BWCA in late May

Ok, I’m going up to BWCA starting the weekend of Memorial day. This will be the first time I’ve been up there before July. Any ideas on what I should expect to be different up there at that time? Someone told me that the black flies will be horrible that early in the season, but they weren’t sure. I figure it will be colder, but not sure on how much colder. Any advice any of you can give would be great.


Black Flies
Maybe, maybe not. Depends on the weather and stay away from streams and camp on breezy points. When the black flies ARE bad you need to keep a good attitude and maybe a headnet. Myself, I can’t stand the headnet, and when the black flies have been bad I just am prepared to get them in my mouth, ears, eyes at times. If you smoke a pipe or cigars (I used to) the smoke makes it more tolerable. If you wear contacts, I wouldn’t then, I’d go with glasses. You WILL get them in your eyes.

Weather, be prepared for rain, cold, wind. Been up there in May about 6 times and I’ve been cold every time. Last year was the coldest, but be prepared for sub freezing temps at night.

Maybe Duluth Moose and Puffingin will chime in here. They live up there and have spent more Springtime in Northern MN than my half dozen trips. Good Luck, and don’t let the horror stories about blackflies scare you. It’s all about a positive attitude! WW

BF will be starting to emerge
around mid May or so. But they swarm for two weeks before biting.

May and July are very different. Higher winds in May, colder water, muddier portages and less likelihood of good weather. Expect a week of rain clouds or snow and have a good plan to keep everything dry. A week of icky weather can have a psychological impact so take some reward items for yourself.

Dont take blue clothes, and avoid black. BF love those colors. I have an Original Bug Shirt that I love and it makes headnets unnnecessary (though you are still looking out a screen). Its tan for a good reason.

Tuck your cuffs into your sox and wear long sleeves shirt and pants. A mosquito coil can help at camp at night or you may wish to invest in a bug shelter.

Well I appreciate the advice. Sounds like I gonna have a miserable time and I’m gonna love every second of it too!!! Thats the truth. Being out there, as you know, is magic. The solitude, the beauty, and the fact that its not destroyed by man (yet) makes every fly, every mosquito swarm, every drop of very cold rain, worth it.

More Miserable Things In Life Than BF’s
Like city traffic and noise! I’ll take blackflies and bad weather over that any day (LOL). What Kim said about “Blue” clothes is true. I have worn light blue shirts that seemed to be especially attractive to the critters. Green, brown, camo, and tans not so much. This is purely observation, not scientific as far as I know. If you like fishing, May can be good. If you’re going up the Gunflint, I know a few good fishing spots. Good luck! WW

Valuable information. Blackflies were
still biting when we went into Quetico starting July 7 in '73, and they did seem to be liking our dark blue pants, especially under the seats where we were kneeling. They bit right through denim and socks. They didn’t bother our heads much. After a week, they stopped biting at all, but got on our food. I started wondering whether the were all the same kind of flies.

Entry 16
We’re putting at the moose river and going up to Nina Moose and that area. Probably gonna paddle into Quetico for fun as well. As long as we stay right on the border area, they don’t mess with you I hear. If you can’t tell, I’m ready for the trip to get started! I’m fighting the urge to pack already, but I figure that’d be a bit obsesive, LOL. So instead I’m just starting my list of supplies. :slight_smile:

I cant recall a BF on food
but noseeums erupt from the ground… those little salt and pepper flake things that light you on fire.

There ARE several species of blackfly…1800. Supposedly not all in the same place

That’s why I wondered whether I was
dealing with a single species of blackfly. Unfortunately, the ones I examined were badly squashed.