The calendar just flipped over to August but life here on the 60th parallel has been in fall mode for a couple of weeks already. The cold front that hit the area back two weeks ago evolved very gracefully into a new season. And it’s a wonderful one.
The pike are at least two weeks early in their fall feeding spree. We have never seen so many pike and trout with tails sticking out of their mouths. The cold nights have put them in an eating mood. The best thing: we have plenty of time left to enjoy the changing of the landscape and the great fishing. When many (actually most) Canadian lodges are closing up for the year, we have just crossed midfield for our 2013 season. The first birch leaves are turning yellow and our ground cover plants, especially the blueberry and the bastard toadflax (yes that is a real plant), are heading to deep red, along with some of the mosses. Loons are starting to flock and call wildly now. Soon, when a big north wind blows, the first flights of geese will be flying south, small groups first and then by late August, a flood. It’s an exciting time to be in the far north. And a very exciting time to be fishing in the far north. While the number of fish caught is starting to drop, the length and girth of the typical pike and trout are starting to expand to sometimes ridiculous shapes. In the July 15 to August 1 period we have had a lot of huge fish and experienced every imaginable type of weather. Things are rarely the same two days in a row around here. Having three ninety degree wind changes in a day is not at all unusual. Neither are days with several dozen fish per angler and also days with a dozen or less–its fishing. We’ve had fierce gale winds and flat calm days. We’ve had evenings when nothing seems better than sitting around a bonfire by the main lodge and other evenings when poker inside seems like the prudent call.
But going fishing everyday is always prudent, even in cold, windy weather. At Scott we always go fishing. With 500 islands and countless miles of shorelines there is always a piece of protected water. Sometimes our anglers get the big fish and sometimes they don’t. That’s the dynamic tension in fishing: you never know when the next cast will connect with the fish of a lifetime. But even when the fly or lure just comes back empty you are still fishing. We just fish and let the trophies happen and trophies do happen here. Ken Ignozzi found out when he was on the other end of a 48.5” pike. Mike Rosenberg discovered that trophy feeling when he landed a 47.5” pike. Big fish just happen: luck meeting preparation and opportunity. Lightening hit three times one day for Jason Laughran when he landed a 44, a 44.5 and a 45” pike. Mike Thornbrugh had his most memorable trip of many at Scott when he ended his trip with an incredibly fat 46 incher two days after getting a 45” pike in the same bay, and no it wasn’t the same fish with two different tapes. Other supersized pike over the past couple of weeks were caught by Michelle Pyrchalla (46.5”), Larry Elledge (45.5”), Dave O’Donnell (45.5”), Keith Thornton (45”), Greg Johnson (45”), and long time Scott regular Harley Weiss (45”). James Teague got his shot of adrenaline when he connected with five trophy pike in one day.
This is the peak of trout season at Scott and lakers are on the minds of many of our anglers. They have been taken by the dozens when anglers take their eye off of pike long enough to go deep and see what lurks down in 70-100 feet of clear water. In these last two weeks there were 16 supersized lake trout (fat, piggy fish over 40” in length) among the over 100 trophy trout landed. Some of the really monster trout with impressive girths were caught by George Frimel (with an amazing trout of 44”), Rob Borden (43.5”), Jim Borden (43”)Mark Harongody (42.5”), Fred Parker (42”) and Ron Spork (41.5”). These are hard fighting machines, often termed fresh water tuna by our guides. Even the 35” lake trout get anglers fired up. It’s been solid trouting for several weeks and shows no sign of slacking off.
The list of the 100+Club members for 2013 just keeps growing. It looks like Jake Guerin’s remarkable tally of 108.5 total inches (a 48” pike, a 43” trout and a 17.5” grayling) may top the list by the end of the season but he has a lot of fellow members: Aaron Quick, Bill Calabresa, Bridget Manual, Gale Hamilton, Jim Tallman, Joe Novicki, Kale Manual, Mark Garibaldi, Tony Blake, Mike Rosenberg, Fred Parker, Mike Borden and Stephen Bandt.
So it feels great to be just midway through our season when so many fish are still there to be caught. Now that night is really dark all the Scott staff and guests are looking forward to the annual rite of experiencing the northern lights—the real northern lights with multiple colors and dramatic movement. It’s just around the corner, any day now. Keep watching this space. Maybe we will capture it for you.