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Guided Trips

Boundary Waters

Boundary Waters
Getting There
Burntside Lake
Guided Trips

There are several reasons to consider a guided trip. You want to focus on fishing, photography or just relaxing, and leave the details to someone else. You're taking a youth group or family in and want someone who knows the territory and is trained to act quickly in a crisis. You're not familiar with canoeing, don't have the equipment, and want someone with both expertise and equipment. You're mainly interested in fishing and want someone who knows where the fish are, what bait to use under what circumstances, and has the equipment and can teach you to use it. You want to learn as much as possible about the Boundary Waters and want someone who can sit around a campfire each night or during meals three times a day and fill you in.

Whatever your reason, there are guides available. The usual rate is $180 per person per day, and it is common courtesy to tip from 10-20%. Most guides work for or through the major outfitting services. However, there is a gradual attrition among guides. The older generation is retiring, and there are not enough younger ones coming up to fill the gap. So you must make arrangements early. There is no such thing as finding a guide on short notice. The better ones are booked up from year to year by the same people.

If you're bringing a Scout group, your best bet is still the Northern Tier High Adventure Base. They have guides specifically trained to deal with teenage boys on canoes in the woods. Be aware, though, that if you go that route, all members of the group, including adult leaders, must be certified swimmers. The other outfitters in town will take peopler who are not certified swimmers, but not the Boy Scouts.

Unless you have a specific location in mind for some very good reason, you're far better off to tell your outfitter what kind of trip you want and let them recommend a route for you, including specific lakes and campsites. They know the Boundary Waters better than you ever will, so rely on their expertise.

A good guide is a real treasure. They make all the trip arrangements, cook three meals a day, take you to the best fishing "holes," keep equipment in good shape, teach you how to use that equipment, know where the best campsites are, serve as a walking, talking GPS, and are an encyclopedia of Boundary Waters history, botany, zoology, geology, weather and other details. They are grossly underpaid but do what they do because they love canoeing in the Boundary Waters.

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