Planning Your Canoe Trip to the BWCA or Quetico
We take our commitment of providing the most professional outfitting services seriously. Leaving nothing to chance, we provide an in-depth experience and interests questionnaire as part of your reservation form. Your individual trip requirements, such as reasons for vacationing in the canoe country, number of travel days, ability level of your party, etc. are then matched by us to the areas in the BWCA and Quetico Park that will best meet your vacation goals.
Upon your arrival, we will discuss these areas with you, so you can make the final decision on which lakes most appeal to your party. While routing your trip on large-scale waterproof maps by WA Fisher Company, we add our personal comments on the best campsites, portages, and fishing areas, as well as updated information on the area in general. We suggest you wait until the routing session to purchase your maps. (NOTE: we do not “trade” if you purchase maps you do not need and we do not route trips on McKenzie brand maps.
Whether your interests are that of the camper, canoeist, naturalist, historian, photographer or angler, you can be assured that you will be fully prepared for your memorable north country experience.
When to Come to the BWCA
MID-MAY is Spring Time in the Boundary Waters. For the early paddlers, wildlife abounds. “Mama Moose” will have her toddler(s) out in the shallows. Our loons will have returned from Georgia and starting to nest. Beavers will start repairing their dams, and building lodges. With the snow melt runoff at its peak, water levels are higher than normal and waterfalls are running hard. The latter half of the month is quiet, but attracts people wanting to fish walleye and northerns. The best of our fishing season is from the opening of fishing through June.
JUNE is when the our earliest wild flowers start to bloom, including wild iris and the pink lady slipper orchid. If you intend to go swimming, however, during the first half of the month the lake water is still cold, and you will have to be a very hardy soul to take a dip. But, that’s also why June is the best over-all month for fishing the crystal clear waters of the north country. Following walleye by two to three weeks, smallmouth come into their peak.
It seems a favorite pass-time for nationwide campers and canoeists is to come up with jokes about “bugs” in Minnesota. We would say the internet truth vetting sites would declare these only partially true. Our mosquitos and no-see-ums are dependent on rain and warm weather. If May is cool and dry, we have very little in the way of June bugs. Even if they are out in force, selecting the right campsites is the cure-all. Showing you which ones are best is part of why you are hiring us. Get ready to break out the sun screen but don’t worry about sizzling.
JULY normally has very pleasant weather … perfect for a canoe trip. Evenings are long, and lazy: the kind where you’d want to have a campfire after a full day of canoeing, fishing, swimming, and exploring. If you can stay awake long enough after a full day, you may be treated to one of natures most beautiful sights: the northern lights. Summer wild flowers are in full bloom. Depending whether you are early-, mid-, or late- month paddlers, you can find wild strawberries, raspberries, or our signature north country blueberries.
Loons and eagles are regular daily sights. Moose and deer are occasionally spotted. At night, keep an ear open for the lonely howl from the timber wolves. July is best for stable weather patterns and better than June for those paddlers wanting to avoid most of spring time-frame bugs. Because this is the most popular month, more canoe trippers will be seen during the day. It’s best to get an early start on travel days, and pick a great campsite shortly after lunch.
EARLY AUGUST is historically the most popular time (and therefore the most heavily traveled) in the Boundary Waters. However, visitor numbers wind down quickly as the month progresses week by week. As summer gently slides through August, the days will shorten significantly from June, but being this far north, they are still plenty long. The lakes reach their warmest temperatures of the year during the first week, making them perfect for swimming.
The weather is generally stable, until the very end of the month when the winds begin to pick up a little and the weather systems begin to move through our area more quickly. Air temperatures are just a tad cooler than July, still in the range of the 50’s to upper 70’s. The mosquito population drops rapidly throughout the summer and, by mid-August, are usually virtually gone. As the lakes cool later in the month, fishing success starts to climb back up making the comfortable days a real magnet for late summer fishermen.