Voyageur Quote: 
"Fishing is a quest for knowledge and wonder as much as a pursuit of fish; it is as much an acquaintance with beavers, dippers, and other fishermen as it is the challenge of catching trout."  Paul Schullery  




Snowmobile Trail


Weather Report

February has come and is almost gone, where does the time go?  We have had some real winter weather this month and it reminded us how cold is cold with 7 days of low temperatures below zero.  The temperature was nice and cozy on the 14th for Valentine's Day but then it turned to bitter cold.  Our weather guy on the mid Gunflint Trail recorded a low of -15 on the 15th, -21 on the 16th, -21 on the 17th, and -26 on the 18th.  These were actual temperatures not including the 30 below windchill we also had on a couple of the days.  But then just like that the temperatures snapped right back up into the teens and are predicted to stay that way for the rest of the month.  We've had minimal snow throughout the month but it seems to fall a couple of inches at a time, just when we need it to freshen up the northwoods. Even with the cold temperatures we were still able to get outside and enjoy the ski and snowmobile trails; some call us winter enthusiasts, others just call us crazy.





Whiskey Jack 




Our recent snowmobile trip allowed us some great opportunities to watch wildlife.  At one stop we no sooner had our machines turned off when a grey jay or whiskey jack appeared in the tree above us.  I put my hand out pretending I had something to give it and it swooped down to find out what it was.  Unfortunately for the bird my hand was empty, but not for long.  I dug in my pack for some oatmeal cookie and before long he was back on my hand to eat it.  Where there is one hungry bird there are more and soon I was feeding numerous birds out of my hand.  My fellow riders became bored with my feeding and away we went leaving the friendly camp robbers behind.  I love the opportunity to see wildlife while out snowmobiling.  Some people may be surprised at how much wildlife you can see while cruising through the woods.  Most of the wildlife we saw was unafraid of the snowmobiles and actually stuck around for photos.  We had close up encounters with deer, red squirrels, fox, birds and an eagle.  Mike even saw two timberwolves on the snowmobile trail.  No trip would be complete without a moose sighting and while driving home on the Gunflint Trail we saw two.   





Snowmobile Trail







Don't forget the Gunflint Trail Winter Tracks Festival this weekend.  Join us for some winter fun February 22-25th.   







What's New?

Milwaukee Sport Show- For the first time in our 13 years of owning Voyageur Canoe Outfitters we will not be attending a sport shows this winter.  This includes the Milwaukee Show that we normally attend in March.  We will miss seeing our friends and guests who frequent the show but we hope you will all visit us at Voyageur this summer.  The rising cost of travel and exhibiting at sport shows has become greater than the return.  When you factor in your time with 12 days on the road and with Abby being in school it just doesn't make sense, we hope you understand.

Snowmobile Trip- This Valentine's Day we again celebrated by taking an overnight snowmobile trip with friends.  We loaded the snowmobiles onto trailers and drove to Ely where we began our ride to Crane Lake.  We spent the evening there before riding through Voyageur's National Park and some spectacular scenery on our way to Lake Vermillion.  We were in awe as we rode past cabin after cabin on this very large lake until we stopped for the night at one of the lodges.  We travelled over 330 miles on beautiful trails that wound their way through State Parks, over wilderness lakes and across gorgeous country before making it back to Ely and our vehicles. 

The Boundary Waters Blog- Want to know how crazy we were during the cold temperatures of February?  Check out past entries in the blog to find out.  You can also read about our power outage and the ruling on the USFS Chain of Lakes Issue.    

Trip Route Planning-  It's time to plan your next voyage into the wilderness.  If you need help planning your route or choosing an entry point then feel free to give us a call toll-free or check out our trip route finder on our website. 




Fox River

Creator of the Original Sock Monkey





Product Review: 

Fox River Socks- One product Mike found at the Outdoor Retailer Market in Salt Lake City, Utah was a sample pair of socks by Fox River.  I have always heard how wonderful these socks were but to be quite honest I was too cheap to purchase any.  I'm glad he brought a pair home for me because they are the most comfortable pair of socks I have ever worn.  They are so soft and cushiony it is like walking on spongy moss.  I wore them cross-country skiing and even though this pair was designed for hiking, my feet stayed dry and warm.   Their socks are designed to wick moisture away from the foot and they have designs exclusively for women.  A percentage of each sale of women's socks goes to the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organization.  The company started in Wisconsin in 1900 and is now located in Iowa.  They are a family owned business that is environmentally conscientous. Their story can be found on their interesting and fact filled website.  If you are looking for a great pair of socks then be sure to try Fox River. 



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"Where the Trail Ends Your Voyage Begins"
Mike and Sue Prom

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Wilderness Skill:

Preparing to Portage- I love to portage.  The longer and the more difficult a portage is then the better it is for me.  I like the challenge of being able to make it the whole length of the portage in one trip without setting anything down.  Most people do not share my enthusiasm for portaging but with a little preparation it can be a bit easier and a little more enjoyable.  One way to do this is by thinking ahead about the fact you will be portaging.  This begins at home when you are packing your items for the canoe trip.  We once had a family of 4 bring only one toothbrush and two sleeping bags to cut down on weight.  While this may be a bit extreme, careful consideration during packing is essential in portage comfort.  Only bring the necessities and think about sharing items that make sense to share, such as toothpaste, shampoo, bug spray, sunscreen, etc. Try and find lightweight menu items that are not too bulky.  Mike and I hiked the Kekakabic Trail one time and packed a large amount of our camping favorite, gorp.  What we didn't realize was the m&m's, peanuts, and other ingredients make for a heavy mix, so just keep the weight of your food in mind when packing.  Once you finally get around to loading your canoe be sure to keep as many things as possible packed away.  It is always time consuming and frustrating to get to a portage and have to pick up a water bottle, fishing pole, or other loose items from the bottom of the canoe.  Wear your life vest across the portage, strap your poles in the canoe and get a clip to clip your water bottle onto your pack.  With all of the loose items tucked away you will be able to keep your hands free to carry your pack, canoe and paddles across the portage.  With a little preparation you too may come to enjoy and look forward to the next portage.





Bonnie's Rainbow Trout

According to Arthur Macdougall Jr.  Ice fishing does offer a maximum of exercise and labor for a minimum of pleasure and excitement. 

According to Sue Prom For me, the act of ice fishing alone is worth the effort, whether or not you catch a fish is irrelevant.



Fishing Report

Fishing for Rainbow Trout through the ice has been a favorite activity of our friends this winter.  I am ashamed to admit I have yet to try it but I am willing to go if anyone chooses to take me.  There aren't too many lakes on the Gunflint Trail that have Rainbow Trout but when you are lucky enough to find them it sounds like they provide quite the entertainment.  They like to search for food in shallow areas with water depths between 6-8 feet.  They are usually 18" off of the bottom of the lake but can be found up to half-way up from the bottom.  Some people like to fish them using live bait while others prefer artificial.  Either way you need a small hook or a light jig to catch them.  An average size Rainbow for up here is between 18-20" but our friends both caught 26" Rainbows that weighed around 6 pounds each.    





 Thank you for reading our newsletter.  We hope you enjoy it and tell others about it. 

  Mike, Sue and the Voyageur Crew