Attack of the Giant Lake Trout: Week 14 Fishing Update

Attack of the Giant Lake Trout: Week 14 Fishing Update


Some groups this season have enjoyed blue skies, warm breezes and gentle, lapping waves. This group wasn’t one of them. There were a few decent days but we had a couple that were total wash outs with fierce north winds. Generally, the sun was MIA. Fortunately, we had on the island a bunch of hardy Midwesterners who are used to tough weather and proud to handle it. We had groups from Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Oklahoma who just rolled with the weather punches and coped well. And even a few (but not all) of the Texans here this week kept going out in the worst of it.

But the last two days were tough duty. Our trophy count showed it. Over the first three days with OK weather our anglers tallied 78 trophy fish (a very nice average), but the last two coughed up only 9. Without any sunshine to get the big pike moving, the onslaught of huge pike that started a couple of weeks ago slowed down. There were 45 inchers landed by Paula Lee and our Chef Ross Kennedy and a couple of 46ers taken by Peter Myhre and Eric Carter, but none of the 47s, 48s or 49s showed up this time. Paula and Todd Lee gave the pike trophy totals a big boost when they teamed up for 10 trophies on a damp but productive day. Grayling were part of the news this week. At a premier new grayling destination, Ken Wollin used his light fly rod to battle some grayling with the build of a walleye, getting a season’s high 20 incher along with two 18s and a 19. Ross Kennedy paired his nice pike with a 19.5” grayling. In the fast water of grayling rivers, these smallest of our gamefish show a lot of game.

What made the week sing for many of our guests though were lake trout—big lake trout. It was by far the best trout week of the season. There were some giants, none bigger than a very fat 44 incher landed, after an extended fight, by Jacob Kippenhan not far from the lodge. The Keppenhan clan (six strong) had a memorable day on a fly out lake. (Remember a trophy trout is 35 inches.) They got plenty of those but specialized in the “super-sized” (40 inches or better) variety. Nick and Tim almost made that threshold with 39.5” lakers, but Greg and Mike made the cut with 40.5” beauties. Noah blew right though the 40”mark, getting a 43” monster along with two 40s. The Newland’s got into big trout as well. On her first day at Scott, April Newland landed a 42” laker and husband Bryon got a 40 and a 42.5 incher, all within sight of the lodge. Bryon got another 42.5” trout on a fly out. Bill Hallinan had a big day with lakers too, landing a 42” and a 43” giant. That’s a lot of giant trout for a five-day period. Seeing those big fish come up to the surface in these clear northern waters is a thrill an angler will never forget. With cooling surface temperatures, the smaller lake trout are moving up now. Many were caught while anglers were casting for pike.

They didn’t get a monster trout this trip, but Jon Wheat and Eric Jahde had a monster wildlife sighting. Seeing a wolf is a treat anywhere, but seeing a white wolf is a lifetime memory. They didn’t have time for pictures but the picture of an elusive animal like that will burn in their minds for a long time. As we get into the second half of August, we get the annual build up of migrating loons that are already heading south from more distant summer homes. Scott Lake is a frequent resting stop on their journey. This week one of our guides saw a group of 19 common loons on the lake. We’re not sure just what our resident loons think of this, but it’s a big lake and there are a lot of lake cisco to feed a big crowd.

Our own crowd was well fed too with some delectable dinners. No one plans on losing any weight on their Scott Lake vacation and probably no one did.  

The Old Men and the Freshwater Sea: The Week 13 Fishing Report

The Old Men and the Freshwater Sea: The Week 13 Fishing Report


OK, Scott Lake is not quite a freshwater sea, but it is big. And, a lot of people might resent being called “old”. Can’t be too careful these days, but we’re hoping that the Fearsome Foursome who attacked the waters of Scott Lake Lodge on Week 13 will not mind a bit. They will be proud. Because when it was cold, windy and rainy, this group hung in there and fished while many of the younger folk retreated to the warmth of the lodge and the promise of a hot meal. Eager anglers all–Dick Emens, Don Hunt, Dick Hutson and Joel Tune–came to fish, as they have all done for many years. In fact, the four have 86 trips to Scott Lake Lodge under their collective belts. Using that experience, they show the younger crowd how catching big fish is done.  Leading the parade, Dick Emens, the elder statesman of the group, but only by a few years, caught not only a 45” and 47” pike but he added a monster 44” lake trout and a 19” arctic grayling, about as big as they get around here. With those top trophies out of the many that he caught, he hit an incredible 110 inches for his 100+Club total, the second highest in lodge history. Joel Tune, the younger, by a lot, of the “old guys”, also joined the Club with 102”. Dick and Don missed the 100” mark but had some huge fish: Dick a pair of 45” pike and Don also with a 45” pike. Experience counts!

They weren’t the only anglers who landed big fish. As last week’s report suggested, the fish of fall are bigger and more aggressive. In addition to Dick Emen’s 47” pike, there were two more 47s—landed by Dan Lafferty and Carol Van Brunschot. Outfishing her husband badly, Tina Walker landed just a hog of a pike. This 45.5 incher had a massive girth, measured at 20”. Not many pike are that well fed.

This week the lake trout made our Tundra Times headlines. It’s been an odd season for this majestic freshwater fish. While typically the big trout are on our fishing menu by mid-July, this season they were late to show. They sure are now. Dave Van Belleghem and Tom Simons combined for ten trophies in one day; Joel Tune and Dick Emens had nine together for their big day. We’re not talking just over the line trout either. Dave landed a 44.5” laker and fishing partner Tom got a 42.5” that day. Dick Emens had a 43.5” and his 44” to make their nine- trophy day very special. Joel and Dick had the same kind of day with grayling, combining for twenty with both getting grayling over 18”.

It was a week of extremes: some picture-perfect days where swimming at shore-lunch felt just right mixed with some ugly, cold ones where the smart thing to do was to head for the wood-fired Finnish sauna and the big hot tub on the lodge deck. Both were popular spots over a week, but the real star attraction was way up in the sky. Our guests enjoyed the first high-powered northern lights display of the year. For many it was the highlight of their trip. As the days get shorter, those displays will start earlier and last longer. Seeing the lights or seeing some musk ox as a few of the guests did are bonus gifts from the 60th parallel. The cooler days did bring a lot of smaller lake trout within casting range, another sure sign of fall. The big ones may stay deep for a few more weeks.

The important criteria for any week at the fishing lodge is simple: did people have a good time? The answer was a big time yes, helped by a healthy consumption of wine and spirits.  

And so it begins….The Week 12 Fishing Report

And so it begins….The Week 12 Fishing Report


We’ve seen this before. The skies get heavy; the first birch leaves start to turn yellow; the ground cover of mosses turn russet and the northern lights fight to get through the clouds. Even though it’s early August, the change of season is at hand. You can see it and feel it. The big pike feel it too. This is the time of year when they make their move; it’s time for them to feed like there’s no tomorrow. For cold blooded creatures, that’s not just an expression: it’s an order from Mother Nature. As the season turns, the water temperatures drop, and the prospect of a long winter ahead stares right at them. So, they feed—heavily.

On Scott Lake and the many fly out lakes the lodge fishes, the big gals took their cue. Our 12th group of anglers braved some nasty weather to put six “mega” sized pike (our slang for a northern pike of 47 inches or better) in their guide’s big nets this week. That’s a number as healthy as those fish look in the accompanying photographs. There were another four over 45”. It was a week of monsters and this is just the beginning of our fall fishing action. It’s time to grip the rod tightly. And time for small pike to look over their shoulders. There were a lot of “T-bones” this week where a hooked pike becomes the lure when a bigger one sees a fish in trouble and grabs it right in the middle of its body. It’s exciting but probably not for the fish on the shorter end of the T.

The week started with some heavy action. There were 55 trophy fish taken on the first day (years back that might have been a decent week). If you’re name was Williamson, Day 1 was a good day. The three anglers carrying that name landed 13 trophy pike with Ken Williamson Sr and Ken Williamson Jr each getting a fat 47 (Ken senior did up the ante the next day getting a 48). That first day also produced a 47.5” pike, the first of many huge pike caught by Jim Heinmiller, who caught a 45.5 that day as well and 46 incher a few days later. Despite the rough weather, everyone seemed to find angry pike on the first day out. Jamy Paterson and Zelko Barac had one that took, at almost the same time, both their lures. That fish was hungry: it knew fall was around the corner

The good times continued the next day with an amazing 66 trophies. And again, there were monsters: a 48 and a quarter inch (that’s a tight tape) pike taken by Greg Scott and a 47.5 incher by Jason Loughran who got a 45 a couple of days later. The grayling were active to say the least over those first two days. On the first day, in addition to a bunch of pike trophies, Jim Heinmiller landed ten trophy grayling. Jason Loughran had ten trophy grayling and Ken Williamson, Jr got twelve on the second day. Grayling aren’t for everyone, but those that love light tackle fishing can’t get enough of these acrobatic fish. Five anglers—Jim Heinmiller, Jason Loughran, Ken Williamson Jr, Jeff Klein and Matt Miller—landed grayling of 18” or over, the kind that barely fit in your hand. After those first two days the action did slow down a bit but there were still 66 more trophies to log in the Scott Lake Lodge website. There were many heavy pike, showing girths that we always see at the turn of the season, like the 45.5” taken by Kim Wright and the 46.5” fatty taken by Darin Waggoner. As is common when fishing is hot, it’s hot. Jim Williamson landed five trophy pike in one day and Jon and Jim Heinmiller combined for seven in one day as did Mike and Nick Manship.

What about lake trout? Enough with the pike and grayling. Of course, there are lake trout in this story. Lots. One was impressive—a 44 incher with a girth more than half its length. At the other end of the line was Todd Rosenburg, a very happy and proud angler. He and his guide trolled deep and worked hard for that fish. Big trout don’t come easy. Damon Rao also got a monster trout, 42 inches from tip to tail. Mike Manship and Jim Heinmiller each landed 40-inch lakers. There was great action in deep water for smaller trout. Some guides get their anglers into jigging for lake trout, a very effective method for small to medium sized trout. Jigging for numbers or trolling for size; it’s a wonderful choice. It was a couple of big trout that put two anglers in the 100+Club. Ken Williamson Jr hit the magic number with a half inch to spare. Jim Heinmiller with his 40” trout, 47.5” pike and 18.5” grayling hit a big number—106 inches. In any normal year that might have been the top of the heap but this year we have had some huge numbers including a new lodge record of 111 set by Amy Towers.

And there is always the choice for guests to just have fun. The quest for more and bigger fish controls the narrative for many of our Scott Lake guests, but some just want to have fun. We had a few of those this week. They caught plenty of fish but found time some days to come in early for a massage, spend time at the Last Cast bar and enjoy the company of our staff and other guests. There was even a late evening sing-along by the indoor fireplace. Ron Kenison bravely took the lead. The beautiful spruce chip walkways took quite a beating with the heavy rain during the week, estimated at around four inches. The sun came out at the end of the week. The chips will be raked, and they will dry and offer the sweet smell of Christmas again, but the big lake loved the rain which after a summer of low water is now back to its full capacity. The season is winding down with just four more groups in camp. Watch this space to see if the monsters of fall keep coming to the net.

A Tale of Two Summers: Mid-Season Update

A Tale of Two Summers: Mid-Season Update

For fifty days now, Scott Lake Lodge guests have been jumping in boats and floatplanes in quest of northern pike, lake trout and arctic grayling. Most have been quite successful, but it’s been a tale of two summers over those 50 days

There was the idyllic blue sky, warm summer breezes summer that about half of our ten groups experienced and then the windy, cold and cloudy “not quite summer” that the other half fished through. Of course, some of the groups had a little of both—that’s weather, but weather conditions dictate fishing success. We know our pike and grayling love warm, sunny conditions. When the sun hits the water, those species go a little bit crazy, sometimes a lot crazy. Why else would a perfectly healthy and otherwise normal fish rush to chew on a piece of metal, plastic, fur or feathers?

Smiles all around.

 So, our groups who had a lot of sunshine did bring in more and bigger fish, but everyone who came to this island on the 60th parallel caught a lot of fish. None caught as many as our second group at the lodge who enjoyed an early season heat wave that ran their one-group trophy count to 261, a record by a long shot. Our 8th and 9th groups also had perfect weather and big trophy counts. Our fifth group had to endure the worst weather of the season: it was cold and they had to work hard for their big fish. That’s just the way fishing is.

But the bottom line: after just fifty days or just under 60% of our season, a total of 1,631 trophy-sized fish were hooked, brought to the net, carefully and quickly measured and then released by the veteran Scott Lake Lodge guide team, now with an average tenure of sixteen seasons under their caps. That trophy number is impressive; we are well on our way to breaking the 2018 season’s record of 2,221 trophies, a record we thought would stand for years. After fifty days last year we were at 1,301 trophies. The mix is looking a little different this year with more pike and grayling and fewer lake trout.

“When the sun hits the water, those species go a little bit crazy, sometimes a lot crazy. Why else would a perfectly healthy and otherwise normal fish rush to chew on a piece of metal, plastic, fur or feathers?”

The pike and grayling have more than made up for the relative absence of trout on the end of the line. We’ve had both numbers and size this season. Many anglers do count either by guestimate or by one of those damn clickers that guides hate. With both methods counts of over a hundred fish per person per day have been tallied. Counts of two, three or four dozen per angler have been common. We don’t count anything but trophy fish so those total fish counts can remain as memories with our guests but over 50 days it’s got to be a huge number, in the many tens of thousands.

Even the trophy number is huge. We’ve had some amazing days. Both Joe Daugherty and Peter Myhre (both come more than once) have tallied nine trophy pike in a single day and both have done it twice this season. Len Dorr had an eight-pike trophy day and four anglers (Josh Nardo, Bret Laing, Peter Myhre and Thomas Purcell) have had seven trophy pike days. With all those trophies there must have been some real hogs. Yes! We’ve had one 50 inchers already, taken by our Head Chef on a rare day off. There have been a pair of 49s (Bernie Heile and Suzanne Noble) and a bunch of 48s and 47s. There were a couple very notable lake trout—a 44” and a 45” with the best of the trout season still to come. For numbers and size, it’s been a very good year. If we had the cloudy half of our season in sunshine it would have been a spectacular year, but we take the weather day by day and fish whatever weather we get.

On the Wild Side

Summer at Scott Lake Lodge is about more than fishing. After all, our slogan is “World Class Fishing and More”. So, what’s the “more” all about? Well, there’s the fine dining, the lively evening bar scene, the hot tub, sauna, the Stone Haven Spa, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking and wildlife. Especially wildlife. It’s always a bonus when during a day’s fishing there is an encounter with a bear, moose or musk ox. We have cool birds like loons, eagles and osprey all the time, but seeing a big mammal is a real thrill. It’s not planned and certainly not predictable, but it’s a wonderful opportunity when it happens. For reasons we can only speculate about we have had an abundance of wildlife sightings in 2019, especially bear.

It started early in the season when bears were seen by someone almost every day. We know this because we hand out bear pins along with our pike, lake trout and grayling trophy pins at our nightly “fish du jour” event. We almost ran out of bear pins. One pair of anglers saw bears (different ones as we fish different areas every day) on four straight days. The speculation is that the cold weather we had this spring and into summer slowed down the berry growth and had the bears scouting the shorelines for anything they could find. With low water this year the shorelines were easier walking with better scavenging. It’s a theory but all hunters and anglers love theories about things they really can’t explain. There were probably a dozen moose sightings as well, but the real big news was the presence of musk ox in our fly out zone. Twenty years ago, it took a two-hour flight in a floatplane to get into musk ox county. No more. This year we’ve had musk ox observed right on some of our fly out lakes. Some of our anglers had musk ox within 50’ of their boat. Rare and wonderful.

2020: It’s Not Too Good to Be True

If it all sounds too good to be true you will just have to find out for yourself in 2020. It’s not too early to grab a prime spot. Our rebooking have been sensational. Of the 260 people who came through the lodge so far this year, just over 80% have booked for next season. We do offer the right of first refusal to current year guests and most opt for that opportunity. But that still leaves a lot of spots for next year when you can have that option yourself. Give our Guide/Sales Manager Jon Wimpney an email to get your trip for the first half of next season. Find the 2020 schedule and prices on this site and remember that our package is the most inclusive in the industry. Take a careful look and compare the cost per day. The very best doesn’t have to cost more.



What a week at Scott Lake Lodge! We had it all: perfect sunny days, a wild storm, four huge pike, a new 100+Club record, the annual staff Trout Derby and  a fantastic upbeat group of guests. Most dramatic was an all-day storm on the fourth day that brought big time thunder and lightening with a frog-drowning rain (good thing we don’t have any frogs around here). That storm apparently didn’t bother the pike at all. Fishing right through the rain Bob Chadwell landed six trophy pike; Bill McGraw got four over the 40” mark. Amy Towers had a pike way, way over the trophy minimum size. She landed a massive, beautiful 49” pike. Those inches, added to her earlier catches of a 43.5” lake trout and a 18.5” arctic grayling, gave Amy the new 100+Club record of 111 inches. Getting even one of those three fish would have made a memorable trip. Getting all three is just plain amazing. Congrats to Amy. And to Amy’s husband, Jeff. He ended up with 105.5 inches with his trio of trophies. And to Amy’s mom, Martha Golz, who with the push from her 48” pike landed at 105 inches. What at trip for that crew, they had a blast and the fishing was a bonus!  

It was a week for some simply huge fish. Scott Lake Lodge co-owner Ron Spork came north for some relaxing fishing time. He wasn’t relaxing when he landed a 47.5” and a 48” pike. They don’t grow those in Ron’s Chicagoland backyard. Jason Davison waited until the last day to make his big fish statement. Using his fly rod and a mini-leech with a tiny (size 6) hook, Jason put another 49 incher in the Scott Lake Lodge books. Gus Ruetenick Jr. added a 46 incher to the mix. Mike Stanford got a 45 incher and son Chad got a 45.5” beauty. As we see every year, this is the time (late July and early August) when the big fish start going on the prowl. This wasn’t just a big pike week. Finally, some huge trout ended up in the guide’s nets. When Amy Towers got her big 43.5” laker she also got five other trophy trout, three over 40”. Jeff Towers got a 40 and a 42. During the annual staff Trout Derby (an evening fish when the lodge management team serves dinner), chef Rachael Basler got a 40.5 super fat laker, winning the contest handily. Some dandy grayling also put in an appearance. Jeff Towers got the biggest, a 19 incher. Bill and Martha Golz got 18s. So many big fish. The trophy count was substantial at 157 with a nice mix of pike, lake trout and grayling.

It was a wonderful group of guests that made all this happen. We had quite an age span, from 12-year-old Charlie Stanford who earned a Triple Trophy hat to 95 years-young Gus Ruetenik. Gus loves every fish he catches and over his 19 trips to Scott he’s caught a lot. It would be great to report that Gus got a monster pike on this trip, but he didn’t: he was very satisfied bringing in a bunch of pike and trout under the trophy mark but well within the fun mark. He did show everyone at the lodge how to have a perfect trip without the perfect fish. A true sportsman, Gus just loved being on the water with his son and grandson, enjoying the serenity of the lake country and the pure joy of just fishing. We salute Gus and all the guests who made this week one of the best of the season.

THE OLD AND THE NEW, PLUS LOTS OF PIKE: The 10th Week Fishing Report

THE OLD AND THE NEW, PLUS LOTS OF PIKE: The 10th Week Fishing Report


It was a very memorable week at Scott Lake Lodge. We had a wonderful blend of old and new customers, with first timers out numbering our veteran guests for the first time all season, but our returning guests had a leader. Howard Weiss has had 28 trips to Scott Lake Lodge. Even at the tender age of 95, Howard (better know as Harley) made the trip to the 60th parallel to renew his ties with our northern pike and many friends here. Harley didn’t hit the water quite as hard as he did in years past when he was known as the Ironman, flying out to remote lakes almost every day and making more casts, catching more fish than anyone else on our island. But he still fished every day and enjoyed every minute of it. He’s planning on his 29th trip next summer.

The week started like we were in an endless summer. Our tenth group of the season stepped in their boats on the first day with blue skies, blue water and a gentle warm breeze. It was perfect—the twelfth consecutive day where the day had that feeling of being “THE DAY”. For many of our anglers it was. There were 36 trophy pike landed on that pleasant summer day. Some nice ones too: two at 46”, a 45 and three 44s. Chuck and Conner Dannewitz have a long tradition here of getting big pike. They made great use of that perfect opening day by teaming up for ten trophy pike. There were leisurely shore lunches and soft boat rides over glassy water. It was the perfection of summer. But nothing lasts forever. For the next couple of days, a biting north wind turned that glassy water into some hard chop. This group didn’t allow the change of weather to slow down their fishing or their catching. The daily trophy counts did drop with the dropping temperatures, but the gang here kept plugging away. There were still around twenty trophy pike a day. (This was an unusual week where no one went after arctic grayling, our miniature sailfish and only a few anglers spent time going after lake trout.) This was a pure pike group.

And they got plenty of them, ending up with 101 trophy pike (a fish of 40” or better), interestingly the exact number of the prior group which enjoyed five perfect summer days. Maybe this group just worked a little harder. It paid off; they got into some big fish. Four anglers (Mike Weiss Jr, Dana Brigs, Garrett and Gary Rutherford) landed 46 inchers. Chad Payne got 45 and Chad Rutherford had a big day, pulling in a 45” and a 45.5” pike along with two other trophies.

There was one notable lake trout landed this week. Assistant Manager, Dani Grunberg, took a rare day off and fished for an entire day, something unusual for any Scott Lake staff members who are used to working seven days a week all season. She made the best of it, landing a monster lake trout of 41.5”, a personal best by more than a few inches. Gary Rutherford and Chad Payne also got trophy trout this week but it will be remembered as a great pike fishing week where a lot of new guests became old friends.