Season Wrap Up

Season Wrap Up

What a year! Not only was the quality of the fishing record breaking, the quality of the operation was smoothness in action.

All but one of our changeovers was textbook. From the time our charter flight from Saskatoon landed at Stony Rapids to the time the last guest stepped on our dock was always just a few minutes either side of an hour (yes, we do measure those things).

Everything just clicked this year: our entire guide team was able to stay for the entire season; there were very few motor issues with our outboards, other than the two at fly out lakes that were literally eaten by bears; fly out departures were almost always within a minute or two of planned times; our power system never failed, despite some problems with our inverters; the weather was warmer and sunnier than average (only a few days of the dreaded east wind) and most importantly our guests all appeared to leave happy as our evaluations have testified.

In short, it was a season of low drama, except for the fishing.

Tom was a very happy customer to land this 47″ pike beauty.

And there was plenty of drama with our fishing. It was again the season of monster fish. We thought 2016 was a season that we could never replicate. Starting with Joe Novicki’s 51” pike in June last year and going right through the season, the 2016 season was magic. We even dedicated a special four-page spread to capture the 34 pike that stretched the tape to 47 inches or better. We thought that would be a one-year deal. Not quite. Joe Novicki did it again this season with another 51” pike, from a different lake—not the same fish. And the giants just kept coming. By the time we closed shop on August 29th there were 39 more pike over 47 inches, a new record. Those big fish were spread over a huge swath of the far north—nine different lakes including a dozen from Scott Lake itself. Going back just a few years our pike over 47” rarely totaled more than a dozen from all lake combined. Total trophies also set a record with 1,965. Over the previous seven seasons that average was 1,371. That’s 594 more times that someone said “that’s a gorgeous fish”. Pike trophies also hit a record with 1,487, almost double the 882 that we averaged over the previous seven years. Lake trout and grayling trophies came in at very respectable numbers of 213 and 263 respectively.

“So many big fish. In the 21-year history of the lodge we’ve never seen anything like it.”

The Board-Up: Post Season Activities

While the last guests left our island on August 29th, the season didn’t end there. Not by a long shot. Fall in the far north is a compelling season, with the sunny, blue sky days mixed with far more cloudy, wind blustery days, but they are all wonderful. For starters, it’s a totally bug-free period of the season (our bugs happen in late June and early July); the skies are usually filled with the sights and sounds of migrating geese and loons and the reefs are full of trout. Throw in the birch trees with their lovely yellow splendor and the ground cover in rich russet and you have quite a picture.

It was the picture that the two dozen parents, children, boyfriends, girlfriends and just plain friends who came up to join our staff for our annual Friends and Family Week enjoyed. They did it all- plenty of fishing (and plenty of trophy fish and trophy experiences), a couple of nights of spectacular northern lights, and most importantly a lot of relaxed conversations around the dinner tables and fireside.

Jackie and her mom enjoying Friends and Family Week.

The atmosphere was casual except for the first evening when the kitchen staff wanted to show off a bit with table cloths and a fancy, guest-quality dinner. It was an opportunity for them to find out just what the Scott Lake Experience is all about and to find out if their friends or relatives had been exaggerating about it. No one had. The reviews were top notch. No one was counting the drinks but let’s just say that there were not too many folks eager for early morning fishing. This was a relaxed party, a perfect way for our staff to end their season.

When they left it was down to the Scott Lake Lodge worker bees who tackled the shut down process which is many days with many people and the main lodge renovation. That group lead by Scott guide Paul Hamilton, teamed up with his dad Ted, hit the ground running. Before they wrapped up the fall work on September 17th, they had the addition fully closed in and had put new shingles on the entire roof. There turned out to be a lot of talent hidden (not so well hidden it turns out) on the Scott Lake guide team. Who knew that Mike Demyen had been a roofer and that Cory Craig had framed houses in Calgary years before? We know now. Those projects never had a chance.

There were other just plain good workers diving into the construction tasks—Riley Epp, our Beaver pilot who can hammer as well as fly and Mason Merz, our office manager, who was all over the island helping to get things done. Guide Graham Coulombe took the lead in making the rounds of our 20 fly out lakes to service the outboard, repair lots of bear damage to boats and turn over the 16-foot fly out boats. That was a full three days of work with Otter pilot, Travis Peckham, working along-side Graham. Gerry Yanish, our own Silver Fox, directed the lodge shut down which involves boarding up every door and window on every building—all 28– on the island, draining the water system, beaching and winterizing the 15 guide boats based on the island and doing so many other things that this screen couldn’t quite hold it.

A different crew lead by Hospitality Manager Danielle Grunberg started staining log exteriors, cleaning all the guest cabins, doing mountains of laundry and putting it away for the winter. Claire Markle, Brenna Savery and Jackie Tourand all worked on those tasks. The big job cleaning and putting away everything related to the kitchen went to Eli Mahoney and Rachael Basler who stayed on after the Friends and Family week to cook for the construction crew.

But it wasn’t all work. Everyone got out for some fishing, especially some early evening trout fishing. If you followed our Facebook posts, you would have noticed some remarkably beautiful fish. A fall spawner, lake trout like all the other char species, have a complete makeover for their spawning season. By around the 10th of September the smaller males (small in this case being between 20-30”) were up on the shallow rocky reefs all over Scott, resplendent in their fall colors, a sort of mimic of the fall landscape. Flies, spinners, spoons or baby pike plastics—it didn’t make any difference. They crushed whatever came near them. It is that rare time when you can sight cast for lake trout, a special privilege. By around the 16th the bigger trout were starting to come up. The final Scott Lakers to leave (Jason Hamilton, Mason Merz, and Paul and Ted Hamilton) had some fantastic final fishing. Then the island for the first time since mid-May was quiet and empty except for the ravens, our many snowshoe rabbits, and some late-leaving loons.
Week 17 Update: Scott Lake Offered Up a Little Bit of Everything For the Last Week of the Fishing Season

Week 17 Update: Scott Lake Offered Up a Little Bit of Everything For the Last Week of the Fishing Season

How does a fishing lodge wrap up a season as sensational as the one the guests and staff of Scott Lake Lodge experienced in 2017? After all this was the year when our guests landed a total of 1944 trophy fish and 40 northern pike that measured at 47 inches or better, both all-time lodge records. Well, I guess the best thing to do would be to record two monster 47 inchers on the very first day of our last group of the season. Sean Saraka and Joey Albarelli found themselves on the other end of the line from those bruiser pike who cooperated nicely by slipping out of the transparent waters of Scott Lake just long enough to pose for a few pictures. It was a smashing start to a wonderful week of abundant big fish. Add in the many wildlife sightings, over-the-top shore lunches and wonderful customer bonding and we are getting close to that closer week. With so many of our guests coming back the same week each season, it’s like mini family reunions every week. This final week had that in spades. The conversations and card games went on well after dinner every night. We had some new guests this week which made it even more exciting. As a fishing lodge, we get just one chance to make a good first impression with our new guests. I think we made it.

The big fish are always energizing and the group was fired up every night at trophy announcements. There were cheers for Peter Mancuso’s 46.5” pike; Paul Rowland’s 46; a pair of 45s landed by both Zack Skolnick and Chris Rowland; Mark Graf’s 45 pike; a pair of 40” Lake Trout captured by Joe Albarelli and Mike Albarelli’s 40” Laker. Our guests really get into sharing their trophy experiences, whether those trophies are fish or a close encounter with a loon. There were lots of fish stories. Even our small fish, the arctic grayling, got bigger this week. Todd Rosenberg pulled a fat 20-inch grayling out of the Smalltree rapids, the biggest of the season. Bill Russell wasn’t far behind with a 19 incher. Joe Parker landed an 18 incher there as well. That exhilarating “it’s a trophy” feeling was shared another 100 times during the five-day trip, despite some very strong winds that at times made fishing a bit chaotic. The thirteen Scott Lake guides though, with a total of just under 200 seasons at Scott under their belts, handled the conditions well and kept their guests on fish. Their years of experience on these waters rarely lets the customers down. The daily fish counts for some boats were off the charts. Big fish came too but there is a reason we call a 40- inch pike a trophy—there aren’t a lot of them. Don’t ask the father/son team of Paul and Chris Rowland how rare trophy pike are. For at least one day on Sandy Lake the big pike weren’t rare at all. Between them they landed a cool dozen trophy pike—all in a single day. The next day on Labyrinth Lake they focused on grayling and landed 19 trophies. Making that day even more spectacular they spotted not just a bear but seven black bears along the lake shore. One big boar was lured right into the water by the guide’s effective dying rabbit call. The guide did check the depth under the boat to make sure the bear had to swim not walk to the boat and making sure the bear, who apparently thought that he had three big rabbits to eat, didn’t join them in the boat. The big guy did wade out to within 30 feet though. He wanted that rabbit, but he needed some glasses.

As with every one of our five-day adventures here, big animals were encountered almost every day. There was a great video of a bull moose shown on the screen during the after-dinner slide show of the day’s highlights. Several moose and bears were sighted. The big non-fishing event of the week though was not terrestrial but celestial. All our guests had to do to see northern lights was stay up a bit later than normal and look up, straight up. You don’t need to look to the north when you’re on the 60th parallel. Just up. We had two nights of jaw-dropping displays of the aurora. One night the lights stretched across about a 120-degree arc. It was glorious. For many of the two dozen anglers here that light show was even more exciting than bringing in big fish. (Not talking about you Mark.) The week was more than visual. There was a soundscape too. With thousands of geese heading south, the stirring calls could be heard night and day, along with the wild calling of loons who were also starting their trip south. Of course, the zinging of the drag was probably still the favorite sound of the week. With the hard hitting and fighting fall pike on the prowl, there was plenty of that and it didn’t take a trophy pike to rip out line. But then just like the geese, it was time for our group to also head south, both refreshed by the adventure and worn out by the hard fishing and late nights—actually, a great combination. So, the crew climbed into the Beavers and the Twin Otter for the trip to Stony Rapids where they jumped in a prop jet for the journey back to Saskatoon and civilization. The 30-strong Scott team watched with mixed emotions as those last planes of the season took off. It was a fantastic season and all good things do come to an end. It wasn’t quite the end though, because coming to Scott on those same float planes were a couple of dozen participants in Friends and Family week—the parents, children, boy-friends, girl-friends or just friends of the Scott Lake staff. So, it isn’t over yet. Stay tuned.

Week 16 Update – Big Winds and Big Pike!

Week 16 Update – Big Winds and Big Pike!

Our second last group of the season got a shot of classic Scott Lake Lodge fall weather. It was a real mixed bag of some rain, some sun, some morning fog, some chilly morning, some hot late afternoons and wind—lots of wind. It’s that last element that warms the hearts of the Scott Lake guide team, a group that has seen a lot of weather here. With an average tenure at Scott of fifteen years (that’s the average) they know what turns on big fish. It’s wind, the dinner bell for big pike. Some sleeping giants heard the bell, creating some wonderful fish stories. Which ones to choose? Tough call. We’ll go with Day 3 (Up here we don’t have a clue all summer what the day of the week it is—we go from Day 1 to Day 5 in a Groundhog movie cycle). Picture yourself at the evening trophy celebration. After a great dinner, guide Mike “Nuggets” Demyen, fires up the crowd with the announcements of the trophy fish caught that day as trophy pins are handed out to our intrepid anglers. He starts with a bunch of 40, 41 and 42” pike and a couple of trophy trout. Then a 44” pike is announced—that’s a big fish, maybe the biggest of the day. Then he announces a 45.5” pike landed by Christina Walker. That could be the big fish of the day. No, he’s still on a roll. He congratulates Jim Loken on his 46.5” water wolf. Wow, that’s the big one for the day. Must be. After a dramatic pause (Nuggs is good at this), he tells the remarkable his/her day that unfolded. Jennifer and Jon Evans did something that no two anglers in the same boat had ever done here. They both landed monsters. Jen’s fish was 49.5” with a ridiculous girth. Jon’s was “only” 49”, but also a fat, feisty pike. That’s togetherness.

It wasn’t the only great story of the week. On Day 1 of his trip Terry Parks had quite a day. Terry by his own admission is not an experienced angler. His previous two fishing days ever involved a cane pole and a worm as a kid and a couple of hours of bottom fishing on a Florida vacation. After some helpful instruction from his guide, Terry threw himself into the Canadian experience. Before his first day on the water was over, he landed a very heavy 48” pike, two 45s, a 44 and a 41. There are thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of dedicated pike anglers who have never even seen a 48” northern pike. Terry is hooked on pike for the rest of his life. Another member of Terry’s group, Greg Floyd, had more previous fishing experience but otherwise had a similar thrill two days later. Greg brought to his guide’s net a 47” pike along with six more over 40”. That’s a day. Another big day was enjoyed by Conor Cappa who watched his guide’s tape go over the 40” mark five times in a single day. Fat 45s were landed by Charles Rollins and Bret Walker. They all got to know the power of fall pike, a fish very different from the bay pike of early summer. These fish are actively feeding and have been chowing down on a lot of lake cisco, burbot, whitefish and yes, other pike. Being a cannibal is just another way to order at the underwater lunch counter around here. Whatever they’ve been eating, these pike have put on some serious poundage since June and they know how to throw that weight around. They are freshwater gangsters.

Fall is for more than just big pike. Lake trout and grayling were on our guest’s menu as well. While the smaller lake trout are moving up the water column, the big ones are still deep where Scott Lake guides spy on them with their electronics. Some were brought up to pose for photographs like the beautiful 41 incher landed by Steve Creech, the 40 incher by Bill Sandbrook, the 39 incher by Sonya Boone and the 39 incher by Dexter Floyd. Arctic grayling are often overlooked by anglers who love fish with teeth, but matched with the right tackle (ultralight spinning or a 4-weight fly rod) they are a marvelous gamefish. Quite a few got into the trophy announcements. The fearsome foursome of Cheryl and Darrell Massie, Bill Sandbrook and Sonya Boone went to the rapids flowing out of Smalltree Lake to do battle with the “sailfish of the north”. They all caught a bunch and all got trophies between 17.5 and 18.5 inches, all great grayling. This week really didn’t need it, but the icing on this delicious cake was the northern lights experience that most of our guests stayed up for. There were two evenings of spectacular light shows—all part of fall at Scott Lake Lodge. If you like hard hitting and fighting fish, no bugs, northern lights and the occasional sounds of migrating Canada geese you might want to consider late August at Scott Lake Lodge. For 2018 we have added five more days to our season, August 29th-September 3rd. If that fits your interests and schedule give Jon Wimpney, our guide/sales manager, an email at or give him a call when he hits Saskatoon on August 30th at 306/209-7150. You will not regret it.


Week 15 Update – Fall Has Arrived

Week 15 Update – Fall Has Arrived

The coming of fall in the Northern Boreal forest is abrupt. Days (even hours) prior to the start of the fifteenth session of fishing at Scott Lake Lodge it was summer. 80F sunny, smoky and calm…then we heard it; Canada Geese flying by in large flocks. We knew then, it was coming. On the tails of the geese, fall came sweeping down from the Arctic Ocean. Fall here means, some fog, rain, wind and more importantly the fattest fish of the season!! Our anglers, clad in Gore Tex, fleece and stocking caps, sallied forth to do battle with the ravenous pike that inhabit our waters. Day one started with a bang for the Bixby group, Scott Bixby set the hook into a 44.5” trophy northern pike, while in the group’s other boat Kevin Moore, new to pike fishing netted a 42.5 and 45.5” giant. Will Bixby sorted through a pile of pike to tie the weeks’ largest specimen at 45.5”.

New to Scott Lake Lodge the Juergens Group of 6 are practiced pike anglers and they went to work immediately. Ron Juergens nearly ran a straight with a 41, 42, 43 and jumbo 45” fall northern pike. Jim Kusar had a hot hand this week in Biff’s boat, Jim notched 14 pike trophies with the biggest being a healthy 45”. Some friendly (although serious) family lake trout competition was afoot this week. Ed Snyder was the previous laker champion of the group, this title was however short-lived, Liz battled and landed a fat 40” trophy lake trout taking over the lead. Again, Liz didn’t have a long time with the belt, it was taken on day three by Seth with a jumbo 41”er…Seth added a 43.5” pike to his tally.

Justin and Robert Carter were up on Smalltree Lake this week and had a great day fishing for pike and grayling. Justin caught a 40.5 and a 42”er. Robert, with guide Cory were a part of the biggest fish story this week, casting a size zero Wordens Rooster Tail at the tailout of a rapid had a hit; he set the hook and what followed was twenty minutes of pandemonium! Robert had hooked into a big pike on ultra-light gear and 6lb line…in heavy current no less. With coaching from Cory, the big pike came to the cradle, hooked in the only safe place to not cut the line Robert, against most Vegas odds landed this beauty.

A growing trend this year is the day five buzzer beater, we do our best to give guests a full fifth day of fishing and it has been paying off in giant fish. This past week was no difference, Mike Strobel landed a magnum 44.5” pike on the way to shore lunch. Big trout honours went to Tim Bixby with a late in the day GIANT of a lake trout taping 43” x 25” girth!!

The group had a great time, battled some weather conditions and caught a pile of fish, and lots of big ones. They were treated to the changing of the seasons in the north country which often happens a couple of months before they would see this at home. The northern lights put on some fine night time shows and new friends were made. This week was proof of owner, Tom Klein’s popular refrain, “there are no bad days, only bad gear”. This group was prepared and we have backups ready to go to make sure everyone is comfortable and dry. A cool day with hot fishing makes the sauna or hot tub back at the lodge even more enjoyable.

Week 14 Fishing Update – Northern Lights, Meteors, and Shorts Weather!

Week 14 Fishing Update – Northern Lights, Meteors, and Shorts Weather!

After a couple summers of being at odds with each other it seems mother nature has decided to bless Scott Lake, and the surrounding ten million acres of Northern Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories we chase trophy fish on, with more “shorts weather”. The guides gauge the weather on the number of days shorts can (or must) be worn guiding our guests. 2015, according to some guides had single digit short days, while 2016 had a dismal 0.5!!! Despite the weather though we caught record numbers of fish each year, setting the bar continually higher with new water, better catch and release practices and guides constantly learning and improving (amazing what retaining great staff can do…) 2017 has been a year of record setting fishing and banner weather as well. At last count, the short days litmus test was well into the mid thirties. The Nortek group in week fourteen was treated to everything a fly in fishing trip to Canada should be in August. No bugs, sunny skies (with temperatures up to 90F), fat fish and of course Northern Lights.

We are lucky to be in the perfect location to view the Aurora Borealis and witness the start of the Perseids Meteor shower. What a show to witness, cocktail in hand, from the comfort of our new deck! The fish must have felt it too because they picked up what was already a fast pace of hitting the nets.

Both the trophy northern pike and trophy lake trout were accommodating to our anglers this week…they only had 3 days to get things done and wasted no time! Dan Brazeale kicked off the trip with a 42.5” pike and 35” trout on the first day. Dan’s fishing partner Terry Longest got an arm workout in pulling in three big lake trout, 35, 35 and 37”. As the group spread over Scott Lake and some of the flyouts they found the second day to be just as active. Tim Chadwick netted a 41 and 43.5” pike, while on the other side of the boat Tim Knoop got a 42 and a 43”er. Fishing rookie Kris Holla was quick to catch on, he caught a 42” pike and 37.5” trout. Skip French had quite a day with two pike trophies and three big grayling. The day two pike champs were Ed Barbieri accounting for a 45” fat Saskatchewan pike and Greg Maccarone a 47” slob.

The crew had big plans for shore lunch on Tundra Beach, the whole guide team was on hand to show off their ability to cook gourmet meals on an open fire with a view to rival any restaurant. The big pike were on fire on Scott Lake. Randy Smith got three overs, Jeff Watkins a 44”er, Greg Peifer a 46.5” Josh Blake a 44.5, 45 and 46 for a run of giant pike. And top honors for the trip went to John Hobson with a 47.5” northern. We had two guests lucky enough to catch all three of our target species in trophy size Phil Lepoudre and Peter Plapp hit the Scott Lake Lodge Trophy Triple mark.

What a week! Everyone caught fish, a lot of fish. Some just happen to be longer than others…they are all fun though and it would be hard to think of a bite that didn’t make the angler smile or have a story attached to it to be recounted later at happy hour. It’s amazing to watch a group bond over the stories of the day, fish caught, wildlife seen, perfect moments, blunders…without a doubt the collection of professional colleagues that arrived left friends. More importantly we welcomed them into the fold of the Scott Lake Family. Sounds like a good place to hold your next corporate retreat. Fun, fellowship and fishing, all in the breathtaking northern backdrop of a luxury fishing lodge, which provides an unmatched level of personalized customer service…. it’s a business decision we think will pay off!

Week 13 Update – Summer in the North

Week 13 Update – Summer in the North

During the long winter nights, the image conjured about summer in the north is sunny days, calm waters, a loon calling in the distance and of course hungry fish! It helps our guests and staff get through the “off season blues” which tend to set in about 1 week after leaving this special place. The group in week 13 were treated to a show rarely equalled in the northern boreal on the border of Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories. They had 5 days of sun, 5 days of light winds and 5 days of incredible fishing.

Long-time Scott guest Dick Hutson set the bar high right off the bat, on the first day Dick pulled a 44.5”er out of a weedbed. Not one to rest on his laurels Dick and guide Jan teamed up for an unbelievable 49” northern. Ed Sauger, a first-time pike fisherman got spoiled right off the hop with a 45” trophy northern pike. Ed’s father Joe came up last year and is already a veteran at catching big fish, brought to net a 46” pike, a 41” trout and a 17” arctic grayling to enter into the 100”+ club at 104”. Another father, son team used to catching big fish, Pat & (owner) Ron Spork got into a couple dandies, Pat caught a new personal best pike at 47” and the trout troller Ron picked up a 42” slob trout. The Texas boys were loving the weather at Scott, while 80F is hot for the Canadian staff, it’s a nice break from the 100+F club that the southern USA is in during the summer months. Jeff Ryan beat the heat and landed himself a fat 46” pike fishing with Poacher. Jeff’s partner Darrell Preston was hot! He landed a 44” pike, 39” trout and added grayling to reach exactly 100”. Seemed like the grayling were cooperating this week and sipping caddis flies off the surface. Kevin Morse and Len Dorr both took advantage of the hot grayling fishing to notch Trophy Triples catching each species in trophy size. Joel Tune put a grayling clinic on up at Labyrinth Lake, he plied the river for 8 trophy grayling….it seems 8 is his lucky number because Joel caught 8 big pike between 40 and 44.5”. Scott Lake’s top-flight accountant was visiting this week, Mike Hauser got into some big fish, he pulled up a couple of big trout at 37 and 39” then switched to the fly rod and to cast to a girthy 46” northern.

We give guests at Scott Lake a full last day of fishing before sending them on their way south. That last afternoon is important because it seems we have many trophies caught to end the trip. Scott Sarason waited until day 5 to reach 100.5” and entrance into the 100+ Club, Scott got a 44.5” pike, a 39” trout and a 17″ grayling. Waiting until the last moment before packing up the boat and heading home, Priscilla O’Donnell tried one last pass on a cabbage bed with guide Steve…it was a smart move, she hooked into and landed a huge 47.5” northern pike…her biggest to date at Scott!

While we can’t profess to control the weather or the attitude of the fish we can control a level of personalized service unmatched in our industry, personal connection with among the guests and staff and the fulfillment of making lifetime memories with friends and family with the striking northern backdrop. It just feels better to do it under sunny skies; skies that change to the canvas for the northern lights this time of year and offer a great reason to have one more cocktail in a chair on our deck…that is unless Owner Tom Klein doesn’t throw that chair on the fire first…it’s a funny story, ask us about it when you’re up here next summer!