IT BEGINS – FALL FISHING
Sometimes you know in an instant when something is about to change. It was on the last day of the Week 14 group: a flock of 50 or so geese in an almost perfect V (the right side just a little longer than the left) flew right over our 12-acre island on the 60th parallel. They weren’t the first of the season, but they were low and loud, a reminder that fall is knocking on our door. There have been plenty of other signals that the season is about to shift gears. We had our first vivid northern lights show just a few days ago; the number of bright yellow leaves on the birch trees are multiplying exponentially, and a humble little plant, improbably named the Bastard Toadflax (Comandra umbellata), has started its transformation to brilliant red, the start of creating the multi-colored fall carpet for our tundra landscape. It’s early fall here and for most of our guides it’s the start of their favorite fishing period, fall fishing.
Fall fishing is often fewer fish but bigger fish. For the Week 14 anglers, it seemed like they got the best of both worlds—the action of early season and the size of fall fish. When the water starts to cool our pike and trout put on the feedbag, getting much more aggressive. Flies and lures are often inhaled rather than just taken. And their fight is definitely more prolonged and spirited than the same fish might have offered two months earlier. Our thickest girths and heaviest fish always come in late August and September. Fishing now is not in our shallow bays as in June but in or off structure—any structure like weed beds, rocky points or drop-offs. Wind on deep shorelines is often the guide’s first line of attack. And it’s been working. Our group had just over 100 trophy fish but in that number were some monsters.
Lake trout again were the top billing, both on Scott Lake and our fly out lakes, notably Selwyn. The father/son team of Dave and Adam Schauer had a banner day on Selwyn, landing seven trophy lakers with six of them over 39”. Adam had already taken a 40” lake trout off Scott. John Duro had a big trout day on Scott getting dozens including a 39-incher. Carl Tanner, his fishing partner, caught a 41.5” and a 43” lake trout on Scott. Chris Ellis bagged a 39.5’, a 40” and a 41” on Selwyn. Shane Fifield was on Selwyn for a 40-incher and long time Scott regular Frank Saraka got his tank of a trout there as well—a girthy 44.5” monster. The biggest of the week though came right the lodge’s backyard and it was massive, a 45-incher pulled in my Linda Watt. Linda also landed a 45-inch pike. Not bad for her first trip to Scott.
Yes, there were plenty of pike, both in numbers and size. Pike at 44” made their appearance on the big TV screen, during the after-dinner fish show, accompanied by their angling friends—Cave Schauer, Cooper Allen and Johnny Davis. Pike of 45 were landed by Cooper Allen and Jim Loken. Bobby Regan tied Adam Schauer with the biggest pike of the week at 46.5 inches. There were a few Trophy Triple hats handed out as well this week. Graham Allen, Cooper Allen and Johnny Powers all pulled off the hat trick of getting all three of our species (northern pike, lake trout and arctic grayling) in trophy size. Cooper and Johnny had enough total inches of their three biggest to earn entry into the 100+Club. They will be wearing a custom jacket from this fall fishing.
It wasn’t a particularly sunny week and there were a few showers but the atmosphere in the lodge was always bright and sunny. We couldn’t help but notice how the dozen first-timers at the lodge arrived as strangers here but left with many new friends. Sharing the experiences of fall fishing in this remarkable wilderness surrounded by a team of customer-focused lodge staff creates just the right environment for friendships to develop. It happens all the time. It’s a Scott Lake Lodge tradition. It’s why we often use the slogan “World Class Fishing and More”. That’s the “More” and it’s the best part.