The Post Season

Every year we try to get our maintenance work caught up after the last customers leave. This fall we tackled a lot of big jobs. In a ten day period we got a big start on a boat rehab project. All fifteen of our 18 foot Alumarine boats were stripped right down to their hulls. That alone was a big job. Next spring before the ice leaves another crew will come in to put in new foam floatation blocks, buy cialis unhealthy new vinyl flooring, tadalafil repaint the interiors and buff the exteriors.  New seats will be added to whole fleet. The boats will look and perform like new. Other big jobs tackled included the addition of soundproofing wallboard to the common walls in three of the guest buildings, major repair to the big deck off the main lodge and repair of landscaping timbers. Of course there was the routine but not minor job of shutting down the entire island: draining all water lines, boarding up all the door and windows and giving all the facilities a deep cleaning.

There was some time for fishing of course. One prospective new fly out lake was given a three day check but unfortunately failed the tough standards applied to the collection of jewels in the lodge’s fly out roster. There was no failing the big fish test though for Mel Linder, dad of long time guide Biff Linder. Just a couple of days after the last customer group flew south, Biff and Mel fished the Wayo cabbage, a popular spot all season. It’s usually a good spot but it usually doesn’t produce a 48” pike like it did for Mel and Biff. Just another monster pike to punctuate a season full of huge fish. That fish though wasn’t a surprise to some of the guides. Head guide Cory Craig was still on the island when he heard about the big fish. “I saw that one three times this summer but would it eat for me?” was his lament but only after congratulating Mel on his personal best pike. That’s fishing. The big ones are usually there but you never know when one will decide to hit. It was the last in a very long string of August monsters.  In just 24 days there were 176 trophy pike caught in August, but 33 of those were 44s or better. There was an incredible run of supersized pike: seven @ 45; eleven @ 46; two @ 47; one (Mel’s big one) @48; two @ 49 and the lodge record 51 incher. While customer demand is much higher in June and July when the typical day’s numbers are higher, August (or fall as it’s known at Scott) produces the big gals.

There were some great northern lights nights to entertain the staff, but this was more of a solid work post season than most. The weather was typical of fall—a sunny day here and there mixed in with windy and rainy days. Weather is even more unpredictable this time of year than in our two other seasons (spring which is June and summer which is July). It’s amazing looking back at the three months to realize that there are typically three distinct seasons in that short window. Winter covers the other nine months. It’s always difficult to leave our island. This year was no exception even though it was a miserable day with spitting rain and a low ceiling. But as the Beaver taxied for takeoff it was sad looking back at the island: all the doors and windows boarded up; the main dock sitting on shore; the solar collectors covered on all the cabins; no boats in the water and the beautiful spruce wood chips in disarray from a downburst the second day of the Post Season. The island will be a lonely witness to the freeze up which will start in early October. But in May the island will be bustling again as a work crew descends to bring it back to life: finishing the boat work, cutting hundreds of spruce trees to provide chips for the walkways and getting the entire system up and running for the June 11, 2013 opener, a date that for most of the Scott Lakers can’t arrive soon enough.

Breaking News

A FISH STORY (happy ending included)

51 inch pike

This is the story of four anglers, diagnosis a guide passionate about big fish and of course a big fish. During the 2012 season twelve year veteran Scott guide, Biff Piston (his real name is Steve Linder but no one knows it besides his parents and now everyone on the Scott Lake Lodge mailing list) spotted a really big pike at what became known as Biff’s Rock. It wasn’t a real special looking place, just a narrow channel adjoining two parts of Premier lake, a drop dead gorgeous lake adjacent to Scott lake and reached with a 20 minute boat ride. Mid-season last year Biff saw this really, really big fish in the clear water of Premier. He kept going back to the spot, as did other Scott guides—there are no secrets here. Three different times with three different anglers (you know who you are) that fish was hooked but three times something went wrong: the hook set wasn’t quick enough or it just plain shook off; big fish do that. Usually three times is a charm but for this fish it took four tries.

That fourth time happened on August 9th, again in Biff’s boat. This time everything went right for Biff and Charlie Dannewitz who was on the other end of the line. He was throwing his Mepps spinner with little plastic tail and right at the boat all hell broke loose. BIG FISH ON. Charlie played it like a champ with his dad, Chuck, and Biff doing some frantic coaching. From the start everyone knew that this was a special fish. No real drama though. No close calls. Just a great fight and then, just like in dreams, the huge pike was pulled right into the waiting cradle. The cradle closed and so did the saga of the fish at Biff’s Rock. The fish is officially now a 51” trophy, the biggest in the lodge’s history. (A history by the way that features accurate, no stretch, measurements.) For Charlie it was the fishing thrill of a lifetime. For Biff it was redemption. For the rest of us it’s hope. The monster was hooked right in the corner of the mouth: she (the giant pike are all females) swam away strong. Every guide for years now will stop at the rock and have their guests make a few casts, hoping.  What a story. Now look at the picture again. That’s a fish!

The Season After the Season

The “After Season”, viagra sales cure that wonderful time after the last group of guests head south and before fall turns into winter, cialis canada started a lot earlier this year. The last guests left on August 15th. The shorter season, while unfortunate, gave our shut down crew an opportunity to get a lot of work done.

The 2010 season was recession challenged. For many years we operated at the very edge of weather allowance. This year we operated with customers only 60 days compared to an historical average of 99 days over the eleven seasons prior to 2008. A little history: our longest season was 2002 when we ran 109 days, starting on June 2nd , running right until the first snows on September 19th. The weather was very cooperative that year and it was a bit easier to fill the Lodge in that year. In February of 2002, for instance, one US dollar turned into $1.61 Canadian, the recent high point of US currency value. Back then our 5 day trips cost the customer only $2,795 US but that price purchased for the Lodge $4,499 in Canadian goods and services, allowing the much lower package price than we have now. In 2010 our Book-at-the-Lodge repeat guests paid $4,295 for the 2011 season. After many price increases over those nine seasons we are actually in the same place, just paddling faster and absorbing nine years worth of inflation including the big jumps in post 9/11 insurance, plane and fuel costs. In short, that’s why the 2010 season was short and that fall work began in mid-August. But we are very optimistic that next season will stretch out a bit. On August 15 when the final 2011 deposits were taken we had 246 people booked for 2011, only 34 less than we had for the 2010 season, and we still have eight months of selling season ahead of us. Next season the shut down crew will be catching some trout on the rocks.

For this season the crew staying on through August 30th had to focus more on work than fishing. With great weather we took full advantage of the early close to attack some major projects, including the building of two new docks. The top priority was the back dock, the entry for what could be called the industrial side of our island in the north. On that platform about a quarter of a million pounds of food, fuel and other supplies reach the Lodge each season. The old dock must have handed at least 4 million pounds over its lifetime. It was due its retirement. It was rebuilt from stem to stern and should be good for another 4 million pounds. The north customer dock on the front side of the island got the same treatment. It was the father/son duo of Jerry and Steve Yanish and the dock avenger, Paul Hamilton, who did the heavy lifting for the dock work. Spruce logs for rock cribs, tons of rocks, lots of 2X6s, huge spikes and an incredible amount of muscle power were the ingredients for the job. Both docks look great.

Painting was the other after season priority. Keeping the 30 buildings on the island looking good is a lot like the painting of the Golden Gate Bridge: you start at one end, keeping painting until you’re done and then start again. Bartender turned painter Allison Whelan was the driving force in this year’s effort. She quickly found out that applying the stain and paint was the easy part. Sanding and scrapping was the tough work. With help from Jeff Walker, our chef for the two weeks, she attacked the job with steely determination. The expansive deck at the main lodge has never looked better.

Having no handyman talents what so ever, owner Tom Klein found himself cutting firewood and replacing the spruce log walkways around the island. Of course he did some fishing too in the good company of Mel Linder, the father of Scott guide, Steve Linder aka, Biff Piston. The trio had to shut down the fly out lakes and give those fish one last exercise session before their long winter’s rest. Ivanhoe was smoking, as was Smalltree. Late August is exciting fishing with a lot of very heavy fish that attack with savage abandon.

The Yamaha 40s were given a comprehensive work over by Don Klassen, a LaRonge Yamaha dealer, who flew in during the worst storm of the season. He will be back in the spring to tackle tune ups of the two dozen Honda 25s and 30s used on fly out lakes. Yes, it takes a lot to keep a fishing lodge finely tuned. But the place was put to bed nicely this fall: all the water lines drained; windows boarded up; plumbing fixtures and all motors winterized; kitchen cleaned within an inch of its life. With two weeks of hard work behind them the shut down crew jumped in the Beaver on August 30th and, like the geese and loons, headed south, leaving the island ship-shape, almost ready for the 2011 season. See you then.