Late Season Update

Late Season Update

Usually, the seasons merge seamlessly at Scott Lake Lodge. A few birch leaves start to turn yellow, the ground cover starts to turn red and the temperatures gradually start to drop. For the 2018 season that transition happened in a single day—the third day of our sixteenth group…

(August 22nd on the calendar but just Day 3 up here). On Day 3 it was a pleasant 70 degrees. Most of the staff were running around in shorts, flip-flops and T-shirts. There was even some paddle boarding and kayaking. Then early on the morning of Day 4 there were a lot of geese flying south. They knew. By mid-morning a hurricane feeling north wind changed the season in minutes. The temperature started to drop and most of our anglers on Scott headed back to the lodge. Hundreds or maybe thousands of geese headed south, taking a free ride to the grain fields of southern Saskatchewan. It was a different day: it was fall.

This trout has definitely been eating.

And that’s not a bad thing. That first shock of fall is a dinner bell for the big pike. They know that their season in the sun is over. Soon the dark days and near freezing water will put them in zombieville. This is their last gluttonous spree until their world warms up next May. Over the next two weeks the big pike will be cruising the mid-depth structure (drop-offs, deep weeds, rock piles, points) in search of that last big meal. Our anglers will be breaking out their big stuff—the huge Mepps and Buchertails, the Bulldogs and the massive Storm and Savage plastics and for the fly anglers the heavy-duty saltwater flies, some a foot long. Some of those big fish will eat.

Records Are Meant to be Broken

That’s what’s ahead. What’s behind is the most extraordinary fishing season we have had in our 22-year history. As usual, the numbers tell the story. What a story is it. How about 1,785? That’s our total, trophy count with 17 fishing days left in the season. It’s really close to our record of 1,965 set just last season. Or 1,427, the number of pike trophies this season, right next to last year’s 1,489 record. Or 151? That’s the number of pike over 45”, already beating 2017’s record of 134. How about 36? That’s the number of pike over 47”, tantalizingly close to last year’s record of 40, a record that seemed at the time a fluke, unassailable.

If we look at the real long-term, it’s even more amazing. In the 21 previous seasons, the average for pike over 45” was 48 and for pike over 47” it was 13. (Between 2000 and 2012 that average was 6.6—the last three years pushed up this number.) This is clearly a new era at Scott Lake Lodge for giant pike. The trout and grayling records are also approaching new heights. We have now landed 46 lake trout over 40”. Watch for our Annual Report in the mail or on the website late this fall for all the details. For now just enjoy the pictures of a remarkable run of big fish—not fish stories.

“That’s what is ahead. What’s behind is the most extraordinary fishing season we have had in our 22-year history.”

Now’s The Time to Book for 2019

If the thought of pulling huge trout, pike and grayling out of water clean enough to drink is making you a little dizzy, just go to your phone, tablet or PC and shoot our Sales Manager/Guide Jon Wimpney a message.  Or text him at 306/209-7150. He’s guiding during the day and selling in the evening. Our WiFi service up here makes calling you back easy. Just give him a chance to tell you about our openings for 2019. Some weeks are totally full but most have a few spots—YET.

If you were up at Scott Lake Lodge a decade or more ago, there is an excellent chance you can hook up with your favorite guide. Yes, your guide from 15 years ago is probably still here. Of our 15 guides, 11 have been here for at least 15 seasons. (So, that’s why we’re getting so many big fish—these guys know the water and the game.) No other lodge in Canada is close to that depth of experience and professionalism. Tap into it.

For more general information or to get some printed brochures just call our customer service office in Wisconsin at 888/830-9525 (715/362-7031 from Canada.)

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.