Chik-Wauk’s New Nature Center

If you haven’t made it up to Chik-Wauk Museum lately then you’ll for sure want to make a trip up on the 3rd of July. There will be a grand opening celebration for the new Nature Center and no admission will be charged.  There will be hourly informational presentations on the nature center patio by Chik-Wauk’s Naturalist, Jacqueline Mallinson and Keith Morris. There will also be kid’s activities in the Nature Center and on the trails.

The temporary exhibit for this season is about birds.  You can learn to recognize birds and the sounds they make.  You can also check out the nesting pair of loons on the platform in the bay and hike the many trails.  birds make.

Be sure to come visit us at Voyageur too. We’ve got cold beverages, great clothing and daily canoe rentals if you’d like to take a paddle in the BWCA. You could even rent a canoe and paddle over to Chik-Wauk for the day.  Whether it’s July 3rd or any day take a trip up to the end of the Gunflint Trail and visit us and Chik-Wauk.

 

Photos provided by Chik-Wauk

Chikwauk Museum Gunflint Trail Boundary Waters Grand Marais MN

http://www.chikwauk.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/IMG_20160529_130134-e1465755962959.jpg   Jac with guest on lap

 

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Come Stay at the end of the Gunflint Trail

Our Riverside Cabin on the Seagull River is open and waiting for you. It has a gorgeous view, a nice deck and a private dock. It’s comfortable and quiet and a last minute cancellation made it available for you to enjoy from now until July 2nd.

We would hate to see it sit open so we’re offering it for just $250. Not $250 a night, just $250 total. You can come today and stay until the 1st of July for just $250.  How is that for a deal? There’s a full kitchen, living room, bathroom, two bedrooms and we provide towels, linens, blankets and pillows. You can rent a boat and explore Saganaga, take a canoe and visit the Palisades on Seagull, walk over to Chik-Wauk Museum and Nature Center or hike any of the nearby hiking trails. Or just sit back and relax.

We would love to have you as our guest so give us a call and book your stay today. 218-388-2224.

Cabin at the end of the Gunflint Trail

Seagull River at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters

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Severe Storm in the BWCA

Sunday night a powerful storm moved through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Heavy rain, wind gusts over 40 miles per hour and lightning strikes pummeled our area of the BWCA accessed from the Gunflint Trail for over an hour.  Branches and trees toppled over and unfortunately this left one man dead, a boy severely injured and another person suffered injuries as well.

We heard the news this morning at breakfast. A couple of our crew were at Hungry Jack Lodge last night where search and rescue team members were present. The news of a death and injury traveled fast especially since one of our crew members and her mom were camping on nearby Rose Lake.  We were all very concerned until we discovered it was a man who had been killed on Duncan Lake and a younger boy, possibly his son had been severely injured, potentially two broken legs and a broken pelvis.

When our crew member and her mom returned to Voyageur they informed us they had actually camped on Duncan Lake. During the raging storm they heard someone screaming for help but knew they would be of no help if they were to attempt to paddle in the wind, waves and lightning.  A helpless feeling but better than creating another emergency situation where rescuers would be needed.

The boy was rescued from the campsite and taken by ambulance to Cook County Hospital and then transported by helicopter to Duluth. According to an online article the boy was in critical condition as of 3pm on Monday.  There was another man and boy at the campsite who were not injured.  According to another article, the man who died was 43 year-old Craig Walz, a teacher from Rochester, Minnesota.

Another man was injured while camping on Clove Lake on the Granite River. A tree struck him as well and search and rescue paddled and portaged in to help transport him out of the Boundary Waters.

What a scary experience for everyone involved. We’re thankful more people weren’t injured including those involved in the search and rescue. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all.

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Sunset on Saganaga

The crew was out for a night of fishing and caught some wonderful photos of the sunset.

Boundary Waters sunset

Saganaga Sunset

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Water Temperatures Warming Up in the BWCA

All it takes are a few days of sunshine and the lake water warms up quickly. I should rephrase that, the shallower smaller lakes warm up quickly, the bigger, deeper lakes take a little bit longer.  On a calm day the surface temperatures are inviting while the deeper water remains much cooler.

The water temperature on Saganaga usually doesn’t get into the 70’s. Some smaller lakes in the BWCA will get into the 70’s but the average temperatures are in the upper 60’s.  This isn’t warm when compared to a swimming pool because the average pool temperature is in the 80’s.  Shallow lakes in other parts of the state might get that warm but not up here.

Then there’s Lake Superior that is so big and so deep that we rarely swim in it. Every once in awhile we’ll be brave and go for a dip near Grand Marais but it’s never for a long swim. As you can see from the maps below the temperature of the water is quite frigid. The good news is, it is warming up.

We have to make the most of the opportunity to go swimming because before we know it the water temperatures will begin a downward fall.

water temperatures of Lake Superior

water temperatures of Lake Superior

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Quetico Park Canoe Trip

Our guest Fred Shermock shared these photos from his Quetico Park trip last summer so we thought we’d share them with you. Makes me want to paddle the Falls Chain in the Quetico, how about you? There are permits available and we’d love to help you plan your trip so give us a call, 218-388-2224.

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Boundary Waters and Quetico Park

Quetico Park photos from Fred Shermock

 

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Changing Hands on the Gunflint Trail

When Mike and I purchased Voyageur Canoe Outfitters in 1993 we were known as the New Kids on the Block. Twenty odd years later we are no longer new and we are no longer kids. It used to be businesses on the Gunflint Trail remained in the family and didn’t change over often if ever but things are different these days and there are a number of new faces on the Gunflint Trail.

I don’t have time to go through all of the turnovers and sales today but I’ll give a quick rundown and talk more about them in a different blog.  Gunflint Lodge was in the news back in December for selling out but that sale fell through. Now another buyer is about to seal the deal, if they haven’t already. A lodge that has been in the Kerfoot family for years will no longer be and the new owners are ready to take over.

I don’t know how old the new owners of Rockwood Lodge are but they took over last November so they are technically on their first summer.  There are new owners at Loon Lake Lodge and the new owners of Tuscarora are now in their second season of outfitting canoe trips into the BWCA. Big Bear Lodge has replaced Old Northwoods Lodge at mid-Gunflint Trail and the name change was brought along by the new owners there. I think they have been there for a couple of years now.

There are still a couple of long lasting family businesses on the Gunflint Trail including Trout Lake Resort and Norwester Resort. Both have been around a long time and are celebrating milestones. More about that later too.

 

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Gorgeous Gunflint Day

It seems as if we’ve had our share of rainy days on the Gunflint Trail but today wasn’t one of them. It was absolutely beautiful outside with plentiful sunshine and a high temperature of 83 degrees. The crew and our guests were happy for the sunshine and enjoyed the heat. It was super nice to be able to wear shorts and no sweatshirt. While I didn’t go for a swim I was very tempted and the water looked very inviting. Summer is coming and we’re ready for more sunshine and warm weather on the Gunflint Trail.

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No Alligators in the Boundary Waters

I hate to read the news but every once in awhile a headline catches my attention. I then get drawn into the story and fixated on it. That was the case today when I saw the news about a 2-year-old who was snatched by an alligator while wading in a lake at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

I’ve been sick to my stomach all day as I imagine the shock and fear of seeing your child grabbed by an alligator.  Then not being able to get the alligator to release your child and watching helplessly as the alligator swims away with your boy. It is such a terrible story made even worse by the fact it happened at Disney World.

I remember staying at a resort on property at Walt Disney World and wondering why on earth there was a beach near the lake with a sign saying, “No Swimming.” To me a beach is a place to hangout so you can swim in the water and I wouldn’t probably go through the hassle of getting sandy if I couldn’t go in the water. But I guess a beach is a beach and some people like to sit in the sand regardless of if they plan to get into the water.

I also remember walking with my little kids next to the water numerous times at Disney properties. I don’t think I ever thought about alligators in the water. Sure, it’s Florida, but Walt Disney World?  I realize it isn’t common for alligators to attack and kill humans but once is enough to convince me to stay away from the water. I am just so grateful it didn’t happen to my kids and my family.

The good news is there aren’t alligators in the Boundary Waters. I am reminded of how lucky we are to live in a place where relatively few dangers lurk. We don’t have poisonous snakes or polar bears and we can drink the water we paddle in.

I feel very fortunate especially with all of the recent tragedies in the world. It’s a good reminder to count our blessings and give thanks continually because everything can change in the matter of seconds.

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Catch and Release a Fish Correctly

Have you ever been unprepared to catch a fish? I have and it isn’t fun. It seems like when I’m prepared to catch a fish I won’t get one but as soon as I just toss a lure out there for the fun of it I hook into a northern pike. Then I find myself without a needle nose plier completely unprepared to release the fish. This not only causes me stress but it also stresses out the fish. Being prepared is just the first step in properly catching and releasing a fish. Read on for more.

DNR NEWS    Catch and release properly to help fish survival

Anglers can boost the odds of fish surviving catch and release with methods that avoid internal damage to fish.

“Fish can be injured by hooks, stress and being pulled from deep water,” said Brad Parsons, central region fisheries manager with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. “As we head into the fishing season we remind anglers to keep the fish’s survival in mind when planning to catch and release.”

Fish hooked in the mouth almost always survive. Setting the hook quickly helps avoid hooking a fish in the stomach or gills. Jigs, circle hooks and active baits like crankbaits are more likely to hook a fish in the mouth. Barbless hooks or pinched barbs can help, but where a fish gets hooked is more important than the presence or absence of a barb.

Quickly landing a fish, minimizing its time out of water and handling the fish firmly but carefully all help it survive after release.

“By all means take photos, but it helps to have the camera ready and to have pliers that work well for taking hooks out,” Parsons said. “Cutting the line and leaving the hook in the fish is also a good option.”

The DNR encourages anglers to practice some restraint when the fish are really biting, especially during the summer or when fishing deep water. Fish pulled up from deep water can experience stress and injury, so anglers who plan on catch-and-release are reminded to avoid deep water.

“Deep water and also warm water temperatures increase the stress put on fish when caught and released,” Parsons said. “Anglers tend to do more fishing and catch more fish in warm weather, but these are also important times to take special care during catch and release.”

Here are a few more tips for successfully releasing fish:

  • Wet your hands before touching a fish to prevent removal of their protective slime coating. Rubberized nets help, too.
  • Unhook and release the fish while it is still in the water, if possible, and support its weight with both hands or with a net when removed from the water. Never lift them vertically.
  • Hold a fish firmly but gently. Don’t drop it. And don’t hold a fish by the eyes.
  • Do not place fish you plan to release on a stringer or in a live well.
    Revive a fish by cradling it under the belly and gently moving it back and forth in the water until it swims away.
  • Harvest a fish that can be legally kept if it is bleeding heavily or can’t right itself.
    “No good angler wants to see a released fish die,” Parsons said. “Responsible catch-and-release fishing can help ensure we continue to have quality fishing throughout Minnesota.”

For more information on fishing and fishing regulations, visit www.mndnr.gov/fishmn.

More tips from the DNR-

Question of the week    Q: What are some tips for successfully releasing fish?

A: The most important thing to remember about how to release fish without injuring them is to be prepared. Have the necessary equipment readily available: needle-nose pliers, forceps, line clipper, a soft mesh or coated landing net – and oh yes, your camera.

It is critically important to minimize the time the fish is out of the water. If possible, unhook the fish while it is in the water. If taking a picture, hold larger fish horizontally with the head and body supported. Do not hold large fish vertically or by the gills or eyes.

Play and land the fish as quickly as possible and moisten your hands with water to protect the fish’s slime layer and prevent post-release infections. If the fish is deeply hooked, cut the line inside the fish’s mouth. If it is deeply hooked and bleeding, consider keeping the fish to eat as long as it is of legal size in the open angling season for that species.

With the state record fish program now accepting applications for catch-and-release muskie, flathead catfish and lake sturgeon, anglers with a potentially record-setting catch are encouraged to quickly measure and take a picture of the fish before releasing it. Allowing state records to be set via catch-and-release presents an opportunity to recognize Minnesota’s outstanding fishing opportunities for these species while also formally honoring the skill of anglers who catch and release a trophy muskie, flathead or sturgeon. For guidelines, visit www.mndnr.gov/recordfish.

Henry Drewes, DNR regional fisheries manager

BWCA Fishing

Fishing in the Boundary Waters

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  • Good news! We had a last minute cancellation and our Riverside Cabin is now open from today, June 21st, until the... t.co/3js7Srsmww

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