A GUIDE’S WINTER: FUN AND SUN AND HERNIA REPAIRS
The Scott Lake Guide Team was spread all over the map this winter, dispersing far and fast from the comforts of the island on Scott Lake. Heading south was, of course, the top compass point of travel. Most made the trip to Brazil for the Guide Retreat, enjoying the extraordinary peacock bass fishing experience. Many just kept traveling. Costa Rica has become the home away from home for a lot of guides. Scott’s Head Guide, Cory Craig, kicked off this trend about a dozen years ago when he started off season guiding in Crocodile Bay, off the Osa Peninsula. Since he founded Tropic Fins, his own charter fishing business, and started a winter residence there, Cory has had lots of Scott guides as company. Most have visited him in Costa, realizing that it was a wonderful antidote for the brutal winters of Saskatoon or Winnipeg. Jan Phoenix has traveled there every winter for a long time. This winter Mike Demyen, “Nuggets” for Scott regulars, joined the parade to Costa. Cody Mychalyshyn has been a Costa regular but this winter really spread his sails, ending up traveling all winter throughout Africa and Europe, finding lots of sun and plenty of adventure. Steve Lindner, AKA Biff Piston, found mucho sun and who knows what else during two trips to Cuba this winter. Grill Biff this summer about his time there.
Some of the guides stayed in the frigid north this winter. Jon, J5, Wimpney spent the off season (except for his Brazil trip where he got the biggest peacock, an 18 pounder) working the phone and keyboard to get the lodge full this summer. He’s close now but still working. Don’t bother him unless you want to book a trip. Shaun Ledoux spent the winter hitting the books in Price Albert working on a degree program in business management. Steve “School Zone” Yanish spent most of his fall and winter developing Alpine Valley Outfitters in an indeed spectacular valley in British Columbia. He completed camp construction, secured horses, scouted the vast territory and shot a dandy mule deer in the process. He will be ready for serious hunting next fall. Jason Terris, the infamous “T-Bag”, fought off a bitter cold in New Brunswick by spending most of the winter cutting wood and dreaming of warm days on Scott Lake. Curtis Woloshyn worked steady (odd for a Scott guide) during the off season, providing safety guidance for companies in the oil sands of Alberta. Curt will use his safety training this summer as a Safety Officer at Scott Lake Lodge, a new role on the island—you can’t have too much focus on safety. New General Manager Jason Hamilton operated an ice fishing guiding service and headed out almost daily to the vast Lake Winnipeg in 20 to 40 degree below weather. His battle with the elements was a draw but he definitely won the battle with big walleyes.
Chester, “The Poacher”, Porteous spent a lot of time catching double digit “eyes” on Lake Winnipeg but his big news of the off season was Cale Ashley Darrell Porteous, a son to add some androgen to his estrogen heavy family. Congrats to the Poach and wife Hayley. Paul Hamilton was a new father too, of sorts. He was busy chasing whitetails, catching walleyes and fathering his new dog, Cooper. Congrats to Paulie too. While not exactly a guide, Chef Jeff Walker has been guide to shore staff even since Shaun Ledoux upgraded to the official Scott Guide Team. Jeff has wintered in Toronto working full time at a top Asian restaurant and studying full time at Canada’s most prestigious culinary institution, the George Brown Chef School. As he says, “chefs love to work.” Get ready for some spectacular meals this summer at Scott.
And the hernia? Well it made an eye catching headline. Actually, Graham Coulombe lifted so many heavy fish last summer that he had to check in for a full service hernia repair job. He is fully recovered and ready to do it all over again.
SPRING WORK CREW
In mid-April former manager, John Gariepy, and new manager, Jason Hamilton, will take a work crew to the lodge to tackle some big jobs, mainly the installation of a new diesel generator. If you have some heavy equipment and maybe a fork lift getting a 1,200 pound piece of machinery into a small building is a piece of cake. It’s not quite as easy on a remote island where the only heavy equipment will be a snowmobile (a really old one), an ATV (which will not be much good in the snow) and six guys (who will be the next candidates for a hernia repair). They are hoping that they will not need the assistance of a very expensive helicopter to put the generator in its place. Of course there is the annual tree slaughter where the wood for the spruce chipped walkways is brought to the island. And lots of other fix up/clean up work. They will be busy.
SHOW OFF YOUR FISH! VIDEO CONTEST: DEADLINE EXTENDED
Now come on. We know that there are more video clips out there. We recently announced the first ever Show Off Your Fish video contest offering a grand prize of a fly out for two to any lake, but have received only a handful of submissions so far. With a total of three different prizes it really isn’t a contest. So dig into your hard drives and pull out some clips. Lots of Scott anglers have shot video over the years. This is your chance to show it off – any – footage shot at Scott is eligible. The new (and final) deadline is April 30. Get on it and fly for free this summer or on your next Scott trip. Contest details are on our website: www.scottlakelodge.com/videocontest.html.
It seems to happen every year—a corporate group has a change of plans and cancels their trip. Their lost deposit can be your gain. We have a dozen openings for our August 24-29 trip. This is the time of the season when the really big pike put on the feedbag. In 2013 anglers caught most of the 48”or bigger pike in mid to late August. Numbers are down at this time but size and attitude are way up. It is also the best grayling fishing of the season when the water levels in the rivers are low and the miniature sailfish feast on whatever bugs are available—it’s terrific for dry fly fishing. Actually this trip is in fall not summer (fall at Scott starts in mid-August) and there will be plenty of yellow aspen leaves and the gorgeous gold of the tamarack.
The real pay off though is the opportunity to see the color above—in the sky. August 25th is the new moon which will provide the darkest “night” of the entire season, offering great contrast for the northern lights. This week should be the best light show of the season. Like seeing wildlife, watching northern lights is a powerful but unpredictable experience. Clouds are the wild card, but this will be the best shot. To grab one of these spots for a $1,000 discount and $500 of “mad money” (good for use at the bar, fly outs, massage or the Fishin’ Hut) call Sales Manager, Jon Wimpney, at 306/209-7150 today. Not today. Call him now. He will take your call 24/7, right Jon? We are close to full now but there are a few spots sprinkled through the season. Make this a Scott Lake Lodge summer. All we need is five days of your time and some of your money. We do the rest to give you a lifetime of memories. Such a deal!
In the middle of the most brutal winter in the memory of even the oldest old timers it’s hard to picture looking at clear blue skies, feeling the soft breezes of early summer, exploring the tranquil bays of Scott Lake, and feeling the savage jolt of the big pike that came out of nowhere in water only inches deep. It’s hard but that scene is now three months away, just 90 days. I know the entire crew of twenty-nine Scott Lake Lodge staff members are counting down the days until that first floatplane flops down on the east side of our island. And I suspect a good number of our clients, especially the June regulars, are doing the same. A few are probably sharpening hooks and tying flies. It’s that way with a love of the far north: it’s cold, clear water somehow mixes in one’s blood.
The Good News
The good news from the north is ice. Oddly enough in this most bitter of winters the ice on the northern lakes is relatively thin. One of the larger lakes by Stony Rapids had on March 1 only twenty-four inches of ice, a fraction of the six to seven feet that has covered those lakes in other years. The break came when early heavy snows (the snow off the piers at Scott is waist deep) insulated the surfaces and prevented heavy ice formation. Does that mean we will have an early break up? In short, no. The ice out date has much more to do with the mean temperature in May than the maximum thickness of the ice. This spring we will be watching closely. We will have a work crew at Scott from mid-April until actual ice out (they actually will be stranded there during about a month long period when skis equipped planes can’t land due to unstable ice and floatplanes can’t land yet). A new staff dorm will be under construction then along with the installation of a new backup generator and a lot of routine maintenance.
So far this winter it has been very quiet at Scott. The caribou whose winter travels are totally unpredictable have not made an appearance at Scott so the snowmobile traffic of tribal hunters is very light. Only one snowmobile track has crossed the island. The only sounds now would be the occasional croak of a raven or the booming of the ice. The lake is resting, waiting with infinite patience for the warm early rains to loosen the grip of the ice in the shallow spawning bays and kick off the annual ritual of pike spawning. In 90 days or less the trophy pike of the 2034 season will be nothing more than tiny fertilized eggs. Twenty years to grow up? Yes indeed. In the cold water of the 60th parallel the growth rates are extremely slow for both pike and lake trout. Recently a fisheries biologist at the British Columbia of Technology in Vancouver did an aging analysis of a bone in the gill plate structure of a forty-four inch pike found dead last summer. That fish lived into its twenty-seventh summer, a remarkable age for a freshwater fish. It’s quite likely that the very biggest of our pike might make it to forty. That’s a good reason to treat all of our fish with care and respect.
Show Off Your Fish! Video Contest
Many Scott guests have been shooting short videos of fishing action for years. Now it’s time to dig into those digital files and find some hidden gems. We now have a Scott Lake Vimeo channel (www.vimeo.com/channels/scottlakeldoge) where these cinematic efforts can be displayed.
And there could be something in it for the shooter. The Show Off Your Fish! contest will be taking submissions until April 1 (no fooling). We will post the clips on our Vimeo channel by April 15 and open the voting. The grand prize for the video with the most “Likes” is a free fly out for two to any destination during the winner’s next trip to Scott. Prizes will also be awarded for the runner up (most views) as well as Guide’s Choice.
Get all the details and fine print from our website, but the main rules are simple: video footage must be from a Scott Lake trip and can be no longer than 2 minutes. Cheating by having friends, relatives or some guy you met on the street vote for your video is encouraged. This is strictly a numbers game. Take a look in your hard drives. You may have the winner.
GQD Gets A Makeover
The flagship aircraft of Scott Lake Lodge for the past eighteen years, the Beaver GQD, received a lot of tender loving care this winter. It has been a workhorse and she was getting a bit tired. With a lot of structural upgrades, a new engine and new prop GQD will again be the Queen of the Skies around Scott Lake. The flying partner of GQD this season will be a much bigger sister. We will have a Turbo Single Otter parked at the south dock this season. The 750 HP engine will comfortably carry nine passengers plus the pilot and ample gear. With speeds up to 140mph it will make the flights to distant flyout lakes a lot shorter and will be able to make the regular freight runs to Stony Rapids much more efficient.
For any questions about travel or logistics call the Customer Service office at 888/830-9525 or 715/362-7031 from Canada. If you just want to make sure you can show off your fish during our 2015 video contest, call our Head Guide/Sales Manager Jon Wimpney at 306/209-7150 to book a trip for the 2014 season. There are not many openings but we can find you a spot if you have some flexibility. Talk to Jon Wimpney, today. You’ll be uploading your fishing adventure in no time.
A Memorable Guide Retreat
The Guide Retreat is a long and noble tradition for Scott lake guides. Every year they go somewhere for fishing, bonding and even some company brainwashing. After covering the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Florida and various other destinations, this year’s spot on the map was in the vast Amazon watershed. It’s a long way from Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Whitehorse or White Fox to the headwaters of the Agua Boa River in the far northern reaches of the Amazon basin where the legendary peacock bass inhabits the Rio Negro and its many tributaries. But most of our guide team made the long trek to Manaus, Brazil, a frontier city on the banks of the Amazon. It’s a sprawling metropolis of nearly three million people. The crew did an urban tour of the city which included a stroll through the fascinating fish market where very day thousands of fish from Amazonia are brought for sale. Every strange fish imaginable is on display, available for purchase. It was everything you might expect in the equatorial heat and humidity. You like the smell of fish? Go to the Manaus fish market. The day also included a boat tour of the harbor area and to the “meeting of the waters”—the place where the two major rivers of the Amazon, the Rio Solimoes and the Rio Negro join to form the true Amazon River. Many people consider the longer Rio Solimoes arm upstream of Manaus the Amazon, but locals make a clear distinction and the two rivers could not be more distinct. The Rio Negro, the homewater of the peacock bass, runs cool and dark but it relatively sediment free. The Rio Solimoes, which has no peacock bass, is muddy and warm. The line where these two mighty rivers meet is visually distinct for many miles before they completely merge. It was a tourist thing to do but hell, we were all tourists. We even went to a riverside tourist trap where they have dozens of huge Pirarucu (the lung fish of the Amazon), some weighing a couple of hundred pounds, in an enclosed area. Using a hardwood pole, a heavy line and a fish tied (but no hook) to the line, we watched and felt these primitive fish fight for the bait. The game was to see how long one would hold the bait and how much water would be sprayed on the onlookers. It was a wonderfully chaotic scene: the guides loved it. Dinner at a traditional Brazilian steak house (the meat just kept coming and coming) ended a full day.
Then it was time to start the real trip. We flew in style in a private plane for two hours north to reach the Agua Boa Lodge airstrip, a short landing area carved right out of the jungle. It’s a cool way to start an adventure. The Agua Boa Lodge is an oasis of comfort in a remote and wild location, sort of like Scott Lake South, way south. It’s a fabulous lodge place with a fantastic fishery. The river was a bit high due to recent rains but that did not stop the Agua Boa guides with their Scott Lake guides as clients from finding lots of big peacock bass. Our guides fell right into the rhythm of this type of fishing. It is remarkably like fly fishing for our pike at Scott—same rods and essentially the same flies. Whistlers, big Deceivers, and all the other flies we use at Scott worked their magic on peacocks. After just a day and a half in the jungle Jon Wimpney and Jan Phoenix found their pot of Amazon gold—an 18 and 15 pounder respectively. Over the next five days dozens more double digit bass followed. Everyone got fish in the 12-14 pound range. Even owner Tom Klein (the only non-guide on the trip) added to the big fish parade with a 16 and 17 pounder caught within an hour of each other. But he gives all the credit to his fishing partner and good luck charm that day, Jon Wimpney, who passed along his peacock touch to everyone who happened to be in his boat. Must have been the rum. Graham Coulombe nailed a 16 pounder and Paul Hamilton, Curtis Woloshyn, Mike Demyen and Cory Craig all landed 14s. Cory, the Scott head guide, had to be patient though. He went quite a few days without a double digit bass and was starting to feel like some Scott customers who see everyone else getting their trophy pins for big pike or trout. When he did cash in though, the big fish were on his line several times a day. It’s all about patience, just like up at Scott, but he now better understands Scott customer’s “need” to get those big fish. Even though this was just a fun fishing trip, the pressure to get a big one or two was there. Everyone got their imaginary peacock trophy pins.
The Scott guides learned a lot from this trip. Graham noted how critical guide to customer communication was for fishing success and customer satisfaction, reinforcing his desire to communicate clearly and effectively to his customers when there is a big fish around. Even with a language barrier (Portuguese is the local language), the Agua Boa guides did a great job in helping all the Scott guides get their fly in front of big fish. Paul Hamilton approached this trip with no expectation regarding the size of the fish but with the confidence born of years of fishing. Paul appreciated every fish he caught, even the smaller ‘butterfly peacocks”. That’s of course the right attitude about fishing (and maybe life). One thing they all commented upon was how much work it was to throw a sinking line or sinktip line on an 8 or 9 weight fly rod all day long. Mike Demyen feels that he can now better relate to the Scott customers who choose to cast a fly rod ten straight hours. He had done a lot of small stream fly fishing but waving the big sticks was work. All of the guides also noted that own skill level with fly casting and fly presentation improved over the seven day trip. That will have payoffs for Scott’s fly fisherman. Fishing was the core of the trip but keeping with long running Scott Lake guide tradition these guys partied as hard as they fished. The beer and rum inventory of the northern Amazon basin was seriously dented. And they really crushed the peacock bass, both with numbers and size. After a slow start (luck is always part of the fishing equation) Curtis put on a virtual clinic over his final two days at the lodge, catching 20 peacocks over 10 pounds, including a gorgeous 14 pounder on his last cast of the trip.
And this was not just a peacock trip. Most of the guys landed some Arawana (a cool looking snake-shaped fish). Jan Phoenix just loved sight casting to Arawana, a surface loving, insect eating fish. They readily take shallow running flies and put on quite a show when hooked. He caught a bunch. Many caught the vampire fish of the Amazon, the Payara, with two vicious looking fangs. Some caught piranhas and even a couple of catfish ate flies. Mike Demyen landed a hard fighting and very tasty Piarara (the red-tailed catfish) of over 30 pounds the old fashioned way– “soaking “a piece of meat on the bottom. Cory Craig started every morning throwing a 5 weight fly rod off the dock landing many two to four pound Pacu on dry flies. Unfortunately no one landed the “lung fish of the Amazon”, the legendary Pirarucu. We had to be content with the captive critters at the Manaus tourist trap. Many were sighted and some had flies thrown their direction but there were no takers. There was almost a take once when a Pirarucu was spotted by the guide within 20 feet of the boat. Tom Klein put the cast where it should have gone but out of nowhere a tiny butterfly peacock grabbed the fly before the monster could react. Sounds just like many Scott Lake sight fishing opportunities when the 20 inch pike darts in to grab the fly before the 45 incher can move. There was one dramatic taker though that doesn’t quite qualify as a fish. A huge black caiman (maybe a 14 footer) moved in quickly on Curt Woloshyn’s big peacock and devoured it in a huge spray less than two feet from the boat. Curt fought the huge reptile for six minutes before the line went slack, peacock and caiman gone. Mike Demyen was quick with his video camera and captured the attack. (It will hit YouTube down the road). That kind of activity puts a little edge to fishing as do the electric eels and the piranhas. Swimming was not part of the program.
As the group gathered in the lodge swimming pool every day after fishing the phrase “best guide trip ever” was heard more than once. From the gluttonous dinner at the Brazilian steakhouse (The Buffalo) in Manaus to the video and photo sharing on the morning of departure this was a trip to remember. There was substantial team building, individual bonding, and even some serious meetings in the mix to complement seven days of great fishing. We offer our thanks to all the 2013 customers whose trips last summer make this adventure possible. Our guides will never forget you or the trip to the Agua Boa.
THE BOYS IN THE NORTH
While the Scott guides felt right at home fishing for peacocks, they are at home on Scott Lake. Nearly all our guides are in their second decade of guiding on Scott Lake. Cory Craig is on his third decade starting his 21st season in June. All our guides know and love their home water. At Scott Lake Lodge we fully realize that a great guide is the difference between a good trip and a great trip. There is still some room for the 2014 season. Jon Wimpney can catch more than 18 pound peacocks. He can catch a world class fishing trip for you. If you want a great Canadian wilderness fishing trip this summer give Jon a call at 306/209-7150 or email him at email@example.com You will catch some lifetime memories.
It’s like a run on the bank in reverse. Interest in Scott Lake Lodge fishing trips has hit an all time high. Bookings for next year’s season (June 10-September 8, 2014) are running about 20% ahead of the pace of 2013, a year that sold out in late April. We are looking at a sell out again but at a much earlier date. It is of course a lot easier to sell out a season when 70% of your capacity is gone before your last customer leaves. That’s what happened this year when 340 of our 2014 trips were booked by our September 6th close date. Things are moving. So if you are “thinking” of a trip to Scott stop thinking and start calling. While a few of our 2014 weeks are full, we have openings scattered throughout the schedule. Give Jon Wimpney, our veteran guide/sales manager, a call today at 306/209-7150 or email Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jon can give you open dates or just talk to you about the subject he loves the most—fishing.
The Boys in Brazil
The Scott Lake Lodge Guide Team is counting down the days for the next Guide Retreat. This one will be a dandy—peacock bass fishing in the jungles of the northern Amazon basin. Peacock bass will be right in the wheelhouse for our guides. While not similar to pike in appearance or habitat, they act a lot like pike when something looking like food moves in front of them. The savage strikes and hard fights are legendary and well earned. It’s a spectacular game fish. We have visited many exotic locales over the years like Mexico, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, the Florida Everglades but the Agua Boa River in northern Brazil will be special. The trip starts in Manaus Brazil, a city of two million on the banks of the Amazon River. Even though Manaus is over 1000 miles from the ocean it is a major port—that’s how big the Amazon River is. The Agua Boa is actually a tributary to a tributary of the Rio Negro which joins the Amazon at Manaus. We will be near the headwaters of the entire system where the water is almost as clear as the water of Scott Lake. Sight fishing these brightly colored tackle busters will take fishing excitement to a new level. As with all of our previous guide trips, there will be a lot of opportunity for professional development and team building. There is no better way to improve guiding skills than watching what other guides do (or don’t do). And this will be a time for all our guides to refine their fly fishing techniques. The Agua Boa Lodge is a fly fishing only venue. Getting a 20 pounder (it’s possible) on a fly rod would be a lifetime thrill. The trip is December 14-21. Watch for a full report on our website right after Christmas.
Our Evaluations Are In
Every year we ask our customers to fill out an online evaluation survey. We had a robust response with 30% of our customers (many responding for two anglers) giving us their feedback which was generally laudatory. In our book though, any response less than an “excellent” rating is just not good enough. We did get a lot of “excellent” ratings but will be working in 2014 to push the “good” ratings into the excellent category. Some highlights of the process: 99% would recommend Scott Lake Lodge to a friend; 94% rated the guiding as excellent; 91% rated the overall Scott Lake experience as excellent; 89% rated the service at meals as excellent; 85% rated the housekeeping as excellent and 97% rated our travel planning assistance as excellent. Not bad but we will keep working to make Scott Lake Lodge the top rated lodge in Canada for customer service. Many very specific suggestions for improvements around the lodge were received and we will tackle each and every one of those. Thanks to all who participated in the survey.
If you locked a dozen Hollywood screen writers in a room for a week they could not have dreamed up a better finale to the 2013 Scott Lake Lodge season than Ma Nature wrote across the flat horizon of the lake. Those last eight days had it all: big fish, cialis canada rx one exciting storm, medicine several nights of vivid northern lights, glorious yellow/gold birch trees and six absolutely perfect sunny fall days with four days without a breath of wind—the big lake was gorgeous.
It was still sandals and T-shirts into September. The final scenes in the script of 2013 featured relaxed shore lunches, after dinner bonfires with laughter blending with the cries of the loons, small groups of guests and staff gazing in disbelief at the power and beauty of the aurora borealis dancing overhead and of course some exciting action sequences involving unpaid actors dancing at the end of a line.
There were some notable catches over those last eight days. There was an exceptionally fat 45” pike taken by Ray Newkirk. And a beautifully colored 46” pike caught in just two feet of water by Ken Wollin when the guide recognized the potential of the warm weather to push big pike back into their spring spots. It sucked in a black leech just like it was mid-June. Probably the biggest big fish day of the season was enjoyed by Peter Myhre when on a fly out he brought nine trophy pike to his guide’s cradle, the biggest being 47 inches, and caught three trophy lake trout, one 39 inches, on the same day. It was a scene stealer of a day for sure. Joel Elfman also bagged a big trout—a fat 40 incher. In a memorable angling moment Joe Daugherty got a personal best pike that pulled the tape to 48 inches, topping the 47 he got on an earlier trip (Joe comes two or even three times a year—he knows how to live.) With that trend line he should have a 50 or 51 next season. As with any fishing trips there were tradeoffs. The flat water days made getting pike tougher. Our guides love and pray for wind to create some disturbance down under that gives a predator an edge over prey and gets them moving. But who can’t enjoy totally bug-free days with the reflections of the clouds and trees providing a surreal experience, while in T-shirts. It was simply glorious.
On September 6 the sound of the last Twin Otter arrival of the season roared over Scott Lake Lodge. It’s always a bitter sweet time for the Scott Lake Lodge staff and management. They had spent nearly 100 consecutive days together on a 12 acre island; forming a deep bond during the fast paced, at times intense atmosphere while making sure all 26 guests have the trip of a lifetime, even if it’s their 30th trip. Yet when that last Otter started its takeoff run loaded with the last 26 happy customers of the season there was a cheer heard across the island. For a few minutes there was the pure joy of knowing that the job was done and well done. But it was also time for reflection, some hugs, some tears and always the talk of NEXT SEASON. There is a strong Scott community. It’s why over half of the Scott guides have been at Scott for at least 12 years: this is their home. They know, along many of the long time shores staff team members like Jeff Walker, Head Chef, Shaun Ledoux, out chef turned guide, Jerry Yanish, the Silver Fox running the maintenance department and eleven year veteran, General Manager John Gariepy, that the next season will be even more satisfying and exciting than the one before. That’s how it’s been for 17 years. There are no reruns at Scott—just great new movies season after season.
THE POST SEASON
Unlike football, baseball or hockey the postseason doesn’t feature a lot of drama. It’s primarily work. This year fall was like summer revisited. There was an incredible Indian Summer at Scott in September right up until the day the last four of us were scheduled to leave on September 17th. Then all hell broke loose with an arctic blast straight from the north. There were no floatplanes in the air nor any chance of even taking a boat even around the island. We had gale force winds with four to five foot waves banging onto the back dock. But even in the maelstrom of wind, rain and flying debris the internet still worked. Strange feeling actually. The other world is never that far away even on the 60th parallel. With the temperature dropping to below freezing, the bigger lake trout finally came to their traditional spawning reefs. For nearly a week the smaller males were present in large numbers, patrolling the shallow rocky areas of the lake, patiently waiting for the females to make their appearance. With a little snow on the shorelines and a lower surface water temperature the bigger males and some of the females arrived.
We got out in the boat on the 18th when the winds abated a bit. The fishing was great. But it was still a violent scene on the lake. The fishing was like the early days of the Lodge when the peak of “reefer madness” would land around the tenth of September. The warmer lake temperatures of recent years have delayed the spawning and stretched out the season. While pike fishing is still great in September, it’s hard to focus on deeper water pike when trout that typically live in 100 feet of water are in two feet or less. Closing down the fly out lakes, especially Dunvagen, Smalltree, Gardiner and Ingalls gave the “closers” a look at some huge shallow water trout but time for any fishing was short. There are eleven fly out locations needing attention, too many to take time to fish. There were many tasks over the dozen days after the last customers left: boarding up every cabin, draining water lines, sinking some leftover beer and pop, cleaning up the kitchen, pulling the big water pump, cleaning all the bedding, washing all the linens, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So now it’s the 19th and still no window for a flight out. But we plan to fish today. Why not? Not a bad place to get stuck!
It’s been a lot of work but things are in great shape for the “opening” crew that will land right after ice out to get ready for the 2014 season. It will be worth waiting for. Our deepest thanks to all our 2013 customers for making this season so memorable.
PS: On September 20th the skies cleared just enough to offer an escape route. It was not clear sailing with a lot of low hanging clouds. On the flight to Stony the clouds did part often enough to show the glorious yellow landscape created by the birch trees in full fall color. It was time to head home for all of us but it was still hard to leave.