Happy Holidays from the Team

Happy Holidays from the Team

That time of the year is upon us. Thanksgiving is right in front of us and Christmas just around the corner. For most of our guests living in the northern half of the continent there is no need for a reminder: winter is here.

For all but the hardiest of anglers, the 2019 fishing season is now just a collection of memories (we hope those memories are of huge pike engulfing your lure or fly right at the side of the boat.)  But unless you have a saltwater trip on your agenda, those memories will have to get you through the months ahead of cold and snow, something that’s been the norm at Scott Lake Lodge for quite a few weeks now.  Watching satellite images, we can see that Scott Lake froze up shore to shore on November 2 this year, giving the fish a long break until our 2020 anglers start casting on open water again on June 9. Our hard fighting fish deserve a break.
Until next year.
A few of them may get some exercise this winter, though, when the construction crews arrive in January and break out the augers for a bit of ice fishing. Then again in late April when another crew heads north to put the finishing touches on the 2020 projects. Our team is as crazy about fishing as they are about sharing this part of the world with you.

Speaking of our team, we are happy to announce that the full guide staff is returning along with nearly all of the shore staff . . . they must like it here. We attribute that dedication and loyalty to the unique culture that has evolved on our island among the guests and staff. This is just a fun place to be!

With the kickoff of the holidays we want to thank all of our 2019 customers for another fantastic season. Without your support, commitment and friendship, we simply would not be able to pull this off. Enjoy the holiday season with family and friends and don’t forget to tell them some fish stories. Send them our way if you think they would enjoy the Scott Lake Experience!

It’s Time to Book for 2020

This year a record number of guests chose to book again for 2020 before leaving the lodge, a feather in the cap of the staff and a testament to their hard work. We appreciate the trust of these “Scott Lake Regulars”.

It’s our Sales Manager’s job to keep Scott Lake Lodge full. Jon Wimpney who also guides for 85 straight days every season has done a fantastic job, selling out the place almost every year. This year should be a slam dunk. When the season ended, we already had 82% of our 2020 capacity sold. But that still gives you a lot of room to plan your fishing adventure.

Holiday Incentive

Receive a $500 flyout credit for your trip if we receive your deposit by December 1st.
(New reservations only.)

Call Jon Now: 306-209-7150

Season Wrap Up 2019

Season Wrap Up 2019

On September 2nd the last of our 2019 guests boarded the float planes and headed south. It was a wrap for the season, and it was another record breaker. Despite less than ideal weather this summer, our anglers hung in there and hung a ton of big fish.

We’ve never seen trophy numbers like this. After setting a record of 2,221 trophy fish in 2018, we blew the doors off this season. Our 442 guests (another sold out season) landed 2,670 trophies, an average of six trophies per angler, way above last year’s record of 4.7. It’s a simple formula: great water+great anglers+great guides=BIG FISH. With so many of our anglers coming back every season (this season 87% of our guests had been to Scott previously), they are getting just a little better at spotting the fish the guide is patiently (or impatiently) pointing out, better at setting the hook and better at keeping that line tight. With our guide team learning all the new fly outs lakes a little better every season, they are putting guests in front of more big fish. We can speculate forever on the causes, but the numbers are clear. On all fronts the trophy fishing at Scott has been getting better and better.

Most of our guests are focused on pike and they found them. We set a new pike trophy count along with the total trophies. On 1,807 occasions the guide either said or thought “that one’s over” as he put a 40+ incher into his net. Stretched end to end that’s way more than a mile of trophy pike. Many of those were true monsters. Watch for our Annual Report for all those details.  Our trout totals were roughly the same as the prior year. It was the incredible arctic grayling year that gave our top line trophy count a real boost. In 2018 we had 255 trophy grayling with 55 over 18 inches. In 2019 we had 625 with 125 over 18 inches. Yes, we did find a new grayling hot spot. Maybe we can’t keep setting new records every season, but our guests keep trying. Don’t bet against them.

This pike was definitely “over” the trophy limit.  So was the smile!

It’s a simple formula: great water + great anglers + great guides = BIG FISH.

So, we had the numbers and we had a record year for something that’s tough to measure—how much fun guests have. With great dining, lots of wildlife sightings (in June and early July our black bears were prowling the shorelines and sightings were a daily occurrence), some spectacular end of season northern lights, there were many more things to interest our guests than just the fishing. During the cooler weeks, the Finnish sauna (water poured over hot stones) and the hot tub were busy places. During the warmer weeks, the expansive deck around the main lodge was the hot spot. To our surprise the new Fitness Center had a lot of traffic, even after long days on the water. Some guests even took the hour-long Tundra Trail nature walk on the mainland, a five-minute boat ride away. Many guests this year discovered that Scott Lake Lodge is about more than fishing. It’s about having a good time and we’ll just have to take our customer’s word that we delivered on the fun factor.

Improving the Infrastructure

We really can’t do much to improve the fishing, but we can control our facilities and equipment upgrades. We’re doing both. Most of our 2019 guests noticed a lot of improvements: a new floating dock; a new guest cabin, Ptarmigan, replacing an older cabin; a new Fitness Center adjacent to our sauna; six new fly-out boats and ten new motors. All our 2019 guests noticed the new luxury mattresses that were put in every guest room last season. (It’s the little things that make a difference.) In 2020 guests will see another new cabin and significant remodeling/enlargement of four existing guest cabins. Every year things will get better and better on the island. That is a sure bet. 

Not much room to improve here.

It’s a sure bet too that all or nearly all of the great staff our customers have interacted with will be back in 2020. At this writing all the Scott guides have signed on to another year, giving that team a 17-year average tenure. For now though, our Scott Team is starting their annual migration literally around the world. We have team members heading for New Zealand, Central America, Africa, Asia, South America and all points of the compass in Canada. There will be a reunion for many in Costa Rica at guide Graham Coulombe’s wedding there in April.

Keeping the Lodge Full

A full lodge is a happy lodge, not only for owners but also for our guests. Many of our guests have started to enjoy the company of other guests almost as much as the company of big fish. There is an energy and excitement at every week’s opening night dinner that is tough to describe but easy to enjoy. It’s our Sales Manager’s job to keep Scott Lake Lodge full. Jon Wimpney who also guides for 85 straight days every season has done a fantastic job, selling out the place almost every year. This year should be a slam dunk. When the season ended, we already had 82% of our 2020 capacity sold. But that still gives you a lot of room to plan your fishing adventure. Give Jon a call at 306/209-7150 or send him an email.  He’ll find you a spot.

Lights Out: The Last Week of 2019

Lights Out: The Last Week of 2019


Sometimes being last is OK. At least that’s the way it turned out for our final group of the season. They had a “lights out” trip, literally. Many of our guests had expressed interest in seeing the northern lights. Well, the lights were out and, for those willing to stay up late, they got a great show. Of their five nights on this island smack on the 60th parallel, four featured northern lights; two nights were average and two were, to borrow a phrase from the 60s, out of sight. One doesn’t need to understand the northern lights to enjoy them. It’s just a light show on a very big stage. While the lights seem to hover pretty close, they are actually quite far out. They do their thing in a range of 50-300 miles above the earth, the result of a giant electrical discharge created by a cosmic generator using the earth’s magnetic field and the solar wind which interacts with the oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the atmosphere. And that’s just the beginning of the science, none of which is nearly as poetic as the experience of just watching. Watch our group did, often right on the deck of the main lodge. It was indeed a highlight of the trip for many.

There were many other highlights. People do come here to fish and not just enjoy the many amenities of the lodge life. Fish they did. With the small to medium sized lake trout now up and shallow, the numbers were impressive. Of the several thousand fish landed in five days, 124 met our trophy standards, not a record week but a very good week. Jim Kusar had his own version of a lights out trip. He had a day any pike angler would dream about. How about six trophy pike in one day that included lifetime trophies like a 46 and a 48 incher? Just to rub it in, he added a 45-inch pike a couple of days later. That’s a trip. He wasn’t alone in watching huge pike slide into a guide’s big net. Joan Schackmuth, Adam Strobel, Gerry O’Shaughnessy and John O’Shaughnessy all had pike of 45 inches or better. For some it was a much smaller fish that made their trip. Grayling were back in the news this week. We have found a real grayling mecca. Mark and Rebecca Graf were there and pulled sixteen trophy grayling out of the rapids with both landing 18 inchers. Dave Dalvey, Debbie Blue and Grant Mitchell also put 18s in their guide’s grayling-sized net.

The lake trout were on the move. In late August and early September, thousands (maybe tens of thousands) lake trout move from the deep water to stage near their spawning grounds on shallow, rocky reefs. One of our 22 fly out lakes is smaller than others and has a history of an early trout spawn. Paul and Tess Rowland were there to meet them. The deeper edges of the spawning reefs were alive with trout. They caught dozens upon dozens. These weren’t the monster trout that we get trolling in deep water, but they were fighting fools of 25 to 35 inches. Pound for pound these far north lake trout can hold their own in fighting speed and stamina with any of the more storied freshwater fish like peacock bass, tiger fish or golden dorado. You just need to meet them on their own terms—cold, shallow water. Of their many trout, one was quite memorable; it was the disappearing trout. Paul brought a beautiful trout painted in vivid fall colors to his guides waiting net. The guide expertly removed the hook. The fish was calmly swimming in the huge net as he reached for the measuring tape, but when he put his hands in the net, he found not a heavy trout in his net but a hole at the bottom of the net. Always a good sport, Paul just admired a new quality in his guide—the magician who can make a trout disappear. In truth, measured and photographed, it would have been just another trophy trout. This way it’s a story. Many other nets had no holes and dandy trout were actually measured. Mark Graf, in over 30 trips to Scott Lake Lodge, has caught some huge trout, one of our biggest ever in fact, but he never landed a trout that looked as ancient as the 42 incher that came out of one of our newer fly out lakes—the picture says it all. Other big lakers made the trip for Grant Mitchell (a 40.5” lake trout that was in six feet of water and landed on spinning gear), Ron Juergens (a 39.5-inch beauty) and Liz Snyder (a deep water 39 incher). Patrick O’Shaughnessy had a four-trophy trout day topping out at 38 inches.

The group had four wonderful fall days until the fifth day when a cold wind sent many of our guests back to the lodge and the warmth of their cozy rooms. They had all caught plenty of fish and had their own stories and memories. Long time guest Dave Dalvey just had to go to one of his favorite fly out lakes. He got the last trophy fish of the season, just a regular nice 41-inch pike, but it was special to the lodge. It was trophy number 2,674 for the 2019 season, blowing away last year’s record total of 2,221. Yes, it was a good year, a very good year.

Falling for Fall: The Week 16 Fishing Report

Falling for Fall: The Week 16 Fishing Report


What makes a great fall fishing trip? There isn’t an app for that, but there is an old school checklist. A fishing trip with no annoying bugs? Check! Some wildlife sightings? Check! Northern lights? Check! An after-dinner campfire? Check! Pleasant conversation over fine dinners? Check! Great guides who actually help you catch fish? Check! How about some big fish? Double check!! It was clearly fall for our second last group of the season. While there were cool nights (make that some cold nights) and lots of cloud cover, those conditions didn’t seem to bother these fish of fall. Right off the bat on the first day, Zak Skolnick had a wonderful six pack day—six trophy pike.  Bob Nettune and Mike Menedeo, long time fishing partners, had a mirror image day on their first day: each landing three trophy pike with both getting 46 inchers—that’s friendly fishing. Unlike early season pike, fall pike are just plain piggy. A typical 40-inch trophy caught in late August or early September is about 20% heavier than the same fish was in June: they spend all summer eating, but chow down especially heavily in August. All week on the nightly “fish du jour” presentation we were seeing exceptionally fat pike, some with girths hitting 20 inches. There were two very heavy 45s caught this group, one by Zac Skolnick who had a fantastic trip and one by Frank Saraka who we saw on the big screen more than once. Carl Fernyak had a big day with seven trophies—two lakers topping out at 37.5 inches and five pike with the biggest 44 inches. That’s a nice mixed bag.

Like the previous week, grayling were in the news. Of the group’s 158 trophy fish, 62 were pike and 81 were arctic grayling. And there were some dandy grayling. Annamarie Fernyak, who earned the Trophy Triple hat in a single day of angling, the “Done in One”, and Scott Sheldon each landed 19.5-inch miniature sailfish in the fast water of one of our most northerly fly outs. Grayling of 18.5 inches were taken by Carl Fernyuak, Shane Benson and Bill Russell who used that big grayling to join the 100+Club. (Their big grayling also helped Carl Fernyak and Suzanne Billing join the exclusive club.) Still a huge grayling, 18 inchers were landed by Zac Skolnick and Gina Cabrera-Benson. When grayling are on, they are really on. Scott Sheldon landed 17 over our trophy size of 15 inches. Annamarie and Carl Fernyak ended up with 18 trophies on their grayling stop which is typically just an hour or two during a full day fishing for pike and lake trout; Suzanne Billing and Zak Skolnick had 18; Shane Benson and Gina Cabrera-Benson got an even dozen. Everyone who went out for this compact but beautiful fish got them in bunches.


The lake trout didn’t come in bunches this week. With a lot of cool weather some of the big trout were shallow, some were mid-depth, and some were still deep, making catching them a bit more challenging. Bill Russell was up for the challenge, landing a massive 43.5-inch laker on the first day of his trip. Mike Minedeo and Keli Wall almost hit our 40-inch super-sized mark with 39-inch beauties. There were another dozen trout trophies in the books as well.

So did this group fall for fall fishing. We can’t read minds, but we can read our rebooking results. Of the 26 anglers, 20 booked the same room, guide and week for the 2020 season. That says it all. It was a great fall experience.

Week 15 Arctic Grayling Fest!

Week 15 Arctic Grayling Fest!

The artic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) just doesn’t get enough respect! While it’s in the illustrious salmon family with many famous relatives like the Atlantic, King and Coho salmon, grayling don’t get much press; they are severely underappreciated. With a bluish/silver coloration and a dash of pink iridescence combined with the dramatic dorsal fin, the grayling is a feast for any angler’s eyes. Behind the beauty though is the heart of a fighter. For its size (the grayling in this corner of the north top out at just over 20 inches), the arctic grayling is a fighting machine with acrobatic grace. So, finally at Week 15 of these fishing reports, we have given grayling the top billing it deserves. For a good reason: instead of spending a few minutes landing a trophy grayling to qualify for the Triple Trophy hat or the 100+Club, many of our Week 15 guests spent a few hours catching and admiring these impressive, if diminutive, gamefish. No one dove into the world of these fast water- loving fish deeper than Mary and Joe Daugherty who, at a new fly out grayling hotspot, landed an astonishing 44 grayling over our trophy size of 15 inches. Some were way over that trophy mark. Joe had eight over 18 inches with a top fish of 19.5 inches. Mary probably set a lodge grayling record getting 13 over 18 inches with her top fish at 20 inches, about as big as you can handle big grayling in fast water with an ultralight spinning rod or four-weight fly rod. And these fish were fat, with a shape closer to a walleye than the typical slender grayling shape. Four more anglers (Darrell Massie, Cheryl Massie, Bill Sandbrook and Sonya Boone) all landed multiple graylings over 18 inches. It was an arctic grayling fest for five days here. Since August is our prime time for grayling, it wasn’t a surprise. We were just waiting for anglers to appreciate this great fish.
There were plenty of pike and lake trout featured on the front page of the daily Tundra Times too. These are fish with teeth (lots of teeth) which are favored by most of our anglers. There were some pike with plenty of teeth like the 45 and 46 inch pike landed by Peter Myhre who ended his run of 25 days (in three separate sessions) at Scott this week. His trophy count for the season was over the top. Joe Daugherty got a 46 as well and fifteen-year-old Jackson Wanderer had a taste of huge fish when he brought in a 45.5-inch beauty. For all anglers the pike numbers were impressive, but the number of trophy fish was down slightly due to some nasty weather that often spreads the big pike out in deeper water. Our anglers did land 81 trophy pike in the week with a total of 185 trophy fish, aided heavily by 86 trophy grayling. If you do the math, that leaves 18 more trophies. They were lake trout, including some supersized dandies. Darrell Massie had the top fish with a massively thick 42 incher. Mike Schulte had a 41. Marty Newton and Mary Daugherty landed lakers of 40 inches. The 100+Club added three new members—Darrell Massie, Bill Sandbrook and Mary Daugherty. They all went beyond the hat trick of getting all three gamefish in trophy size by having those three fish hit or exceed 100 total inches, not an easy task. Joe Daugherty was already a member from an earlier trip this season, but he added to an already hefty total by hitting 108.5 inches, putting Joe in a tie with Foster Graf for third place in the annual rankings. With just two groups left, the lodge record total of 111 inches accumulated by Amy Towers a few weeks ago seems unassailable. But there are still 52 anglers swinging for the fences. We’ll wait and see.
As with all our sessions, fishing is the focus but not the only reason guests come to Scott Lake Lodge. There were many memorable shore lunches, some fine dining at the lodge and a vibrant after dinner bar scene. People come to Scott Lake Lodge for one reason—to have fun.

That is accomplished with or without huge grayling, lake trout or pike. Just ask anyone who’s been to the lodge.