It’s summertime and the fishing, at least most of the time, is easy. Well it was easy most of the time, except when cold fronts creep into the 60th parallel. We had three days of cool and windy weather when our sixth group of the season was at the lodge, but they still caught a lot of trophies. Despite the often unstable weather over this early to mid-summer period, the fishing has been very stable, as in very, very good. Our spring fishing over the first fifteen days (June 10th to June 25th) of the 2016 season was sensational with intense action and some impressive trophy counts—so many huge pike, eleven over 47”. Fishing like that can’t be sustained over an entire season. Can it? You could ask the 130 anglers who fished between June 26 and July 20th. They would tell you that indeed it is possible. They landed 566 trophy fish with a staggering number of real hogs. The 25-day breakout: 358 pike, 148 lake trout and 60 grayling. Those are big numbers and they reflect some amazingly big days.
Over the past few weeks we have had some single day fishing experiences that will race the pulse of any Canadian angler right to the edge. Days that most anglers will only have in their dreams. How about a day when dad and his eleven-year-old son go after big trout for the first time after several Scott Lake trips of focusing on pike. Dave and Jackson Wanderer headed to the east end of Scott Lake to an area well known by all Scott guides. It always produces trout but rarely like it did for Dave and Jackson. While they caught only seven trout in their morning at Chester’s Hole, six of them were trophies. Jackson nailed a pair of 38” lakers, a 39”, a 40” and a 41.5”. Dad took a lot of pictures and contributed a 39” and 40” trout. That’s a good morning. Another father/son team, Gary and Garek Peters, had a very similar trout fishing experience. On a fly out lake Garek tied into a pair of 38 inchers, a 39”, a 40”, a 41” and a real hog of a 43”. Gary, like Dave, contributed a pair of dandies, a 36” and a 40”. You can’t make up fishing stories any better than this. The fishing stories just kept coming. Fishing buddies Ken Hartem and Rhys Reece had an even better day. Ken got five trophy trout with three over 40 inches. Rhys got three with two of them over 40. And together they added five trophy pike. That’s a DAY. Phil Nutt had one of those days too, getting trout of 39”, 40”, 40.5”, 41” and 44.5”.
JUST PLAIN BIG FISH
Typically, big fish don’t come in bunches. You earn them spending hours casting or trolling before you latch onto a big one. We had plenty of days where one magnificent fish made the day. Anglers who landed lake trout of over 40” (our standard for a “super-sized” trout) included Dave Bensema and Nicholas Kippenhan who both got a pair over 40. Ken Williams, Bob Noble, Greg Kippenhan, Gale Hamilton, Don Hunt, Doug Howard and Glen Perkins all had glorious memories of landing a trout over 40”—a true fish of a lifetime.
Pike were definitely part of the Big Fish story. They dominated it. In our 20 years of operations on Scott Lake we have never seen so many huge pike. We call pike of 47 inches or better “megas”. Over the past twenty-five days we added nine more megas to our season’s total. There were mega smiles on the faces of Bob Tiegs and Dan Jacobi who landed 49 inch girthy pike. The biggest smile though may have been on the face of Tamra Lee who early on her first morning of her first ever pike fishing trip she gets her first pike, a modest one. Then she lands her second pike ever, a ridiculously fat pike of 48.5”. You could hear the sobbing of grown men all over the north who have fished a lifetime without ever catching a fish like that. No crying though for Al Williamson, Tom Donaldson or Jerry Richardson who landed 48s. Nor from Dan Spielman, Ken Williamson or Harry Wilson who got 47 inchers. What a parade of pike!
HALF WAY TO A RECORD YEAR?
We are now at exactly the half way point of the season. It is on track to be our all- time trophy fish season. With 936 total trophies in the bag beating the record 2014 season of 1,542 is well within reach. We have already beat our all-time record for pike over 47”. Our record years were 2014 and 2015 when we had 13 pike over 47. In just a half season we have 20 over 47”. We are also looking at a trout record. We are sitting at 38 lake trout over 40” in the books, well on our way to a record. In 2014 and 2015 we had 30 trout over 40” for the entire season. So many big fish. We can debate the causes: more fly out lakes now numbering 18 spread over nine million acres of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, better anglers, more experienced guides, better equipment, etc. But who needs to analyze fishing. It’s just fishing and it’s just fun. People quantify because it’s easy: it’s just counting.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
There is no way to quantify the precious experiences of traveling miles over pristine waters to reach your guide’s “secret spot”, hearing the zing of your drag, watching an eagle take flight out of a spruce tree, hearing the enchanting loon calls at night or enjoying that first taste of really fresh fish at a shore lunch. The Scott Lake Lodge experience is certainly about fishing but much, much more. It’s about sharing this wilderness with like-minded people, watching the nightly “fish of the day” photographs together, enjoying a fine meal and yes, telling fish stories. All part of the adventure. And the story for 2016 is only half told.
THINK ABOUT 2017
If you are getting tired of just reading about fishing adventures, it’s time to send our guide/sales manager Jon Wimpney an email at email@example.com While most of our anglers rebook for the following year before they leave the lodge, we do have a few spots open in our 2017 calendar. Camp opens on June 9. Check out the 2017 schedule and details on our website. But don’t think too long. You want to be part of the Scott Lake Fishing Adventure for 2017. Grab your phone, I-Pad, computer or any device you want and email Jon today.
Here on the border of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories, Scott Lake Lodge offers three distinct seasons during our eleven weeks of operations that begin on June 10 and end on August 29th: two weeks of spring,six weeks of summer, and three weeks of fall. We don’t know what the summer and fall will bring but the two weeks of spring fishing are in the books. And what a first chapter to the 2016 fishing year. Three groups of anglers have thrown flies, spinners, spoons, plastics and about anything else you can put on the end of a line at the pike of the 60th parallel. Were these pike picky? Not in the least. They have been ferociously attacking anything they can see in these clear northern waters.
SHALLOW WATER MADNESS
Our first three groups with five precious days each have witnessed some incredible scenes. Imagine standing in the front of a boat in a quiet bay. Off to your left near the grassy bank, in water no more than eight inches deep, you spot a rather large tail sticking right out of the water. You gently toss your spinner to the edge of the grass. There is an explosion. You have the fight of your fishing life and then the guide scoops up a magnificent northern pike. The tape does not lie—51 inches of controlled fury. This not long after you landed a 48.5” pike under similar circumstances. If you’re long time Scott Lake Lodge guest Joe Novicki you don’t have to imagine it. You did it! Just one in a five day string of memorable days where Joe boated ten trophy pike. His fishing buddy, Bill Calabresa, didn’t do so badly either, getting eleven total trophies with some monster lake trout—39, 41 and 44”. That’s a great five day run. Fly out Team Lynch (Dave, Patrick and Mike) joined by fishing friend John Sanderson boated an incredible total of 20 trophy pike for the foursome. That’s great fishing.
IT’S ALL IN THE NUMBERS
For people who love the visual excitement of shallow water pike fishing, the first three sessions here at Scott are hard to beat. It’s all about temperature. When the sun beats down on our shallow bays, creating a temperature differential of about six degrees between the cold waters of the open lake and the warming waters of the shallow silt-bottomed bays, all hell breaks loose in those bays. It takes sunny days though. We didn’t get the sun every day and our second group of the season did get cheated with a three day cold front, but we got enough sun to write quite an opening chapter. The action was unreal. Conversations about landing 50 to 100 pike per day with many in the 35-38” range were common around the dinner table. And the trophy numbers were off our charts: raw numbers of big fish caught (not counting all the “ones that got away” stories) tell the story eloquently. In just fifteen days of fishing we racked up 370 trophy fish. The species breakout: 352 pike over 40”, 10 lake trout over 35” and 8 grayling over 15”. That’s around five trophy fish per angler. Sometimes numbers are better than words, if they are numbers like that.
The next set of numbers are even more inspiring: 32 pike over 45” with five of those at 47” (caught by Dan DeChamps, Don Granada, Dave Thome, Dave Lynch and John Sanderson (well his was 47 and a half); five at 48” (taken by Skip Jewett, Jake Jaffe, Joe Novicki, Mel Deane and Dave Thome, a double dipper; and of course that monster at 51”, fought to submission by Joe Novicki, a serious double dipper. We are on track right now to have by far our best trophy season ever. We’re not sure if the fish around here are getting bigger or our guides and anglers are getting better, but we do know that we have over the past five years been seeing many more huge pike. It’s enough to give one spring fishing fever.
CATCH THE FEVER AT SCOTT
Openings for the first three groups of our season are precious and rare. While there aren’t many openings for spring fishing at Scott for 2017, there are some. Our 2017 spring season sessions are June 9-14, June 14-19 and June 19-24. If you want to have a moment like Joe Novicki, watching a monster pike turn and savagely engulf your lure, give Jon Wimpney, our guide/sales manager, an email at firstname.lastname@example.org When? Right now of course. Get a case of spring fishing fever at Scott next year. We held our prices for 2017. Our packages come very well wrapped: charter flights from Saskatoon, SK, hotel on your southbound return, use of high quality fishing tackle, wine with our extraordinary dinners, complimentary soft drinks and all transfers to the lodge are included. Just get yourself to Saskatoon. Our guide team which now has an average tenure at this Lodge alone of 15 years (a number no other Canadian lodge can even come close to) will take care of you in the boat. Our experienced and dedicated shore staff will take care of you on our 12-acre island in the middle of fishing paradise. Get a conversation going with Jon, now.
JUST THE WAY WE LIKE IT
It has now been twenty years that the current owners of Scott Lake Lodge have watched that first float plane with guests appear on the southeast horizon line and then touch down on the inviting waters of Scott Lake. For some of those twenty openers, it took a high intensity effort to get this island on the 60th parallel ready for prime time. This was not one of those. In 2016 the early ice out made our preparations a lot more relaxed. For our staff there was even some down time the afternoon of June 10th. Thanks to the hard work of the thirty team members on the island everything was ready-clean, neat and organized, just the way we like it. When our first guests of the season stepped onto our dock, they enjoyed an atmosphere more like a family reunion (except the warmth wasn’t faked) than a business setting. That’s the way it is around here. Our new group quickly fell into the Scott Lake Lodge routine: enjoying great conversations, wonderful meals, relaxing moments on the expansive deck overlooking the lake, and of course catching a lot of fish-we mean a LOT of fish.
WEEK 1 ON THE BOOKS
As always the fishing in the early part of the season follows the weather. When the sun was out, fishing was out-of-control exciting. When it clouded over, things slowed down. We had some of each our first week. During the two nearly perfect, sunny days the action was sizzling with catch rates of 50-100 fish per person the common report. In the early season pike just crave sunshine. And many got a chance to feel those rays directly when they were posing for pictures. An absolutely beautiful 47″pike got to pose with his temporary keeper Tim Den Heuvel. Another 47 incher got the same opportunity with angler Dan DeChamp. A fat 46″ pike did the grip and grin show with Cory Brumbaugh and three anglers-Dave Wanderer, Don Pulver and Glen Tellock-got to show off their 45s. Lots of big fish. A total of 63 trophy pike were caught in five days and hundreds (maybe thousands) were brought to the boats. Early season is an exciting time. It was mainly a pike show but some trout were caught shallow including a gorgeous 41 incher landed by Bill Stephenson.
Our first group did get to see Mother Nature throw quite a tantrum. On June 15th, the last day of the session, the morning was cloudy but not especially threatening. But by noon there was a clear sense that it was time to get off the water. We had one of the fastest developing storms we have ever seen around here. All the boats headed back to port. Most beat the driving horizontal rain, pushed by winds of 40-60 miles per hour. A lot of spruce branches snapped off and people got a chance to test their rain gear but everyone made it back for lunch in the lodge where it was warm and dry. It was an “all’s well that ends well” experience for everyone. Just like that it was over. When it was time for the group to leave, the sun was out and the lake looked inviting for the next group.
That big blow must have really shook things up under the surface. When the sun broke the horizon at around 4:00 AM (the days do start early up here in June and July), it felt like it was going to be a good day. Indeed it was. The barometer was heading north faster than a lake trout running down a whitefish and the sky/water was as blue as it gets. Everything looked right when the new crew jumped into boats and float planes for the first day of their trip. It felt right but no one knew it would turn out to be one of the best fishing days in the history of the lodge. Maybe it was the high pressure system. Maybe it was the intense subarctic sun hitting the water surface. Maybe it was dumb luck. But for whatever reason the pike just went on a feeding spree. Fishing was the same on Scott and on the fly out lakes that some of the guests went to-it was spectacular. And there was time for counting when the fishing was done. That count was impressive. In a single day a total of 53 trophy pike and two trophy lake trout were caught.
These were not just barely over the line trophies where the tip of the tail just kisses the 40″ mark. These pike were big: a full dozen stretched the tape to 44 inches or over. Part of the daily box score: 44 inchers by Amy Bajalia, Dave Crussell, Ken Riechert and Mike Rogers who picked a pair; 45 inchers by Mel Deane, Bart Davies and Peggy Light who also picked a pair; 46 inchers by Joe Daugherty and Don Luke who also landed a 37″ lake trout on his fly rod; and, a 47 incher by Don Granata who took the top honor for the day. Yes, all in a day. Don, along with Peggy Light, had five trophies for the day. Judy Schmidt got six and Mike Rogers got seven. Repeating: all this happened in one day. For some lodges a haul like that represents a season of big fish but it was all in a day’s fun (we don’t like the term work) here.
THANK YOU FOR ANOTHER SOLD OUT SEASON
In earlier messages we forgot to thank all of our 2016 customers for making this another sold out season at Scott Lake Lodge. We are humbled that so many anglers trust us to provide them with a memorable fishing adventure. Every year we work hard to improve our service and our facilities. We just don’t believe in “good enough”. We always give it our very best and focus on consistent and constant incremental improvement.
ARE YOU THINKING JUNE 2017?
At Scott we give guests the right of first refusal to keep their week, their cabin and their guide. The first week is now history so we now can offer bookings for week 1 of 2017. The dates June 10-15 and the price ($5,795) are the same as this season. What will the fishing be like? Find out. These season opener trips are precious and rare. Grab one right now for June 10, 2017. Our Guide/Sales Manager, Jon Wimpney, will respond to your email questions or bookings every night as soon as he gets off the water-no rest for the wicked. Contact him ASAP at email@example.com A $1,000 deposit holds your spot. Be on the first to throw a line next season. So stop thinking right now and start typing that email!
The Gang is All Here
Well, most of the gang is here. Thanks to an early ice out we were able to start bringing in our staff on May 29th.. That’s the earliest date for floatplane landings over the past twenty years at least. We had a group of four, led by senior guide Paul Hamilton, on the island for nearly a month prior to the first splashdown. They came in on a chopper to get a head start on a long checklist of spring work. Now we are a dozen strong with more arrivals every day until the full crew of thirty is assembled just before our June 10 opener. The pre-season is always an exciting time. There is a lot of activity on the island and in the air. Our Otter and Beaver floatplanes are running almost non-stop trips to bring in the needed supplies for the season and set up the 20 fly out lakes scattered over nine million acres of the Northwest Territories. And there are other birds in the air – geese, loons, terns and lots of migrating songbirds, many heading much farther north. It’s a great time to enjoy the quiet of the lake before the guide team gets their boats in the water.
There has been a lot of hard work put in already. The biggest item on the list this spring was a major landscape improvement project. All the logs edging our woodchip trails have been replaced with beautifully stained logs. The logs came from a burn area so you might say that they were kiln dried. Unlike the fresh cut logs we have been using for years these will resist rotting for many years. But it’s a major job. After hauling the logs to the island, the guys need to strip off the bark, pressure wash and then stain each log. Not a small task. About two hundred were prepared and put down to make our walkways more than just a mode of conveyance – they are a thing of beauty. Of course we also need tons of woodchips. More trips to distant shores to cut standing dead trees.
The crew has been busy.
As if we needed more to do, the ice decided that we needed to rebuild one of our docks, the north dock where our Beaver is parked during the season. When wind and ice conspire, wood and rock are no match. A team of four will spend at least two full days getting the dock back to a functional status. There has been inside work too. Customers will be pleased to see a new bar and some additional dinner seating in the main lodge. Several cabins have been stained. Getting around to the twenty log-sided buildings takes both time and some cooperation by the weather.
Completing special projects is challenging when there are lots of important “regular jobs” to do: cleaning the cabins; getting the water and power running smoothly; putting fifteen guide boats in the water and servicing the outboards; rigging 168 rods/reels (each guide has twelve outfits to cover all the fishing situations at Scott); unloading load after load of freight from our planes, and doing all the little things that make Scott Lake Lodge a unique fly in destination. But everything is getting done. In just three more days the place will be ready for prime time and the first group of customers. We thank all our 2016 guests for making this wonderful summer in the wilderness possible for our staff who would rather be here than anywhere else in the world. It’s a special place.
New Chef in Town
Scott Lake Lodge has been blessed with some fine chefs over our twenty year run. After nine years of providing excellent dining experiences (both as sous chef and executive chef), Jeff Walker decided it was time to do some traveling and explore new horizons.
We know we have another winner with Jeremy Hobson, who greeted arriving staff on Friday evening with a magnificent prime rib dinner, (there will be more for guests). It was a sign of great dinners ahead. Jeremy has traveled and cooked widely around Canada, spending six years as Banquet Chef and Executive Chef at the Waskesiu Lake Lodge and Convention Center near the Prince Albert National Park and working some very high end catering jobs. He has personally cooked for some very internationally well known touring musicians such as the Red Hot Chill Peppers, the Foo Fighters and Neil Young. His most prestigious assignment though was cooking for Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, and Francois Hollande, the French President. So he will not be intimidated cooking for our world class anglers. Rest assured, you will enjoy his culinary talents. His approach to his assignment at Scott Lake Lodge: “I see every day as a blank slate on which I create something new and exciting that will leave guests talking for days to come.” Not a bad attitude. Come on up and experience Jeremy’s creative expressions for yourself.
Not Too Late
We are ever so close to a complete sell out of the season. There are only six empty cabins left! Be one of the dozen to make 2016 your most memorable summer ever. Our Sales Manager is taking emails in between fighting with the damaged dock. And he has an incentive to fill that last spot.
Contact Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org
and do it fast. He will be even faster getting back to you (he carries his smartphone around the island.) Our satellites are up and the wi-fi is running well. But when you do start packing for your trip to Scot,t try leaving your devices at home. This is a place to unwind and disconnect. And catch a lot of fish!
P.S. No fishing reports yet. Everyone is working.
It’s now less than two months from the start of the 2016 season at Scott Lake. Along with the entire Scott Lake Lodge gang (30 strong), I am getting extremely excited. A winter’s worth of work behind the scenes is now coming together: aircraft contracts are secured; staff has been hired and trained; hooks are sharpened (that’s an important ritual for all anglers, including our guides), and tons of fuel, food and supplies have been ordered and staged for shipment to the lodge. Now mother nature needs to hold up her end of the bargain with a normal ice out and we will be all set to welcome the first group of 2016’s guests on a sunny (hopefully) June 10th evening. The ice situation is looking good right now. It was a relatively mild winter with ice depth at our last lodge visit about a month ago of “only” 40″. That’s right–that is a lot less ice than most winters. We should be fine with our June 10 opening date. There have been a lot of very mild days in Stony Rapids recently.
Speaking of staff, you will be happy to know we have a lot of the same faces on the island to greet you, including the entire 2015 guide staff. There are a few new folks we’ve added to the fold as well. Stay tuned and we will introduce them to you in the next few weeks. Needless to say we are very excited about the team we have put together and think you will be too.
We are excited about this! Like can’t sleep at night thinking about it excited. After some lengthy discussions and consultation with the Northwest Territories government, we have secured fishing access to four very large new lakes. This brings the swath of Canada’s north for which we have exclusive fishing rights up to nearly nine million acres. Nine million! That’s a bigger area than nine of the US states. Our plan early this season as always will be to focus on Scott Lake and our established network of sixteen fly out lakes. As soon as these are set up and running, we will be exploring, mapping, and moving boats into the new lakes. The 2016 season will be one of exploration of these new waters with limited client fishing. Given that these lakes are much further north than our existing fly out lakes, we are expecting ice out to be late June or even early July.
Did I mention that to our knowledge two of the four lake have never been fished in modern times and never with an outfitter? Want to be on the front end of the exploration of these untouched subarctic lakes? You have to get up to Scott! Securing these new lakes is part of Scott Lake Lodge’s management plan to rotate lakes and keep pressure spread out and low on all our fly out lakes. We are committed to making our fishing experience better every year.
Without further ado the newest additions to the Scott Lake Lodge exceptional flyout destinations are: Wholadia Lake, Flett Lake, Firedrake Lake and Rennie Lake. Have a look online at a NWT map and start drooling. Our sales guy Jon “J5” Wimpney will be ready to take your call. He has the cure.
Now that the news is out about the new waters, (not to mention many new boats and motors on Scott and other fly out lakes) it’s time to talk to Jon to make sure you don’t miss out the exciting 2016 season. There are a few spots scattered throughout the season still available, but not many. We are 95% full! Don’t delay. If you are thinking about it, stop thinking and grab your phone. Just book it! There’s a giant fish up there with your name on it. Do you want someone else to hook it? Contact Jon at 306-209-7150
See you all up there!