Beargrease Begins Tomorrow

The 31st running of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon begins tomorrow in Two Harbors, Minnesota.  The race normally begins in Duluth, Minnesota but due to the lack of snow it is beginning a little farther north.  The start of the race is always fun to watch. The dogs bark and jump and jump and bark as they wait for their turn to start.  As soon as they are free to run they quit barking and fall into their own rhythym.

If you’re looking for something to do tomorrow head on up to Two Harbors and check out the Beargrease!

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Vote for Grand Marais as America’s Coolest Small Town

I know Grand Marais is a cool town, even in the summer thanks to Lake Superior.  In all seriousness, Grand Marais, Minnesota is a semifinalist in the “America’s Coolest Small Town” contest sponsored by Budget Travel.  I’m sure you think Grand Marais pretty cool too, if so then go online and vote for it.  That would be cool if it one…

Is Grand Marais ‘America’s Coolest Small Town’?

PAM LOUWAGIE | Updated 1/22/2015

The Boundary Waters gateway city is one of 15 semifinalists in Budget Travel’s online contest for “America’s Coolest Small Town.”

Just how “cool” is Grand Marais?
Elizabeth Flores

First, Duluth-loving voters took to the Internet to catapult the Lake Superior city to the title of Outside Magazine’s “Best Town in America.”

Now fans of Grand Marais, the tiny tourist destination up the shore, are campaigning for a contest of their own.

The Boundary Waters gateway city is one of 15 semifinalists in Budget Travel magazine’s online contest for “America’s Coolest Small Town.”

The city became a semifinalist after receiving 472 nominations online. It’s competing with towns from Maine to Hawaii during online voting which closes at 11:59 p.m. on February 25. The top 10 towns will be featured online and in an upcoming issue of the magazine.

The only other Minnesota town to be a finalist was Ely, in 2010.

To vote on this year’s contest, go here.

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Gum in the Boundary Waters

I usually don’t bring gum into the BWCA with me but now I might. Check this out!

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Paddling Entertainment

If you’re a paddling enthusiast looking to be entertained then you might want to check out a couple of things. One is a television show called the “Paddling Bryans.” I haven’t watched it yet but a friend suggested I check it out on Facebook.  It’s about two Canadian guys named Bryan who travel around by canoe and I imagine they have awesome Canadian accents that would be fun to listen to.

When you can’t go paddling it’s always nice to watch shows about it or hear about it.

Adam Maxwell will be giving a presentation at the University of Minnesota Duluth on February 23rd.  He, along with some other paddlers are the ones who canoed to the Arctic this summer.  It’s from 7-8:30pm at Duluth’s Bohannon Hall and it’s free. Below is the description of his presentation.
Program description:
During the summer of 2014 a crew of 6 young men and women completed a
canoe expedition covering 920 miles from Northern Saskatchewan to Whales
Cove, Nunavut, led by UMD graduate Adam Maxwell. Adam will share
stories and photos of their travel which began in the boreal forest then into
the arctic tundra and eventually to the coast of Hudson Bay. Wildlife sightings
included thousands of caribou, musk ox, polar bears, and a wolverine. The
crew faced many challenges including long portages, a busted canoe, and
several low water streams. In addition to hearing stories about this expedition
join in a conversation about the planning of northern river travel, including
ways that college students can take advantage of their large amount of free
time over summer break to complete a budget conscious trip with very little
transportation cost.

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What Time is it? BWCA Permit Time!

Well, it’s almost Boundary Waters permit time. Reservations for all entry points can be made on a first-come, first-served basis beginning January 28, 2015, 9 a.m. Central Time.  It isn’t a mad rush for permits on the Gunflint Trail side of the BWCA so if you don’t have your travel plans set yet then don’t fret. We have great availability for most entry points well into the summer season.

It is however never too early to start planning your Boundary Waters canoe trip. It’s nice to get a couple of them on the calendar nice and early so other activities don’t get in the way of your paddling and camping fun.  Prioritization is what it’s all about. I know I wish I could have spent more time in the woods this past summer.

I’m hopeful for a quality canoe trip with my family this summer. Last summer was way too busy with Abby at camp every other week it seemed. With Hannah and Tony here this winter and staying for next summer I know when we go paddling we’ll be leaving our guests in very capable hands.  Speaking of Tony and Hannah, that’s who you’ll be speaking with if you’re ready to make your BWCA permit reservation with Voyageur.  They are answering phones and holding down the fort while we travel all over for sports for our kids.  Feel free to give them a call, they will be happy to help you plan your trip and reserve your permit for you.

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Guess the Name of the Beer Contest

I know many of you have been following along with the Voyageur Brewing Company adventure. We’re getting closer to opening and we couldn’t be more excited. We want to share that enthusiasm with you and invite you to take part in a fun contest we’re having. I’m posting hints to what one of our beer names is going to be on the Voyageur Brewing Company Facebook page.  I’ll be doing this for each of the four beers we hope to have ready by opener.  The first person to correctly guess the beer name will win a growler filled with that type of beer.

I’ve been having some technical difficulty with the link, if the above links do not work then you can try this one.  Or just find the Featured App on the Facebook page.  You can visit our website and sign up to receive our email newsletter if you’d like too.  Who knows, maybe you will guess a name we’ll end up using for a future beer!

Voyageur Brewing Company Contest

guess the beer name contest

 

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Gunflint Trail Fishing

Here’s a write up about ice fishing for trout on the Gunflint Trail written by one of my High School friends. Glen is an outdoor writer for the St. Cloud Times.

Winter trout season kicks off across Minnesota

Minnesota’s inland trout season opened Saturday, which means anglers can hit lakes outside the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW) in search of stream trout and lake trout. The trout season on lakes entirely within the BWCAW opened on Jan. 1.

Basically, there are two types of trout lakes within the state. Stream trout lakes are designated fisheries stocked with rainbow, brook and brown trout or a hybrid of lake trout and brook trout called splake.

The other is a lake trout fishery, and the only trout species they typically have in them are lake trout. It’s rare to find a fishery with a combination of lake trout and stream trout in it.

Gunflint Trail trout

Most quality trout lakes are scattered across northeastern Minnesota and trout fishing is extremely popular throughout this region, especially during the winter months.

This weekend’s trout opener is a big deal up and down the Gunflint Trail, according to Steve Parsons, fisheries supervisor with the Department of Natural Resources in Grand Marais. Visiting and local anglers alike know that if you want to experience some exceptional trout fishing in Minnesota, the northeast is the place to go.

“We have more lakes with trout in them up in this area than anywhere in the state,” Parsons said. “Trout are the main fishing opportunities in this area during the ice fishing season and we see a lot of anglers taking advantage of it.”

Parsons added that lake trout receive the most attention in his area. Brook trout and splake also are popular species to fish for, with rainbow and brown trout garnering less fishing pressure.

Lake trout populations within the northeastern lakes have been built and stabilized through natural reproduction. Although some stocking of lake trout is done, Parsons said it just isn’t that successful.

The size structure of these lake trout really varies from one body of water to the next. Anglers will encounter fish weighing from 2 to 20 pounds, but lake trout in the 2- to 5-pound range seem to be average in most lakes.

The key to finding the biggest lake trout in the northeast is locating lakes with an abundance of ciscoes. Ciscoes, rich with oil, are a primary food source for lake trout, so they tend to grow bigger in lakes that provide ciscoes as forage.

“If ciscoes are present, that’s likely where you’ll find fish up to 20 pounds,” Parsons said. “But we do have lakes without that type of forage so the lakers don’t grow that big, but those smaller fish are the best eating trout you’ll find.”

Along the Gunflint Trail, anglers should look to lakes such as Saganaga, Greenwood, Gunflint, Clearwater, West Bearskin and Loon as likely targets for lake trout. While you can get close to a few of them with vehicles, accessing most trout lakes in this area involves using a snowmobile, snowshoes or cross-country skis.

While lake trout reproduce naturally, stream trout rely on stocking efforts by the DNR to build their numbers. Parsons said lakes in the northeast are stocked annually or every other year with some combination of stream trout.

Most stream trout run from half a pound to 11/2 pounds. But Parsons pointed out that bigger stream trout are found the farther off the Gunflint Trail you’re willing to go. It’s not uncommon to catch 2- to 4-pound brook trout and splake on select lakes tucked back in the woods.

“We have some exceptional stream trout lakes and some good-sized fish if you don’t mind putting in the effort to find them,” Parsons said. “I anticipate one of the best trout seasons in a long time; we have good ice, not much snow, and no slush so people will be able to move around on these lakes this year.”

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Under Ice Fireworks

I bet if I show Josh this video then he’s going to want to try this.

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Photos from Around the North Shore

We have such amazing photographers and so many wonderful things to take pictures of in our neck of the woods.

Photo by Gail Merton.

Gail Merton Photo

Photo by Jamie Rabold.

Jamie Rabold photo

Photo by Paul Pluskwik.

Paul Pluskwik

Find More of these awesome Gunflint Trail moose photos on Facebook.

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Gunflint Trail Weekend Forecast- Great Weather & Fishing

I’m predicting this is going to be a busy weekend on the Gunflint Trail. First of all we have snow unlike many parts of the state right now. People can cross-country ski on exceptionally groomed trails, snowmobile through the woods or across frozen lakes, snowshoe into the great white north and this weekend they can fish for lake trout, all on the Gunflint Trail. The weather forecast is calling for some moderate temperatures in the high 20′s so it would be a perfect weekend for winter camping.  It’s a winter wonderland up here so take advantage of it and plan a visit to Voyageur soon.

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