COVID 19 UPDATE (long, but important information)

Hello all!
We hope this finds you all safe and healthy.  We remain well in Northern Minnesota, although we sure miss you all and our island home on Lac La Croix.


The US/Canadian border remains closed at this time to non-essential travel, through August 21, 2020… this has kept us from opening the lodge to our American guests to date, this season.  It is unlikely at this point (unofficial) that with Covid numbers spiking in the United States and Canada that the border will reopen during what was to be our 84th season.  We feel as if it has been the longest April ever and that we are still waiting for the ice to go out!   We remain straddling the border… a Canadian Business while being US citizens.
  If you had a 2020 reservation with us prior to August 22nd the party leader should have received a COVID 19 Cancellation Letter by email for the entire group.  Many of you have already re-booked for 2021 and beyond, and we thank you.  If you have not done so, we urge you to do so now as 2021 and 2022 is filling fast.


 1).   We are currently taking reservations for the BWCAW (Boundary Waters of MN) canoe trips.  We offer tow service to Lac La Croix and are servicing all Echo Trail Entry Points and Ely, MN entry points.  We are utilizing many beautiful, pristine Boundary Waters lakes just south of the Lac La Croix border… these lakes have gone virtually untraveled and un-fished for years!  Groups that we have put into the woods to date have not been disappointed.  Reports of a 30# laker from Lady Boot Bay, just yesterday!   
      We are offering tow service, canoe rentals and/or Complete or Partial Canoe Outfitting.  We have been running these trips since June 2nd.  The very best part of these trips to date,  has been seeing guests get to do what they love… and in return, ourselves being able to do the same… getting folks into the woods and onto the water. 
  Whether it has been Mark’s map routing sessions by phone, packing food in Ely and equipment in Crane Lake, hauling canoes to different entry points, rides up the Echo Trail in the wee hours of the morning to deliver maps, permits and equipment , it has taken away the feeling of being a “ping pong ball in the wind” and straddling two countries.   Just witnessing the smiles of returning guests on their last day of the trip, and hearing the fishing tales has given us purpose and brought a sense of normalcy to our lives… (even if my office resembles my tailgate at Scott’s Marina’s parking lot in Crane Lake.)
   We give heartfelt thanks to those who have entrusted us to provide this new and exciting area to them.   
   It is not too late to get away and book your 2020 fishing/canoeing/adventuring trip… we are mid- season and folks to date are glad to have done so! 
Call for more information:  1-888-602-BASS (2277) 
  A side note: Ely and Grand Marais are chock full of tourist right now and newspaper reports are trickling in of overcrowded waters, no permit availability, dirty camp sites, over use and scarce camp sites (must find a site by noon) … mostly due to pressure caused by Quetico being closed to Americans.  What we are offering with tow service to Lac La Croix is getting you away from all that!

2).    Private Pine Island Tent Camps are “Glamping” at its finest… right down to the firewood.  A preset Camp before you come with boat and motor fishing (and/or canoe fishing).  Includes all fresh food, tents, screen tents, cots, lanterns, kitchen area, tables, picnic tables, fish cookers, boats/motors/gas… too much to mention!
 Check the complete list here:
  And when its time to leave… that is all you have to do… as we take them down.  Show up with clothing and fishing gear, we have you covered for the rest!


  This morning I read an article and the following words, written by a reporter struck a chord.

“Among the few things we can count on right now:  the calendar and the passage of time”

   With these words we sail full steam ahead into Season 85… 2021. 
  We retained the staff, we booked the reservations, we cancelled the reservations, we re-booked the reservations for the second, third and fourth time… we answered the many phone calls regarding the border and upcoming reservations  and felt helpless not being able to tell you more as we ourselves would literally find out about the next border extension the very same time as the general public… we bought the new equipment, we had the contractors ready for the new cabin and put it on a back burner to revisit, every 30 days… we had Covid Safety protocols in place to protect guests and staff, we waited with the world and we remained hopeful… for our best season on paper in 84 years.   The hardest part?  The unknown of what to tell our guests… unsettling and unsatisfactory.
 We promise to do better in Season 85!  Seems Covid has somehow entered my office and left a path of destruction.  I am behind in emails and phone messages… I beg for your patience as I have never been so overwhelmed with work… while being closed.  I am getting to your message soon… and can not wait to chat about 2021.


  So wonderful to see these folks to date (June 2 to July 26) and please know your names will remain near and dear to our hearts for the duration of our careers… thank you for trusting us (during a pandemic) to tailor the very best wilderness get-a-way for you, your families and friends… and gosh it was good to see you all (socially distanced)!  We look forward to the rest of the 2020 season and to seeing more of you!
Whether is was simply a tow service or a canoe rental or a deluxe-completely outfitted trip… thank you to the following:

Voyageur North Outfitter- Ely, Mn
Piragis Outfitters Group- Ely, Mn
Daniels Group- Putnam, Il
Mize Group- Nashville, Tn
Chitwood Group- Midlothian, Va
Bosshard Group- Tabernash, Co
Huntley Group- Winchester, Ky
Arden Group-Minneapolis, Mn
Hovatter Group- Dipping Springs, Tx
Wainscott Group- Frankfurt, In
Denhartigh Group- Columbia Heights, Mn
Hartmann Group- Mason, Oh
Osthoff Group (Boundary Waters Journal)- Ely & Minneapolis, Mn area
Borkowski Group- Williamsburg, Oh
Krempp Group- Jasper, In
Jonason Group- Minneapolis, Mn
Nelson Group- Scout Troop – Willmar, Mn
I look forward to greeting the Bialek Group tomorrow 🙂


  To our right arm, Jan… thank you for everything… always.  There simply are no words that could possibly cover it… grateful beyond belief to have you in our lives as a friend, sister and employee. 

To Jesse & Meg (2020 Canadian staffers at the lodge) for all of your help,  north of the border… lawn mowing, property checks, deliveries, for keeping us on our toes and always making us laugh… (even through a broken arm and a moth removal down an ear canal… so sorry!)


  It takes two weeks to get the lodge up and running for guests… we can not go into the lodge (enter Canada) at this time, unless we can prove that we are opening to Canadian guests, of which we have none at the present… will the border re-open August 22nd?   Could we still try to run for a few weeks… more questions than answers… waiting with the world on border news: 

  PLEASE watch this compelling video (done from the heart) by several Canadian Lodge owners to bring you a bit of clarity and understanding and please sign the petition if you feel so inclined. 

  COVID 19 has affected us all in one way or another… we pray your strife has been manageable.

   “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us” 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

 We sure look forward to hosting you all in Season 85. 

Be well folks & stay safe…
Mark & Kathy Zup
Logan Hayes & Jennifer Zup Hayes

Photo credit to Jesse Watt
 Lac La Croix ~before the storm… July 2020 from the dock

5 Comments on “COVID 19 UPDATE (long, but important information)”

  1. Please help these lodge and resort owners. They are some of the hardest working people one will ever witness. They provide the sanctuary and wilderness experience so many of us desperately need each and every year. It must not disappear. They need financial help and they need it now.

  2. Sending positive thoughts your way.

    Will continue to keep track of events regarding travel across the border and – if possible – try to do a early September stay/visit.

  3. Mark & Kathy- You hosted us a few years ago for the best fishing trip into Canada of our lives! Everyone in our group my oldest son, Michael, my best friend Paul, my brother Mike had a wonderful time as well as catching lots of fish.

  4. I agree with other committed customers of Zupps and add that they have treated me and my friends/family like no other outfitter, and even though it was 2 years ago we reserved and paid for our week, it seems like only yesterday we were fishing on the beautiful waters in Canada, and eating great meals prepared for us. Mark, Jennifer, and Kathy, know that you are not alone, and we are committed to hold you up, in prayers and support for your business.

    I hope that any fellow customers still have the health and financial means (after 2 years of absense) to search for walleye, bass, and pike on the waters of Lake La Croix, Notice i did not say rocks or boulders. I did that one time and it was not fun.

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