Saturday, May 12, 2018

2018 Fishing Opener Specials at Spirit of the Wilderness

Stop in today at 
Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters and Retail Store 
to grab your 
FREE Rapala T-Shirt when you purchase any 2 Rapala Lures.  
(Special runs 6 AM - 9 PM 5/12/18)

We are open from 6 AM - 9 PM daily.

Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters & Retail Store
2030 E. Sheridan Street
Ely, MN 55731

Happy 2018 MN Fishing Opener!

It's the start of the summer fishing season here in Minnesota.  People have been getting their boats and canoe out of storage over the last few days and weeks.  There has been new line strung onto fishing reels, plans made for where to spend the opener and dreams of eating some freshly caught fish.

Here's a clip about how to clean a fish in case you are new to fishing or just a little rusty with filleting fish.  It's not a bad refresher as we get started on our 2018 summer canoe and fishing season.
MPR News - How to Clean a Fish

Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters and Retail store is stocked up with Minnows, Crawlers and Leeches for your trip.  Remember our bait will catch fish or die trying!

Happy Fishing

Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters & Retail Store
2030 E. Sheridan Street
Ely, MN 55731

Monday, May 15, 2017

BWCA towboat service 2017

Will you be entering the Boundary Waters at Moose Lake chain, Snowbank Lake or Burntside Lake (Crab Lake portage)?  Consider using towboat service to get you and your group into the BWCA quicker and avoid possible windy conditions that each of these lakes experience.  Service can be reserved for 1-way or round trip. Cost: $32.00/person 1-way, minimum 2 people, if renting canoes or outfitted by us. Or $37.00/person 1 way, minimum 2 people if no rental or outfitting.

Spirit of the Wilderness is specifically permitted by the USFS to provide towboat service on each of these lakes. We own and operates our own towboats, which means we are on-time for departure and return pick up to meet your schedule. Our towboats are 18 ft long, with 25 hp E-tec engines. Our trained operators/staff are courteous and knowledgeable of the routes and drop-off locations.

We load canoes and gear at our Ely store and trailer to the appropriate entry point where we launch our towboats. Ground travel time to entry points from our Ely store is usually 30 minutes or less.

Water travel time
  • Moose lake chain: Time on the water to Prairie Portage, Birch Lake, or Splash lake is another 30 minutes or so. Tow service will save you 3-4 hours of paddling 1-way.
  • Snowbank lake: Water travel time to Boot Lake portage is about 25 minutes. Saves you 3 hours of paddling
  • Burntside Lake to Crab Portage: Water travel time is 25 minutes, saving you up to 2 hours paddling 1-way
Guest reaction:
Two seasons ago, we provided towboat service for 8 gentlemen, 4 canoes, and all their gear for a 5-day/4-night adventure. We loaded gear into the towboats with 2 canoes strapped onto racks of each towboat at our Ely store. Everyone got into our vans and we trailered out to and launched at the Moose Lake boat access. Water travel was tough as we were bucking 15-20 mph headwinds the entire trip through Moose, Newfound to the Splash Lake portage.

Other groups we passed paddling the Moose Lake chain that day were really struggling to make any distance with the headwinds and 2 foot roller waves. All groups we passed looked tired and frustrated. I wondered if they would make their chosen destination that first day or have to make early camp and wait until the winds died down in the evening.

As we were coming into the drop-off location at the Splash Lake portage, one of the fellas commented to his buddy saying; "I'll never complain about towboats again! We would never have made it to Splash lake and onto Ensign lake today." Their adventure was off to a good start and they had ample time to make their first campsite with daylight to spare for fishing and exploring the area.

Call today and make your reservation for towboat service by Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitters, Ely MN. 218-365-3149 or email us at

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Fishing opener May 13, 2017

Are the fish biting? What are they biting on? How deep? Where are the walleyes?

All questions we have heard today. All good questions to ask any bait shop. So what are the answers?
  • Yes, the fish are biting! Walleyes and northerns and some bass today.
  • Minnows were the bait of choice today...rainbow chubs and golden shiners di well.
  • Start fishing at 10 feet deep or more. Fishing the current was the best area . Spawning is not complete yet.
Stay connected for more fishing reports.  Fish on!

Spirit of the Wilderness
2030 E. Sheridan St
Ely, MN

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Foss Lake Prescribed Burn, May 14, 2017

Date Issued:
May 13, 2017. Anticipated ignition as early as May 14, 2017. The date of ignition for this fire is dependent on many factors including fuel and soil moisture, wind direction, current weather, predicted weather, and resources.  

Prescribed Fire Information:
218-208-3969 or For more prescribed fire information, check the Superior National Forest website: Prescribed Fire Information 

In northeastern Minnesota, in St. Louis County on the LaCroix Ranger District of the Superior National Forest approximately 10 miles west of Ely, MN and north of the Wolf Lake Road, between Foss Lake and the BWCAW. T63N R14W S35. (Map attached.) 

The purpose of this 78-acre unit is for both fuels reduction and oak/blueberry habitat improvement. The area is a combination of open rock outcroppings and forested drainages where fuels treatment can both help reduce surface and ladder fuels and reduce vegetation that competes with oak trees and blueberry plants. Reducing the hazardous fuels component in this unit is part of a larger fuels treatment effort in the Burntside Lake area. This unit will create another area in addition to recent Burntside Lake prescribed fire units where available fuels in the forest are reduced and therefore lower the intensity of future wildfires when they occur.

Resources: 
Holding crews and ignition crews of firefighters using hand tools will be working directly on the prescribed fire unit.  Due to the remote location of this unit, crews will be using ATVs and hiking to gain access for holding and ignition operations.

There will be no closures needed during this prescribed fire. Depending on wind direction, some residents and visitors may experience smoke, potentially on Burntside and Wolf Lakes, or Crab, Buck, Cummings, Slim Lakes in the BWCAW.

Superior National Forest           US Forest Service 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Countdown to MN Fishing Opener 2017

Are you ready for the 2017 MN fishing opener this Saturday May 13, 12:01 am?  We are at Spirit of the Wilderness Outfitter & Outdoor Store, Ely MN.  We have gallons of rainbow & fatheads minnows,  lite northern suckers, crawlers, leeches, wax worms and just delivered today; golden shiners, pike suckers and heavy or large suckers.

Minnows are the bait of choice for the opener....not our choice, but walleyes, smallmouth bass and northern pike are choosey and have requested minnows!

The weather is forecasted to be great; sunny with temperatures in the low to mid 60s. Water temperatures are cold, but make sure you where your life jackets. This is the #1 way to keep yourself safe while fishing or boating.

Fishing license?
Be sure to have a 2017 MN fishing license with you. Forgetting it and claiming you have one back at your camp or cabin is not a good excuse. Other have tried this approach and not gotten very far with a MN DNR Conservation Officer.

Will you practice C.P.R. on your fish this year? 
That is Catch, Photograph, and Release the big ones.  Why? They are smart old ladies, but you out smarted her this time. She may be 10-20 years old and you are going to eat her or turn her over to a taxidermist? She is the good breeding stock for the lake. The big ones deserve to be caught again. So we request you do CPR on your fish and take home the smaller ones which are better for eating.

Spirit of the Wilderness is open 6:00 am - 9:00 pm every day until late October. Visit our bait & tackle shop for up-to-date fishing information.

We also provide complete & partial outfitting, canoe/kayak/SUP board rental, tow boat service on; Moose lake chain, Snowbank lake and Burntside lake to Crab lake portage. Our in-town bunkhouse has been remodeled adding new restrooms with showers, A/C or heat, kitchen facility for light meals, fridge, stove and more. Call for details or make a reservation: 218-365-3149

See you soon in Ely.

Prescribed Fire Information May 10, 2017

Date Issued: May 10, 2017

Prescribed Fire Information: 218-208-3969 or For more prescribed fire information, check the Superior National Forest website: Prescribed Fire Information 

Yesterday’s Actions: On May 9, 2017 firefighters from the Superior National Forest, Montana, and Oregon successfully burned the 30 acre Old Baldy Prescribed Fire Unit and the 41 acre North Arm 8 Prescribed Fire Unit both located north of the North Arm of Burntside Lake and south of Slim Lake and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Good weather conditions of wind speed and direction, temperature, and relative humidity helped produce a very nice understory burn for fuels reduction and ecosystem management. 

Both of these prescribed fire units are well contained and will be patrolled for hotspots. 

Description: The purpose of these prescribed fires is fuel reduction and ecosystem management. Both units border a series of completed prescribed fires along the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Once completed, these fires will provide a buffer between the BWCAW and homes and camps on the North Arm Road.  Another purpose is habitat restoration for ecosystem management.  Fire kills brush and trees and opens the canopy to sun-loving plants like blueberries and oaks. The conditions under which we burned these units was designed to meet these objectives.

Location:  In northeastern Minnesota, in St. Louis County on the Kawishiwi Ranger District on the Superior National Forest northwest of the town of Ely just south of Slim Lake, outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). LEGAL: T64N R13W S27; Lat/Long: 47’ 59.355” x 91’ 58.615” (Map attached.) 

Resources:  Firefighter crews and an engine will be on site today patrolling for hotspots and monitoring the prescribed fire units.

Closures:  The southern-most campsite on Slim Lake is still closed.  Portions of the Moosehorn Loop, Old Baldy, and Slim Lake trails of the North Arm ski/hiking trail system (between the trailhead at Camp du Nord and Slim Lake) remain closed for another day or two.   

Superior National Forest Forest Service