Live Chat with The New Fly Fisher
In case you missed it. Here is the live stream of GM Jason Hamilton chatting all things Scott Lake Lodge with Mark Melnyk from The New Fly Fisher
In case you missed it. Here is the live stream of GM Jason Hamilton chatting all things Scott Lake Lodge with Mark Melnyk from The New Fly Fisher
Have a look at this newest Annual Report! We are proud of how this turned out, as always it is the team behind it that makes it special.
What a glorious way to end the 2022 fishing season: a highly enthusiastic, upbeat group, five days of perfect fall weather, brilliantly painted lake trout swarming the shallow reefs, clear star-filled nights with a couple of northern lights appearances, and a Scott Lake Lodge team that even after working for 95 straight days pouring every ounce of their talents and energy into those final five days. It was a remarkable ending to a season often challenged by wind, rain, fog, cold fronts, or a vicious combination of the above. This week was as smooth as the butter on morning toast. While the total trophy count wasn’t the highest of the season, it was substantial (100 right on the nose), it had something no other week had—the visual feast of seeing the brightly colored lake trout in just a few feet of water. For a few anglers who hit the right reefs, catch rates of well over a hundred trout per day bent their rods and their minds.
For the entire season our anglers were pulling big lakers from the depths—50 to 100 feet. Even though the “Trout on Top” show was a little late due to the warm temperatures, they did show up and thrilled our Week 20 anglers. Many of these trout were the colorful males, showing up first for the annual mating dance, but some heavy females were also moving around the edges of the reefs. The real (or maybe reel) bonus: fighting lakers with fly rods or light spinning tackle; it’s an entirely different experience than bringing in lakers with stiff trolling rods. The end results can be same but for many the fall trout extravaganza is far more rewarding. There are few freshwater fish (musky, peacock bass or golden dorado are contenders) that earn the title of hardest pound-for-pound fighting fish. Lake trout in shallow water on light tackle belong on that list. Their endurance and speed are legendary. Case in point: Mark Yokem is an avid and experienced fly fisherman who had set a lofty goal of landing a 40-inch lake trout on the fly. Sure, it’s good to have goals but on his first trip after lakers to set the bar that high? His guide just said “OK—we’ll try”. On his very first morning (early that morning) his guide took him to an inflow at the northwest corner of Scott Lake. It’s a spot well known for lots of small males who are starting a short migration to a couple of connected lakes. We always get lots of trout there but only rarely anything over 35”. When Mark said, “I’ve got one”, his guide shrugged and was thinking about where he should go next. But the rod was bent to the cork, and this went on for about fifteen minutes. Then the fish surfaced. The big net came out in a hurry. When it was all over, a very fat lake trout was in the net, exceeding Mark’s goal by an inch. Check the box: goal achieved. Shortly thereafter he landed a 41” pike—the symmetry was great. Check another box. Welcome to Scott Lake.
Mark wasn’t the only guest to have a 40-inch goal. Long time Scott regular Andy Johnston had the same number in mind. Another fly fishing addict, Andy has landed a lot of trophy trout here on the fly but never cracked that magic 40-inch mark. At an outflow on a flyout lake Andy had his best ever fly fishing experience with lakers, one of this favorite fish. In rather strong current Andy induced lakers of 37, 39.5 and 40.5” to grab his extra-large streamer. He landed all three. Check his box. Many other big trout ended up on our guest’s lines: 40-inchers were landed by Sonya Boone, Scott Wilson and Dave Swindlehurst; a 39 by Chris Troupis; a 38 by Dough Jacula, and 37s by Paul Rowland, Jack Keys, Jim Troupis, and Xavier Garijo who got a pair. It turned out to be the best trout trophy week of the season with twenty-one trophy trout out of many hundreds (maybe thousands—we don’t count every fish) of lakers.
There were plenty of big pike as well with 43 trophies taken. Jack Keys had the top pike at 46 inches. Paul Rowland landed a 45. Both Chris Troupis and Rebecca Graf got 44s. Grayling were on the fishing menu as well. Some big ones were taken. Ron Wamstad took a 19-incher on his four-weight fly rod. Mark Morse and Ernest Hoover landed 18s. Some anglers just couldn’t stop getting big grayling. Paul Rowland put seven trophies in his guide’s net including a 19.5-incher that looked more like a football than a fish. Andy Johnston had a big grayling day getting a baker’s dozen trophies with a 19-incher at the top.
After all this fishing success and focus how did our anglers have time to do anything else? They did—squeezing ever moment of enjoyment out of their trip. There were many diversions: a group hike on the Tundra Trail, canoe paddles, an evening bonfire, long soaks in the hot tub, some slow cooking in the traditional Finnish sauna, cigar smoking on the main lodge deck, late night poker tournaments and lots of time at the Last Cast Bar and the Lake Lodge Bar. Add the pleasant summer-like temperatures, daily on-time (no fog) fly outs, timely arrival and departure flights and you have the recipe for a perfect week. It’s like we scripted it. And this script had a storybook ending with a dinner party at the Renaissance Hotel in Edmonton. It was simply a wonderful week to end the 2022 season.
See you all next summer! Now go fishing somewhere else.
Over the 2022 season we’ve had spectacular sunny weeks, some rainy weeks, some foggy weeks but this was the first really, really windy week. Our anglers had an inauspicious start when strong winds delayed the changeover, forcing an extra night in Edmonton. But if you’re at the Renaissance Hotel at the Edmonton Airport you don’t suffer at all. The group arrived at Scott on a warm and pleasant late morning and started their fishing trip with great optimism and enthusiasm, missing only a few hours of their five days of fishing time.
But a wicked west wind kicked up for their second and third days on the water. The determined group did fish and they caught plenty of fish but there was some rock and roll moments in the boats contending with the wind and waves. Our experienced guides found protected waters and kept everyone safe and reasonably comfortable. We had a resilient group of anglers. On their fourth day everything calmed down and our floatplanes took to the skies. It was a terrific day of fishing. Even though the final day reverted to some big wind, the “net results” (pun certainly intended) were pretty good, especially considering that many decided to spend extra time in the sauna, hot tub, workout room or the quiet comfort of their cozy rooms.
Dan Spielman and Peggy Light didn’t allow the weather to stop their march to the 100+Club membership. It’s a case where luck and skill merged to provide some great results. Dan Spielman and Frances Sun had a great day on a fly out landing six trophy pike and five trophy arctic grayling. Jim MacDougall, who is no stranger with collecting Scott Lake trophy pins over the years, had his best grayling day ever. His fly rod vanquished a big bunch of big grayling (too many to count) with his biggest being the biggest of the season—a 20.5” grayling in the shape of a football. His fishing partner, Brian Ermer, had equal success with his top trophy hitting the rare 20” mark. Big pike were in the mix too. Rebecca Graf and Dan Spielman had 44-inchers; Cody Gutherie got a 45-incher and Frances Sun had the top pike of the week at 46 inches. Big trout were taken by Dan Speilman, a 39-incher, and Tess Rowland, a 38-incher.
For a week that was indeed wind challenged the results were great. We always fish the week we have not the week we want.
What a difference a day makes. Our intrepid anglers for Week 18 arrived on a weather-delayed changeover to find cloudy and windy conditions. After settling in everyone, of course, hit the water for a half day and they did OK. Taylor Abernathy, our 90-years-young guest, did some nice moves in the boat to get the biggest fish of the day—a beautiful 45-incher. But it looked a lot like the previous week when the sun graced the waters for just two hours. However, the next morning dawned bright and clear. That two-hour sunshine mark was eclipsed before the first boat or plane left our docks. What followed was four days of almost continuous sunshine; only the final afternoon got partly cloudy.
The fish followed the time-tested script: sun equals great pike fishing. After a week of resting our savage tundra sharks started hitting anything that moved. There were some fantastic days. Rebecca and Mark Graf had a five trophy day; Gerald Tiefenbach and Paul Croegaert combined for six trophies; Nancy and Marvin Wehl had their best day ever on the water, landing five trophy pike, including a 44 and a 45, two trophy trout and a big bunch of trophy grayling, the biggest at 19” for Nancy and 18.5” for Marvin; Ron Juergens, who has fished all over Canada, had one of his best pike days, teaming up with Joel Snyder for six big pike and a bunch of almost trophy-sized. But the best “big day” story belongs to the father/son team of Mike and Adam Strobel. On the second day at Scott, they had a great day, getting five trophy pike but Adam got four of them. There might have been a little trash talking there. On the third day, dad showed he still had the good stuff: he let Adam take the pictures while he put seven trophy pike in the guide’s net with one a fat 45”. Father knows best.
There was no shortage of big pike. In addition to all those mentioned above, there were a bunch of 44s caught—Eric Klein, Mark Graf, Paul Larusso, Jim Kusar and Peggy Light hit that mark on the tape. Joel Snyder, Mark Graf, Trent Kusar, and Jeff Berg put the tape one inch longer with 45s. That’s a lot of big fish. And we’re not done. What’s a fishing update without mentioning the Lake Trout?
While the trout are now moving up the water column in a pre-spawning move, the big ones are still deep. Liz and Ed Snyder, with a little help from their guide, found them. They had an epic day. There is no other word. They landed ten trophy lake trout, great but not a headline. six of them were over 40 inches long—that’s a headline. Liz got the biggest at 44 inches, one of the biggest of the season. The picture tells the story. Gerald Tiefenback landed a 38” and Paul Croegaert got a 39” lakers. Lots of smaller trout were taken while anglers were casting for pike. In just a few days the first waves of lake trout will be on the spawning reefs, visible in only two to five feet of water. Add some great grayling fishing and you end up with a great week on the water and two new members of the 100+Club–Marvin and Nancy Wehl who did it all this week.
Fish weren’t the only critters swimming in the water. It was an unusual wildlife week with some rare sightings. How many people have seen a porcupine swimming? Jeff Berg and Peggy Light have now. We also had guests who watched swimming otters, a muskrat (quite rare in these parts), mink, pine martin and black bear. But it was a black bear on terra firma who was the big show. We had on Gardiner Lake a spectacular blonde black bear (yes black bears vary in pelage color) that did a dance right in front of Mark and Rebecca Graf and their guide Greg Hamm, who came by boat answering a distressed radio call from our Beaver pilot, Evan Barlow. Evan had been chased (in a non-threatening way, if that is possible) around his plane before he could jump in. Then the bear grabbed a coil of rope, rubbed his back against a tree and did these amazing dance moves. This was a very big bear. The video is priceless. Nothing could top that bear dance, not even the great northern lights, the Tundra Trail hike or the two evening bonfires. It was the kind of week everyone dreams about for their fishing vacation. And that’s what we do best up here: make fishing dreams come true.
In the 27 years of operations at Scott Lake Lodge, there have been some with lousy weather, but no week in our history compared to what our week 17 guests encountered. There was wind, big waves, rain, clouds and exactly two hours of sunshine (around noon on the third day). Oh, and there was morning fog on four of the five days that precluded any fly outs. Yet, our intrepid group kept a positive attitude and most fished through most of the challenging weather. They apparently believed in the wonderful quote from 60s era songwriter and cultural provocateur Tom Leher: “Bad weather always looks worse from the window”. We didn’t have window watchers. We had anglers.
We would love the happy ending here where we could say that they had the best fishing of the season, but there is no such ending when there is no sunshine. Pike and sunshine go together like ham and cheese. Sadly, the pike fishing was slow. In cold and cloudy conditions pike typically go on a hunger strike not a Mepps spinner strike. There were some notable exceptions. Steve Martin found a willing 44.5” pike and his son Justin landed a 45.5”. On the one flyout day Paul Box got four trophy pike topped by a girthy 45-incher; Susan Saraka had her best day ever bringing seven trophy pike to her guide’s waiting net, and on the last day Scott Lake offered up a fall fat 47-incher to Carl Sparks and he made sure that fish got in the net. There were some solid trout fishing days in the rain and gloom—lake trout are deep and don’t need that shot of sun to keep them active. Dick Smith bagged a 36” and 39” lake trout. Marvin and Nancy Wehl had a great day fishing trout landing six trophy trout, the biggest a very nice 39.5” fish.
As our guest discovered this is a fishing resort. There are many diversions other than fishing. The Finnish wood-fired sauna got a real workout with some guests even doing the post-sauna plunge into 60-degree water. The hot tub was in use every day to warm up after a cool day on the water. There were card games, loon watching and even some musk ox watching on the north end of Scott. And a two-hour hike by nearly a dozen guests on the nearby Tundra Trail. There was more time to enjoy the workout room and the two bars on the island. The diner hour became more like a two-and-a-half-hour affair and the dinners were magnificent. The canoes, kayaks and paddleboards though stayed on their rack this week.
The group did get a bonus of sorts. For only the third time in 378 changeovers, the charter flight was delayed to the floatplane flying conditions: they got a bonus extra night at the lodge and had a farewell dinner of slow-cooked prime rib and an evening of free drinks. Our patient and relaxed group did what everyone does on their vacation: they had a great time. And many rebooked for the same week in 2023. They all proved that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear. We made sure everyone had good gear and stayed safe and warm. And we proved that even in the worst of weather Scott Lake is a fun place to be.