The Last Week Fishing Report at Scott Lake Lodge

The Last Week Fishing Report at Scott Lake Lodge

 

IT’S A WRAP

The 2018 season closed like it began: sunny skies and plenty of fish, including a dramatic “fight of the season” when Kevin Morse, casting with spinning gear to a rocky shoreline, hooked a huge trout in just two feet of water. After twenty minutes of excitement he brought a 42” laker into the net. It made six long runs during the battle. A few casts later he got a 41” pike. That’s the way for an angler and a lodge to end the season. That was shortly before he joined his fishing friends and the entire Scott Lake staff, 30 strong, for probably the biggest group shore lunch in our history. And it was an amazing shore lunch. Every guide was part of the cooking team and the number of dishes was over the top. While there were clouds to the south, the weather held up to offer a wonderful ending for the four-day corporate group that was on the island for our final days of the season.

While fishing was a focus of the group, they were more interested in all the other reasons people travel to wilderness destinations—the peace and tranquility, the fine dining, the opportunity for bonding with friends and colleagues, and to simply have a good time, with a few drinks involved of course. They did all of that and worked in some massage time and even a hike before the final day’s shore lunch. They all knew that they would be in the far north at the end of the season where fall can be crisp. So, most guests had plenty of layers to fend off the cool fall weather but fall went a big beyond the norm this year. We had temperatures right around the freezing mark for a couple of the days. And we had some fierce north winds. The week started out with a bang when Todd Jaranowski landed a 45.5” and a 46.5” pike.  Larry Rohan picked up three trophies that day and Jerry Kolek, Scott Sarason,  Lonnie Thompson and Louis Koszewski each landed a pair. It was a great start, but mother nature had a real punch to land on the second day. The north wind roared all day. All fly outs were cancelled, and most anglers stayed in camp or very close. The trophy count shrunk to a single, barely over the mark, 35” lake trout. The next day things picked up with VJ Ciarlo getting a trio of trophy pike and Lonnie Thompson getting his Trophy Triple hat and joining the 100+Club, but it was very, very cold. Most of the big pike just went deep and waited for warmer water temperatures. The good news though is that the cold temperatures on Day 2 triggered a massive movement of lake trout to the shallow spawning reefs. While there just a few trophy-sized trout taken, there were hundreds of medium-sized lakers hooked on the many shallow, rocky reefs all over Scott Lake. It made no difference if anglers were throwing flies, spinners, plastics, spoons or well, anything else. These trout were banging on everything; there were bent rods all over the lake that day and the next. It was the first time in many years that we had guests in camp when this annual movement to the shallow waters occurred. We can thank the overall cool season and late cold fronts for bringing these beautifully colored spawning fish to the surface where sight fishing for lake trout could be enjoyed. It was a show.

The season ended with that festive shore lunch. Behind it there were 90 days of fishing action that broke almost every record we have every set at the lodge. One number—2190—tells it all. That was the record number of trophy fish taken over the season, 135 over last year’s record. We also set records for the number of northern pike, the number of pike over 45” at a whopping 168 (30 more than the record) and tied the last year’s record of pike over 47” at 40. Big numbers to match a big season.

The Scott Lake Lodge Week 18 Fishing Report

The Scott Lake Lodge Week 18 Fishing Report

FULL ON FALL

Our 18th and second last group of the season meet fall head on. Since most of the crew had been up the same week in prior years, they knew what to expect—some cool temperatures, some spectacularly painted landscapes with the birch in full yellow dress and much of the ground cover a bright scarlet, maybe some northern lights and probably some big fish. They got what they expected and more. Ask John and Jim Heinmiller, a father/son team from Minnesota who came this far north for one reason–to get big fish. They succeeded, combining for 20 trophy fish. As frosting on their fishing cake, Jim was able to sight fish (yes, in late August) to massive northern pike. He had the ultimate fly angler’s thrill of throwing to a 47” and a and an incredibly girthy 49” pike and connecting on both, any angler’s dream. Dad got to watch that show, but he had his own with a 45” pike and a bunch of arctic grayling including an 18” beauty. They don’t have grayling in Minnesota or pike that look and act like muskies. Or ask Liz Snyder who left the heat and bright sun of Florida for 60 degrees latitude north, a place that rarely sees 60 degrees of mercury on the thermometer at this time of year. Why? To catch big fish. She did. Liz had one of the most incredible lake trout days we have ever seen. On a single day she landed six trophy trout. Just ogle this lineup: a 36.5”, a 37”, a 40” (now we’re in supersized territory), a 43”, another 43” and an absolutely porcine 44 incher. All in one never-to-be-forgotten day.  Joe Sauger likes big fish too! He had done well on his first two trips to Scott but on his third trip he was treated to the top of the line, a 49-inch northern pike that gave him the fight of his fishing life. Seth Snyder also found out how tough fall pike are, tangling successfully with a 46.

There were many never-to-be-forgotten days this week. With 153 trophy fish landed there would have to be. Mark Graf had an arctic grayling day for the ages. He landed over a dozen trophy graylings including three 18s and three 19s. For this part of the world, those are monster grayling. Dan Spielman had a powerful grayling trifecta, getting fish of 19, 19.5 and a season-tying record of 20 inches. Josh Lanagan got an 18.5 as part of his Trophy Triple experience.

While pike and grayling were taken in big size and in big numbers, this was another memorable lake trout week. In addition to the Liz Snyder Slaughter, there were other monster trout taken: Liz’s husband, Ed, got a 40” along with Dave Darling; Lonnie Thompson and Ron Spork got 41s; and Paul Lorusso put a 42 in his guide’s net. There were so many 38s and 39s we can list them all. Well wait, there is lots of room on the web. OK, here goes: 38s were caught by Ron Spork, Dave Darling (a pair) and Ken Wollin; 39s were caught by Ron Spork (a pair), Seth Snyder, Lonnie Thompson, Steve Baransky, Dave Darling and Mark Graf. There were 41 trophy trout to headline this great week of fall fishing. While it was cool, it wasn’t too cold. It was simply fall, at its finest. Next year a few of our Week 18 anglers might be wearing their new 100+Club jackets. Mark Graf, Paul Lorusso, Seth Snyder, Dan Spielman and John Heinmiller will all be getting their custom jackets with embroidered fish and their lengths. Everyone left with great memories of shore lunches, the frantic calling of migrating loons, fish landed and missed and a great bonfire by the main lodge. Like the season, it was a week to savor.

Fall’s Arrival & The Week 17 Scott Lake Lodge Fishing Report

Fall’s Arrival & The Week 17 Scott Lake Lodge Fishing Report

 

FALL, SETTLING IN

 

When the 17th group of the 2018 season landed at Scott Lake Lodge, exactly an hour after their chartered plane from Saskatoon landed at the float base at Stony Rapids, Saskatchewan, many, hailing from distant and warm places, were wearing shorts and sandals. They got a shock of cool air. That grab didn’t last long. It was fall here. As they looked out of the float plane on their landing, they could have seen all the signs: some bright yellow birch leaves, the smoky gold of the tamaracks, and the muted reds of the ground cover. It was fall alright. The fishing was fall as well—for pike it was what the guides call the “low and slow” retrieve for spinners, crankbaits or plastics. Fly enthusiasts were using intermediate or full sinking lines, especially on their first day of fishing when it was cold, real cold. The surface temperatures of Scott Lake and our fly out lakes had dropped several degrees over the past few days and the fish were there but deep. On that first day the fingers were cold but that didn’t stop our anglers from fishing or the fish from biting. We had the straight flush of pike of 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45 that day as well as seven trout trophies. At their cool depths the lake trout didn’t really care what was happening on the top.

On the second day things did warm up and on the fifth day the morning dawned bright and clear. The week ended with an absolutely perfect fall day. It also ended with a big milestone. On that last day, either Bill Russell or Jon Wheat landed our 2,000th trophy of the season—a record. (Since no one was looking at their watch, we can’t be sure if Bill or Jon got it). In 22 seasons at Scott, we have watched those trophy numbers rise, especially over the past five years, but hitting that mark was special for all the guides who worked hard all season to bring big fish to their guests. Big fish were certainly part of the week. Again, we hit triple digits with the trophy count, many supersized, like the 45” pike landed by Frank Saraka, Mark Readinger, Mark Graf and Scott Sheldon. Or like the one Martin Skolnick got. He came to Scott for the first time to get a big pike. He did. It was a spectacular looking 47.5” feisty, fighting fall pike.

This is the time of year for big trout as well and they made their appearance in the guide’s nets. Mark Graf saw plenty of them, a pair of 38s, a 39 and a 40. Zack Skolnick and Ron Spork admired their 38s. Bud Rector was pretty impressed with a fat 42 that almost filled a big net, but Tim Delaney was astounded by the super fat 43.5” monster that did fill his guide’s big net. That was a fish of a lifetime. Big grayling also filled the small trout nets. Tim got one of those too, an 18 incher as did fishing partner Larry Noesen. Scott Sheldon and Bill Russell did their supersized grayling an inch bigger at 19, both beautifully colored fish. Bill’s big grayling was enough to get him into the 100+Club.

There was a lot of interest in northern lights, but the heavy cloud cover kept them out of view, The group, though, did see some dramatic moonrises, especially the full moon on Day 2. There were many other memorable sights and sounds like the zinging of a reel’s drag, as well as some smells like the first plate of shore lunch, the whiff of the spruce chips on the island’s walkways or the many savory odors of the dinner hour. The group got the full fall treatment and most of them signed up for a return tour in 2019—the best compliment on the service and fishing we could hope for.

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.)

The Week 16 Scott Lake Lodge Fishing Report

The Week 16 Scott Lake Lodge Fishing Report

DOG DAYS OF AUGUST? NOT!

At many lodges throughout the northern US and Canada, August is the time to go swimming, have a picnic, play shuffleboard, take a canoe paddle or just sit at the bar. August doesn’t have a good reputation for fishing. Unless you happen to be on the 60th parallel. The only dog days up here involving watching the black lab, Gozer, take incredible running leaps off the pier to fetch a tennis ball or watching the antics of Rascal, the eight-month old collie, as he tries to steal the ball from Gozer. Those are minor distractions. Our guests are fishing.

This was a memorable week for the August 19th-24th guests for three reasons:

  1. It was the most enthusiastic and fun-loving group of the season. From the staff introductions on the first evening to the wild cheering during the nightly trophy announcements to the laughter from the hot tub every evening, this group knew how to have a good time and they found their voice. The expression “a good time was had by all” doesn’t begin to do justice to the experience.
  2. It was the week that marked the unofficial but real transition from summer to fall and it happened on a single day. On the third day the wind which had been blowing from the south or west for weeks did a 90 degree turn and blew with authority from straight north. It brought thousands of geese for a free ride down to the grain fields of southern Saskatchewan and it brought a rather dramatic drop in temperature. It brought fall. At least the geese above had down coats. The anglers below weren’t so lucky. The prior day was around 70 degrees with a mild wind. No one was ready for that blow. Some people even had sandals on when the temperature dropped about 30 degrees over a 24-hour period.
  3. It was simply fantastic fishing with a total of 164 trophies in the books, one of the best trophy weeks of the season.

Since fishing is what Scott Lake Lodge is all about, let’s expand on that word fantastic. It was a week of superlatives. Finally, the dominance of the northern pike in our trophy mix was tempered by a surge of lake trout (40) and grayling (49) trophies. It was a perfect mix. The trophies came in bunches for many of our anglers, like for Mary and Joe Daugherty who landed eleven trophy pike or for Bill Sandbrook and Sonya Boone who landed twelve trophy lake trout or for Cheryl Massie who landed six trophy lake trout. And that was all on the first day! Our fishing started hot and stayed hot despite the intense cold front.

It wasn’t the sheer number of trophy fish (164 is a lot) that impressed our guests—it was the size of some of them. None impressed more than “EL BLIMPO”, a 44” by HUGE lake trout brought in by Bernie Heile. Just behind that trout were other blimps, a 43.5” winched in by Joe Daugherty and a 43” pig landed by Andre Lechowicz. There were 42” trout angled by Bill Sandbrook and Cheryl Massie; 41s by Bill Sandbrook and Andre Lechowicz; a 40 by Cheryl Massie; 39s by Bill Sandbrook, Darrel Massie, Joe Daugherty, Mira Lechowicz and Chris Smisek, and 38s by Jimmy Kloote, Darrel Massie, Sonya Boone and a pair of those by (who else?) Bill Sandbrook. If you’re counting along that’s 18 lake trout of 38” or better, quite a pile. Jimmy Kloote’s was even hooked right on the surface on a pike fly (the classic black bunny leech) in eight feet of water. Who knows where they will show up.

The pike story was similar—lots of trophies (75) and lots of huge fish. There were nine of the supersized variety—45” or more. Those are all memorable fish. But what could be more memorable than getting a royal flush of pike, like Peter Mhyre did, a 44, 45, 46, 47 and 48 (the four biggest in a single day). His 48 tied Joe Daugherty’s as the biggest pike of the week. Five anglers—Mary Daugherty, Susan Smith, Cheryl Massie and Len Dorr—landed 45s. Grayling joined in on the big fish parade this week. Emily and Kayla Mayfield had an amazing day way up north when they landed 17 trophy grayling and saw five herds of musk ox on the way. Grayling of 18” or better (our supersized standard for that species) were caught by Sandra Boone, Mary and Joe Daugherty.

If you are a regular follower of this blog, you know what comes next. It’s simple math: with so many big fish in all three species, it must have been a good week for the 100+Club. It was. Back in Week 13 we had a bumper crop with seven entries. That was a record number. Now we have a new record number at eight. Most interestingly six of those eight—Darrel and Cheryl Massie, Bill Sandbrook and Sonya Boone, Len Dorr and Bernie Heile—were frequent tablemates at dinner. And they all hit their 100” on the same day. The odds makers would have never hit that one but good luck (and skill) makes for good company. Speaking of odds, Mary and Joe Daugherty defined good luck and skilled angling. They became the King and Queen of the 100+Club for 2018. Mary landed at 107.5”, often the biggest number of a season, but husband Joe hit 109.5, just a half inch off the all-time record. Congrats to both for an incredible accomplishment.

And speaking of records, another big one will bite the dust during week 17. In 2017 we set the total trophy record with a huge number—1,965. As the Week 16 crew put away their fishing rods on Day 5, that number stood at exactly 1,900. Getting 66 more trophies is an inevitable as death and taxes, but a lot more fun.

The 15th Week Fishing Report at Scott Lake Lodge

The 15th Week Fishing Report at Scott Lake Lodge

THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES

What a pleasant week at Scott Lake Lodge. It’s early fall, a wonderful time to be in the far north. While we had, (again) stronger winds than we would have liked for easy boat travel, we still had great fishing. It was another week with a triple-digit trophy result and a perfect mix of trophy pike (68), lake trout (20) and grayling (20). Everyone had lots of action as well. And again, lots of our supersized fish: eight Pike over 45”; four Trout over 40” and six Grayling over 18”. What made the week so interesting and enjoyable though was another mix—we had a lot of couples in camp. It changes the chemistry—for the better. Our women anglers bring a measure of civility and calmness to the proceedings. With the all-male groups (we’ve had a few), the testosterone gets a little heavy.  While still outnumbered 19 to 7, the women brought some balance to the week—some estrogen to even things out.

This was not a true battle of the sexes like the Bobby Riggs/Billie Jean King tennis match, but there was an element of unspoken competition between spouses—there always is. Like Billie Jean in that famous match way back in 1973, these women brought their A-Game to this fishing trip. We’re not naming names here, but in every case the wives brought bigger fish to their guides’ nets than the husbands. Were they all just lucky? Were they better anglers? Or maybe they just listened more carefully to their guides? We’ll just let the results speak. These are facts: Mickey Moret landed a heavy fall pike that stretched the tape to 47”; Rhonda Trueman landed a 46”; Anne Harold on one of her first fishing trips got a 45” pike; Veronica Strobel pulled in a girthy 42” lake trout (with no help from anyone), and Patricia Jansma topped the grayling list for the week with a beautiful grayling just under 20 inches. Just luck?

 

Moving right along, the men on the island weren’t just watching the women land all these magnificent fish. They were busy getting supersized fish as well: Randy Moret with a 45” pike; Jon Myhre and Drew Plain with 46s; Peter Myhre with a 47, and Jon Myhre leading the entire pack with a gorgeous pike just over four feet long. Jon and Peter had one incredible day where they landed ten trophy pike between them—a real father/son bonding day. On the trout front, there was another huge day when Jack and Ben Waitkus teamed up to land six trophy trout in a single day, Jack topping out at 43” (just a massive fish) and Ben at 42”. Peter Mancuso got in the big trout game landing a another 42. The grayling fishing just keeps getting better as the season progresses. This was a great week. Everyone who flew to one of our grayling rivers had lots of action and some had some very heavy fish. Just like their trout day, Jack and Ben Waitkus cleaned up on grayling too, both getting a pair of 18” beauties. Dave Jansma landed a fat 19 incher.

With so many big fish, it was simple math that someone would be inducted into the 100+Club. There were three: Veronica Strobel along with Jack and Ben Waitkus. Patricia Jansma wore the Trophy Triple hat. The northern lights made several appearances for the night owls who waited up for them. They got a first-rate celestial show. Actually, the entire week was one perfect show. And almost everyone rebooked to do it all again in 2019.