Guided Fly-Fishing FAQs

Q: What is provided on a guided day fishing trip?
A: Your Guide will be supplying in addition to the boat or canoe:
Boat Gas
Life Jackets

Q: What should you bring on a guided day fishing or canoe trip?
A: Here are some essentials that you should bring with you for a more enjoyable day trip:
Fly Rod
Good Raingear
Warm Layers
Fishing Licenses
Beverages & Snacks

Q: What time does your guided day trip start & where do you meet your guide?
A: After reserving a trip, we will discuss with you the start time and to either meet at the resort or an Ely lake. Full or half day morning trips generally start at 6:30-7:30am. Full days are 8 hours on the water, half days are 4 hours.

Q: When is the fishing opener?
A: The walleye, bass and lake trout fishing season open two weekends prior to the “observed” Memorial Day.

Q: When is ice-out on the White Iron Chain of Lakes?
A: Ice-out usually occurs between the middle to end of April. (In 2008, ice out on Farm Lake was 3 days before fishing opener…so May 7th!)

Q: Are motors allowed on any of the area lakes?
A: There are no motor restrictions on any of the lakes outside of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We are located on Farm Lake, part of the White Iron Chain of Lakes – where 3 of the 4 lakes are ‘No Motor Restrictions’. South Farm Lake is in the BWCA, has a 25hp motor restriction and a Day Use BWCAW Motor Permit is required.

Q: What is the suggested fly-fishing rod/line/tackle for the Ely Area?
A: Fly rod: An 8′-6″ to 9′ foot fly rod in a 7, 8, or 9 wt. is recommended. A rod that is any shorter makes it difficult to pick the line up off the water while seated in a canoe. A 7-wt. rod is as light as one should go when throwing large deer hair bass bugs, and weighted streamers.

Fly line: A floating line with a weight forward or bass bug taper will be needed for fishing the surface, and a sinking tip line on an extra spool will allow flyrod anglers to reach those deeper areas where the big fish lurk.

Patterns: Just as in fly fishing for trout, the smallmouth fly fishing angler also attempts to “match the hatch” by imitating the smallmouth’s preferred prey. Mature smallmouth feed mostly on minnows, young of the year game fish species, crayfish, and various invertebrates including leeches, and insect larvae. Minnow imitating patterns such as Sculpin, Black nosed Dace, Muddler Minnows, and Olive Matuka’s all work well. Crayfish imitations, Wolly Worms, and various deer hair bugs and poppers are also consistent producers.

Misc. Equipment: Various items that are already included in the canoeist list of equipment are required for a day on the water fly fishing. Sunscreen, Polarized glasses, Rain gear, a hat with a brim, and insect repellent all help the fly rod angler cope with the elements while stalking smallmouths in the wilderness from the front of a canoe.
Bass Bugs
Hooks- Streamer
Size – 2-6
Color – natural, black & white, green & black, red & white, other favorite colors
Hooks – streamer
Size – 1-6
Color – black, olive, black & olive
Muddler Minnows
Hooks – streamer
Size – 2-6
Color – natural, black & white, chartreuse, other favorites
Hooks – popper
Size – any size to 1/0
Color – same as bass bugs
Clouser Minnows
Hooks – Streamer
Size – 2-8
Color – all varieties
Hooks – streamer
Size – 1-6
Color – red & black, chartreuse, any flashy colors

Q: What are the fish species of Northern Minnesota?
A: Muskie, Northern Pike, Walleye, Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Catfish, Crappie & Sunfish.

Q: Where/How do I buy a MN fishing license?
A: You can wait till you get to Ely and stop in at Holiday Gas station or any bait shop or Click here to go to Minnesota DNR Online License Sales