting will help the early spring flowers. We are already seeing a few tulips poking through. It shouldn't be long before the trees begin to green up and the summer is in full swing.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thanks for attending!

Thank you for stopping by the Spirit of the Wilderness booth at the Northwest Sport show this last week and weekend. We met and talked to a lot of great people.

Thank you to all of you that attended the Fishing in the Boundary Waters seminar Friday, March 26, 2010.

Keep in mind there is still time to book your BWCA or Quetico canoe trip for this summer. There are still permits open. Give us a call and we can set up your 2010 summer trip.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Fishing in the BWCA Seminar

Don't forget we will be giving a Fishing in the Boundary Waters seminar this Friday, 2 PM, March 26, 2010. We will be in one of the seminar rooms at the Northwest Sport Show.

Steve will talk about fishing tips, techniques and whatever he can to entertain you.

Can't make the fishing seminar? Stop by the Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitter's booth, #537, anytime during the show and we would love to talk to you about fishing and canoe trips.

Don't forget about the show specials. These specials are only offered when you book your trip at the show. So bring your BWCA/Quetico canoe trip dates.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Northwest Sport Show

Visit with Spirit of the Wilderness at the Northwest Sport Show March 24-28, 2010. The Northwest Sport Show is at the Minneapolis Convention Center. We will be in booth #537. Stop by and say hello.

We would be happy to spend some time with you discussing your 2010 Boundary Waters or Quetico canoe trip. Bring your questions and trip dates and book your trip at the show.

There will be Outfitting Show Specials that can be taken advantage of if you reserve your canoe trips while at the show.

Don't forget! Owner, Steve Nelson, will be giving a seminar 2 PM March 26, 2010 at the show. Come listen to the Fishing in the Boundary Waters seminar. This is a great opportunity to learn fishing tips and techniques for your BWCA canoe trip.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Thank you for stopping by the booth at Canoecopia to talk about the Boundary Waters canoe trips we offer. Once again it was a fun show to have a booth at. We enjoyed seeing and talking with familiar faces as well as so many new faces. It's fun to connect with you all more than just once a year at the Spirit of the Wilderness store. We always enjoy the stories and laughter.

We are looking forward to this summer.

Watch for a blog update about the next sport show. We will be at the Northwest Sport Show in Minneapolis. March 24-28, 2010, booth #537.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Canoe season is around the corner

The canoe are just waiting for you here at Spirit of the Wilderness! OK, maybe it will still be a few more months until we have open water and the snow melts. We just get excited, here at Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters, for the coming canoe season. This is about the time we get a little anxious to see some of that warmer spring weather.

We have been taking to many of you about your upcoming canoe and fishing trips. It's won't be long until we are open for the season. We are looking to be open around May 6, 2010.

Hope to see you this summer. Don't forget we will be at a couple of sport shows soon. If you are around to visit with us at the show we would love to see you. We would love to spend some time reminiscing about old trips or talking about new ones.
  • March 12-14 we will be at Canoecopia in Madison, WI.
  • March 24-28 we will be at the Northwest Sport Show in Minneapolis, MN.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Follow us on Facebook

Follow Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters on Facebook. It's a great way to connect with others that love the BWCA and Quetico.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Beauty of the BWCA

Canoecopia Paddle & Sport Show

It's that time of year again! Spirit of the Wilderness will be at Canoecopia Paddle & Sport Show in Madison, WI March 12-14, 2010.

Stop by booth N126. We will have Outfitting Specials for those that book at the show. Bring your trip dates and we can book your 2010 Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) or Quetico canoe trips.

This is a great time to pick an entry point, plan your route and get your pre-trip questions answered face to face.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome 2010 !

Welcome to the new year of 2010.

It's hard to believe that we are part way through the winter and making our way towards another canoe season. How time flies when you are having fun! As some of you know, the Nelson's purchased Spirit of the Wilderness Canoe Outfitters, then Hill's Wilderness Trips, back in 1999. We had, and still have, a love for traveling the BWCA. Our mission has been to introduce people to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the outdoors through a fun, helpful, educational and friendly experience.

This is the time of year that we at Spirit of the Wilderness start getting excited for the upcoming canoe season. We start to hear from previous guests and new guests about the trips they hope to take in the summer. It makes it a bit easier to get through the -20 below zero days. Soon we will be heading out to a few sport shows and then before you know it the spring will be here and we will be watching for the ice to come off the lakes.

We hope that the new year is good to you and your family & friends. We look forward to 2010 and all the canoeing and fishing it brings!