2023 Scott Lake Lodge – Are you excited yet??
We just cannot wait to chase those giant fish and see so many familiar, smiling faces! Here is some excitement to get out pumped for this season’s fishing!
We just cannot wait to chase those giant fish and see so many familiar, smiling faces! Here is some excitement to get out pumped for this season’s fishing!
by Tom Klein, Managing Partner
We’re not sure who missed the two Covid shut-down years the most. Was it our faithful guests or our dedicated staff? We had guests weep for joy when they set foot on the dock at Scott Lake. And we had staff who worked 100 straight days but still did not want to leave the island. Let’s just call it a draw.
Without any doubt it was simply good to be back fishing and back on the 12-acre island in the middle of nowhere. It was a picture-perfect fall day when on September 16th the final guests of the 2022 fishing season and some of our departing staff boarded an interesting mix of floatplanes—our flagship Beaver that celebrated its 75th birthday in August, a turbo Single Otter, a vintage piston Single Otter and a sleek Cessna Caravan—to head south for the last time of the season. So ended the most anticipated season in the lodge’s 27-year history.
Was it the best season we ever had? Not by the final trophy count, respectable but not record setting. Not by the weather which swung wildly between achingly beautiful and shockingly dreadful. Not by the late ice which cancelled the fishing dreams of our week 1 guests. But by the smiles and the written evaluations of our guests it was THEIR best fishing season ever. Our guests and staff were primed to have a great time in the far north and that’s just what they did.
Fishing is always dictated by weather, plain and simple. There were perhaps unrealistic expectations by many that after two years of not seeing a spoon, spinner, plastic pike or fly every pike in our lakes would fight to grab anything. That might be accurate in lower latitude fishing areas like the upper Midwest where fishing pressure is the determining factor in fishing action. But here in the far north with the vast, sprawling lakes and just a dozen boats on the water it’s more fundamental elements like water temperature and sunshine that dictate the fishing action. So, the two-year break from fishing really didn’t mean a thing. Sunny days with high pressure, quiet bays and some windy shorelines had incredible pike fishing. Cold front cloudy days required a bit more patience. In 2022 we simply had more of the latter than the former. (Lake trout always have a mind of their own and always bite whenever they feel like it, but we did have a great year for big lake trout.)
It was an unusual see-saw season. For example, Week 17 was cold and foggy with only 62 trophy fish; Week 18 was warm and sunny and had 129; Week 19 was back in the cold soup and produced only 53, the season’s low, but Week 20 ended strong with a lot of huge fish and 100 trophies. That was the pattern all year—no consistency. If one could predict the weather on the 60th parallel a year in advance one would always be fishing on just the right week. The right week though is any week you can be in such a pristine, beautiful wilderness while enveloped in the finest customer service experience you can imagine.
There were many amazing, over-the-top fishing days: many days of 100 pike per angler—yes, in a single day, and it was a season of BIG PIKE. We set a lodge record with 21 pike that measured 47” or better–what we call the “megas”. We love to celebrate really big fish. There were also many days of multiple trophies for all our species—pike, lake trout and grayling. One angler collected over a hundred pike trophies over his fifteen-day stay. We had 31 guests join the 100+Club by landing a trophy pike (minimum 40”), lake trout (minimum 35”) and grayling (minimum 15”) that collectively hit or exceeded 100”. Do the math. In any configuration that’s a group of very nice fish. We had over 100 pike of over 45”. We had two anglers who on a remarkable day brought ten trophy lake trout to their guide’s net with six of them exceeding 40”. We had a week in mid-August with 166 trophy fish, an average of six per angler. The great fishing was spread all over the calendar, depending of course on the weather. There were days where anglers jigged for lake trout and caught many dozens each. Or threw flies or small spinners in our many fly out rivers and found grayling that never stopped hitting. And there were days when ten fish was all the waters would give up. That’s fishing, even on the 60th parallel. It’s always unpredictable.
But what was predictable in 2022 were the good times in the boat and in the lodge; the fine dinners with friends; evenings by the bonfire; before fishing hikes on the nearby Tundra Trail; the haunting calling of loons at night; hot tub and sauna relaxation sessions; morning workouts in the gym; canoe paddles after dinner; wildlife sightings, like the herd of musk ox right on the shores of Scott Lake, and a simple enjoyment of being with friends, old and new, in such a spectacular place.
It’s why more than half of the 2022 guests have already rebooked for the 2023 fishing season. It’s why you should consider doing the same: it’s a predictably wonderful experience, whatever the weather. Give our Sales Manager Jon Wimpney a call today at 306/209-7150 or send him an email. It will make your 2023 summer one to remember.
Some weeks at Scott Lake Lodge it’s all about the fishing and only the fishing. We’ve had groups who turn in before dark (actually not that early up here) and hound their guides to get out early for long days on the water. They talk fishing constantly and fall asleep thinking about the one that got away. This wasn’t one of those groups. These folks came to have a good time: they certainly accomplished that goal. There was a pleasant buzz around the main lodge every night and there were several very late nights at the bar. One memorable evening witnessed most of the group hanging around the bonfire, watching the northern lights and passing around the guitar, singing duets with the local loons. Those not by the campfire were inside the lodge dancing and pretending it was New Year’s Eve. With three days of fly outs cancelled due to heavy morning fog, there was plenty of time for leisurely shore lunches which were greatly enjoyed by everyone.
There were nature hikes and evening card games and drinking, plenty of drinking. That’s what a fishing vacation is all about: simply having a good time. Fishing yes but fun first.
Of course, good times up here mean fishing as well. Even without many fly outs, there were a lot of big fish caught. The trophy count was just over a hundred, not bad for a bunch of party animals. The group from Wisconsin was all business went it came to lake trout. On an amazing day six that group landed sixteen trophy trout. Joanie and Scott Peterson got half a dozen; Bob Chadwell got six by himself including a 40,42 and 44” monster; Larry and Shanna Bohac only got four that day, but Larry got a 40-incher and Shanna won an epic battle with our biggest trout of the season, a whopping 46-incher with a massive girth, so heavy the guide begged them to take the picture quickly. While they didn’t score any trophies at the outflow of Kimiwan Lake, Mike Diaz and Jeff Woods really got into nice lake trout on flies. Throwing streamers into fast water they hooked and landed 32 fat lakers, all bigger than the biggest trout caught anywhere in Montana or Wyoming.
Grayling fishing was on the mind of several anglers. This is the time of year when the rivers at their lowest levels making wading our rivers easier, and when grayling are primed for taking dry flies. Wading in a wilderness river with no company but your fishing companions, your guide and maybe a musk ox is heaven for many of our guests. (Speaking of musk ox, we had several sightings this week but one of them was south of our lodge, the furthest south we have ever seen one of these prehistoric beasts.) When we could fly, grayling were often the target. Joanie and Scott Peterson got a bunch with a fat 18” as their biggest. Peter Santry, Charlie King, Chris Maybury and Marty Cannon attacked a river with vengeance, all getting numerous big grayling in the 18”+ range. Jeff Woods and Mike Diaz also put 18s into their guides nets.
Pike fishing for this group was good but not great. We didn’t have the sunshine we like to keep pike actively feeding. While there were plenty of trophy pike landed, we didn’t get as many of the giants as we do in a typical week. Scott Peterson and Dave Ellis landed 44-inchers. Dave Tenney had the best big pike day getting a 44 and a 46.5” beauty.
Did this group have a great time? The evidence was clear. After the final night’s awards ceremony and fish du jour pictures, the group gave a rousing standing ovation for our staff who have now worked for 80 consecutive days without showing even a hint of fatigue. Their efforts to make these fishing trips enjoyable were deeply appreciated by this wonderful group of anglers. Not the most or the biggest fish were caught this week, but enduring memories were formed as well as many new friendships. Not bad for a foggy week.
PREHISTORIC VISITORS AT SCOTT LAKE
On June 28th strange creatures looking like they just wandered out of a Star Wars movie set were spotted on the shores of Scott Lake. They were stocky with very shaggy long dark coats, horns that belong on a cape buffalo, traveled in a large group, and grunted a lot. People with travel experience in the high arctic will figure this mystery quickly, but for the 60th parallel this was an amazing sighting. They were musk oxen of course, but they have never been seen this far south. It just might be the first time ever that this primitive mammal has traveled the eskers along the north shore of sprawling Scott Lake. Just a little history: musk oxen are creatures of the far north, very far north. Most numerous on the arctic islands like Banks or Victoria, they are also found on the mainland of northern Canada, but usually well north of this neck of the woods. Twenty-five years back Scott Lake Lodge guests who really wanted to see one had to fly in a float plane over two hours north, toward Dubwant Lake to see one. Over two decades sightings were made closer and closer to the lodge. While the trend line was clear, it was still stunning when guests Joe Novicki, Bill Calabresa and guide Jan Phoenix saw a herd of around twenty-five right on the shore of our own lake. Around this small island town this was big news. It’s a new era of wildlife watching.
Bill and Joe weren’t just looking for musk ox of course. They have been fishing hard and successfully. For over two decades the two anglers have been boating big northern pike, lake trout and grayling. This year’s trip was no exception. Both will be proudly wearing their 100+Club jackets. Joe is currently tied for the top spot in that exclusive club with his total of 103.5 inches having landed a 45.5” pike, 39” lake trout and 19” grayling. The other person on top of that leader board is Rich Kracum, another long time Scott guest, with a pike of 43.5”, a lake trout of 41” and a grayling of 19” who landed on the same number. It was a big week for the jacket: Rich’s son John Kracum hit the same number as Bill Calabresa at 102 inches.
It was a big week for a lot of guests. Mira Lechowicz landed four trophy pike one day and three trophy lake trout on another day. Susan and Frank Saraka have been coming to Scott for a long time but can’t remember a better day together than the nine-trophy pike day they had this trip, topped by Susan’s 45” pike. On the same day Cam and Andy Godden hit the same total of trophies but both caught 47 inchers. In any “normal” week a 47 would be the top fish but not this week. Both Craig Mataczynski and Al Wortz put 48s in their guide’s nets. Five pike in the “super-sized” category of 45 inches plus is quite a week. For many lodges in the lower parts of Canada that would be a season’s worth.
The totals for the week were impressive, especially for a week characterized by cool and windy conditions: 112 trophy fish nicely divided among pike, lake trout and grayling. Who knows where those numbers will land when we get our first warm week of the season? Well, about 14 people, the Scott Lake guide team, have a pretty good idea. They want some warm, sunny days to bring those big pike into the shallows. We’re still waiting, but like all anglers, waiting patiently. They will come and we will be ready.
Time spent at Scott Lake isn’t limited to fishing. Taking some time to bask in the flora and fauna of the north on a guided hike around the Tundra Trail is a great way to get a feel for this unique landscape. The trail follows an esker, a glacial formation, around a small lake with some amazing views of Scott Lake. About an hour circuit you will see the northern boreal forest, evidence of our local animals and maybe even glimpse a moose or marten. Ask owner and in house naturalist Tom Klein and he will make this just a genuinely cool experience.
Another way to get the blood pumping is our fitness center. A variety of cardio machines, free weights and a Smith machine appoint the best stocked gym on the 60th parallel. Loosen up for a day of fishing, keep up on your healthy lifestyle or make room for tomorrow’s shorelunch. A woodfired sauna in the fitness center is a guest favourite. Some water on the hot rocks and a good sweat will have you refreshed and ready for fishing. Are you up to a polar plunge? Out of the sauna and right into the lake. Your guide can radio ahead we will have the sauna hot for your return to the island. The hot tub on the Laker Lodge deck is another great place to relax and soak in the scenery. A hot tub under the northern lights? This August and September tradition is not one to miss.
Being in a near constant tug of war with the fish in Scott Lake and our 22 other flyouts lakes can take a toll. An easy way to keep in top fishing form is a visit to the Stone Haven Spa, where our onsite Massage Therapist will loosen up any fishing injuries you might accrue. Deep tissue, hot stone and Swedish techniques are all employed to help you stay limber and relaxed for the next day’s adventure.
Many of our guests relish their time on the water. There is a lot of it to see! If five full days of fishing isn’t enough, explore the coves and islands surrounding the lodge in our fleet of canoes, kayaks and stand up paddle boards. A quiet way to enjoy the landscape and a great way to see wildlife.
Scott Lake Lodge sits right on the 60th parallel, we have trees but are at the northern limits of the forest in this part of the world. A short flight north you encounter the tundra, land of little sticks, a unique ecosystem that is incredible to visit. The Tundra Tour involves a day trip north started with a sightseeing flight across the landscape. Caribou and Muskox are frequently seen here as they make a living on lichens, moss, and dwarf willow. A picnic lunch on an esker with views for miles is followed by some of the best walk and wade Grayling fishing one could ask for. The Elk River as it flows from Rennie Lake offers incredibly scenery and grayling fishing to match. This experience is one to check off your bucket list!
What else can you do besides fishing? Ask your guide, ask Tom Klein or our General Manager Jason Hamilton. They are here and ready to make this trip YOURS. Want to learn to prepare shorelunch? Hike to the top of that hill? Learn to mix craft cocktails with our bartender? We are here to make your trip to Scott Lake Lodge the best experience it possibly can be. We hope the fish are the only thing hooked in your stay with us, the best testament to a job well done for our staff is you choosing to visit us again next year. Let’s make your trip of a lifetime into an annual affair!
As we note in Beyond Fishing, there are many activities to round out your trip or to give your weary arms a break from casting and landing fish. For more on our activities available to further enhance your stay at Scott Lake Lodge, click any of the following links.
What to do when you are not fishing is a great example of two of the Top 10 Reasons to Choose Scott. We are extremely proud of our Exceptional Customer Service and our First Class Facilities and we encourage you to take full advantage of what we have to offer.
Join the crew as they talk about a different year, COVID, ice out fishing and the construction projects underway.
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