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  • January 2012
    from www.CustomCabins.com
    14663 Vosburgh Rd. Ely, Minnesota 55731
    email: info@customcabins.com


    Until very recently the vast majority of the nation and we hear near the BWCAW in north east Minnesota have experienced what many would call a mild and pleasant winter. For the most part, areas south of us have been coasting through winter with little to no snow, but here in Ely, MN we've been fortunate enough have enough snow to be able to get outdoors to enjoy our respective winter sports for the better part of the winter. We did have one December cold snap of a sub-zero cold that reminded us why some people migrate to the tropics and stay there throughout the winter months.

    In the midst of 2011-2012's unseasonably warm early winter, we were able to take our yearly trip to Knife Lake and escape the recurrent hardware and grocery store conversations that eventually boiled down to the fact "that we really do like it a little colder than the upper 20's or 30's."

    Though the number of campers in our group had dropped by half this trip, three of us were able to pack the dogsleds as the sun rose on December 31st and head north to fish the opening of the lake trout season in the Boundary Waters on January 1st.

    Travel this year was relatively easy as compared to last year. With just barely enough snow to cover the portages, the issue of heavy slush on the lakes never came up and we made it to our campsite near Robin's Island in just shy of three hours. Last year it was a five hour hard ski, but this year we had plenty of daylight hours to be able to set up our wall tent and to get organized. Remember the sun sets, that is if it ever got up that day, at about 4:15


    A wall tent is a heavy canvas tent with straight walls as opposed to the small light weight tents people often take with them as they camp at one site and then move to another. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the comfortable winter accommodations that a wall tent affords, let it be said that it rivals even the cleanest budget motel. Our particular 14' by 12' wall tent is heated by a small packable wood stove that could amply heat the space for about 2 hours. Yes, that meant we were on a swing shift having to have someone get up periodically and re-stoke the fire. We slept comfortably on cots while our wet gear from the day dried on lines suspended from the tent's frame, giving the tent the look of a defunct second-hand store but with a fresher smell—at least for the first day.

    The entirety of our cooking took place on our wood stove. This year we brought a variety of prepared frozen soups in boilable heat seal bags: venison chili, grouse tortellini, grouse gumbo, and potato soup. Though these frozen meals were exceptional in quality and flavor, nothing quite beat the satisfaction of a freshly prepared meal, especially surf (walleye) and turf on New Years.

    Aside from the fine weather and fine cuisine, we were able to enjoy a little bit of fishing on the border lakes. While Knife holds some of the finest walleye, small mouth bass, and northern fishing in Minnesota, we had set our sights on lake trout.

    In the summer, lake trout prefer to inhabit the colder depths of a large lake such as Knife. Though, as the water temperature cools in the wintertime, the trout move into shallower waters. The trout we caught were swimming anywhere between 40 and 55 feet of water, as opposed to the 70 to 110 feet they may range in during warmer months.

    We hope that these photos have once again piqued your interest in the Ely area and the great experiences it has to offer.

    Back to reality: We are nearing the end of "permit season". That means if you have not made a reservations with us and are planning to, you need to call us quickly. If you already have reservations with us, you need to submit applications to Reserve America for permits to be able to fish beyond Moose Lake. Applications may be made through January 19th. The drawing for the lottery is January 20th. Then, if you did not receive a sufficient number of permits, you can go with the "first come first serve" process that begins January 25th at 9AM central time. Actually, we doubt that after the lottery there will be any permits available for the F (Moose Lake Chain), or G (Basswood), but perhaps there is always a chance.

    Happy January and we hope to see you all up north again this summer to enjoy a few sunsets like these...just without the ice.

    Custom Cabin Rentals
    14663 Vosburgh Rd.
    Ely, Minnesota 55731
    218-365-6947 or 1-800-235-6947