Week 2 Recap – When The Going Gets Tough…The Tough Get Fishing

Week 2 Recap – When The Going Gets Tough…The Tough Get Fishing

Our second week at Scott Lake Lodge, typically June 14-19, can be absolutely idyllic with blue skies, warm southwest breezes, warming waters and aggressive, hard charging pike that just engulf anything that comes near them. Can be. However, that wasn’t the case this year. The second chapter in the Scott Lake Book of 2024 was a lot more challenging than most years. Except for a very pleasant first day (a day with 40 trophy fish), the weather conspired against our intrepid group of anglers. Even though they had to layer on the layers, they made the best of the conditions and pressed on. And they did just fine. It was cold and windy without a lot of aggressive fish, but with the help of a guide team averaging over 20 years of experience, they caught plenty, a total of 113 trophy fish, mostly pike. In cold conditions everything has to slow down–the retrieve, the hook set and handling the fight. With a surface temperature of only in the mid-40s, more finesse was required than in warmer water conditions when anglers just need to cast, crank and hang on. A lot of slower moving plastic baits and flies were in order. The group did great in adapting their techniques to the tougher than normal conditions.

And we had some nice surprises like Don Luke’s 40.5” gorgeous lake trout caught on Scott Lake on a fly on Day 2. And the number of really big pike. Cold conditions and huge pike usually don’t go together up here, but we did have some very impressive fish. On that first day Mike and Kent Mathis had an incredible day on Wholdaia Lake, one of 24 of the lodge’s flyouts. They boated nine trophy pike including a 45-incher by Mike and a 46 by Kent. In between stormy weather and yes, even a snow squall, some big fish were taken. Pike of 45 or 45.5 inches were caught by long time guests Judy Schmidt, Clayton Jennings, and Peter Myhre (a pair). Barbie Purpura got a 44-inch pike as well. Despite conditions not conducive to fishing for arctic grayling, a species that loves warmer water than what we had this week, Don Luke got a few trophy sized grayling and earned the Trophy Triple hat, catching a trophy in all three of our species—lake trout, northern pike and arctic grayling. Hats off to Don. And hats off to Brigitte Jennings for also leaving the lodge with her Trophy Triple hat.

In our twenty-six years of operation, we have averaged just one “lodge day” a year—a day when it’s so ugly that all or most guests just don’t want to get out on the water. We checked that box on Day 3, a day with clouds, wind and even some snow. Just plain miserable. That didn’t stop some anglers though from getting out even if for just a few hours. Don Luke got his second big trout, a 38.5-inch beauty, while fly fishing in less than desirable conditions. On that tough day only three trophies were taken–Don’s trout, a 36” trout caught by Jonah Oberloh and a 40.5” pike landed by Jeff Quick. We salute these hardy anglers. Obviously a day with only three trophies did depress the weekly trophy total but card games, a hot lunch in the main lodge and a mid-day nap by some eased the pain of missing a day on the water. Scott Lake Lodge has plenty of creature comforts.

The week was a reminder for everyone on our island that fishing in the far north is not always predictable, but it is always inspiring. Fishing is never predictable. If it were, it would be boring. That’s one thing that never happens at Scott Lake. Our service team makes sure of that. A testament to the quality of our customer service program and the loyalty of our guests is one number: twenty of our twenty-six Week 2 guests, despite the tough weather, rebooked for next season. We thank those guests and thank our staff for making a wonderfully sweet lemonade out of the lemons the weather handed us. In fishing (and sports) there is always next year . . .

Let the Games Begin! The Week 1 Report

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!

It was a classic opening week with cold nights and mornings but hot fishing. For weather we had it all: wind, cold rain, clouds and just enough intense sunshine to wake up the slumbering giant pike. While it’s been reported in these posts often, it’s simply a fact that great pike fishing and sunshine go together like peanut butter and jam. We had just enough to drive a sensational week. While each day produced plenty of trophy fish, the fourth day of our five-day weeks was incredible. On that single day our guests landed fifty (yes, that’s 50) pike over our trophy standard of 40-inches with three trophy trout (35-inches) thrown in as a bonus. That’s a decent total for an entire season at many other Canadian fishing lodges. And there were some real hogs caught that day—four over 45-inches including a 47.5-inch beauty and a massive 48.5-inch tundra shark. Of course, that was the one day it was full sunshine all day throughout our nine-million acres of fishing territory which encompasses our 22 fly out lakes and the quarter of a million acres of productive water accessible from our docks at Scott.

The other four days weren’t shabby either: the week tallied 140 trophy fish—127 pike and thirteen lake trout. Four of those lakers found the end of Andrew Horan’s line and really made memories. He had a DAY on Smalltree Lake. At the inflow of the Dubawnt River into the lake, he found some dandy lakers, landing fish of 35, 36.5,39 and a monster of 43-inches. While lake trout numbers like that are fairly common in the deep water “trout season” of mid-July to mid-August, they are exceptionally rare for our shallow springtime fishing. And a trout of 43-inches is rare anywhere, anytime. To get a fish like that in water only a couple of feet deep is the angling thrill of a lifetime. Jim Meyer had a similar trout experience. At an inflow (lake trout love moving water in the spring) on Selwyn Lake, Jim found heavy lakers of 38 and 40 inches.

But the week still belonged to the big pike. The big screens at Laker Lodge were filled with huge pike photos every night at the “fish du jour” post-dinner show. Some barely fit the screen. The stats are impressive: seventeen pike taped at 44-inches or better. A bunch of those big ones were landed by Peter Myhre who had an epic pike week. It went like this: Day 1—six trophies; Day 2—six trophies; Day 3–three trophies (an off day); Day 4–eight trophies, and Day 5—eight trophies with a 46 and a fat 48. Peter had eight pike over 44 inches. That’s a trip. Stay tuned. Peter is hard at it right now on his second five-day stay. He did cover a lot of our huge fishing universe, flying to four of our fly out lakes—Selwyn (twice), Gardiner, Sandy and Wholdaia. He’s got some frequent flier miles going.

Sam Hana and Colin McConville also experienced the adrenaline rush of seeing a giant gaping mouth open to engulf their lure. Sam landed a 47.5-inch beauty and Colin saw his guide’s tape reach 48.5-inches end to end and 20.5-inches around the middle, a massive girth. We had so many big fish and big days. Chase Masuga had a seven-trophy day; the father/son team of Harry and Aris Moulopoulos put eight big pike in their guide’s net, including a 45.5-incher that Aris got on the fly rod; Paul Hana also nailed a 45.5-incher on his fly rod, and other 45s were taken by Bubba Morrill and Rob Shaffalo who also got a 44. Pike of 44 were landed by Tom Goebel, Ben Russert and Chase Masuga.

As if all these fish-of-a-lifetime weren’t enough, there were some exciting wildlife encounters. There were four black bears observed on Scott Lake while a wolverine and a muskox were seen at fly out lakes. Of course there were loons, osprey and eagles seen every day on all our lakes. While the weather for the week was variable, there was one constant—FUN. Our guides and customer service team know how to facilitate that #1 Scott Lake metric. While we do count and celebrate big fish, this place is about having a good time, on the water and on our island. Fun is difficult to quantify but easy to spot: it’s the big smile on ten-year-old Landon Gobel’s face as he pulled in his first pike or the smiles all around the room as the image of Andrew Horan’s giant lake trout hit the screen. Fun and food often go together. From our guide’s creative shore lunches to our Head Chef’s magnificent dinners, we satisfied every appetite. The only trouble was that no one wanted to leave. And nearly everyone signed up for 2025 hoping to repeat a memorable week.

Countdown to Week 1 2024

Countdown to Week 1 2024

The countdown is on! Work never stops at Scott Lake Lodge, but when the first crew of the spring makes it to the island, it seems like full speed ahead. This past week our spring construction crew did just that.

Preseason Prep

We have so much to get ready to open the lodge after 8 months of winter’s grip on this 12-acre island right about 60 degrees north latitude. The list is long, but the group is hardworking and talented, so we’ll be excited to share some improvements soon.

Rewind a few months, there was a ton (literally many tons) of work done to set the spring crew up for some successful builds and renovations. In response to new flight duty regulations that came into effect in 2023, we decided to fly as much as we could in winter. The end goal was to preserve as many summer hours as possible for guest flyouts.  This was a huge investment and effort, but we pulled it off.  Setting up a new bulk fuel system in February is a whole new kind of fun!  Six new bulk tanks were carried in by helicopter and set into place on the island.

By late March, the sun hangs in the northern sky a little longer, allowing the Turbo Otter get some serious work done. Twenty-eight loads of fuel, lumber and freight made the scenic flight to the island in March. We were blessed with clear, albeit cold weather. Perfect for work and even a little fishing.

Improvements

Constant, incremental improvements…this has long been the adage of Scott Lake Lodge. We pore over the thoughtful comments in your evaluations and incorporate them into our planning. We take what you tell us seriously. To that end, we are building yet another staff cabin and bringing on more staff. We are committed to providing the finest, personalized customer service of any fishing lodge. Next on our road map is the complete overhaul of all the guest cabins. Bear is first up and getting an exciting expansion for this season.

Careful readers will notice a new lake in our flyout offerings. Mosquito Lake will be open once the ice melts (usually early July.) It is a long way north of Scott on the tundra but offers exciting fishing opportunities for big grayling and lakers. The chance to see caribou, muskox and barren ground grizzly make this a unique option. We’ll be getting you there faster and in style thanks to our new Caravan, which replaces GQD (Beaver.) The reliability, capacity and cruise speed are a welcome addition to our aviation program.

Countdown

There are less than 30 days until our Week 1 crew sets foot on the island. Every year our staff are hustling right until the last minute…the list of jobs to get done is immense! If you are joining us for the 2024 fishing season we have some work for you to do as well.

We ask you fill out your Pre-Trip Planner online so we have the necessary information to purchase your fishing licenses and catch any special requests or dietary needs you may have.

The planning stage of any trip is exciting: the anticipation, zooming in on Google Earth, checking for recent big fish on social media…embrace this part. We will be sending some pre-travel reading to you, so please take time to familiarize yourself with the Adventure Guide and important travel details in the email correspondence prior to your arrival. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out: Jason, Jon and Shirley are happy to help.

The Guest Portal has all of the pertinent information including an FAQ section about your upcoming trip. As a reminder, we do encourage you to arrive in Edmonton the day prior to your charter north if at all possible. This extra padding mitigates any airline mishaps such as lost bags or missed connections.

NEVER TOO LATE OR TOO EARLY

If you missed grabbing a spot on the 2024 calendar, get a hold of our sales manager Jon Wimpney (306-209-7150) ASAP. There are the inevitable cancelations every summer that open last-minute trips if your schedule is flexible.

We are already looking and thinking ahead to the 2025 season. It’s not too early to speak with Jon and get the process started. Demand is higher than it’s ever been, and we will not be increasing guest capacity. Trust us, don’t wait.