Boundary Waters Fishing Opener

Boundary Waters fishingIt’s difficult to believe this weekend is the Minnesota Fishing Opener but here it is. The excitement is in the air as folks make last minute preparations for the big day.  Boats on trailers, tackle boxes organized and bait in buckets all ready for the fishing opener. It’s also a popular weekend for folks to head north to open up their cabins after having been away all winter long.

Over the years we’ve owned and operated Voyageur Canoe Outfitters we’ve lost a few of those people and miss their smiling faces. I miss talking to them as they purchased their fishing license or topped off their gas tank prior to heading out on the lake. One fellow I especially miss is Grandpa Bay. He had a trailer in the little bay of the Seagull River and he used to drive tow boat for us on Saganaga Lake. He always had his fishing buddy Pug along and a story to tell.  When he was going fishing he would never just say he was going fishing, he liked to say he was going to irritate some trout or drown some worms.

No doubt there are Boundary Waters campers set up in their favorite wilderness lakes ready to do the same tomorrow. Amazingly it looks like it’s going to be a great weekend weather wise with no snow in the forecast and temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s all week long. Don’t let the air temperature fool you, the water temperature is freezing so wear your life vest and be safe! Here’s hoping you irritate those trout into attacking your lure and your drowned worms look like a tasty treat to a northern pike.


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Mother’s Day and More on the Gunflint Trail

Here’s hoping your Mother’s Day is a special day. Take a Mom fishing for free is happening this weekend in Minnesota so hopefully some of you took advantage of the opportunity and spent some time on a lake.  The spring peepers are peeping, the grouse are drumming and moose calves are out and about. With the ice off of the Boundary Waters lakes people are even camping and paddling in the BWCA already. If you’re planning to visit the Boundary Waters then be sure to contact us so we can reserve your entry point permit for your trip. Don’t wait too long as there are some dates where just a few entry point permits are available. We’d love to see you at Voyageur this summer!

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Save the Boundary Waters from destructive non-native invasive species

It’s a special time of the year on the Gunflint Trail. The trees are budding and new plants are emerging from the earth every day.  Living on the Gunflint Trail is a privilege we don’t take lightly. The Gunflint Trail is surrounded by the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and by choosing to live on the edge of this wilderness we are in a sense responsible for protecting it. We encourage everyone to help prevent non-native invasive species from entering the Boundary Waters and this includes Lupinus polyphyllus.

Large-leaved lupines line North Shore | Duluth News TribuneYes, those lovely spiky flowers that fill the ditches from Duluth to Canada along Highway 61 are non-native invasive species that do not belong anywhere in Minnesota. Large-leaved Lupine is native to the Western US and was introduced to Minnesota by gardeners. They have made their way to the Gunflint Trail and are on the verge of spreading into the BWCAW where they will destroy and alter the landscape forever.

According to the National Park Service, “Invasive species threaten our environment in a very powerful way because they can alter the ecosystems and landscapes we seek to protect. Invasive species are “a non-native species whose introduction does, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human, animal, or plant health” (Executive Order 13112, 1999). Invasive species aggressively compete with native species and are often the victor of the battle. In some cases, one invasive species can outcompete many native species thus reducing biodiversity.”

When lupines are allowed to spread they overtake areas and prevent native wildflowers from thriving in their own habitat. When the native wildflowers can’t survive then neither can the insects, birds and other wildlife that depends upon them for their existence. Lupines are dangerous because they can spread both through their rhizomes underground and above ground with their seeds that are easily carried and spread. The seeds in their pods can remain viable for decades and once they’ve escaped into the wild, the plants put out dense canopies of leaves that shade out native species. Their seeds are highly toxic and their pods and leaves can kill animals.Summer has Arrived on the North Shore | Bell Sheep Homestead North Shore MN  Lodging near Duluth and Two Harbors

There are many people who love to look at the ditches filled with these colorful flowers. I think people would equally enjoy seeing ditches filled with native wildflowers especially knowing they aren’t damaging the ecosystem.  There are many other non-native invasive species growing in our County and we need to be just as diligent at preventing their spread into the BWCAW.

It would be wonderful if the lupine just stayed on the North Shore and far away from the Gunflint Trail and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Unfortunately they spread easily on their own and they don’t know where a garden ends and the Boundary Waters begins. People can help prevent this from happening by not planting lupine and by removing them when they see them encroaching on sensitive areas.

The only place lupine are found naturally in Minnesota is in southeastern and east central Minnesota. This plant is much smaller and is known as Wild Lupine(Lupinus perennis).

Wild Lupine, Lupinus perennis LWhat can you do to save the Boundary Waters from lupines? For starters don’t plant them anywhere near the BWCAW. If you own property with lupines on it then attempt to eradicate them. This will no doubt take years as they thrive and survive anywhere. They are easiest to pull in the spring when the ground is wet but you have to make sure you get their entire root or they will just grow back. You can attempt to dig them out but again you need to make sure you get their entire root system. If you don’t get all of them and they do grow up then mow them before they have a chance to bloom. If they have gone to bloom then remove the flower that contains the seed pod, place them in a garbage bag and throw them away so they won’t spread. You can always spray to kill them but I haven’t researched how to do that yet.

There are threats to the Boundary Waters you can control and other ones you can’t. If you can do something to protect the native species in the wilderness then I encourage you to do so. The native plants, insects and wildlife will thank you.


Find more information by visiting the websites below.

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Ice off the lakes of the Gunflint Trail

The lakes are slowly becoming liquid once again. Matt and Cassidy took a tour of Saganaga over the weekend and there was just one big chunk left on the Canadian side of the lake.  We’re guessing it has broken up and sunk by now and very shortly all of the lakes on the Gunflint Trail will be completely ice free.  The water levels are rising, things are greening up and fishing opener is right around the corner.

We know folks are enthusiastic to get out to paddle and camp in the Boundary Waters. We are just as excited. Just remember to wear your life vest and paddle close to shore as the water temperature is dangerously cold. A person can only survive a couple of minutes in water that cold. With that said, let the paddling season begin!

May be an image of 1 person, nature and body of water


May be an image of lake, sky, nature, twilight and ocean

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Outside on Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! I hope you made the most of it by getting outside to enjoy nature. I wasn’t able to enjoy the Boundary Waters or the Gunflint Trail but I did get out for a hike up a fire tower, a bike ride and a nice walk along a lake. The sun was shining and the temperature reached 60 degrees so it was a wonderful day to be outside.

Spring has been slow to come this year and we’re still experiencing some nightly lows in the 20’s.  Hopefully after this weekend we’ll see the last of the cold temperatures and see the mercury rise along with the water levels. Water level is a topic of conversation around Voyageur lately.

Last fall the water was almost as low as we’ve seen it on the Seagull River. We usually don’t worry about it because with snow and spring rain the water always rises. It will be interesting to see how high it gets this spring. It usually doesn’t peak until mid-May or Memorial Weekend depending upon when the ice goes off of the lakes and all of the snow melts.

It’s fun to keep an eye on the ramps out to our floating docks on the Seagull River.  When the water is high it’s an uphill climb to the dock but when the water is low it’s a downhill trek.  During low water times we have to adjust the anchors on the docks so they continue to float or else they will settle onto the ground and when that happens it isn’t an easy feat to move them. These photos are from several years ago during a very high water year. I can only think of one other year it was higher than this and our boathouse and part of our driveway was under water.

Whatever the water level we hope to see you at Voyageur this summer!


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Liquid on the Seagull River

It’s so refreshing to see open water in front of Voyageur once again. It’s a special time of the year when grouse drum in the woods, moose lick residual salt off of the roads and ducks drop in for a visit on their way north.

Speaking of open water, I found an article about Minnesota lake names that are difficult to pronounce.  I wasn’t surprised to see Gabimichigami and Kekekabic Lakes in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness but I was surprised to see Little Saganaga and not Saganaga or Ogishkemuncie. I had to chuckle at the comment in the description about no boat ramp into Gabimichigami! I also thought it would have been better to provide the nicknames of these lakes instead of the phonetical way to pronounce them. We rarely say the entire lake name because they are difficult to say, so next time you want to talk to us about these lakes feel free to say, Sag, Gabi, Ogish and Kek, we’ll know what you mean.

From the article…

Gabimichigami – Gab-ah-mitch-ee-gah-mee Gabimichigami is located in Cook County, Minnesota. This lake is 1,186 acres and gets up to 209 feet deep. There is no boat ramp, but if you find a way to fish there you can find Lake Trout, Northern Pike, and Yellow Perch.
Kekekabic – Key-key-kah-bick Kekekabic is part of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, and gets up to 195 feet deep.

Little Saganaga – Sahg-an-ah-gah Little Saganaga is located in Cook County and is about 1,627 acres in size. It connects to Saganaga lake that is 18,767 acres. Different size, same pronunciation.


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Seasons of the Seagull River

What a difference a day can make at the end of the Gunflint Trail. With temperatures in the 50’s Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday the snow was melting quickly. It looked and felt like spring outside and the Seagull River had water on top of the ice. Thursday morning it was like a winter wonderland at Voyageur Canoe Outfitters with a fresh foot of snow!

Spring on the seagull riverVoyageur Canoe Outfitters

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Thinking about the Boundary Waters

paddling the BWCAWThe days are getting longer, the temperatures are getting warmer and the strength of the sun’s rays are getting stronger. It is only March yet it feels a bit more like April and that has me dreaming about canoe camping trips in the Boundary Waters.

Maybe we’ll be able to take an early spring trip this year if it stays this warm…

Where are we going to camp this year if the Canadian border doesn’t open?

I wonder if both kids will be able to join us for a week long trip this summer…

portage trail boundary watersWhile some of the answers to these questions will remain unanswered for awhile yet I know one thing is for sure. I can’t wait to spend time in the BWCA this summer! I need to spend time in the Boundary Waters and make it a top summer priority. I look at my calendar and pencil in all of the possible dates and paddling partners available. Time spent in the wilderness is sacred to me because it recharges me like nothing else. There are other types of relaxing vacations and cool places to paddle but there isn’t anything I have found that compares to the Boundary Waters.

Are you dreaming about the Boundary Waters? If you want help planning your trip then give us a call, there’s nothing we’d rather talk about than the BWCA.  218-388-2224

solitude in the BWCA

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Watching wolf at the end of the Gunflint Trail

Ben Nichols captured this video of a timber wolf at the Saganaga Lake public landing. It was hanging around the BWCA entry point 55 parking lot just around the corner from Voyageur Canoe Outfitters. It has been spotted by a few folks on the road and on Sag Lake Trail. Normally the parking lot is a little busier with ice anglers and cabin owners heading out onto Saganaga Lake. With the Canadian border still closed due to Covid no one can fish in Canada including the Quetico Park and cabin owners can’t access their places.  This lack of traffic must make the wildlife more at ease because it certainly didn’t look like this wolf had a care in the world.

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Life at the end of the Gunflint Trail

What’s the best thing about Matt and Cassidy managing Voyageur Canoe Outfitters? It’s hard to pick just one thing because together they share so many wonderful qualities.  If you’ve visited Voyageur in the past five years then you know they are friendly, hardworking, trustworthy, easy going, kind, energetic, positive, responsible and caring, to name just a few.  But what do I really LOVE about them? I love how much they love living at the end of the Gunflint Trail. I know how much I love life at the end of the Gunflint Trail but I never imagined anyone else could possibly love it as much as I do. But here they are, Matt and Cassidy, embracing and loving life at the end of the Gunflint Trail on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Living the wilderness life and taking every opportunity to get out and enjoy the woods, water and wonders of our backyard. And better yet? They document it and share it with all of us.

Follow us on Instagram so you don’t miss out on any of their adventures, just search for our profile today!  VoyageurCanoeOutfitters


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