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.

Angler Gift Guide

Angler Gift Guide

Top 10 Gifts for the Traveling Angler

 

With the help of our guide team we put together a list of ten essential items that every wandering angler’s gear should include. These must-have items will help your favorite fisherman be comfortable, efficient and effective, which all add up to having more fun and catching more fish!  (Recommendations for brands are subjective since we are not sponsored by any.  In our part of the world we simply need to use what works.)

So without further ado here it is the 2017 Scott Lake Lodge approved gift guide:

#10 Good Quality Rain Suit

We are constantly shocked to see guests arrive on a northern Canadian fishing trip with low quality, ineffective rain gear. Gore-Tex and Toray are the fabrics you need in your suit…yes a suit (bibs and a parka.) The difference between catching fish while being comfortable or miserable is an extra few bucks. Rain gear is the place to treat yourself and a good suit will last you a lifetime. Retreat it with Revivex which maintains the water repellent coating. Simms, Patagonia, Cabelas, Bass Pro Shops and Helly Hansen all sell the good stuff.

#9 Waterproof Duffel Bag

A bag like this will save you grief traveling the world over. They are easier to pack on small planes and protect your gear from rain, unplanned dips and everything else an adventure might throw at it. As you trek to remote parts of the world chasing fish baggage carousels tend to be replaced by patches of gravel beside the plane.  Simms, Patagonia, North Face and Cabelas all make solid versions.

#8 Waterproof Camera

Everyone wants to snap a photo on their phone. We love the idea of making your friends and family drool over that big pike that came flying out of the weeds and almost ripped the rod out of your hand!  But your phone is not waterproof.  A good point and shoot camera will have a better flash to cut through shadows on sunny days, greater zoom to get up close and most importantly, let’s you capture that underwater shot.  FUJI XP and Olympus Stylus Tough are tested and approved by our guides.

7. Waterproof Hard Case

Pick something that fits your needs but as small as possible (such as Pelican 1040 or 1060.)  They are just the right size to store your phone, camera, fishing licence and medication in a crush-proof, waterproof home.

6. Quality Polarized Sunglasses

In fact, get 2 pairs. Find a frame you like and buy a back up! Squinting your way through a week of fishing or being frustrated with poor fitting ones is not cool. We strongly recommend glass lenses. They have quality polarization and protect your eyes from flying lures. To test if your glasses are polarized find a digital LCD display (car radio, watch, gas pump, ATM machine), take them off, hold them out in front of your eyes.  You should be able to see the display through the lens.  Then turn the frame slightly to an angle and the display should be blacked out. Our guide team loves Costa Del Mar shades with mirrored green lenses – perfect for sight fishing. The rate of success in casting to a fish goes up immensely if you can see it and are not just guessing!

5. Gaiter or Buff

This amazing tube of fabric has endless uses. It keeps sun, wind and bugs off your face and neck. Plus, it looks pretty cool. Lighter colors work better for sight fishing. Think of a fish looking up from underneath the water… light colors blend into the sky, while a bright pink Buff might just catch its eye while you are trying to stalking it.

4. Multi tool

A good multi tool is an indispensable accessory for thousands of uses. Look for scissors and a file as fishing – friendly options. Leatherman is the standard.

3. Travel Mug

You likely have a couple of these in the cupboard at home already but splurge on a good quality one for your angler. Having a vessel to carry your coffee in the morning or a cold drink at night is never a bad thing. If you are visiting Scott Lake, you can even experience the the rare pleasure of dipping it over the edge of the boat for a drink of cold, pristine water right from the lake. YETI makes a great series of these products.

2. Powdered Drink Mix

Water tastes different everywhere, but adding a bit of flavor can make it more enjoyable so your angler will drink enough. Products with electrolytes can keep you hydrated and can even help shake off the effects of the night before.  Gatorade, Crystal Light and Mio are all good options.

1. All-Inclusive Trip to Scott Lake Lodge

What better place to test out your new wares then Scott Lake Lodge?  Trophy pike, giant lake trout and arctic grayling all set to a backdrop of 15 million acres of unspoiled, exclusive use fishing area. Not to mention the private accommodations, luxury lodge, spa, gourmet cuisine. We are certainly proud of our fishery and facility but mostly of our staff, who we know without a doubt provide the finest level of customer service in the industry.

You're All Geared Up, Let's Go!

50 Days In

50 Days In

Anglers of all ages, backgrounds and skill levels

For 50 days anglers of all backgrounds (a mother with her teenaged daughter, a corporate executive with his best customer), ages (from 8 to 93) and skill levels (from several who shook hands with a fishing rod for the very first time to highly experienced bait casters and fly rod specialists) have eagerly jumped into their guide’s boat, either on sprawling Scott Lake, our fishing home, or on one of our 20 incredible fly out lakes. They all had one thing in common: they came hoping to have a great time in a beautiful place and they all left feeling that they had accomplished their goal. Everyone, in their five days in paradise, caught some fish; most caught dozens of fish, and a few caught literally hundreds. Beyond fishing, everyone who steps off the dock at Scott Lake Lodge receives personalized attention by their guide and by the all the rest of our 30-strong staff to create the opportunity for that guest to have a true trip-of-a-lifetime. While it doesn’t always happen, it happens a lot. It’s the people here at Scott Lake Lodge that make the difference, making sure that a fishing vacation includes more than fishing—it’s great dining, relaxing conversations at the bar, festive shore lunches, comfortable accommodations, thoughtful guidance by the guides and yes, lots of bent rods.

They all had one thing in common: they came hoping to have a great time in a beautiful place and they all left feeling that they had accomplished their goal.

Over our first 50 days there were plenty of bend rods and a few that bent too far on big fish. Broken rods are easier to deal with than broken dreams–we have hundreds of fishing rods here, all provided to our anglers on a complimentary basis. We not only broke a few rods but we just might this season break a few records. We are not fish accountants at Scott Lake. Unlike some fishing lodges, we don’t provide our guides with “clickers” to record every single fish. Our guides do estimates for our outfitting requirements but we like our guests to keep a bit of mystery in their day. We want people to enjoy each-and-every fish and not get hung up on a daily body count. But we do keep track of the big fish; we have for the 21 seasons of the current ownership. On that score card this has been the start of an awesome (sorry, it’s the only word that fits) season. In 2016 we thought we had set the trophy record for the ages. We didn’t just break our old records; we absolutely blew them away. For 2017 we were hoping just for a good year—lightening doesn’t often strike twice. After our first 50 days, we now are braced for a bolt. With just 58% of our year in the books we have hit 67% of our total 2016 record trophy count. So far, our anglers have landed 1,219 trophy fish, mainly northern pike. And many of those pike have been huge. In our tenth week (our “weeks” here are five days, the length of time our customers like for their trip) we just hit an amazing milestone—40,000 inches of trophy pike. That’s 1,111 yards of pike. Just picture eleven football fields, plus a short pass, with end to end northern pike. It’s almost a scary thought, especially considering pike have maybe a thousand teeth each. Some of these pike have been truly impressive. We don’t get skinny pike here but we have never caught so many long and heavy ones at this stage of our season.

Our big fish of the season (so far) has been a 51-incher caught by Joe Novicki, who just happened to have caught the biggest fish of the 2016 season, also a 51. We’ve had a bunch of pike of 48 or 48.5”, all fish of a lifetime. That group of happy anglers: Tom Tarantino, Joe Daugherty, Bob Noble, Jim MacDougall, Conner Dannewitz, John Green, Brad Sailsbury, Rhys Reece and Dan Spielman. You don’t have enough screen to handle a list of our anglers who caught the other monsters (or as we call them “supersized” pike), but there were 16 at 47”; 24 at 46” and 42 at 45”. Sometimes the big pike came in bunches for anglers. Jim MacDougall used his fly rod like a magic wand to get in a single day pike of 48, 45, 44, 44, 41 and 40 inches. One day! John Green had an even more amazing day with pike of 48, 44, 44, 43, 42, 41, 40.5 and 40 inches. For some lodges that’s a season!

Impressive Trout

While not at record threatening pace, our gang has brought in a lot of huge lake trout as well. CB Young had the kind of trout day that MacDougall and Green had with pike. He landed lakers of 40, 41 and 43 inchers, all impressive trout. Trevor Myers had that kind of day as well, getting lake trout of 38, 39, 40 and 43 inches. Rich Kracum and Jake Linaberger put trout of 43 inchers into their guide’s net too. Mike Rosenberg pulled in one of the heaviest trout of the season, a 44X26.5” beauty. Bill Calabresa early in the season, about a 100 yards from our island, caught what’s still the biggest trout of the season, a 45.5” fatty. Thirty trout over the “supersized” magic number of 40” have been taken this season, not threatening our record but getting close. And our “supersized” grayling (18” or over) have been solid as well with fourteen of those posing for pictures.

So many big fish. So many fish stories. So many, of course, that got away. And so many “over 50s” pike that have been seen by guides or guests but not yet caught. Judging the length of a fish still swimming freely is difficult but having fish stories is OK. It’s in the DNA of anglers to tell stories. It’s a wonderful component of the mystique of fishing that not all fishing dreams are realized. There is always the hope that the next cast, the next day or the next trip will bring that fish-of-a-lifetime will be hooked, landed and touched, for however brief a moment, and then gently released into the darkness of the lake. It’s a dream, but a dream that every now and then is realized around here. Just ask Joe Novicki.

YOUR 2018 SCOTT LAKE ADVENTURE: NOW’S THE TIME

It’s no secret that Scott Lake Lodge sells out the lodge every season. The question is only when. Last year it was March but with the sensational fishing we’ve had in 2017 our re-bookings have far exceeded last season or any other season. Why wait? It’s time to stop thinking about your next or first Scott Lake Lodge trip and start emailing our Sales Manager/Guide Jon Wimpney. He’s on the water during the day, making angler dreams reality, but he will catch up to you by email or phone in the evening. You can reach him at j5@scottlakelodge.com  He can give you a fish story or two and book your 2018 trip. There are spots scattered throughout June and July, but there aren’t many left.

Grab your piece of the action. Don’t be a victim of FOMO—Fear of Missing Out. There is too much to miss here: the fishing of course but also the classic Canadian shore lunches, the solitude and serenity of having 800,000 acres of the private water of Scott Lake, Premier Lake and our 20 fly out destinations, the fine dining, the extraordinary customer service and the camaraderie of sharing your fish stories with like-minded anglers in a pristine wilderness. What’s not to like? Shift from reading to typing right now. Jon is waiting.