It is amazing after the concentration we get on the island at Scott Lake Lodge how far the guides spread out in the off season, after spending the summer chasing trophy northern pike and trophy lake trout at what we think is the best fly in fishing lodge in Canada, home is worldwide, travels as well. This off season we have guides living in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan (maybe the highest concentration is around White Fox), British Columbia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and South Africa. They travel, live, work, farm, guide, fish, hunt and spread the word about the special place they have returned each summer now for many years. Each brings his own twist to the boat, each makes life on the 12 acre island great in a unique way. Here is a sampling, in photos, of what the group was up to, and where they’ve been so far this fall.
It’s been hot, incredibly hot for May, on Scott Lake. In our twenty years of operations we have never had the lake open in May. But it just could be this year. The lake is just one windy day away from breaking up. What a contrast to last May when the temperatures were hovering just above freezing for most of the month. Our island in the north has been basking in temperatures in the high 60s, even 70s for a couple of weeks now. An intrepid crew including guides Paul Hamilton, Cody Mychalyshyn and Jan Phoenix flew in by helicopter on May 12th to start the process of getting camp ready for the 2015 season. Instead of wearing down coats as our early-in crew last year did this year the appropriate apparel has been flip-flops, shorts and T-shirts. You can follow their exploits, including an interesting version of a “northern bath” by checking out our Face book site (www.facebook.com/scottlakelodge). At least we have a season when we will have a leisurely and enjoyable opening. After the drama of 2014 we’ll take it and enjoy it.
The crew has a lot to do yet before we are fully ready for our June 10th opener. The gang is putting the finishing touches on a new quadplex staff dorm. We have been increasing our staff numbers over the past few years and now have a lot more elbow room in Guideland. Also on the agenda are the many routine but time consuming tasks we do every season: take down all the plywood boards on all the cabins; connect all the water lines and install the large submersible water pump; unload thousands of gallons of Jet fuel for the Otter, AvGas for the Beaver, unleaded gas for the boats and diesel fuel for the two generators. This year we are also setting up four new 18’guide boats for Scott and four new 16’ boats for the fly out lakes. Of course there are the fourteen fly out lakes to set up as well. We have nearly forty outboards motors to check out and service. And a few hundred spruce trees to cut down, haul to the island, run through the municipal-sized wood chipper and then spread over the quarter mile of island trails. And unload and store several tons of food and supplies. And inspect, clean and maintain the 28 buildings around the island. And the list goes on and on and on. This season all those “ands” will require about 2000 hours of what can only be called what it is—hard labor. But ask any of the Scott Lake crew: it is a labor of love. And the early birds love every minute of their work, especially with warm temperatures making everything just a bit more pleasant.
One guy not working very hard is our Sales Manager, Jon Wimpney. His work is essentially done. We have had very few cancellations this year (a tangible sign that the economy really is back to pre-2008 levels) and he has only a handful, a small handful, of open spots to fill. Call him at 306/209-7150 if you have the itch. If the dates work he can scratch it.
A GUIDE’S WINTER: FUN AND SUN AND HERNIA REPAIRS
The Scott Lake Guide Team was spread all over the map this winter, dispersing far and fast from the comforts of the island on Scott Lake. Heading south was, of course, the top compass point of travel. Most made the trip to Brazil for the Guide Retreat, enjoying the extraordinary peacock bass fishing experience. Many just kept traveling. Costa Rica has become the home away from home for a lot of guides. Scott’s Head Guide, Cory Craig, kicked off this trend about a dozen years ago when he started off season guiding in Crocodile Bay, off the Osa Peninsula. Since he founded Tropic Fins, his own charter fishing business, and started a winter residence there, Cory has had lots of Scott guides as company. Most have visited him in Costa, realizing that it was a wonderful antidote for the brutal winters of Saskatoon or Winnipeg. Jan Phoenix has traveled there every winter for a long time. This winter Mike Demyen, “Nuggets” for Scott regulars, joined the parade to Costa. Cody Mychalyshyn has been a Costa regular but this winter really spread his sails, ending up traveling all winter throughout Africa and Europe, finding lots of sun and plenty of adventure. Steve Lindner, AKA Biff Piston, found mucho sun and who knows what else during two trips to Cuba this winter. Grill Biff this summer about his time there.
Some of the guides stayed in the frigid north this winter. Jon, J5, Wimpney spent the off season (except for his Brazil trip where he got the biggest peacock, an 18 pounder) working the phone and keyboard to get the lodge full this summer. He’s close now but still working. Don’t bother him unless you want to book a trip. Shaun Ledoux spent the winter hitting the books in Price Albert working on a degree program in business management. Steve “School Zone” Yanish spent most of his fall and winter developing Alpine Valley Outfitters in an indeed spectacular valley in British Columbia. He completed camp construction, secured horses, scouted the vast territory and shot a dandy mule deer in the process. He will be ready for serious hunting next fall. Jason Terris, the infamous “T-Bag”, fought off a bitter cold in New Brunswick by spending most of the winter cutting wood and dreaming of warm days on Scott Lake. Curtis Woloshyn worked steady (odd for a Scott guide) during the off season, providing safety guidance for companies in the oil sands of Alberta. Curt will use his safety training this summer as a Safety Officer at Scott Lake Lodge, a new role on the island—you can’t have too much focus on safety. New General Manager Jason Hamilton operated an ice fishing guiding service and headed out almost daily to the vast Lake Winnipeg in 20 to 40 degree below weather. His battle with the elements was a draw but he definitely won the battle with big walleyes.
Chester, “The Poacher”, Porteous spent a lot of time catching double digit “eyes” on Lake Winnipeg but his big news of the off season was Cale Ashley Darrell Porteous, a son to add some androgen to his estrogen heavy family. Congrats to the Poach and wife Hayley. Paul Hamilton was a new father too, of sorts. He was busy chasing whitetails, catching walleyes and fathering his new dog, Cooper. Congrats to Paulie too. While not exactly a guide, Chef Jeff Walker has been guide to shore staff even since Shaun Ledoux upgraded to the official Scott Guide Team. Jeff has wintered in Toronto working full time at a top Asian restaurant and studying full time at Canada’s most prestigious culinary institution, the George Brown Chef School. As he says, “chefs love to work.” Get ready for some spectacular meals this summer at Scott.
And the hernia? Well it made an eye catching headline. Actually, Graham Coulombe lifted so many heavy fish last summer that he had to check in for a full service hernia repair job. He is fully recovered and ready to do it all over again.
SPRING WORK CREW
In mid-April former manager, John Gariepy, and new manager, Jason Hamilton, will take a work crew to the lodge to tackle some big jobs, mainly the installation of a new diesel generator. If you have some heavy equipment and maybe a fork lift getting a 1,200 pound piece of machinery into a small building is a piece of cake. It’s not quite as easy on a remote island where the only heavy equipment will be a snowmobile (a really old one), an ATV (which will not be much good in the snow) and six guys (who will be the next candidates for a hernia repair). They are hoping that they will not need the assistance of a very expensive helicopter to put the generator in its place. Of course there is the annual tree slaughter where the wood for the spruce chipped walkways is brought to the island. And lots of other fix up/clean up work. They will be busy.
SHOW OFF YOUR FISH! VIDEO CONTEST: DEADLINE EXTENDED
Now come on. We know that there are more video clips out there. We recently announced the first ever Show Off Your Fish video contest offering a grand prize of a fly out for two to any lake, but have received only a handful of submissions so far. With a total of three different prizes it really isn’t a contest. So dig into your hard drives and pull out some clips. Lots of Scott anglers have shot video over the years. This is your chance to show it off – any – footage shot at Scott is eligible. The new (and final) deadline is April 30. Get on it and fly for free this summer or on your next Scott trip. Contest details are on our website: www.scottlakelodge.com/videocontest.html.
It seems to happen every year—a corporate group has a change of plans and cancels their trip. Their lost deposit can be your gain. We have a dozen openings for our August 24-29 trip. This is the time of the season when the really big pike put on the feedbag. In 2013 anglers caught most of the 48”or bigger pike in mid to late August. Numbers are down at this time but size and attitude are way up. It is also the best grayling fishing of the season when the water levels in the rivers are low and the miniature sailfish feast on whatever bugs are available—it’s terrific for dry fly fishing. Actually this trip is in fall not summer (fall at Scott starts in mid-August) and there will be plenty of yellow aspen leaves and the gorgeous gold of the tamarack.
The real pay off though is the opportunity to see the color above—in the sky. August 25th is the new moon which will provide the darkest “night” of the entire season, offering great contrast for the northern lights. This week should be the best light show of the season. Like seeing wildlife, watching northern lights is a powerful but unpredictable experience. Clouds are the wild card, but this will be the best shot. To grab one of these spots for a $1,000 discount and $500 of “mad money” (good for use at the bar, fly outs, massage or the Fishin’ Hut) call Sales Manager, Jon Wimpney, at 306/209-7150 today. Not today. Call him now. He will take your call 24/7, right Jon? We are close to full now but there are a few spots sprinkled through the season. Make this a Scott Lake Lodge summer. All we need is five days of your time and some of your money. We do the rest to give you a lifetime of memories. Such a deal!