Calista Lands a Beauty!

Jasper Lake Bass
Calista Lands A Beauty!

Calista Smith, age 7 and 1/2 with her nice largemouth that she caught right off the dock at Northwind Lodge.  Holding up her catch is her dad Kevin who is here with her mom, Carrie over the Memorial weekend enjoying dark skies, very temperate weather, calm water and good fishing.  Calista has now put several fish on the dock including more largemouth and several nice northerns.  Mom, Dad, Grandma and her husband have been enjoying fresh, coldwater fish this weekend as well as art lessons with Joe up at the Fernberg Gallery.

First Weekend Gone – and it was a beautiful one!

Our first weekend with lodge guests went by beautifully.  We had sunny blue days, temps in the high 60’s, low 70’s and everybody was hiding somewhere.  Well, hiding is perhaps the incorrect word but one party was fishing from their kayaks on neighboring Triangle, another took their canoe on a day canoe trip from Lake One to Ojibway and another spent their days fishing on Jasper.  Sounds like everybody caught fish, too.  Usually, when the days are this beautiful, fish are less cooperative.  Apparently, the fish are fed up with quarantine as well.

Two of our our groups stopped in to see my growing, but un-hung art collection. That’s always fun for me.  Many paintings have stories and while socially distancing, I waved my arms, pointed and told a few.  It’s a bohunk thing.

I spent a good part of the time painting and figuratively “guarding the fort”.  It’s insanely quiet so I’ve been able to get a long way on a whimsical landscape I working on right now.  It’s almost done. Then, it’s back to a larger commission for which I developed painter’s block.   Going whimsical/abstract-ish, helps me break out of the creativity killing fog that sets in once in a while.

For those of you sick and tired of watching and waiting with this China plague, if you are healthy, you can come out and play in the woods.  Please practice social distancing when in the presence of  people outside of your group.  (yes – we know, we don’t like it either but it’s ridiculously easy here)  Stay in a nice housekeeping cabin for ONLY $89.95 for the first 2 people and $10 each additional person.  That’s for any cabin!  (We try to fit it to your needs and size.  Taxes not included.  Total 9.875%  Three night minimum rental required.)  These rates apply THROUGH May 26.  We still have openings and we’re a Mom & Pop resort, not a gargantuan center on a highly populated lake.  We are surrounded by the BWCA.  Bring your canoe.  Go take a day trip.  Hang out on Jasper.   Roast a steak on the Weber.   Live the simple life in the woods.   Come look at art.

Give us a call.  It’ll most likely be me answering.  If I’m not in, please leave a message.  We’ll call back.  218-365-5489

Jasper Lake Near Ely MN - cabin rentals near Ely, MN

May & Memorial Weekend Special – NEW! Personal Shoppers!

We all need a break from Covid-19.    While we all struggle with getting back to normal, we do have an advantage out here in the woods.  Unlike every metro, or big commercial operation, we are not an overdeveloped facility with large numbers of people moving around, big meeting rooms, etc.   Social distancing is very easy.  If you don’t have mask on when you leave your cabin, nobody’s going to shame you if you even see anybody.  That’s the nature of living in the woods when the closest cabin is 100 feet away through the woods.

Jasper Creek in early May with Cabin 3 in the background
Jasper Creek in early May with Cabin 3 in the background – at Northwind Lodge

Our guests arrive to relax and enjoy themselves here at  Northwind Lodge, a traditional, “ma & pa”  Minnesota resort.  I was once told by a MN state official that small resorts are a dying breed and our relevance was fading as to our importance in tourism.  I wish I could find that dude now.  I wonder how his big convention centers on over-populated lakes with a spas, restaurants, and golf courses are doing right now?   Sorry,  but after that insult to our type of lodging experience for many years by people who were supposed to be helping, I feel the need to rub this new truth into his face just a bit.  Don’t worry, I’m working through it….

New for 2020 – Personal Shoppers!  

If you feel you don’t want to go shopping, we can do that for you.  Put together a list, work with us over the phone or email, and for a cost 10% of  your bill at the grocery store, we’ll get your groceries for you.    (If your total bill is $200, your Personal Shopper cost is $20)  We have good groceries in Ely with two stores available.  We’ll put them in your cabin fridge for you.  If you need an item that you forgot from your main grocery list,  (if you can wait a bit) we’ll take a run to town for you at our earliest convenience if we don’t have the item here.  Hey, gas is cheap and we want you to have a good time.  Just know that this is Ely and we may not have hydroponically-grown arugula and radicchio.  You might have to settle for romaine.   Once you get here, you can be on your own, enjoying your exotic salad and listening to the loons.  They have been here for about two weeks at this writing. Yes, they are noisy right now as you would expect to hear from a jaded dweller of the north woods who is writing this blog post.  Every day at Northwind Lodge is like watching a Tarzan movie, whereupon deep in the jungles of Africa, a hired loon from northeastern Minnesota is calling hauntingly in the background just before the drums begin their chant of danger.   Cue the loon!  (That loon looks silly with all that bling and those blue sunglasses he wears inside all the time…and, what’s with that five pound wristwatch, anyway!?  Actors….SMH…)

Jasper Lake at Northwind Lodge, May 2020
Note the clarity of the water here in NE Minnesota.

So, let’s get back to normal together.

We know times are tough on many fronts for all of us.  We are feeling it all too well.   But Northwind Lodge is here for you to provide an escape that won’t break your bank account while giving you some respite from the new, untamed, wilderness out there.  We’ve been doing this since 1944 officially and actually a bit earlier than that.  That’s 76 years, now!  How many places do you know have been around for 76 years and run by the same family in the same spot on the same lake?  Apparently, we are NOT fading away.

Beginning May 11th through May 26th – Rate special!

Cabins for 2 people at only $89.95 a night.   Three (3) night minimum stay requirement, and $10.00 per night for each extra per person.     Personal Shopper fee is 10% of your grocery list bill.  Of course, should you have a question about any of this, give us a call or message us in Facebook under our “Northwind Lodge” page

Our intention is to help get back us all back to normal so you can buy your own beans & weenies – not that we mind one bit.   We’d love to have you come stay.  Our only request is that you minimize your human contact on the way here and, of course,  please stay home if you are ill.  If you have a mask and want to wear it, please do.   Please bring your own bath towels, personal effects and fishing gear.  We do have some tackle here for sale.  Motors are available for rent on request.  Kayaks and beach canoes are free to use.  Have a fire by the beach or waterfall but give everybody some space.  It’s pretty much common sense for the times.  Campfire conversation from 6 feet away is optional and doesn’t spread anything but maybe some humor and good cheer.

The deposit required is $300 or the cabin total, which ever is less at the time of the reservation.  Sorry, but we cannot refund deposits for any reason.  Please be able to commit to the time you have reserved.  Thank you for understanding.

Call now 218-365-5489 to book your respite at Northwind Lodge. (you may need to leave a message – we’re running around outside, in and out.  We’ll call you back.)

Jasper Lake from Northiwnd Lodge
Deep blue water, no people.

 

Guided Fishing Trips at Northwind Lodge

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A great of guided day-fishing trip out of Northwind Lodge!  Check out the possibilities below plus the cabin rental deals for June!  

Ely Minnesota guided fishing trips

Third & Fourth Generation Guides will outfit you for your fishing trip and we’ll help you and your family get started on the right foot.  Fish for walleye’s, bass,  and northern pike. Learn how to fish our region and experience wilderness fishing at its finest with a veteran guide.

Wood Lake Guided Trips

1.) $290  per day with Bernie.   Bait and tackle included –  2 person limit

2.) $250 per day with Dan.   Bait and tackle is included – 2 person limit

Groups of four will need to hire both guides for the same day or go on two different day trips with one guide as the rowing can be difficult for some people to keep up with the guide boat particularly if rough weather develops.

Your guide will maneuver a rowing boat or canoe on Wood lake which is a Boundary Waters Canoe Area  wilderness lake.  There are no homes or structures of any kind in the BWCA.  This trip will  requires a walk in on a portage.  Please Pack your own lunch and remember that no metal cans or glass bottles are allowed.  Plastic bottles and containers are allowed but, of course, must be packed out as well.  Duluth packs are available for people to help carry their day gear in the event that they do not have a day pack.   PFD’s also provided as no extra charge.   


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Fall Lake Only –  4 Hour,  half-day trip

$200 for 2 people and $20 for each extra person up to 4 total.   Bait and tackle is provided and you may bring your own tackle to try as well.

Pack your own lunch.  No cans or bottles as this trip can cross into the BWCA.


Basswood – All Day

You must have a BWCA day-use motor permit.  If you do not have a permit, the guide can attempt to find a permit tag (it’s confusing and difficult government mumbo-jumbo) to see if a Basswood trip is possible during the time you are here.  Otherwise, for long-term reservations, please secure a day-use motor permit to Basswood in advance at  recreation.gov (click link).  Sorry, you must make a reservation in your own name.  We cannot do that service for you. Day-use motor permits are severely limited and hard to obtain.

$350 for 2 people and extra $25 each extra person up to 4 total.   Bait and tackle is provided and you may also bring your own to try.

This trip is in the BWCA.   Pack your own lunch and remember that no metal cans or glass bottles are allowed.  Plastic bottles are OK, but must be packed out.


What To Bring

For all guided trips you are required to bring your own fishing rods and reels, rain gear and appropriate clothing for the temperatures at that time.  Flip flops are never recommended and Crocs are not suitable footwear for portaging.  Preferably, closed toe footwear is recommended such as a running shoe or hiking boot.  We also recommend full length pants over shorts as sometimes there can be insects.  It makes for a more comfortable adventure.


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Walleye fillets in the field!  They don’t get any fresher than this!  Book ahead however!  Excellent guides are hard to find!

Reserving a Trip

Advance reservations are always welcomed due to planning, scheduling, preparation requirements and weather accommodations.  Please reserve your trip as early as possible.  Last minute trips are possible but can be hit-or-miss do to guide commitments.  We will do our best to get you on the water for a great day out out on the water.

Payment in full at the time of the trip reservation is required – Sorry, there are no refunds for trip cancellations.  

Call 218-365-5489 to make your guided trip reservation.

Fishing’s Fine at Northwind Lodge!

Boy, we’ve been having a GREAT summer this 2017!  Big fish, little fish, middle fish – everybody’s livin’ the dream!  We’ve been having all this fun despite the weather not really cooperating with us.  Lots of rain, but the fish remain undeterred as well as our great guests!    These are just June 2017 photo’s by our guests at Northwind Lodge!

Check here for last minute cabin deals – If you don’t come up and stay, you’ll be missing all the fun!  Start with Cabin Specials here!

 

The Wood Lake Experience at Northwind Lodge

Wood Lake is a BWCA lake which means no motors, cans, bottles, and you have to fill out a day-use permit at the head of the portage.   The portage is moderately rugged and 210 rods long.  A rod is 16.5 feet according to the King’s measuring system of a zillion years ago.  Translation:  The Wood Lake Portage is about .58 miles long one way.  It’s all downhill going in and all downhill  uphill coming back.  There are rocks and mud and logs and on occasion, bug who help you walk.  Once you are on the lake and in a Northwind Lodge rowboat.  everything levels out plus the bugs usually stay on shore at the portage namely – to help you get back out.  If that sounds horrible, it’s really not.  Take your time.  Wear some bug dope but don’t slather it on automatically like so many people do.  Have it handy and if you need it, apply it while on the portage.

Once on Wood, you will need to follow a river with no current for about 3/4 of a mile to get to the actual lake to fish.  Wood can have some rather spectacular fishing.  On the lake itself, you will see no man made structures of any kind.  We’ve actually had a few people literally freak-out by this, but that is the actual beauty of the lake.  And for those Boundary Waters zealots who thank the government for the lack of man-made structure – Wood Lake has NEVER had a permanent, man-made structure on it.  We used to be able to use little motors on it but they took that away in 1978 under RARE II, (a last-minute rider to the Boundary Waters law PL 95-495) which was signed by Carter and designed to take Northwind Lodge & Deer Trail Lodge out completely -I am now convinced.  Well, guess what?  We’re still here….but I digress…

Fishing from a row-boat actually ended up with us traveling  much farther into Wood Lake which is 453 acres in size,  with no fear and a little bit of planning.   Back when we had motors, we used to have to watch our available gasoline and our range ended up being limited.   The thought at the time was that if we ran out of gas, we would have to do the “impossible” and row all the way back to the portage. (Impossible and a super-human feat, we thought!)   In 1978, we discovered that we could actually row much farther in a day than the motor would take us plus instead of cranking up and moving to the other side of the lake when biting was slow, we worked our current spots harder and branched out from there.  By changing our technique, we actually ended up catching more fish with less weight and extra concerns even when it was really rough.  We also learned a heck of a lot about boat handling in wind.  People who only use motors really don’t know a heck of a lot – no offense – in controlling a boat when the motor conks out.   (They are so screwed while bobbing helplessly in the whitecaps!)  Relying on that motor all the time, especially in a wilderness situation, can be a false sense of security.  Don’t misunderstand me, however.  I find nothing wrong with a motor on the back of a boat, but there is a heck of a lot to be said about having your oars and knowing your abilities.  With that in mind, go to Wood Lake and plan on spending the day, taking your time and fishing all along the way. Do not plan on “fishing here” and then decide to crank up and go to the other side of the lake to try it there.  Because you are rowing and moving slowly but steadily, you fish while you move and you never know what you may discover or catch along the way.  Without all the running around people do with outboards, you actually spend more time with your lines in the water which ultimately improves your catch.

So, consider taking a trip into the designated wilderness for a day when staying at Northwind Lodge.  It will be a memorable experience and sometimes cold and wet – but your won’t forget it.   NOTE:  Wood Lake rental boats are only available for registered guests of Northwind Lodge.

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Thanks to Rob and Jake Croushore for the great pics of their recent trip to Wood!