SUMMERTIME: THE LIVIN’ IS EASY
“Summertime and the livin’ is easy”
In 1957 Ella Fitzgerald first recorded that memorable song. It was only 66 seconds long. Our Week 8 guests felt that sentiment right to the bone for five blissful days of summer—the perfect “not too hot but not too cold”. After an extended spring with more than our share of windy, cool and cloudy weather, summer arrived on a warm breeze that lifted the spirits of everyone on this 12-acre island in the far northern reaches of Canada. Every morning there were clear skies and the hope of a magical day. Every day that hope was rewarded with calm waters, impossibly blue skies and great fishing.
“Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high”
Well, the only cotton we have around here is the delicate and beautiful cotton grass plant that is less than a foot high, but the fish WERE jumpin’. (I’m sure Ira and George Gershwin who wrote and composed the song will posthumously give us some latitude here.) While our pike, lake trout and arctic grayling weren’t quite jumpin’ in the boats, they were certainly jumpin’ on our guest’s flies and lures. Our aquatic friends really got into the summer spirit: the raising barometer lifted the mood on the island along with the pike in the lake and the grayling in our rivers—they came shallow, just like it was early June. The number of fish caught this week was extraordinary. Dinner conversations referring to daily catches of over 100 fish per boat were common. Not just the little guys either. With abundant sunshine and warm temperatures, the big pike flooded the shallows. Some trophy pike were literally caught in just inches of water. When they are shallow, pike are easy to find and often quite receptive to our guest’s offerings.
Numbers? We had ‘em. In just five days there were 138 pike over 40” landed. Everyone at the lodge got in on the action. And ten anglers put 13 “super-sized” pike (45” or more) into their guide’s waiting nets. Pike of exactly 45” were landed by Dave Lotts, Travis Carrothers, Tim Solso and Peter Myhre who caught three 45s; pike that pulled the tape to 46” or 46.5” were taken by Joel Leisch and Troy Carrothers who got a pair; pike of 47” (a true monster pike) made the trip for Eddie Brown, Joel Leisch, Eric Bailey and Peter Myhre. For many Ontario lodges and lodges in the lower parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba putting that many big fish in their books would be a summer’s worth of trophies not a week’s. The tape of our Scott Lake guides don’t stop at 47” though. A Scott Lake Lodge staff alum, from the kitchen a dozen or so years back, held his guide’s tape at the tail of a 48” pike and a current Scott staff member, our Head Chef Nigel Rivera, landed the biggest pike of the season (so far) pulling the tape to exactly 50”. It was Nigel’s first full day off during this season: he made good use of it. There aren’t many weeks when we get a baker’s dozen of giant pike. We need to thank the sun, along with experienced guides and sharp hook-setting guests. Guests like Peter Myhre who is becoming something of a legend here; he caught 28 trophy pike in just five days with nine in a single day. Eric Baily and Marvin Bragewitz had five-pike days and Tim Solso brought in a quad for his big day.
Grayling were loving the sun as well. We had 37 trophy grayling (or just “ling” as the guides often call them) for the week with some big ones. Travis Carrothers, Joel Leisch and John Horstman all got 18 inchers, near the top of our grayling ladder. Joel Leisch and John Horstman had an incredible “ling” day, landing 21 between them. Many of the grayling were taken on dry flies and 4-weight fly rods, a perfect way for an angler to spend a summer day. These northern acrobats love the sunshine almost as much as our pike. Even though they don’t like sun, the heat helped the lake trout fishing as well by pushing them deeper into their summer holes where our guides can target them effectively. Fat 40 inchers were landed by Eddie Brown and Joel Leisch
With all those big grayling and lake trout there must have been some hats and jackets passed out. Indeed. Three lucky angles got the Trophy Triple hat and the 100+Club jacket: Travis Carrothers who was at exactly 100 inches, Eddie Brown at 104 and Joel Leisch at a healthy 105.
“One of these mornings
Your gonna rise up singing
Yes, you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky”
We did occasionally hear some guests singing on these perfect summer mornings and we did hear a lot of floatplanes taking to the sky. This group took full advantage of our 22 fly out lakes and jumped in the lodge-based Beaver and Otter to see lakes even more remote than Scott, some a hundred miles distant. It’s not that the fishing on our home lake (Scott Lake) was slow by any means. Our numbers here were sensational. The big fish on Scott are plentiful but all have PhDs or at least Masters in seeing the difference between a real baitfish and even the latest generation of plastic lures or fluffy flies. Some lakes in our fly out system are fished only five or ten times a season. The lakes with more anglers are huge—some many times bigger than Scott. We spread the fishing pressure to a vast area, around nine million acres of land and nearly two million acres of water, a number that grows every year.
So, while most people were sweltering in heat wave crippling the eastern and midwestern US, the anglers at Scott Lake were livin’easy in the “just right” sunshine. Where do you want to be next July.