BWCA Fishing Trips near Ely, Minnesota - Boundary Waters Fishing

The Boundary Waters provides world-class freshwater fishing opportunities. Come prepared for the excitement of a fish on your line.

Fishing Tackle Suggestions

Many items are available for purchase in our small but well-appointed outfitting shop.
Remember that whatever you bring must be portaged - so don't bring too much tackle. Ideally, all your gear should fit into a small (i.e., 8" x 11" x 2") tackle box. Tailor the below list to the type of fishing you plan to do. We highly recommend using live bait in the BWCAW. Nightcrawlers and leeches are the easiest to use and keep alive. Live bait, organic bait, and the use of barbed hooks is prohibited in Quetico Provincial Park.  All are allowed in the BWCAW.

Spinning Rod and Reel: Medium action rod with 6-10 lb. test line.
Hooks: Minimum of 25, bait type with short shank in sizes 4 to 6.
Sinkers, Split Shots, Slip Sinkers: Bring an assortment of split shot from "bb" size on up; slip sinkers should range from 1/8 to 1/2 ounce. For deep trolling bring 1 to 3 ounce weights.
Plugs: Both surface and diving. Sizes from 2" - 5" (e.g.; Rapalas, Lazy Ikes, Heddon Torpedoes).
Spinner Baits: Such as Mepps in sizes 1, 2 & 3.
Spinners: "Pre-rigged" hooks with spinner blades, beads and approximately 12 inches of line. Hook sizes from 4 to 6 with spinner blade colors in chartreuse, silver, hammered brass, yellow, red/white and black/white.
Jigs: 1/8 to 3/8 ounce sizes, and foam floating jig heads.
Hair and Feather Type Jigs: 1/8 to 1/4 ounce sizes in yellow, orange, chartreuse, red and white. For Lake Trout, a few 1/2 to 1 ounce jigs in black, white, yellow, red/white, and black/white.
Rubber Bodied Jigs: With and without spinner blades in 1/8 to 3/8 ounce sizes. Chartreuse, white, yellow, black, and brown (examples: Mr. Twister and Fuzzee Grubs).
Swivels: Two and three way type.

Steel Leaders: If you are targeting northern pike or lake trout, bring several from 6"-12".

Bobbers: Slip bobbers work well and are the most functional.
Stringer: One or two cord stringers work well and are compact.
Needle Nose Pliers: For releasing fish, and a must for sharp-toothed pike and walleye.

Suggestions for Specific Species


Smallmouth & Largemouth Bass Surface and diving plugs; spinner baits such as Mepps; hair and feather type and rubber bodied jigs; slip bobbers with live bait.
Walleye Sinking plugs, or floating plugs with weight to sink the rig; spinners in mid sizes; 1/8, 1/4 and 3/8 oz jigs; slip bobbers with live bait.
Northern Pike Spoons, spinner baits, and surface and diving plugs in mid to larger sizes;
steel leaders from 6-12 inches.
Pan Fish Spinner and assorted jigs in small to mid sizes; slip bobbers with live bait.
Lake Trout Spring - Surface and diving plugs; spinner baits such as Mepps.
Summer - Hair and feather type jigs in 1/2 to 1 ounce sizes in black, yellow, white, red/white, and black/white; spoons and deep running plugs.

CLICK HERE to obtain your Minnesota fishing license online at the Minnesota DNR website.

CLICK HERE to obtain your Ontario Outdoors Card and fishing license online from the Ontario MNR website if fishing in Quetico Provincial Park.

CLICK HERE for Minnesota DNR fish surveys and depth maps for lakes on your route.