For 50 days anglers of all backgrounds (a mother with her teenaged daughter, a corporate executive with his best customer), ages (from 8 to 93) and skill levels (from several who shook hands with a fishing rod for the very first time to highly experienced bait casters and fly rod specialists) have eagerly jumped into their guide’s boat, either on sprawling Scott Lake, our fishing home, or on one of our 20 incredible fly out lakes. They all had one thing in common: they came hoping to have a great time in a beautiful place and they all left feeling that they had accomplished their goal. Everyone, in their five days in paradise, caught some fish; most caught dozens of fish, and a few caught literally hundreds. Beyond fishing, everyone who steps off the dock at Scott Lake Lodge receives personalized attention by their guide and by the all the rest of our 30-strong staff to create the opportunity for that guest to have a true trip-of-a-lifetime. While it doesn’t always happen, it happens a lot. It’s the people here at Scott Lake Lodge that make the difference, making sure that a fishing vacation includes more than fishing—it’s great dining, relaxing conversations at the bar, festive shore lunches, comfortable accommodations, thoughtful guidance by the guides and yes, lots of bent rods.
They all had one thing in common: they came hoping to have a great time in a beautiful place and they all left feeling that they had accomplished their goal.
Over our first 50 days there were plenty of bend rods and a few that bent too far on big fish. Broken rods are easier to deal with than broken dreams–we have hundreds of fishing rods here, all provided to our anglers on a complimentary basis. We not only broke a few rods but we just might this season break a few records. We are not fish accountants at Scott Lake. Unlike some fishing lodges, we don’t provide our guides with “clickers” to record every single fish. Our guides do estimates for our outfitting requirements but we like our guests to keep a bit of mystery in their day. We want people to enjoy each-and-every fish and not get hung up on a daily body count. But we do keep track of the big fish; we have for the 21 seasons of the current ownership. On that score card this has been the start of an awesome (sorry, it’s the only word that fits) season. In 2016 we thought we had set the trophy record for the ages. We didn’t just break our old records; we absolutely blew them away. For 2017 we were hoping just for a good year—lightening doesn’t often strike twice. After our first 50 days, we now are braced for a bolt. With just 58% of our year in the books we have hit 67% of our total 2016 record trophy count. So far, our anglers have landed 1,219 trophy fish, mainly northern pike. And many of those pike have been huge. In our tenth week (our “weeks” here are five days, the length of time our customers like for their trip) we just hit an amazing milestone—40,000 inches of trophy pike. That’s 1,111 yards of pike. Just picture eleven football fields, plus a short pass, with end to end northern pike. It’s almost a scary thought, especially considering pike have maybe a thousand teeth each. Some of these pike have been truly impressive. We don’t get skinny pike here but we have never caught so many long and heavy ones at this stage of our season.
Our big fish of the season (so far) has been a 51-incher caught by Joe Novicki, who just happened to have caught the biggest fish of the 2016 season, also a 51. We’ve had a bunch of pike of 48 or 48.5”, all fish of a lifetime. That group of happy anglers: Tom Tarantino, Joe Daugherty, Bob Noble, Jim MacDougall, Conner Dannewitz, John Green, Brad Sailsbury, Rhys Reece and Dan Spielman. You don’t have enough screen to handle a list of our anglers who caught the other monsters (or as we call them “supersized” pike), but there were 16 at 47”; 24 at 46” and 42 at 45”. Sometimes the big pike came in bunches for anglers. Jim MacDougall used his fly rod like a magic wand to get in a single day pike of 48, 45, 44, 44, 41 and 40 inches. One day! John Green had an even more amazing day with pike of 48, 44, 44, 43, 42, 41, 40.5 and 40 inches. For some lodges that’s a season!
While not at record threatening pace, our gang has brought in a lot of huge lake trout as well. CB Young had the kind of trout day that MacDougall and Green had with pike. He landed lakers of 40, 41 and 43 inchers, all impressive trout. Trevor Myers had that kind of day as well, getting lake trout of 38, 39, 40 and 43 inches. Rich Kracum and Jake Linaberger put trout of 43 inchers into their guide’s net too. Mike Rosenberg pulled in one of the heaviest trout of the season, a 44X26.5” beauty. Bill Calabresa early in the season, about a 100 yards from our island, caught what’s still the biggest trout of the season, a 45.5” fatty. Thirty trout over the “supersized” magic number of 40” have been taken this season, not threatening our record but getting close. And our “supersized” grayling (18” or over) have been solid as well with fourteen of those posing for pictures.
So many big fish. So many fish stories. So many, of course, that got away. And so many “over 50s” pike that have been seen by guides or guests but not yet caught. Judging the length of a fish still swimming freely is difficult but having fish stories is OK. It’s in the DNA of anglers to tell stories. It’s a wonderful component of the mystique of fishing that not all fishing dreams are realized. There is always the hope that the next cast, the next day or the next trip will bring that fish-of-a-lifetime will be hooked, landed and touched, for however brief a moment, and then gently released into the darkness of the lake. It’s a dream, but a dream that every now and then is realized around here. Just ask Joe Novicki.
YOUR 2018 SCOTT LAKE ADVENTURE: NOW’S THE TIME
It’s no secret that Scott Lake Lodge sells out the lodge every season. The question is only when. Last year it was March but with the sensational fishing we’ve had in 2017 our re-bookings have far exceeded last season or any other season. Why wait? It’s time to stop thinking about your next or first Scott Lake Lodge trip and start emailing our Sales Manager/Guide Jon Wimpney. He’s on the water during the day, making angler dreams reality, but he will catch up to you by email or phone in the evening. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org He can give you a fish story or two and book your 2018 trip. There are spots scattered throughout June and July, but there aren’t many left.
Grab your piece of the action. Don’t be a victim of FOMO—Fear of Missing Out. There is too much to miss here: the fishing of course but also the classic Canadian shore lunches, the solitude and serenity of having 800,000 acres of the private water of Scott Lake, Premier Lake and our 20 fly out destinations, the fine dining, the extraordinary customer service and the camaraderie of sharing your fish stories with like-minded anglers in a pristine wilderness. What’s not to like? Shift from reading to typing right now. Jon is waiting.