For nearly all our guests, the trip to Scott Lake Lodge is something they roll around in their brain for months. In the middle of a sentence in an email, there will be the image of a nasty looking pike engulfing your fly or lure. A dinner conversation might have a pause as thoughts of sitting on the big deck after dinner, just absorbing the sounds and sights of the big lake, intrude. All the planning, preparation and the splendid anticipation . . . And then, it’s here: you’re on the dock at Scott Lake Lodge. It will happen 442 times this summer.
We welcomed our first 2019 guests, nearly all Scott Lake regulars (all but four anglers had fished Scott before) on a quite cool evening on June 9th. Change was the arrival theme. Right by the docks was a new Fitness Center and, on the hillside, a new guest cabin, Ptarmigan, which replaced Moose, an older cabin. There was a new floating dock and a new staff cabin for our pilots. But the absence of change was also noticed immediately. Every one of last year’s guides were there to greet our guests as they stepped off the floatplane. Of course, it’s been that way for many years. Now the average guide tenure at Scott Lake Lodge is 16 seasons. As our first guests made their way to Laker Lodge, they noticed that the Hospitality, Maintenance, Management and pilot groups were also the same. Sometimes no change is a good thing.
Many guests were surprised to see a bit of white on the north facing shorelines—ice hanging on after a cool spring. They were shocked to find out that four of our fly out lakes were still covered with ice, a vivid reminder of just how far north they were. The first couple of fishing days had a definite northern feel. Our anglers were layered up well as they jumped in boats and floatplanes on our first day. It’s wasn’t our best opening day ever, but it wasn’t bad. Peter Myhre got things rolling, landing five trophy pike, the biggest a fat 47 incher, and a trophy lake trout. There were plenty of other super-sized pike (our nomenclature for a pike over 45”) as the week went on and the temperature started to rise. Things really started rocking on Day 3 when the cool spring immediately turned into summer. The sun came out of hiding and so did the pike. Over two days 75 trophies were landed. There were some big days: Peter Leonovicz had a seven-trophy day; using his fly rod like a magic wand, Paul Hanna landed a six-pack of trophy pike including a 46 incher; Rob Shafflo grabbed his own six-pack of pike, and Tom Goebel brought five big pike to his guide’s net with a 45 and a 46 incher. Mike Sackash, John Goebel and Victor Digeronimo all super-sized their trip, getting 45” tundra sharks.
While pike were the main attraction, there were a lot of lake trout cruising near the surface. Many were caught while casting for pike. Alexa Moulopoulous was the leader of the trout parade, landing four trophies with the biggest a 37.5” fish. Her brother, Aris, had the last word in a sibling trout rivalry. He latched onto a 41” monster that took him for a ride—probably the best fish fight of the week. Robert Shaffalo and Richard Chernus pulled in 38” lakers. Despite the slow start to the week, the group landed a very respectable 115 trophy fish and had more black bear sightings than we can remember. It was a great start to a promising season.
BRING ON THE HEAT: SUMMER FISHING
We did the shift from spring to summer in a day. There always seems to be one group that lands not just on the clear waters of Scott Lake but also in a big pile of 4-leaf clover. Sometimes it’s early in the season; other times it’s mid or late season. While there are sixteen more groups to make that landing, it may be hard to beat the luck of group number two. Fishing at Scott and elsewhere in the far north is all about heat. Pike crave warm water. When the intense sub-arctic sun hits the water, the pike feel it and head for the warm shallow bays and channels. Starting on Day 2 we had the sun and the heat. While temperatures in the low 80s don’t make headlines to the south, they do on the 60th parallel (at least in the Tundra Times). Our pike just went nuts with that sun. After a nice batch of 38 trophies on the first day, things almost got out of hand. Day 2 was Father’s Day and the father/son team of Joe and Ty Daugherty celebrated by landing 16 trophy pike between them. In that haul was a 48.5” monster landed by Joe. It’s the biggest of this young season. What a day it was: 62 trophy fish. The big show though was Day 3. Our experienced anglers set the camp record for the most trophies in a single day—78. The big pike came in big bunches: Peter Myhre landed nine on his best day; Joe Daugherty landed nine on two different days in this memorable week; Don Luke also had nine in a single day including two 45s and a 46; Rory Wright took seven; Judy Schmidt six (she did that twice); Eric Luke, Ross Purpura, Mike Rogers, Peggy Light, Ryan Luke, and Connie Schmidt, all with five. With another day of bright sun and considerable heat, the really big fish came out of the shadows into the shallows.
On Day 4 there was another big batch of trophies, 62, but some real dandies. Adding to his legendary status around here, Joe Daugherty brought in a 47.5” pike along with a 40.5” lake trout. The father/three sons of Team Luke put on a real fishing show. The fearsome foursome collected 25 trophies on Day 4 with all three sons and dad getting a 45” or better pike. It was dad’s day though: Don Luke landed nine trophy pike with two 45s and a 46. Dick Emens got a 45 and 46 that day, giving him four super-sized pike for the week. Simon Horan got into the 45 game as well. That made 10 pike over 45 in one day. Remarkable. Big trout for the week included a spectacular 41 incher by Peter Schmidt and a 37 incher by Bridgette Jennings.
On Day 5 some clouds moved in and slowed down the pike juggernaut, but it was still a good day with 21 trophies including the first grayling of the season. Peter Schmidt became the first 100+Club member of the season. It’s a tough admission standard. You must catch trophies in all three species whose collective measurements hit 100 inches or better, not an easy task. After getting an 18.5” grayling to go with his 41” trout and 43” pike, Peter totaled 102.5 trophy inches. Barbie Purpura got a 45” pike on the last day, making the supersized pike total a fat 15 for the week. Stay tuned. The Day five trophies put the week’s total at an amazing 261, blowing out the prior one-group record of 203 which was set last year. It didn’t hurt that our Week 2 group had among them taken 332 trips to Scott Lake Lodge. Experience is a great teacher. They put on an awesome display of casting and hooking setting. Let’s see what Week 3 brings. Let the sun keep shining.