50 Days In

50 Days In

Anglers of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels

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!

Impressive Trout

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 j5@scottlakelodge.com  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.

Week 3 Review: A Week of Two Extremes

Week 3 Review: A Week of Two Extremes

When the Sun Shines, the Fishing Shines

You’ve read this in other updates but some things are just plain true and deserve repetition: when the sun shines the pike fishing shines. In the early season water temperature is the #1 factor in pike fishing success—they just crave warm water. Clearly sun on the water is how the shallow bays get warm enough for huge fish to go into water just inches deep where they can be spotted and often caught.

In Week 3 we had more proof for the premise. When we had sunny days, our anglers just hammered them. When it was cool and cloudy, fishing was tougher. On this group’s first day on the water it was blue skies on Scott and all water in our fishing territory, all nine million acres of it. The trophy stack for our nightly after-dinner trophy announce- ments (it’s like dessert after dessert) was as thick as some of our massive pike. Twenty out of twenty-six of our guests got the trophy pike pins that evening. There was a whopping total of 40 trophy pike caught in a single day with four of them of 46” or better.

Foster Graf had quite a day, landing four trophy pike topped by his personal best, a fat and beautiful 47 incher, but dad, Mark Graf, did more than take pictures that day. He caught seven trophies with a 46 at the top end. Now that’s father/son bonding. Long time regulars Joe Calabresa and Joe Novicki teamed up for seven trophies on Day 1.

It was fun while it lasted, but a mean north wind and some clouds stopped the party. On the second day, our gang struggled a bit, cut- ting the daily trophy award stack in half. And then on the third day everything just shut down. We had a real blow from the north, making boating and fishing less than the enjoyable pursuit it should be. Instead of fishing most of our guests were playing cards in the main lodge, keeping warm and comfortable.

With rather large waves it wasn’t comfortable in the boats but a few weathered the storm. Rory Wright and John Kroner stayed out all day, even having shore lunch. John was rewarded with a 44” pike. Hunter Larson had a rough boat ride to a spot about 20 minutes from the lodge when he found himself tied to a 47.5” pike.

But the real story on that windy, wavy day was at the end of Bill Calabresa’s line. He and his partner were trolling for trout less than 100 yards from the island where Scott Lake Lodge is based. About 90 seconds after the big Shad Rap hit the water, Bill had a tug, a big one. In the wild wind and waves, it was an exciting fight but about 15 minutes later Bill had his biggest trout ever—a massive 45.5” beauty. They were back in the toasty lodge for lunch. That’s efficiency in fishing. There were only four trophies on the big screen after dinner when we show off the “catches of the day” but two were monsters.

The weather and fishing settled down for the final two days of the trip. Lots more big fish graced the TV screen. Jim MacDougall watched his 47’ pike go public. David Thome saw his 46 and 47, the results of one fine day on the water. But the best story of the week was the father/son quest for the 100+Club jacket, the reward for getting allthree of Scott’s gamefish in trophy size where the collective measurement hits or exceeds 100”. It’s a tough thing to do. Since both dad, Greg Larson, and son, Hunter Larson, had already caught big pike and trout, they flew on their final day to a river about 35 miles north of Scott Lake to find a big grayling. Their script turned into reality. Both landed big grayling and both hit the same number for their jacket—102 total inches. They will proudly wear their customized jacket as a reminder of a great 2017 adventure.

The rest of the group will have touchstones of their trip as well. Everyone leaves with a thumb drive full of photographs taken by their guide. And everyone leaves with the most important digital impressions—those neural imprints deep in the brain than can retrieve the magical moments of an experience without having to plug in anything.

Planning Paid Off – Week 1 Update

Planning Paid Off – Week 1 Update

All the planning, all the checklists, all the float flights to this small island on the 60th parallel, all the frantic onsite preparations and all the worrying paid off.

The first week at Scott Lake Lodge unfolded beautifully.
The new deck on the main lodge was completed (about 12 hours before the first guests arrived); the expansion of the Last Cast Bar looked great (that was done at least 24 hours before the first guest saw it); all the wine, beer, pop, food was in the lodge; and, most importantly, all the new fishing reels were spooled and ready to go. In short, we were ready for prime time when the Twin Otter, Turbo Otter and Beaver all landed at our docks on the evening of June 9th. While we did our part well, unfortunately the weather didn’t feel like contributing to the fun. To be honest, we faced some ugly conditions over our first five days. It was unseasonably cool (make that cold) with some unfriendly north and northeast winds. Did that bother our first group of guests? Not really. Our customers fished and fished hard. They dined, drank, played cards, and fished some more, living by the time honored credo of “fish, eat, sleep and fish”.  Did the weather bother the fish? Not really. The results? Not bad at all.

Despite some cold front conditions for part of the week, our intrepid anglers brought 92 trophy fish to their guides’ hands:72 pike, a dozen lake trout and eight grayling. While we’ve had higher numbers for our first week, numbers alone don’t define a fishing trip. We had a couple of dozen very happy anglers getting on the float planes after five full days of fishing and enjoying the many amenities at the lodge. Tom Kehoe III was especially happy. He was our first 100+Club member of the young season, landing a pike of 45”, a grayling of 17” and a very fat trout that measured 41”. His total trophy inches hit 103, easily putting him in that exclusive club that requires getting each of our three game fish in trophy size with the collective measurements of all three hitting or exceeding 100 inches. He will wear his 100+Club jacket proudly. Two other anglers, Danny Martindale and Mike Sackash, just missed the 100” mark but did get their Trophy Triple hats, catching all three of Scott Lake Lodge’s gamefish in trophy size (40” for pike, 35” for lake trout and 15” for grayling). Big fish honors of the week went to new customer Tom Tarantino who pulled a gorgeous 47-inch pike from one of Scott’s productive southern bays. Pike of 45 inches were landed by Dave Morrill, Pat Goebel, Harry Moulopoulos, Sr., Mike Kennedy, Danny Martindale, Aris Moulopoulos, Tom Kehoe III, Sam Hanna and even our Beaver pilot, Riley Epp.

There’s a story there. Riley had casually mentioned that his biggest fish ever (in a lifetime of fishing in more southern areas of Saskatchewan) was a 12-pounder that he caught when he was 6 years old. When owner Tom Klein got wind of that fact, he was determined to ensure that Riley beat his ancient benchmark this season. So during a fly out on Day 4 of week 1, Riley got in a couple of hours of guided fishing. Sure enough he landed a tank of a 45-inch pike, probably doubling the weight of his boyhood big fish. A few casts later he nailed a 44 incher. All in a day’s work.

There were lots of good days during our first week. Doug Roche Jr., on his eleventh trip to Scott, had his best day ever getting four trophies and “countless” other fish. Aris Moulopoulos got five trophies on a single day. Mike Kennedy landed a 45 and a 46 on a single memorable day. The fish during this early season were clustered in pockets of warm water, giving our anglers some explosive action when those pockets were found by our guides, a not surprising outcome considering our guide team has an average tenure on Scott of 15 years. There were times when it really was “catching” not fishing.

So our first week was by all measures (including the fact that Week 1 for 2018 is completely booked already) a success. Stay tuned for more fishing reports.