In the far Canadian north discussions about weather and discussions about fishing are one and the same. Hot weather almost always (never say always in any fishing conversation) means hot fishing. The season at Scott started with five cool days and then moved into twenty-five consecutive days of hot, hot, hot weather and some very hot fishing. The weather, the fishing and enthusiastic clients combined to play some beautiful music. There were occasional variations to the motif of hot weather/hot fishing, like when we had a few days of brisk but warm winds, but as in any good piece of music the variations only made the music better. It was a perfect time to be in the north. Every group gets off the float planes at the Scott dock brimming with optimism; it’s in the DNA of every angler and we hope that never changes. This season that optimism was validated big time. It has been thirty days since the first group made their pilgrimage to Scott seeking big fish and indelible memories and they found what they were looking for. By the numbers, in those thirty days 516 trophy fish were landed—405 pike over 40”, 66 lake trout over 35” and 45 grayling over 15”. That music had some volume. With 13 groups to go it looks like we will blow the doors off of the just over one thousand trophies caught in 2012. We are rolling.
The exploits of the first two groups of anglers were documented in earlier reports. While things were good then, the weather and fishing just kept getting better and better in the second half of June and the first ten days of July. The smooth water, almost like a millpond, encouraged guides and anglers to explore the distant corners of Scott Lake and the dozen Scott Lake Lodge fly out destinations. And they found big fish, lots of them. This symphony hit its crescendo on July 7th, the first day of the sixth group at the lodge, when 32 trophies were taken—in just a single day! And these were not run of the mill trophies: they were hogs. The conductor must have pointed his baton at Jake Guerin and Mark Garibaldi. Both landed multiple trophy pike that day and both had a pike that stretched their guide’s tape to 48 inches, a fish most anglers only dream about, even those hard core types who come to Canada every summer and fish every available minute of their trip. Jake kept his good fish karma going for the balance of his trip and landed, among dozens of fish, a 43” lake trout and a 17.5” grayling, giving him an impressive 108.5” total to lead the 100+Club derby (the elite group of Scott anglers who reach or exceed 100 inches when the lengths of their biggest pike, lake trout and grayling are combined). Here’s the kicker: neither Jake nor Mark are hard core regulars. It was their first fishing trip to Canada. Some of the 15 year plus veterans of Canadian fishing trips could only wonder (or weep) as they watched the photos of huge pike and grinning anglers parade by on the screen. The music was playing too for Craig Schrader who landed a 46.5” pike, for Kale Manuel who put a 44.5” pike in the boat, for Tom Granneman who got a 44” pike on that memorable day and it was especially loud and sweet for Tony Blake who landed a 42” fat lake trout followed by one of the biggest ever taken at Scott, a 46” laker with an incredible girth of 27.5”. When the photo of that fish hit the big screen at the nightly “fish du jour” photo gallery there was a gasp from the group and then a huge cheer. It was a show stopper.
That day was just one of many where the music hit all the right notes. Don Hunt, a long time Scott regular, enjoyed the rhythm when he landed his personal best pike, an impressive fish of 47.5”. Gale Hamilton heard it pulling a 46.5” pike to her guide’s cradle. There was a bunch of other big pike in those productive twenty days of groups three through six. Nick Manship, Jeff Quick, Mark Stoering, and Joe Novicki were all at one end of the line with a fat 46” pike at the other. Joe Novicki was really making powerful music during his ten day trip, landing a total of 23 trophy fish, mainly pike. There were so many “super sized” pike, our definition of a pike over 45”. In addition to all the pike bigger than 45, there were eight anglers with super sized pike at 45”: Jack Barko, Craig Schrader, Joe Novicki (yes again), Dave Paulus, Tim Worth, Harris Kaffie, Dick Hutson and young Nicholas Tallman. Another 17 pike between 44 and 45 inches were also put in the books, two in a single day by Mike Borden. A total of 33 pike of 44” or better were caught in that remarkable twenty day run.
Trout season usually starts in mid-July, but with the hot weather the big lakers went deep early where they can be located and more easily caught. For trout our super sized mark is 40”, the length when the girth of lake trout really expands. In just ten days of July there were 50 trophy trout including nine super sizers. In addition to the pair of monsters caught by Tony Blake, there are now huge trout in the memory banks of Jake Guerin (43), Bob Kendrick (42.5), James Meehan (42.5), Bridget Manuel (42.5), Jim Tallman (41), Fran Weil (41), Nicholas Tallman (40), Dave Paulus (40) and Stephen Bandt (40).
And these are just the fishing highlights. There was plenty of music in the air during the festive shore lunches, during the boat rides when the hull cut through the viscous water as soft as the comforters in the cabins, during the excitement of seeing a moose, bear, eagles or loons and during the memorable evening dinners. It was all part of the fishing symphony in this pristine wilderness where solitude and quiet are always options. These were the good old days.
Well even at the best party the music has to end. Apparently the hot weather was just too much and it blew the amp. We went from summer to late fall in a twelve hour period through the night of July 11th when a corporate group arrived with the same expectations as all the previous groups. The temperatures plummeted down to the high 40s at night and low 50s during the day: there was no music in the air, only a hissing rain. While the smaller fish stayed active, the big fish just dropped into deep water and took some time off. It was a nasty cold front way out of sync with the calendar. Gale force winds and big waves made fishing a challenge for the next 48 hours. It required some strong character to face the wind and leave the comfort of a warm cabin. And strong character (and characters) we had. Everyone went out and stayed out, sitting closer to the shore lunch fires than previous groups had. By the last day the weather and fishing improved; some nice trophies were landed and fun was still the theme of the experience. They got a good grace note at the end of their three day trip when the wind stopped and the sun peeked out now and then. Some great fish were taken on their last day: a couple dozen trophy pike, grayling, and lake trout including a 39.5” lake trout landed by Maury Wawryk and the two fish that won the fishing contest for the three day trip—a 45” pike caught by Keith McIntyre (just beating out Charlie Paulin’s 44.5” fish) and a heavy 41.5” lake trout caught by Kevin Phillips. It was a great ending for a weather challenged trip. And there is always next year. . .