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.
The Most Anticipated Fishing Season
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.
Amazing Fishing Days
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.
2023 Fishing Season
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.