On September 2nd the last of our 2019 guests boarded the float planes and headed south. It was a wrap for the season, and it was another record breaker. Despite less than ideal weather this summer, our anglers hung in there and hung a ton of big fish.
We’ve never seen trophy numbers like this. After setting a record of 2,221 trophy fish in 2018, we blew the doors off this season. Our 442 guests (another sold out season) landed 2,670 trophies, an average of six trophies per angler, way above last year’s record of 4.7. It’s a simple formula: great water+great anglers+great guides=BIG FISH. With so many of our anglers coming back every season (this season 87% of our guests had been to Scott previously), they are getting just a little better at spotting the fish the guide is patiently (or impatiently) pointing out, better at setting the hook and better at keeping that line tight. With our guide team learning all the new fly outs lakes a little better every season, they are putting guests in front of more big fish. We can speculate forever on the causes, but the numbers are clear. On all fronts the trophy fishing at Scott has been getting better and better.
Most of our guests are focused on pike and they found them. We set a new pike trophy count along with the total trophies. On 1,807 occasions the guide either said or thought “that one’s over” as he put a 40+ incher into his net. Stretched end to end that’s way more than a mile of trophy pike. Many of those were true monsters. Watch for our Annual Report for all those details. Our trout totals were roughly the same as the prior year. It was the incredible arctic grayling year that gave our top line trophy count a real boost. In 2018 we had 255 trophy grayling with 55 over 18 inches. In 2019 we had 625 with 125 over 18 inches. Yes, we did find a new grayling hot spot. Maybe we can’t keep setting new records every season, but our guests keep trying. Don’t bet against them.
This pike was definitely “over” the trophy limit. So was the smile!
It’s a simple formula: great water + great anglers + great guides = BIG FISH.
So, we had the numbers and we had a record year for something that’s tough to measure—how much fun guests have. With great dining, lots of wildlife sightings (in June and early July our black bears were prowling the shorelines and sightings were a daily occurrence), some spectacular end of season northern lights, there were many more things to interest our guests than just the fishing. During the cooler weeks, the Finnish sauna (water poured over hot stones) and the hot tub were busy places. During the warmer weeks, the expansive deck around the main lodge was the hot spot. To our surprise the new Fitness Center had a lot of traffic, even after long days on the water. Some guests even took the hour-long Tundra Trail nature walk on the mainland, a five-minute boat ride away. Many guests this year discovered that Scott Lake Lodge is about more than fishing. It’s about having a good time and we’ll just have to take our customer’s word that we delivered on the fun factor.
Improving the Infrastructure
We really can’t do much to improve the fishing, but we can control our facilities and equipment upgrades. We’re doing both. Most of our 2019 guests noticed a lot of improvements: a new floating dock; a new guest cabin, Ptarmigan, replacing an older cabin; a new Fitness Center adjacent to our sauna; six new fly-out boats and ten new motors. All our 2019 guests noticed the new luxury mattresses that were put in every guest room last season. (It’s the little things that make a difference.) In 2020 guests will see another new cabin and significant remodeling/enlargement of four existing guest cabins. Every year things will get better and better on the island. That is a sure bet.
Not much room to improve here.
It’s a sure bet too that all or nearly all of the great staff our customers have interacted with will be back in 2020. At this writing all the Scott guides have signed on to another year, giving that team a 17-year average tenure. For now though, our Scott Team is starting their annual migration literally around the world. We have team members heading for New Zealand, Central America, Africa, Asia, South America and all points of the compass in Canada. There will be a reunion for many in Costa Rica at guide Graham Coulombe’s wedding there in April.
Keeping the Lodge Full
A full lodge is a happy lodge, not only for owners but also for our guests. Many of our guests have started to enjoy the company of other guests almost as much as the company of big fish. There is an energy and excitement at every week’s opening night dinner that is tough to describe but easy to enjoy. It’s our Sales Manager’s job to keep Scott Lake Lodge full. Jon Wimpney who also guides for 85 straight days every season has done a fantastic job, selling out the place almost every year. This year should be a slam dunk. When the season ended, we already had 82% of our 2020 capacity sold. But that still gives you a lot of room to plan your fishing adventure. Give Jon a call at 306/209-7150 or send him an email. He’ll find you a spot.