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.