Guided Winter Trips

Winter Camping Trips and Guides, Boundary Waters, Ely MN

Winter Guides

Bring one of our experienced guides along to teach you the tips and tricks to be efficient in the winter. Guides will enhance any trip, but are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR FIRST-TIME WINTER CAMPERS to help reduce the learning curve on your first winter adventure. Set yourself up for success on this trip, and all your future winter excursions, with one of our passionate and knowledgable guides.

Guided Winter Ice Fishing Trips

Half-Day (4-hours), All-Inclusive Ice Fishing Trip: starts at $300/day for 2 people
These trips are focused on giving the group an introductory experience to ice fishing, or simply providing knowledge of local lakes and techniques to allow your crew to be more successful when fishing on your own.

What's Included:

  • Pop-up shelter and chairs (New Eskimo insulated pop-ups with buddy heaters)
  • Rods, reels, tackle, and bait
  • Fish finder
  • Snowshoes or skis (if needed)
  • Hot drinks
  • Transportation on the lakes will be either via snow machine or via dog-assisted ski/snowshoe travel. Mode of transport depends on your desination and conditions.

Full Day (8-hours), All-Inclusive Ice Fishing Trip: starts at $450/day for 2 people
Full day trips are more adventurous and clients must be prepared to spend a full 8 hours on the ice. Proper attire is essential as these trips are likely to be deeper into the BWCA. Our sled dogs (Siberian Huskies) will be utilized to assist the transport of gear, but clients must also be willing to contribute to the experience.

What's Included:

  • Pop-up shelter and chairs (New Eskimo insulated pop-ups with buddy heaters)
  • Rods, reels, tackle, and bait
  • Fish finder
  • Snowshoes or skis (if needed)
  • Soup lunch and hot drinks
  • Transportation on the lakes will be either via snow machine or via dog-assisted ski/snowshoe travel. Mode of transport depends on your desination and conditions.

Have your own fishing eqiupment but need a guide?
-Guided Day Fishing Trips: starts at $300/day

Experience Boundary Waters fishing in the winter! You bring your own stuff, and have one of our experienced ice fishing guides take you to their favorite spots and teach you how to catch fish during the "hard water" season.

Guided Winter Camping Trips

Quick Start Guide Service: starts at $300/day
Want to maximize your time in the wilderness? Winter camping can be a lot of work. Bring one of our guides along on the first day of your adventure. They'll help you haul in your equipment, set up camp, and teach you winter camping skills along the way. The guide will not spend the night. They are there to set you up for success so you can better enjoy the winter wilderness.

Guided Multi-Day Trip: starts at $300/day
Enhance your winter adventure by bringing one of the experienced winter guides along for the duration of your trip. They will help you enjoy the wilderness and teach you ins and outs of the Boundary Waters in the winter.

Guided Day Trips (ski or snowshoe): starts at $250/day
Customizable guided day trips into the wilderness. Whether you want to ski or snowshoe, our guides will give you a taste of Ely and the Boundary Waters during the winter.

Meet Our Guides

David Hicks

My name is David Hicks. I am a Marine Corps combat veteran and served 8 years active duty. I have a degree in environmental and outdoor education from the University of Minnesota with a focus on adjudicated and at-risk youth. In addition, I am a seminary student and pastor of a small reservation church in Northern Minnesota where I focus on at-risk youth outreach in wilderness settings through a variety of experiential based education models. I have a little over 600 days of winter camping currently and it is by far my favorite time to be out in the wilderness. 

Joe Larson

Since moving to Ely in 2014, I have taken advantage of every opportunity to be outside. If I’m not in the shop, I’ll be out in the woods--whether it’s a day trip, an overnight, or for weeks on end. I work to play. At Piragis, I found a niche where I can both work AND play. I have a deep connection with these woods and waters of the BWCAW. The therapeutic value of immersing oneself in wilderness is why I call Ely my home. It is my happy place. I am passionate for showing these places to anyone who is willing to spare a day or a week. I take pride in teaching the fundamentals of canoe camping to those I travel with. I would love to show you a slice or two of this paradise we call the Northwoods. 

Peter Johnson

Born and raised in Ely, Peter has 19 years experience as a wilderness guide and a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Bethel University. He has spent the last 11 years actively involved in wildlife art (2019 North American Champion Taxidermist, 2019/2018 State Champion). He and his wife Tara moved back to Ely in 2008, after some time away, to raise their two daughters (Madeline and Olivia).

Peter is passionate about sharing the northwoods with others through immersive and educational outdoor opportunities. Fishing the surrounding lakes, specifically the BWCAW, has been his passion, since earliest memory, and providing that experience to others is a core pursuit of his.

FAQs About Guided Winter Trips

What do we do for firewood? 
The guide will instruct and facilitate the identification, gathering, and processing of suitable firewood to be used for heating, cooking, and campfires. It is not necessary to bring firewood although your guide may bring a small amount of pre-processed emergency wood.

How will we travel in the winter?
The three main modes of travel are cross country skis, snowshoes, and by foot. Snow/ice and trail conditions, along with client preference and ability, will dictate modes of travel. Instruction is available for those who wish to either learn a new mode of travel or improve their current skills. Skis and snowshoes are available to rent.

I’m worried I won’t be able to stay warm. How do I enjoy winter outdoor activities and not freeze to death?!
Winter definitely poses some unique challenges. Proper layers and material choices make a major impact on the effectiveness of a winter clothing insulation system. Your guide will assist with planning and assembling a system that should provide sufficient warmth for your trip. If you need additional clothing items we have quality gear choices available at our store upon your arrival.

Additionally, the canvas hot tent (available for rent) provides a warm shelter to take the chill off should you become cold. Having a wood burning stove with a pot of hot soup or coffee ready can be down-right blissful.

Lastly, dietary considerations and fluid intake will affect your ability to thermoregulate your body temperature. Your guide is experienced in techniques to promote this thermoregulation and will work with each client in customizing a plan to make each individual successful at keeping warm.

Will we be bored? 
No way!  There is plenty to do!  Your guide is skilled in many aspects of winter interpretation. You will be provided opportunities to learn about the regions geology, history, lake and river systems, forest ecology, mammal and bird identification, and fishing. Many of these opportunities are present continually at the pace you want to participate.

Do I need a guide for the entire trip?
No! Your guide is there to provide you with instruction and guidance when wanted and/or needed. One major benefit of having a skilled guide is to assist in the development of skills so that you will feel confident and, more importantly, competent so that you can continue this activity self-directed. You can book your guide for one day, a specific portion of your trip, or for the entire duration.

I don’t have fishing equipment but I think I would like to try it. Can I rent the equipment? 
If you book a guide and request the fishing option, the guide can provide equipment for a small daily fee. There will be additional costs associated with bait and lures if needed, depending on the species of fish targeted and style of fishing chosen (tip-up style or traditional jigging rod). 

How do we decide on a trip route for winter?
Your guide will give you a few options for trip routes based on your desired outcomes, abilities, and the snow and ice conditions observed. Some routes may not be available due to unsafe ice conditions or the risk associated with the abilities of some participants. Safety will always be first when deciding routes for winter trips.

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Contact Info

  • Toll Free: (800) 223-6565
  • Local: (218) 365-6745
  • Fax: (218) 365-6220
  • info@piragis.com

Our Location

  • 105 N. Central Ave
    Ely, MN 55731

Store Hours

  • Retail

    5/1:  Everyday 9 am - 6 pm
    5/6: Friday - Sunday 8 am - 9 pm
    Monday - Thursday 8 am - 6 pm
    5/14 -9/30.: Everyday 6 am - 9 pm

    Outfitting

    May 1 - 12: 9 am - 5 pm
    May 13 - Sept. 12: 6 am - 8 pm
    September 13 - 30: 7 am - 6 pm

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