AN ARCTIC GRAYLING FEST
The artic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) just doesn’t get enough respect! While it’s in the illustrious salmon family with many famous relatives like the Atlantic, King and Coho salmon, grayling don’t get much press; they are severely underappreciated. With a bluish/silver coloration and a dash of pink iridescence combined with the dramatic dorsal fin, the grayling is a feast for any angler’s eyes. Behind the beauty though is the heart of a fighter. For its size (the grayling in this corner of the north top out at just over 20 inches), the arctic grayling is a fighting machine with acrobatic grace. So, finally at Week 15 of these fishing reports, we have given grayling the top billing it deserves. For a good reason: instead of spending a few minutes landing a trophy grayling to qualify for the Triple Trophy hat or the 100+Club, many of our Week 15 guests spent a few hours catching and admiring these impressive, if diminutive, gamefish. No one dove into the world of these fast water- loving fish deeper than Mary and Joe Daugherty who, at a new fly out grayling hotspot, landed an astonishing 44 grayling over our trophy size of 15 inches. Some were way over that trophy mark. Joe had eight over 18 inches with a top fish of 19.5 inches. Mary probably set a lodge grayling record getting 13 over 18 inches with her top fish at 20 inches, about as big as you can handle big grayling in fast water with an ultralight spinning rod or four-weight fly rod. And these fish were fat, with a shape closer to a walleye than the typical slender grayling shape. Four more anglers (Darrell Massie, Cheryl Massie, Bill Sandbrook and Sonya Boone) all landed multiple graylings over 18 inches. It was an arctic grayling fest for five days here. Since August is our prime time for grayling, it wasn’t a surprise. We were just waiting for anglers to appreciate this great fish.
There were plenty of pike and lake trout featured on the front page of the daily Tundra Times too. These are fish with teeth (lots of teeth) which are favored by most of our anglers. There were some pike with plenty of teeth like the 45 and 46 inch pike landed by Peter Myhre who ended his run of 25 days (in three separate sessions) at Scott this week. His trophy count for the season was over the top. Joe Daugherty got a 46 as well and fifteen-year-old Jackson Wanderer had a taste of huge fish when he brought in a 45.5-inch beauty. For all anglers the pike numbers were impressive, but the number of trophy fish was down slightly due to some nasty weather that often spreads the big pike out in deeper water. Our anglers did land 81 trophy pike in the week with a total of 185 trophy fish, aided heavily by 86 trophy grayling. If you do the math, that leaves 18 more trophies. They were lake trout, including some supersized dandies. Darrell Massie had the top fish with a massively thick 42 incher. Mike Schulte had a 41. Marty Newton and Mary Daugherty landed lakers of 40 inches. The 100+Club added three new members—Darrell Massie, Bill Sandbrook and Mary Daugherty. They all went beyond the hat trick of getting all three gamefish in trophy size by having those three fish hit or exceed 100 total inches, not an easy task. Joe Daugherty was already a member from an earlier trip this season, but he added to an already hefty total by hitting 108.5 inches, putting Joe in a tie with Foster Graf for third place in the annual rankings. With just two groups left, the lodge record total of 111 inches accumulated by Amy Towers a few weeks ago seems unassailable. But there are still 52 anglers swinging for the fences. We’ll wait and see.
As with all our sessions, fishing is the focus but not the only reason guests come to Scott Lake Lodge. There were many memorable shore lunches, some fine dining at the lodge and a vibrant after dinner bar scene. People come to Scott Lake Lodge for one reason—to have fun.
That is accomplished with or without huge grayling, lake trout or pike. Just ask anyone who’s been to the lodge.