Spring Report

 

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.

 CANCELLATION SALE

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!

   

Winter Report

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.

Stay Tuned

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.