Ice still covering many lakes along Gunflint Trail |

Ice still covering many lakes along Gunflint Trail

Baihly Warfield
Updated: May 12, 2022 10:36 PM
Created: May 12, 2022 05:08 PM

With Minnesota Fishing Opener two days away, it'll be tough to get boats on lakes up the Gunflint Trail. Many are still fully ice-covered as of Thursday afternoon. 

Ben Seaton, manager at Hungry Jack Outfitters and Cabins, said they are fielding a lot of calls right now.

"People are curious as to, is their canoe trip in jeopardy or not?" he said. 

While the north side has some open water, the southern portion of Hungry Jack Lake is still iced up. 

"Contrary to popular belief that you can paddle around everything, there isn't really a way to get around any lake up here," Seaton said. 

He described large patches of thick slush floating on top of solid ice. 

"A lot of people might be familiar with the technique of getting in an aluminum canoe, putting it on top of the ice, and then kicking along," he said. "And I'd say that that's not really very doable right now."

Just this past Saturday, Brad Nelson got out for a ski on Bearskin Lake up the Gunflint. On Thursday, Bearskin Lodge was dealing with not just ice but flooding from all of the rain this week. 

Owner Sue McCloughan said it's the highest they've ever seen Bearskin Lake, even with the ice cover. 

Seaton said they're not telling people to skip the trip up the Gunflint or to the BWCA, but flexibility is key. 

"And also just setting reasonable expectations," he said. "Also just preparing for what the different outcomes might be when you reach your entry point."

Either way, he says they're ready to welcome people up and embrace whatever the Northland brings. 

"I live here because there are four seasons and things do change," he said. "If I really wanted to have the same thing every day, I would move to southern California." 


Baihly Warfield

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