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Extra Day, Extra Lake Walk

2/29/24 – In celebration of Leap Day the dogs and I went for a quick walk on the lake before the breeze picked up and the clouds filled in. We can report a skiff of snow along the shorelines, and lots of uneven icy patches once out on the main part of the lake. Great conditions for practicing your penguin walk. In the woods we found about 3 inches of snow in most places, but bare ground is starting to show through in areas with more sun exposure. -Jessica

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Reflecting on the Weather

2/13/24 – Unlike most of the state, we’ve had a consistent, although thin, layer of snow blanketing the forest since the beginning of January. Last weeks warm up was beginning to threaten that trend with multiple days of rain resulting in patches of bare ground opening up here and there. This past weekend, however, temperatures dropped back below freezing, the rain switched over to snow, and those patches of ground were tucked back under a white blanket of snow. Lake travel also greatly improved with the return of cool temperatures. -Jessica

Previously waterlogged snow topping the ice has crusted over allowing for easy walking this afternoon.
The incoming cold and snow brought the return of the Pine Grosbeaks to the feeders. The longer stretches of warm weather have resulted in less sunflower consumption by the local birds it seems.
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Preparing to Book Overnight BWCAW Permit

1/29/24 – This Wednesday, January 31st at 9am CST, permits will open up for sale through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness section of In preparation for the big day check out this link to our BWCA permit reservation how-to video.

For more information about permits and how they work, check out the “permit reservations” section of our website, and as always feel free to call or email with any questions!

We have availability for all canoe types for all dates at this point, so you can book your permit with confidence that we will have a canoe for you!


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Beautiful Blue Skies on the Sawbill Trail

1/20/24 – Getting ready to go for a walk the past few days has been a bit more of a production now that sub zero temperatures have finally set in. Key ingredients for more than a short walk outside include; a neck gator, face mask, stocking hat, ski goggles, first jacket layer, mukluks, insulated bibs, outer jacket, glove liners, and finally big furry choppers. Dawning all this gear is for sure worth the effort once you’re out squeaking around on that cold snow (fellow winter lovers, you know the sound). Another big bonus to this cold snap has been the beautiful blue skies that have accompanied it. -Jessica

View from the Sawbill Trail this afternoon.
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Finally Fresh Snow

1/10/24 – This past weekend we received enough snow to justify plowing the driveways for the first time this winter. -Jessica

There is now about five inches of snow in the woods.

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Moose on the Loose

1/5/24 – Do you ever wonder what goes on deep in the woods away from human disturbance?  These Cook County trail camera pictures offer a little insight.

Can you believe there’s a second moose in this picture?! Crazy how well they blend in!
Look really close and you might be able to see the sun shining on it’s forehead and ear…plus the giant circle and arrow might help.

And yes, that is about the amount of snow we currently have on the ground (probably less than an inch).  Luckily snow accumulation of some kind is supposedly on the horizon this weekend.


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Save the Date!

12/18/23 – Permits open for the 2024 paddling season Wednesday, January 31st at 9am CST (via, which means it’s the perfect time of year to grab a hot beverage, unfold your free map and route guide, and start dreaming about where you might like to go on your canoe trip.

To request a map and route guide follow this link, or give us a call at 218-663-7150. We’re around all winter and happy to answer questions! -Jessica

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Ice Prospecting

12/14/23 – With yesterday’s absence of wind and a bluebird sky I couldn’t help but do a little ice prospecting on the south end of Sawbill. The main objective was to check ice conditions, but I threw my fishing pole in the sled as well for an excuse to sit and soak up the fleeting sun. -Jessica

I found 7-9″ of ice across the handful of holes I drilled.
Easy travel on the lakes at the moment with just a light layer of windswept snow.
No fish were harmed in the making of this blog post.
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Slow Early Ice Development

11/28/23 – Ice on Sawbill has been in a constant ebb and flow this fall. The lake has been ice covered as far as the eye can see multiple times now, but as soon as the wind picks up (which has been often) large swaths bust back open. Temperatures have been quite cold however, so as soon as we have a stretch of calm weather I expect ice should form quickly. -Jessica

A surprising amount of open water at the canoe landing late yesterday afternoon.
Currently the wind is minimal so ice was able to form overnight (picture taken first thing this morning).
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Used Canoes for Sale

11/21/23 – Our 2023 season-end canoe sale has begun! The party started a little later than usual this year due to some heating issues in our workshop (heat is a key ingredient for the hardening of the resin – see link for more details about how we refurbish canoes), but things are rocking now. Tandem, three person, and solos will be added to the used canoe section of our website as they are ready and can be purchased directly through our online store. After that we are happy to continue storing the canoe until your next visit to Sawbill. -Jessica