It’s like a run on the bank in reverse. Interest in Scott Lake Lodge fishing trips has hit an all time high. Bookings for next year’s season (June 10-September 8, 2014) are running about 20% ahead of the pace of 2013, a year that sold out in late April. We are looking at a sell out again but at a much earlier date. It is of course a lot easier to sell out a season when 70% of your capacity is gone before your last customer leaves. That’s what happened this year when 340 of our 2014 trips were booked by our September 6th close date. Things are moving. So if you are “thinking” of a trip to Scott stop thinking and start calling. While a few of our 2014 weeks are full, we have openings scattered throughout the schedule. Give Jon Wimpney, our veteran guide/sales manager, a call today at 306/209-7150 or email Jon at email@example.com. Jon can give you open dates or just talk to you about the subject he loves the most—fishing.
The Boys in Brazil
The Scott Lake Lodge Guide Team is counting down the days for the next Guide Retreat. This one will be a dandy—peacock bass fishing in the jungles of the northern Amazon basin. Peacock bass will be right in the wheelhouse for our guides. While not similar to pike in appearance or habitat, they act a lot like pike when something looking like food moves in front of them. The savage strikes and hard fights are legendary and well earned. It’s a spectacular game fish. We have visited many exotic locales over the years like Mexico, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, the Florida Everglades but the Agua Boa River in northern Brazil will be special. The trip starts in Manaus Brazil, a city of two million on the banks of the Amazon River. Even though Manaus is over 1000 miles from the ocean it is a major port—that’s how big the Amazon River is. The Agua Boa is actually a tributary to a tributary of the Rio Negro which joins the Amazon at Manaus. We will be near the headwaters of the entire system where the water is almost as clear as the water of Scott Lake. Sight fishing these brightly colored tackle busters will take fishing excitement to a new level. As with all of our previous guide trips, there will be a lot of opportunity for professional development and team building. There is no better way to improve guiding skills than watching what other guides do (or don’t do). And this will be a time for all our guides to refine their fly fishing techniques. The Agua Boa Lodge is a fly fishing only venue. Getting a 20 pounder (it’s possible) on a fly rod would be a lifetime thrill. The trip is December 14-21. Watch for a full report on our website right after Christmas.
Our Evaluations Are In
Every year we ask our customers to fill out an online evaluation survey. We had a robust response with 30% of our customers (many responding for two anglers) giving us their feedback which was generally laudatory. In our book though, any response less than an “excellent” rating is just not good enough. We did get a lot of “excellent” ratings but will be working in 2014 to push the “good” ratings into the excellent category. Some highlights of the process: 99% would recommend Scott Lake Lodge to a friend; 94% rated the guiding as excellent; 91% rated the overall Scott Lake experience as excellent; 89% rated the service at meals as excellent; 85% rated the housekeeping as excellent and 97% rated our travel planning assistance as excellent. Not bad but we will keep working to make Scott Lake Lodge the top rated lodge in Canada for customer service. Many very specific suggestions for improvements around the lodge were received and we will tackle each and every one of those. Thanks to all who participated in the survey.
On the second of April, sildenafil doctor the Scott Lake Lodge guide team met in Managua, Nicaragua en route to a remote tarpon camp on the San Juan River near the border with Costa Rica. The Guide Retreat is a grand tradition, spanning a over a dozen years and diverse geography: Ascension Bay in Mexico, the bone fishing meccas of the Bahamas, the backcountry of south Florida, the sailfish infested waters of Golfo Duce in Costa Rica as well as closer to home places like the Frasier River in British Columbia where sturgeon measured in feet not inches are found and caught. This year the group wanted two things–hot weather and tarpon. The trip to the San Juan was planned and a dozen of Scott’s finest showed up in Managua.
After a couple of days of sampling the urban delights of Managua and seriously depleting the beer supply of the capital city, the group, led by General Manager John Gariepy, headed south by van to San Carlos at the bottom of massive Lake Nicaragua, then by boat for two hours down the San Juan River to the Monte Cristo Lodge near the small village of Sabalos. Set high above the river the lodge was a naturalist’s delight with an eco-theme featuring daily 4:00 AM wake up calls by a troop of howler monkeys who were right on time every morning. There were regular sightings of three species of monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, otters and birds beyond descriptions. And the fishing? Well, you can’t have everything. Let’s just say the some of the guides were missing the predictable action of Scott Lake.
The trip started with a bang: fifteen minutes into Day 1 owner Tom Klein hooked and landed a twenty pound snook which provided ample fillets for the first of many great dinners. Many other snook and lots of smaller but meaner fish, like the machaca, followed in decent numbers. But the tarpon quest was tough. They are moody fish and remarkably difficult to both hook and land. Bottom line: three tarpon landed and a dozen jumped (a nice way of saying they got off). A potential tarpon shutout was avoided when on Day 4, to use Scott Lake Lodge lingo, Steve “School Zone” Yanish drove his hooks into a heavy tarpon. For an hour and a half he battled the fish before declaring victory. It was dicey several times but Steve brought it to a shoreline for beaching. He then jumped on the muddy looking shoreline only to sink up to his waist in the mud and fall backwards on his right shoulder. But he held on with his left arm high and with the help of the Nicaraguan guide, Jan Phoenix and Tom Klein he literally wrestled (look at the picture) the well over one hundred pound fish to submission. For Steve it was a moment of profound satisfaction. He had dreamed of catching a tarpon since he was fifteen. Nearly twenty years later he held his prize. For others it will have to be a dream delayed until a future trip, except for Jan Phoenix who was not interested in dreams, but he will be dreaming for years about his experience on the very last day of the trip.
No one in the group had fished harder than Jan. At 5:00 AM on Day 7 Jan was out on the water while everyone else was still in bed. His faith and determination were rewarded. That morning he hooked three tarpon and landed two–the picture tell the rest of the story. They were both 100 pound plus tarpon. One required an hour and twenty minutes to land. This was a storybook ending to an exciting and rewarding trip. While this was not the tarpon bonanza the guys had hoped for it was for all a memorable trip. Fishing after all is fishing and results rarely meet expectations. (Well maybe at some places… maybe Scott Lake.)
But we were fishing for more than something at the end of a line. We were looking to reinforce and enhance the remarkable teamwork that defines the Scott Lake Lodge guide team. On that score it was a remarkably successful trip. John Gariepy summed it up best: “The fishing was tough and it was rewarding to see this group of guys work together to create opportunities to make the best of it. While the tarpon were “off their feed”, other fish were available and our guides knew how to make the best of a tough situation.” Head Guide Cory Craig put the real benefit of the trip into a perfect metaphor: “Being on the ‘other side’ of the boat really helps all of us better understand our jobs. We see what we like and what we don’t like in a guided fishing day. That makes us more aware of what Scott customers expect.” This was a week well spent that will pay dividends for all of Scott Lake Lodge’s customers, this year and many years ahead. Memories of fish, big and small, jungle hikes and kayaking will fade but the bonds built here in the jungles of Nicaragua will endure.
Our guide team is an assembled cast of professionals spanning from New Brunswick to Saskatchewan and down to Costa Rica. One thing ties them all together – their love of all things outdoors. After the season the crew spread to their respective corners of the world plying their passion in the form of fishing, cialis usa viagra hunting, cialis buy viagra sale and even farming. Here is a brief update on what they are doing.
Since the close of the season, Ken has been busy working the phones and emails for Scott Lake booking the next round of guests for the 2011 season. In his meager spare time, Ken has been able to get out into the boat for some walleye and pike fishing, as well as doing some hunting. Ken shot this moose two weeks ago and has since (understandably) put on a few pounds.
Cory spent some time with his family in the Winnipeg area where he introduced his youngest, daughter Kaya, to fishing. Cory and his family then returned home to Costa Rica where he owns and operates Tropic Fins adventures. If anyone is interested in a salt water adventure this winter contact Cory through his website at www.tropicfins.com
Jan has returned to Whitehorse, YT for some fall fishing and hunting. Pike, grayling, and coho salmon have been his target since getting home as well as hunting of all sorts. Jan recently shot this bull moose and on the way home afterwards he managed to pick up a few grouse as well.
Steve returned home to Yorkton, SK after the season and was drawn along with his dad, maintenance manager Gerry Yanish, and brother for moose in their area. After a few days hunting they all managed to fill their tags and their freezers.
Not all fun and games for everyone after the season. But Curtis did jump into another one of his passions – helping harvest on the family farm. It was a great year for crops for them and I’m sure that Curt will get his fill of some whitetail hunting yet this fall.
First year guide Graham is no stranger to the outdoors. While most of his time has been spent renovating his cabin this fall, he and his girlfriend did manage to get her her very first black bear.
Almost as soon as the fishing season is over it’s time for the waterfowl migration and upland bird hunting. Matt guides for fowl every season when he is done at Scott and by all accounts this one was especially good. Here he is after a morning hunt with a bag limit for everyone in his group.
First year guide in training Cody has been in Northern Manitoba guiding for caribou and lake trout. One of the highlights of his time was having a polar bear wander into camp and get tranquilized for relocation.
Chester has had a busy off-season so far guiding for ducks and geese, walleye fishing, and recently getting his daughter her first whitetail, a beautiful 11 point buck. Chester and myself (General Manager John Gariepy) got away for some walleye fishing in Saskatchewan this fall and we both caught our personal best walleye cranking on open water.
Paul has been keeping busy between renovations on his house and getting out for some hunting and fishing. Paul joined myself and Chester in the boat one night cranking walleye on the river at Tobin Lake. Paul caught this beauty just before midnight.