Mid Season Update

Mid Season Update

As of July 24, we have hosted nine five-day groups at Scott Lake Lodge, exactly half of our 90-day 2018 season. So, is this glass of perfectly clear Scott Lake water half-empty or half-full?

We’re kidding. Of course, it’s half-full. Scott Lake Lodge is that kind of place. Actually, we don’t even like half-full glasses—be it water, wine, beer or spirits we make sure all the glasses around here are brimming full. And that’s exactly what happened over the first 45-days. We have half of a glass and half of a season that’s full of huge fish.

It’s hard to imagine a better overall half-season that what we have experienced this year. There were some weeks with better fishing of course. Fishing in the far north is all about weather: typically, the warmer the better. Some of our groups encountered nasty cold fronts that dramatically slowed things down, but overall, the fishing was sensational. This is, after all, not the kind of fishing lodge where you should have been here last year, or ten years ago. This was the year to be at Scott Lake Lodge and we’re not indulging in speculation. We have the numbers. They do tell a story.

Big smiles and big trout.

That story has been BIG FISH, lots of big fish. In our first 45 days our intrepid anglers have landed 1,164 trophy fish. That’s a bigger number than the full season totals for all but six in our twenty-one-year history, all of those within the past eight years. It’s the really big pike though that have this half-full glass just jammed with huge fish (it’s a big glass by the way). By our standards a huge pike is one in our “super-sized” category, a fish of 45” or more. That’s for most anglers a true fish of a lifetime. Well, that adrenaline-inducing experience of tying into a 45+ pike has happened 100 times already this season.

“That adrenaline-inducing experience of tying into a 45+ pike has happened 100 times already this season”

To put that number in perspective, over the past 21 seasons the average number of super-sized pike was 42—for the full season. We are well on our way to blowing away our all time over 45” number of 138 set last season. It will happen. The second half of the season is typically when the giants go one the prowl in their annual fall feeding binge. If we look at pike over 47”, a size we call the “megas”, we have a similar story. Our anglers have landed 20 of those so far this season, against a 21-year full-season average of just 9.  Between 2004 and 2010 the average was 4.5 of the mega size. So, something is happening here. We have had roughly the same number of guests every season since the 2000 season. It’s not more anglers. For pike, both the total number of trophy fish (40” or more) and the super-sized numbers have exploded. Why? Lots of factors: more fly out options with fish that haven’t ever seen a lure (from 3 to 22 over the past 21 seasons); more experienced guides (average tenure now is 17 seasons at Scott); better fish handling (lower mortality); better anglers (our repeat customer rate is now around 85%) and maybe most importantly, warmer water that creates conditions for faster growth rates. All speculation of course but the numbers are real.

Behind all those real numbers are real stories. Probably every one of the 240 anglers who have jumped off a floatplane onto our docks this summer has three of four stories of big fish landed or lost; stories of over-the-top shore lunches and superb dinners at the lodge ; stories of friendships made or renewed; and simple stories of loon calls, the sight of an eagle arcing across the sky or the sound of the loons calling in the night, and the rare experience of being in a pristine wilderness with all comforts of home (probably more comforts). No one’s story, though, can match Jim McDougal’s who on a single day landed seven trophy pike including a 45, a 46 and a whopping 49.5 incher. Kurt Vincellete has his 49.5 story as well. Russ Geseme has stories involving two 45s and two 47s. Dave Dalvey can remember fourteen trophies from his trip. Peter Myhre would have a difficult time remembering all his trophies—29 pike trophies in five days! Andrew Troop will always remember his massive 44” lake trout as will Brian Spaly remember his fat 44. And some youngsters will have memories of Scott for a long time as they kicked off their fishing careers. Fifteen-year-old Linus Maurer and thirteen-year-old Ben Matherly both landed 48” pike. Fourteen-year-olds Thomas Purcell and Greta Hall become some of the youngest members ever of our 100+Club. So many fish. So many memories. Now we will wait and see just how full that glass can get as we fish out the remaining 45 days of the 2018 season.

Now’s The Time to Book for 2019

If you don’t think that this is the time to book your 2019 trip you should read the above report again. In our long history we have never seen so many fish and so many big fish. If you were at Scott 10, 15 or 20 years ago, you would find a different place—better facilities, more experienced guides, better equipment and most definitely better fishing. We always allow guests to rebook their week, guide and cabin before they leave the island so we are not booking for August of 2019 yet but we are open to book for June and July. A few of our 2019 weeks are fully booked but many are open for your next fishing adventure.

Don’t miss your chance to get a prime week. Email our guide/sales manager Jon Wimpney at j5@scottlakelodge.com right now. He’s on the water during the day but catches up on emails/phone calls in the evening. He will call you the same day or the next day after you contact him. Our wifi calling works just fine here on the 60th parallel. For general information about the lodge or travel options call our customer service office in Wisconsin at 888/830-9525 (call 715/362-7031 from Canada). Yes, do it now.

Shore Staff Retreat

Shore Staff Retreat

Yes, you read that correctly: SHORE staff retreat.

For several years the Scott Lake Lodge Guide Team has made an annual pilgrimage to a fishing destination for critical team building and a chance to be in the guest seat of the boat. The rewards of making such a trip have been innumerable. And it’s, of course, a lot of fun for the team.

Heading to Fraser River, British Columbia.

So, this year we decided to apply that model to our hard working, all-star Shore Staff Team. It was high time to thank them for their phenomenal work and commitment to our guests and our island. We collected a group from all over Canada and headed to the Fraser River, British Columbia for a couple days of preseason planning sessions and some quality time on British Columbia’s biggest river that rolls for 854 miles ending up in the Pacific right in the city of Vancouver.

The group had a blast, caught some amazing fish and came away with lots of great ideas and enthusiasm for the season ahead.

The river was high and fast but that didn’t bother the great guides of the Sturgeon Slayers, a top-notch sturgeon outfitter headed by Kevin Estrada. We thank Kevin and his guides for connecting our group with some very impressive fish. Our Head Chef, Nigel Rivera, took the honors for the biggest fish of the trip, a monster that taped out at EIGHT FEET, FOUR INCHES. On the Fraser they measure in feet not inches. Nigel had stiff and sore arms the next day but he was excited about besting a fish of that size. The wealth was spread around. Everyone landed a fish of at least six feet. We didn’t get the biggest ever off this massive river (sturgeon over ten feet and weighing up toward the 1,000-pound mark have been caught) but they were all big enough. Unfortunately some blizzards in eastern Canada kept some staff members from attending but the crew of  Eli Mahoney, Rachael Basler, Clare Markle, Dawson Sawchuk, Brenna Savery, Danni Grunberg, Nigel Rivera, our new massage therapist Tamsin Both and General Manager Jason Hamilton blended business and fun in a masterful way. The group had a blast, caught some amazing fish and came away with lots of great ideas and enthusiasm for the season ahead.

Winter Update 2018

Winter Update 2018

February 2018

Winter Update

While Scott Lake rests covered in snow and ice, for Scott Lake Lodge there is still lots on the go: we are securing new fly out destinations, ordering supplies, planning island-wide improvements and wrapping up construction work on the new Laker Lodge 2.0.

In short, we have been quite busy. With the help of our own ice pilots, the twin otter on skis landed on the unmarked snow of Scott Lake. Big January winds and cold made unloading the Otter a challenge but Paul Hamilton, Curt Woloshyn and yours truly, Jason Hamilton, who were there for a week, bundled up well and got a load of lumber off the plane. Going to a frozen lodge on the 60th parallel in mid-winter might sound fun, but it’s a pile of work. It goes something like this: unload plane and send it back for the second load of lumber; wade through snow and unboard cabin; attempt to start snowmobile but fail; tear snowmobile apart; attempt starting again and fail, again. Take a deep breath and light a fire to start the thawing of the cabin from -40 C (which coincidentally is exactly the same as -40 F) Now, what time does the sun set???

A blanket of snow covers the lodge and lake.

Unfortunately, its damn early this time of year; there is only around 5 hours of daylight in mid-January. Back to the snowmobile…success, finally; move gear up to the cabin. Now because the snow had covered the solar panel, there is no power. So, thaw small generator to heat up big generator, to get some juice. Wait 6 hours for power, internet, heat, dinner and a drink. That first day was hectic but after this it was time to work. The winter crew finished the electrical work and did the interior pine paneling for most of the lodge expansion. Shoveling roofs and clearing solar panels involved moving a few thousand pounds of snow but the 8000lbs of lumber provided the real tonnage. It’s how things get done though on the 60th parallel in winter. Overall, it was a good trip with considerable accomplishment. The lodge is really coming together. We think you will like it.

“Unfortunately, its damn early this time of year; there is only around 5 hours of daylight in mid-January.”

That first day was hectic but after this it was time to work. The winter crew finished the electrical work and did the interior pine paneling for most of the lodge expansion. Shoveling roofs and clearing solar panels involved moving a few thousand pounds of snow but the 8000 lbs of lumber provided the real tonnage. That’s how things get done though on the 60th parallel in winter. Overall, it was a good trip with considerable accomplishment. The lodge is really coming together. We think you will like it.

Laker Lodge 2.0

Just us and 8000 lbs of lumber.

Only took a few trips through the snow.

Guide Retreat 2018: Tampa, FL

This event is much anticipated and does a great deal to cement relationships within the company, fosters team work and lets the group have a look into the other side of the guiding experience with some fishing. The destination this year was Tampa, FL. Strings were pulled by the owners and prime seats were secured for the NHL All Star game. Now that’s music to the ears of a bunch of Canadian fishing guides.

After a hockey overload and maybe a few beverages, the group hit the inshore waters of Tampa Bay to try their luck. A mixed bag of species bent rods, Pompano, Permit, Mackerel, Snapper, Cobia, Jacks were landed, lessons were learned, and the guide team concluded that it was a great way to officially kick off the 2018 season.

The group left ready to guide NOW, but of course the five feet of ice on Scott will have everyone waiting a couple months to start that game.