Guide Retreat 2017

Guide Retreat 2017

Guide Retreat 2017
4

APRIL, 2017

Christmas Island

Christmas Came Early

Christmas came quite a bit early this year for the Scott Lake Lodge Guide Team—Christmas Island that is, an exotic island more formally known as Kiritimati, part of the country of Kiribati. Whatever one calls it, it’s a piece of paradise.
That remote speck of land in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Fiji was the destination for this year’s Guide Retreat, a hallowed tradition stretching back nearly twenty years. Over the past two decades our guides have chased bonefish in the Bahamas, tarpon in Florida, sturgeon in British Columbia, permit in Mexico, sailfish in Costa Rica, peacock bass in Brazil to name a few. Now the flats fish and blue water offerings of Christmas Island, one of the most storied fishing locales in the world, are part of the collective consciousness of the Scott Lake Guides.
Kiritimati, a spec of land between Hawaii and Fiji in the Pacific Ocean
As we have discovered over the years, there is nothing quite like being guided to improve a guide’s skills; this trip proved that in spades. Led by an energetic and highly organized Head Guide, Bita Kairaoi, the Christmas Island guides from Crystal Beach Lodge were experienced, skilled, professional and very patient. Even during some hellacious winds and rain, these guys keep their poise and carried on, even though they knew that day would suck. It’s what all good guides do. As happens with all fishing trips, the guides make things happen. No one knows that better than eleven Scott guides on this trip, joined by General Manager, Jason Hamilton, and the two Scott Lake Lodge owners, Tom Klein and Ron Spork. Our guys do it for 16 groups every summer on the 60th parallel, just 59 degrees further north than Christmas Island.
Only 899 more to go…
The Scott Lake Lodge gang rendezvoused in Honolulu, the jumping off point for the trip to Christmas. Because he wanted the group to have a first-class meal before heading to a place famed for its fishing not its cuisine, Ron Spork arranged an extravagant dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse where we were lavished with course after course of sensational food and wine. We would not see food like that again for a week, but no one cared; everyone was focused on fishing. Looking out the window of the Fiji Air jet on a blue bird morning was amazing, I could see absolutely nothing to see but blue water until we circled the 10X15 mile piece of land 1, 350 miles due south of Hawaii. Prior to GPS, how the hell did pilots find this place? With the highest point of land about six feet, there weren’t any mountains to help. While taxing to the “terminal” (a modest building no larger than the main lodge at Scott),  it was a bit odd to note that apart from the plane we were sitting in there wasn’t a single aircraft of any size parked by the runway. Once a week that Fiji jet is the one and only plane in or out. With no nearby airports to land on this would not be a place for a small private plane—where would you go? As we rolled to a stop the sixty anglers or so anglers on board (there are four operating lodges at Christmas) were buzzing with excitement, stretching their necks and wiggling in their seat—kids in a candy store. All the planning, all the fly shop shopping, all the packing came down to this: we’re here. After a very basic custom’s check and payment of $50 for a fishing license, we were met by the Crystal Beach crew. They handed us a coconut drink and festooned our heads with floral garlands; we were the royalty of the Pacific. Very classy. We jumped in the back of the lodge’s trucks, our commuter vehicles for the week, and headed to the lodge in heat that this intrepid group of Canadians were not quite used to. It’s hot at one degree north latitude.  Fortunately, each truck had a cooler of beer, a beverage that would be as common a sight in the hands of our guides as a fishing rod.
“As happens with all fishing trips, the guides make things happen. ”

It would be tough to imagine a more picturesque setting than what greeted us when we parked in front of Crystal Beach Lodge. It had it all—palm trees, sand beach, vivid blue water, the atoll’s reef creating pure white surf: it was the whole package, but no one ogled the scene too long. There was gear to unpack and rig. Within an hour the scene in front of the cabins was a forest of rods and reels. With four to six rods each (you need a 7- or 8- weight for bones, an 11- or 12-weight for giant trevally, a surf-sized spinning or casting rig for blue water plus plenty of spares) we could have stocked a decent fishing shop, and those rods got plenty of use. These guys came to fish: we were all on the trucks for the short drive to the harbor at 6:00 or 7:00 AM every morning. Like fishing at Scott, the decision about fishing at Christmas is binary. At Scott, it’s trout or pike. At Christmas, it’s flats or blue water. We all mixed it up over the week. 

Unlike flats fishing in the Bahamas, the shallow water wading here brought lots of unexpected encounters; there are more than bonefish hiding out on the miles and miles of flats. Nothing is more surprising than meeting your first triggerfish, a multicolored oddity that tails like a bonefish but is much more finicky eater. While they will sometimes take a well-presented crab fly, everything must be perfect with the cast and strip. When hooked they are a tough customer. Over the course of the week, many nice ones were landed. There were also bluefin and golden trevally to be found, all spooky and challenging. Of course there were lots of bonefish—it’s what Christmas is famous for. We got our share. Some had more luck (or skill) than others. Cory Craig, the Scott Head Guide, was the bone whisperer of the trip. He just could not keep them off his hook. At one stop I was fishing with a Christmas Island guide just a couple hundred feet from Cory who preferred to guide himself. With his fish-spotting eyes why not? Every time I glanced his direction that damn rod was bent. Over and over. Before I had my first bone to hand (with a guide calling the shots no less ), Cory had landed a dozen or more. It’s why his nickname is WCA, as in World Class Angler. He was the master of the flats on this trip. 

The biggest fish from shallow water belonged to Graham Coulombe who found himself and his 12- weight fly rod attached to a massive giant trevally. Ripping out about 300 yards of backing, that fish clearly wanted nothing to do with Graham. With an audience of five other Scott guides, Graham kept his cool and kept the fish in check, finally stopping the run by really putting a nasty bend in his rod. These fish are incredibly strong. In an epic battle it was a long “pump and gain” game to bring the fish back but Graham was up to it. He brought the 50 pound plus beast close enough to shore for a tail grab. What a fish! What an experience! Most of the gang landed smaller versions of GTs on the flats as well as a bluefin trevally or two. Wading the flats at Christmas was like cruising around a supermarket, just picking treats off the shelf.

A fresh frigate bird in this alternate Galapagos

Another treat for many of our group was the abundance of seabirds, especially in some inner lagoons that were fished on two days of our trip. There were nesting frigates and boobies that allowed us to walk up within feet of their nests—the new chicks hanging on the most precarious of nests. It was just like being in the Galapagos Islands. The absence of any predators creates a unique opportunity to see bird up close and very personal, just a wonderful grace note to the week.

“The real payoff for Scott Lake Lodge and its guests was the team building process that played out. It was a beautiful thing to watch ”

The blue water teams had some real rocking and rolling over the week. It was blowing for many of the days and, after all, this is the Pacific Ocean. There were some guys green around the gills on the blue water days but the action trolling or jigging made everyone forget about the waves. There was no problem getting into tuna, GTs, wahoo or a wide variety of bottom fish, most unknown species for Canadian freshwater guides. Every day the blue water crews provided the raw material for our evening dinners and probably fed the families of many of the staff at Crystal Beach Lodge. On one day when the wind was down, a single boat brought back around 500 pounds of fish, mainly tuna which were in the 20-40 pound range—all fighting machines. Jan Phoenix and Ron Spork were the ring leaders of the blue water group, going out nearly every day. Jan, who fishes salt water for most of the winter, was looking for a big wahoo. That species eluded Jan but not Steve Lindner, aka Biff Piston, who on the last day nailed a huge wahoo of close to 50 pounds. Another big wahoo was taken early in the trip by Jordan Baker. On the trevally front, Jan Phoenix landed a very nice bluefin and Matt Cornell got a 50 pound plus GT while trolling off the reef not far from the lodge.

There was a wonderful rhythm to the week: up early, fish hard all day, come back for cocktails, conversations with the Christmas guides, some very fresh tuna sushi, more cocktails, lots more beer, fish stories, more beer, and then dinner of fresh fish and rice (with the occasional lobster dinner thrown in) served under the stars, then more beer—a very tough routine. It was not unlike the summer pattern at a lodge 59 degrees further north. Like at Scott the vibe here was quite comfortable.

While fishing was center stage all week, the real payoff for Scott Lake Lodge and its guests was the team building process that played out. It was a beautiful thing to watch. On the water and at the lodge the Scott guides demonstrated the mutual trust and respect that makes the Scott Lake Lodge fishing experience so rich and productive. These guys really like each other. Maybe the roughly 900 beers the guys put down was an element but I don’t think it was a big part of the chemistry that developed. This is a brotherhood, a remarkable group of men who have a passion for fishing and a solid capacity for working together. Not content with just a week together, about half the group went to Molokai, one of the Hawaiian Islands, to chase the monster bonefish that inhabit those flats. It’s never enough. For the other half of the group the fishing trip ended sitting in the crowded waiting area at the airport listening to the anglers from the other lodges tell their stories–stories about bonefish landed, GTs lost and casts missed. Just change the species to pike and trout and you have the Day 5 experience sitting in the Last Cast waiting for the Twin Otter. Fish stories are an echo of primal instincts; our species really hasn’t changed that much since the time when hunting and fishing were survival skills not sports. The fish stories from the Christmas Island expedition will bounce around the lodge and in the boats all summer. Just another chapter in the Scott Lake Lodge story.

Where do the guides go?

Where do the guides go?

It is amazing after the concentration we get on the island at Scott Lake Lodge how far the guides spread out in the off season, after spending the summer chasing trophy northern pike and trophy lake trout at what we think is the best fly in fishing lodge in Canada, home is worldwide, travels as well. This off season we have guides living in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan (maybe the highest concentration is around White Fox), British Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and South Africa. They travel, live, work, farm, guide, fish, hunt and spread the word about the special place they have returned each summer now for many years. Each brings his own twist to the boat, each makes life on the 12 acre island great in a unique way. Here is a sampling, in photos, of what the group was up to, and where they’ve been so far this fall.

Late May Update

It’s been hot, incredibly hot for May, on Scott Lake. In our twenty years of operations we have never had the lake open in May. But it just could be this year. The lake is just one windy day away from breaking up. What a contrast to last May when the temperatures were hovering just above freezing for most of the month. Our island in the north has been basking in temperatures in the high 60s, even 70s for a couple of weeks now. An intrepid crew including guides Paul Hamilton, Cody Mychalyshyn and Jan Phoenix flew in by helicopter on May 12th to start the process of getting camp ready for the 2015 season. Instead of wearing down coats as our early-in crew last year did this year the appropriate apparel has been flip-flops, shorts and T-shirts. You can follow their exploits, including an interesting version of a “northern bath” by checking out our Face book site (www.facebook.com/scottlakelodge). At least we have a season when we will have a leisurely and enjoyable opening. After the drama of 2014 we’ll take it and enjoy it.

The crew has a lot to do yet before we are fully ready for our June 10th opener. The gang is putting the finishing touches on a new quadplex staff dorm. We have been increasing our staff numbers over the past few years and now have a lot more elbow room in Guideland. Also on the agenda are the many routine but time consuming tasks we do every season: take down all the plywood boards on all the cabins; connect all the water lines and install the large submersible water pump; unload thousands of gallons of Jet fuel for the Otter, AvGas for the Beaver, unleaded gas for the boats and diesel fuel for the two generators. This year we are also setting up four new 18’guide boats for Scott and four new 16’ boats for the fly out lakes. Of course there are the fourteen fly out lakes to set up as well. We have nearly forty outboards motors to check out and service. And a few hundred spruce trees to cut down, haul to the island, run through the municipal-sized wood chipper and then spread over the quarter mile of island trails. And unload and store several tons of food and supplies. And inspect, clean and maintain the 28 buildings around the island. And the list goes on and on and on. This season all those “ands” will require about 2000 hours of what can only be called what it is—hard labor. But ask any of the Scott Lake crew: it is a labor of love. And the early birds love every minute of their work, especially with warm temperatures making everything just a bit more pleasant.

One guy not working very hard is our Sales Manager, Jon Wimpney. His work is essentially done. We have had very few cancellations this year (a tangible sign that the economy really is back to pre-2008 levels) and he has only a handful, a small handful, of open spots to fill. Call him at 306/209-7150 if you have the itch. If the dates work he can scratch it.

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!

   

The Boys in Brazil

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 j5@scottlakelodge.com  You will catch some lifetime memories.

November News

Sales Surge

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 j5@scottlakelodge.com. 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.