Some seasons everything just falls into place. The staff at Scott Lake Lodge faced some daunting challenges as they opened up the Lodge for the 2012 season. Heavy snow knocked down the twin compressors running the walk in freezer/refrigerator. Wind driven ice pushed around two of our boat docks. And the wood chip walkways did not fare well over the winter. But put enough focused, best viagra shop recipe hard working people on jobs and they get done. Everything was repaired or rebuilt; tens of thousands of pounds of food, cialis sale search fishing tackle, fuel, motors and of course a few hundred cases of beer were flown in, unloaded and stored. It was a busy place. But on June 10 every last job was complete and the place looked like it was in the running for a Better Homes and Gardens photo shoot. General Manager John Gariepy did an outstanding job coordinating all the preparation. Owner Tom Klein did a lot of fishing.
Many of our regular guests arriving were startled by the sight of a lake that just looked a lot bigger. After five years of drought and low snowfalls, Scott Lake was about as low in late 2011 as anyone could remember. What a pleasant surprise that very heavy snowfalls in late winter could bring the lake level back to near record levels. All the bays are flooded right back to grass and bushes. Places that have not been fished for years because the entrances were too shallow are now accessible again, as well as the big pike that spend most of the early part of the season in very shallow water. There should be a few more trophy pike pins handed out at the nightly Biff Piston Show (you need to be a Scott guest to understand that reference, but trust us: it is an experience.)
Speaking of trophy pins we did dent our supply with the first group in. Despite cool and cloudy weather, forty-four pins found new homes on hats and fishing shirts. The numbers were even better. Everyone caught a lot of fish. Ryan McPhee kicked things off well with three trophy pike on the opening morning. David Marco came all the way from Florida to catch big pike and he wasn’t going home without some memorable ones. He got three trophy pike the next day while son Michael got stuck at the 39 inch mark. But Michael returned the favor on Day 3 by nailing three trophy pike himself. Both used fly rods to capture their big fish. A Montana angler, Nate Naprstek, not only limited himself to a fly rod but he stayed with top water flies. It’s a real show to see pike turn themselves inside out smashing a surface fly. He not only caught a lot of pike: he got four trophies. Jim McPhee had the biggest fish of the week, a very fat 44.5” pike. Another McPhee, Colin, joined the big fish parade, landing a 40” lake trout.
Those are just numbers. Everyone left with great memories and a bit of soreness in their fish fighting arm. The next group though started their trip with a great first day. Fourteen trophy pike were caught. Jim Klenk who has been coming to Scott for a long time got one of his biggest fish ever, landing a 45” pike that had not missed many meals. But the fish of the year, so far, went to Jack Barko who watched as his guide slid the cradle under a 47.5” monster. That’s setting the bar. And that’s the story at Scott, so far. We’re just getting started.
News from the North: the ice at Scott is getting a real beating. It has been a relatively warm winter, sick even that far north, and right now the lake is getting 16 hours a day of sunlight, a number that jumps up around five minutes each day. It’s looking very good for an early ice out, allowing our staff to get the place ship shape before our first group lands at Scott on June 10. There will be plenty of daylight by then-sunrise on the 10th will be at 3:50 AM but what’s termed civil twilight starts at 2:25 AM. Those long days will give us time to do some painting and lots of clean up/fix up projects.
Scott Lake Lodge is really a small town with a summer population of around sixty. (There are quite a few towns here in Montana with a smaller population.)
Spring Cleaning on Steroids
Getting the entire infrastructure ready is no small job. And unloading and organizing tens of thousands of pounds of fuel and supplies does not happen without some tight organization and a lot of people power. We don’t have a lot of equipment at Scott-just a lot of hard working guides and maintenance staff who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and test their muscles. Watching a guide pick up a 40 HP Yamaha by himself is like watching one of those Ironman TV shows-don’t try it at home. The only lifts at Scott are called arms. But it will all get done. As soon as the spring melt gives us a hole of around 100 yards by the front docks, the Twin Otter and our dependable Beaver will start the hauling. Those birds will make the trip dozens of times before June 10th. It’s an exciting time for staff and an exciting time for our 2012 guests who know that anticipation is a big part of any expedition.
We Need Your Pre-Trip Info
If you haven’t already done so, please submit your travel information to us online via our Pre-Trip Questionnaire. This information is critical to our logistical planning. It enables us to meet your flight in Saskatoon and provide transfers to our Lodge charter flight.
If you are heading to Scott this summer do not forget to visit the Travel Info page of our website. It provides all of the pertinent information you need to know before heading north. It has the most recent travel related updates, a packing list, phone numbers and links to our comprehensive trip guide, The Adventure Kit.
This year in keeping with our eco-philosophy we have not distributed paper copies of the Questionnaire or Kit. However if you do not have online access or experience any difficulties in downloading the forms, don’t hesitate to call our Guest Services office in Rhinelander: 1-888-830-9525. They will be happy to fax or mail you a copy, or simply take the info over the phone.
A Little Practice
The Scott crew is doing a lot of preparation. Our 2012 guests and anyone else going on a destination fishing trip should consider some as well. It’s the right time of year to get out on the lawn and make a few (hundred) casts, especially if you are a fly caster. Accurate casting does not happen by accident. With the clear water of Scott sight fishing for pike (and sometimes for lake trout) is simply the way we fish. Being able to put a cast in exactly the right spot will not just produce more hits it will also provide the satisfaction of knowing you earned that fish.
It wouldn’t hurt to sharpen some hooks, and if you are bringing your own gear, put on some new line and add a coat of line dressing to your fly line. Dig out your tackle box and take inventory. At Scott we have a solid selection of lures but it is always fun to go to the tackle shop to talk fishing. Anticipation is a big part of your fishing adventure. Enjoy it.
Still Time to Book a Trip
If you don’t have your Scott Lake Adventure locked in yet there is still time, but not much. A month ago we still had some spots in the Parent/Child August 4-9 trip but that week is now full. There are scattered spots around the calendar. Give Jon Wimpney a call at 306/520-4007 if you have the urge to head way north this summer. We have had a few cancellations and there are some deals to be had… four spots for June 30-July 5; four spots for July 5 to July 10 and eight spots for July 20-25. Give Jon a call and see if you can grab one of those.
SPRING INTO ACTION
March is upon us and spring is just around the corner. If your thoughts are turning towards summer and a fishing trip don’t think too long – book now! Scott Lake Lodge has had several consecutive, viagra sale prescription fully booked seasons and with the recent surge in sales we don’t expect it to be any different this year. If you have dates in mind, best viagra call our sales manager Jon Wimpney direct at 306-520-4007 to ensure availability for 2012. If you want dates in June or July call today. There are just a few left.
As the US economy has rebounded, Scott Lake Lodge has extended its season right back to the pre-Great Recession days. We are open for anglers for eighty-five days in 2012, a big jump from the shortened seasons of the past two years. We are fishing right into September with the last trip running from August 29 to September 3rd. That’s not late summer on the 60th parallel-it’s fall, complete with color change, cool nights and aggressive fish with an attitude.
So grab your calendar, check out the Trip Schedule on our website and give Jon a call or email today. Then start counting down the days until your fishing dreams become reality!
SPECIAL OFFER: PARENT CHILD WEEK 2012
After a well received and successful 2011 parent/child week, Scott Lake is offering another special week in 2012. The parent or grandparent pays full price and the child comes at 25% off. This deal is offered only for the week of August 4th to the 9th. It will save you almost $1300.00 for a unique bonding experience. And there are no restrictions on the age of the anglers. We would love to see some 60 year old “kids” jump on this deal. Or the kid can do the trip for their parent. Contact our sales manager Jon “J5” Wimpney direct at 306-520-4007 or call the Rhinelander guest services office at 888-830-9525 to book this offer soon. We still have room for a dozen anglers.
2012 ADVENTURE KIT ONLINE
Our official “everything you ever needed to know and then some” trip guide, The Adventure Kit, is now online. The Kit is a comprehensive guide to packing, planning, and enjoying every minute of your Scott Lake trip.
This year in an effort to reduce paper consumption, we will not be mailing Adventure Kits or Pre-Trip Questionnaires to guests unless you call our Rhinelander office (888-830-9525) and request a copy. Rather guests can use our online form to communicate their Saskatoon itinerary, fishing license info and fishing preferences to our staff. This system will allow us instant access to the information from anywhere and ensure that no detail is overlooked. Visit our Travel Info page for all of the links and most up to date information.
You can also read online or download the 2012 Adventure Kit as a PDF document. It contains packing lists, check lists, phone lists, Customs information, fishing and tackle details, even the most up to date info about our flyout lakes. Don’t head north without checking it out. It is a good read and will get you prepped and pumped for your trip.
SANDMAN INN, SASKATOON
We are pleased to announce that Scott Lake guests will again be staying at the Sandman Inn on the southbound leg of their trip to the Lodge for the 2012 season. It has been a favorite haunt for many Scott customers throughout the years. (We think the adjacent Shark Club is part of the reason.)
As part of your package, the cost of your overnight stay in Saskatoon on the way home from the Lodge is included. If any of our guests opt to arrive a day early (prior to their Lodge charter flight), we have negotiated a special rate with the Sandman. Our Rhinelander office will be pleased to make your reservation and guarantee that special rate. Talk to Shirley or Michelle at 888/830-9525. (For Canadian customers call 715/362-7031.) If you chose to stay at an alternative hotel in Saskatoon prior to your trip, please do let us know so that we may coordinate with you to reach our charter terminal on time for our 3:30pm departure to the Lodge.
At 6:30 PM on August 24th the last guests of the 2011 season boarded GQD, viagra usa sovaldi the lodge’s classic Beaver, generic viagra and headed south to Stony Rapids to connect with their charter flight back to Saskatoon and “civilization”, though nearly all would have preferred to stay at Scott, a truly civilized place. It was a fitting day to call it a season: the island birches were sporting their first yellow leaves and there was sharpness to the north wind. It was time. The last day was much like the first on June 10th, 75 days earlier. Lots of fish were caught; sensational shore lunches were enjoyed; animated conversations echoed around the island and lots of stories were shared. A day like any other at Scott. For the Scott Lake Lodge staff this day is different– always bittersweet, a mingling of pride in the accomplishments and joys of the season and the regret that it’s over. How could 76 days slide by so quickly? How could it be over?
BY THE NUMBERS
But it was and as in poker it was time for the counting–counting up the trophy numbers and counting the memories of a great season with great fishing, lots of sunshine and most importantly happy customers. One satisfied guest on that final day was Joe Daugherty who landed a 20” grayling, his biggest ever, and watched a herd of twenty-four musk ox from the window of the Beaver. It was the biggest grayling of the season and the most musk ox ever seen on a fly out. His was just one of the 48 “supersized” grayling (a grayling over 18”) of the season. A lot of oversized fish were landed and released this season. Especially lake trout. This was the Year of the Trout at Scott. The last supersized trout of the season was taken by Montanan Jim Klos who watched his guide pull the cradle around a fat 42” laker. As many Scott Lake veterans know, the first look at boat side of a lake trout over 40” is one of freshwater angling’s great thrills. That thrill was experienced 85 other time during the 2011 season. It was a record year for giant trout. It was a good year for big pike as well. Hundreds were caught over the 40” and 27 hit or exceeded the 45” mark, a true fish of a lifetime.
But numbers, even big numbers like 1300 total trophy fish, do not capture the story of the 2011 season. It was an experience to be felt not reduced to statistics. It involved a lot more than catching fish, even big fish. It was all about catching powerful experiences. Guest conversations at dinner covered more than fish talk: there were references to the incredible clarity of the water, the presence of loons, eagles and osprey, the shore lunches that went way beyond fried fish, the exquisite privacy that’s part of being at the only lodge on a huge lake, the attentiveness of all the Scott staff and the overall purity of entire experience. What amazed many guests were the absence of things—no beer cans on the shore or on the lake bottom, no litter of any kind, no cell towers, no thumping generator noise, no noise of any kind. When the outboard is shut off the only sounds are the lapping of the waves, the calling of the loons or the screeching of the drag, all wonderful sounds.
Many guests appreciate that nothing earth shattering has happened up here since the glaciers left 7,000 years ago. The Scott lake setting is always the same—perfect. It’s easy to be absorbed into a pristine ecosystem, where taking a drink of water right out of the lake is as safe and natural as taking a breath of pure, unpolluted air. The place just gets into people’s skin and psyche. Knowing that moose, wolves and wolverines roam the forest under those sharp spruce tree tops puts one in the northern frame of mind. And being in the north, not the commercialized version promoted by tourist towns all over the upper Midwest and New England, is one of the passions shared by almost all of the Scott Lake Lodge guests. Scott is true north to the core with daylight almost as endless as the wilderness that stretches all the way to the Arctic Ocean, offering a profound solitude, a rare thing in the world today. The Scott Lake Lodge staff of 30 team members all falls into the category of true northerners. They come to Scott not because they need a job but because they need the north and they share that feeling with Scott guests. There are at Scott ample opportunities to catch that spirit from this experienced crew, especially the guide team with a collective Scott history of nearly 150 years on these waters. There are few lodges where the entire staff (guides, pilots and all the shore based staff) sits down in the same dining room and enjoys the same rack of lamb, prime rib or any of the other delights from Chef Shaun Ledoux’s kitchen.
A REEL SOCIAL NETWORK
In 2011 it was all about the people. It was Dave Wilson and his gang sitting around a “supersized” bonfire, playing guitar and mandolin with Hospitality Manager Allison Whelan and Sous Chef Kyle Rose, getting the crowd of a dozen or more other guests to sing or at least hum along. It was ten year old Foster Graf getting a spontaneous cheer after the announcement that he got his Trophy Triple Hat, a cheer for the size of his spirit and love of fishing not for the size of his fish. It was 87 year old Harley Weiss who fished hard for ten days, catching more fish and bigger fish than most of the other guests, inspiring everyone with his unabashed love for the entire experience at Scott. Hell, Harley even cradled his own 44” pike one day. It was Al Riss making his 19th consecutive trip to Scott, leaving New Jersey every summer for a taste of the north. It was about the people more than the fish. People really letting go of their urban anxieties: relaxing on the big deck with the commanding view of the lake; sweating out the worries of modern life in the sauna; soaking in the cedar hot tub or getting a down to the bone massage in the spa, something over half of Scott’s guests experienced in 2011. It is the people that made 2011 a special year at Scott.
YES, WE DID FISH
But of course people do fish here. And they catch fish. There were some incredible days logged in 2011. Too many to document here but there were some special ones like father/son team Michael and Jake Jaffe landing eleven trophy pike in a single day. (Getting a single pike over 40” is a trill, just imagine eleven). Or nine. Mike Shannahan and Peter Leonvicz did that in a day landing three pike of 44”and one of 45” plus five more. Mike Rogers and Joe Beckman also had a nine trophy pike day. Scott and Kent Holtmeyer teamed up for seven big pike in a single day. Dennis Helter single handedly hit double digits with five pike and five grayling trophies on his best day fishing ever. And two of his pike were 45s! The list of multiple trophy days is a long one. We can’t forget Russell Lafave’s six trophy pike day, Bill Calabresa’s five, Judy and Connie Schmidt’s eight trophy day (six pike and two trout)or Randy Lail and Ward Brooks’ seven trophy pike day. It wasn’t just the pike that came in bunches. Abe Martinez and Jeff Quick had a monster lake trout day of seven trophy lakers with one girthy 43 incher. Teddy Barkwell got into the big trout game big time with six trophies in a day; young Foster Graf had a five trophy day with trout and Lou and Syl Kozewski landed six huge trout with half of them over 40”. One memorable trout moment was the father/son team of Roy and Scott Katskee landing back to back 41” and 42” lakers within sight of the lodge. While this is just the tip of the iceberg, the 90% plus of the days below these big fish bonanzas were just as satisfying.
FISH STORIES—NEVER TOO MANY
And then we had the just plain fun fish stories. Like the one about the guy who had not fished since he was a Cub Scout. He goes out on his first day at Scott and lands a huge 47” pike, the biggest of our season, as his first fish since childhood. The ex-Cub Scout was Dave Pulchinsky and we suspect he is now hooked on fishing for the rest of his life. Or Bill Calabresa’s pike story. Bill was having a really good day. He landed a lot of fish in the morning including a 41” pike on his fly rod. Just before lunch he hooks a big fish but it breaks off (it happens) and the big ones always seem to get away. After lunch guide Jan Phoenix takes him back to the same area. Bill hooks “another” big fish. In the cradle comes a 45.5” pike with a fly and a nine foot leader hanging out of his mouth. That’s good karma and an aggressive fish. Both flies were returned to Bill and the pike returned to the lake to consider his eating habits. Another angler had a heart breaker that turned golden. It was Bob Goldenberg who lost a nice pike right at the boat, around 42” according to his guide Curtis Woloshyn , only to land a 46 and a half inch beauty a few minutes later. Another happy ending? How about Clare Ward who just took up fly fishing this season. And he got pretty good at it. But one pike got the best of him. It took off and just kept going: the fly line separated from the backing. Guide Cory Craig watched the fly line zip away but chased it down and handed it off to Clare while he was trying to quickly retie the line to the backing. But the fish had other ideas. It took off again and the chase was on again. Cory got to the line a second time and this time managed to get a quick knot and turn the game over to Clare again. Clare did his job well and a 42” pike ended up in the boat—the hard way.
Not all the fish stories have a storybook ending. Take the epic fish versus guide story of Steve Linder (AKA Biff Piston). Biff has guided pike anglers for 15years, 12 of them at Scott. He knows a big pike when he sees one. With guest Jim Tarala, he saw a big one with very distinctive light coloring at a place now known as Biffs’ Rock. Jim saw the take and hit the fish with a hell of a hook set, a set so strong that the split ring connecting the spinner with the treble hook broke. That happens maybe once a century. Biff was speechless which is a quite rare thing for him. Biff knew it was a world class fish, in the 50 inch category so Biff went back in about a week with Kent and Bryan Holtmeyer. The same big fish (remember it had very distinctive light coloring and was really big) came up again and ate Bryan’s spinner (the fish had the routine down by now). And again it got off with a huge head shake. The fish was gone but not forgotten. With his last anglers of the season Biff went back to his rock and, yes, Peter Leonovitz Jr., an experienced angler, hooked the same fish. Peter freaked at the sight of this monster and pulled his spinner right out of its mouth. Biff crumpled to the floor. The Final Score: Fish 3/Guide 0. Biff went back three times with his dad, Mel, after season and kept trying but no monster pike appeared. Stay tuned next year. Biff will be back at his rock. We hope the fish will be too.
OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS
The 2011 season was memorable for feathers as well as fins. We had some special residents on the island. One was a family of long eared owls that set up shop right in Guideland, about 15 feet from a staff cabin. Five picture perfect owls hatched out of the nest and entertained staff and guests for most of the summer. The baby owls stayed right in the nest for about two weeks while mom watched over them and gave the evil eye to all the owl watchers. But overall the adults were quite tolerant. Why they picked a small spruce tree at the busiest spot within fifty miles is a mystery. There are, after all, 500 islands on Scott Lake alone. But they picked our island and a place right at the highest traffic area of the island. It was wonderful watching them grow up over two months. The young ones had a call that sounded very much like an alarm clock, an electronic one. (Not all of the island’s human residents appreciated these birds.) And we had a second but more secretive bird group. A family of merlins, a small raptor, lived on the island as well. They had four chicks which started flying about the same time as the five owls. In mid-August there were evenings when all nine of these young birds were winging around testing their flying skills. It was a show.To our knowledge all the birds survived the summer and headed somewhere by the last week of August. We wish them good luck.
So many stories, so many memories of a great season. Thanks to all the 2011 guests and staff for making the season so wonderfully magical. We’ll just have to do it again in 2012.