We go to Ely about once a year and have found that it is best to fly into Hibbing and take a taxi to Ely. The Hibbing Taxi Company (218-263-5065) will take reservations over the phone and have someone pick you up at the airport. Since we are a family of five, they send a mini-van for us. Cab fare to Ely is $110 cash each way - it's about a two-hour trip. They will come back to pick you up and take you back to the Hibbing Airport after your stay, too.
If you need to rent a car in Ely, try calling Mike's Motors, ask for Dan: 218-365-6156.
Drive a car to Ely, but your best transportation in the BWCA is a canoe, because they do not allow motorized vehicles in the BWCA.
Bring or rent a canoe...