River Point Guides


River Point guides are professional, friendly, and knowledgeable about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and can enhance your canoe trip.

Our experienced in-house River Point guides will take you into the beauty and peacefulness of the 1.1 million acre protected Boundary Waters for on a personalized adventure. Immerse yourself into nature to a greater degree with the guide’s expertise. Learn how to portage, how to set up camp, how to collect firewood, how to build a fire, how to read the map, how to fish…and how to fillet them!  Learn about the history of the area and the value of the wilderness that surrounds you. New experiences make for new confidence and it is one of the reasons you may wish to augment your Boundary Waters canoe trip with one of the River Point guides.


Matt Wallerus

River Point Guides

Matt Wallerus was born and raised in the concrete jungle of Bloomington Minnesota where his love for the outdoors began at the age of five.  Growing up he enjoyed fishing the city lakes for largemouth bass and northern pike. However, once he was introduced to walleye angling at the age of thirteen, he was hooked on it. Matt began his fishing adventures in the Ely area in 2003 when his father took him on his first wilderness adventure.  From that point forward, he knew that this area was where he wanted to be.

After fishing high school Matt moved “Up North” to Ely to attend Vermilion Community College to pursue a degree in natural resource technology. Upon finishing his degree in 2011, his decision to remain in Ely materialized. And, in the spring of 2012 he began employment at River Point Resort & Outfitting Co.

Matt’s favorite pastimes are snowboarding, camping, hunting, ice fishing, and traveling and his favorite thing about the Boundary Water is that it’s the place where he truly feel free and at peace.  It’s that special place where one can doesn’t need be concerned about any of life’s problems. The silence in the mornings and evening is unbelievable. Also, of course there’s the fishing! Matt’s largest smallmouth bass was 22.5” caught in Gabbro Lake in the BWCA, and an awesome 29.5” walleye caught right in Birch Lake where River Point is located.

With his many years of experience and knowledge of the wilderness, Matt has guided countless canoe trips into the Boundary Waters as one of the River Point guides. Matt believes that the best part of guiding is the rewarding experiences he is able to share with others whether it is a group of adults and teens, or families with younger children. Organized, patient, and steadfast, Matt offers sound guidance for first timers to the BWCA or for those who have paddled it before. Seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of helping others catch fish and being able to give them the experience of a life time is extremely satisfying for him.

Matt is certified in CPR, first aid, and aquatic invasive species.


Mitch Reineke

River Point Guides

Another member of the knowledgeable River Point guides is Mitch Reineke. Mitch was born in Northfield MN and moved to Ely, Minnesota in 2011, originally for college, but he got “hooked” on the beauty, and outdoor opportunities that Ely and the BWCA had to offer. Mitch loves to fish, hunt, hike, or anything that he can possibly do outside here in the North. He also is passionate about photography (particularly birds, flowers and moths), bird watching, and sleepless nights stargazing, waiting for a chance to witness the amazing aurora borealis. Mitch is an amazing, and patient photographer attempting to capture that perfect shot. It’s a rare moment when one sees Mitch without his camera!

Prior to the age of 13 Mitch was “lost to technology”, but thanks to his grandfather he discovered that love for the outdoors and nature, and began fishing for largemouth bass, plus, he found a special passion for catfishing. He had never fished for walleye or northern pike until moving to the North Woods of Ely. After a year or so of many fishing expeditions, he mastered the art of how to fish for walleye. Along the way, Mitch also discovered he was excited about paddling and exploring the Boundary Waters as a whole. Fishing or not, he has a great fondness of exploring both new and familiar waters, and simply being in the woods at any time of the year. His favorite time of the year has to be fall, for the changing colors, cool temps and hunting grouse. Mitch has been a River Point guide for many years, and no matter the season, he brings his expertise on each trip and his love for nature is infectious.

Mitch is a certified emergency medical responder and earned a major in Law Enforcement and criminal justice, and has a minor in wildlife ecology and forestry. With a wide variety of outdoor related skills that are so useful when “in the bush”, you can count on Mitch being a resourceful, confident guide with a quick sense of humor and a natural curiosity of anything nature related.

Martha McPheeters

River Point Guides

Martha McPheeter’s path to becoming one of the River Point guides is interesting and full of life experiences. Martha spent the first 15 years of her life in Binghamton, NY. From then onwards she became a transient, moving more or less every three years until she arrived in Denali National Park in 2006. For nine years she worked as a naturalist guide for a lodge at the end of the only road in that immense Park. Upon retirement she did her share of world travel and then made a conscious decision to live near the BWCAW, which she had long ago discovered was her spiritual home.

Girl Scout Camp at age eight was a transformative experience where she learned various outdoor skills, some of which she still uses today. Her camp counselors played pivotal roles in her youth and she remembers their names rather than the names of her school teachers. She started canoe tripping as a Girl Scout and was already accomplished when she first encountered the Boundary Waters as an Outward Bound student in 1971. Both the Boundary Waters and Outward Bound left indelible marks.

Graduating from Antioch College with a degree in Physics and Environmental Science set her up for a dichotomous indoor/outdoor life that continues to this day. She became an academic research neurobiologist with a PhD, a Master Instructor with NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and an Instructor with Outward Bound. Each year she spent some months in the laboratory and some months outdoors with students.

Martha made the transition from instructor to guide somewhat unwillingly. If you have penchant to learn most anything about canoe tripping in the northwoods, just ask. Martha loves to teach you whatever you want to know and tries not to teach you what you don’t want to know. With 22 summers of instructing in the BWCA, she knows a bunch and will know even more after May 2018 when she will become a Minnesota Master Naturalist. The River Point guides are a well rounded group with Martha on the team.


James Koschak

River Point Guides

James has spent his entire life at River Point Resort and Outfitting Company.  As a young man, James developed his fondness for the outdoors, fishing and spending time in the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness.  His passion and knowledge of Birch Lake and the surrounding water ways of Ely, Minnesota has molded him into the man he is today.

With a BS in Construction Management from Bemidji State University, James looks forward to building lasting relationships with his guests at River Point Resort. And, as one of the River Point guides, James has years of experience canoeing and fishing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Birch Lake. Many hours of fishing for trophy walleye, northern pike and smallmouth bass has taught him many tactics and techniques to share with his guests. James takes pride in his 22 lb. northern pike by displaying it at River Point Resort.

Known as a “Guru of the Wilderness”, James thrives on continued education. With his easygoing, yet enthusiast attitude, he brings a sense of relaxation and amusement to any trip. Having such an incredible love for nature allows guests to engage in James’ stories and experiences. His solid knowledge of maps, trees, history and the geology of the area demonstrates his continual dedication to learning more about the Wilderness and sharing it with others. Wherever there is an adventure, James will find it.

Known for new beginnings and warm weather on the horizon, spring has grown to be James’ favorite season. He also enjoys hiking and exploring State and National Parks and trails year round.  If you want to know anything about trees, James is your guy. The alluring white pine happens to be his favorite. Observing and learning about trees came natural to him as a young boy. He is also the landscape architect at River Point and has taken part in planting over 10,000 seedlings trees.   

James is certified in First Response and Heartsaver First Aid.

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