Scott Lake Lodge Living: Week 6 Update

Scott Lake Lodge Living: Week 6 Update



It’s been a month now since the first floatplane landed at our dock on this magical island in the wilderness border country between the endless tundra of the Northwest Territories and the boral forests of northern Saskatchewan. Life has now settled into predictable, satisfying rhythms. The island wakes up around 6:30 AM when breakfast service begins, and the guides start filling their coolers and getting their gear set for the fishing day. Around 7:00 AM the pilots fuel their planes for the first flyouts at 7:30 AM. The breakfast traffic in Laker Lodge is hitting it’s stride around now and the activity across the island is picking up. Between 7:30 AM and 8:30 AM our anglers are stepping into their guide’s boats for a day’s fishing on Scott Lake or it’s two adjacent lakes, Wignes and Premier, or climbing aboard our Beaver and Otter floatplanes for a trip even deeper into the empty lands to the north. Then by 9:00 AM the island rests with all the guests and guides off on their daily adventures. The kitchen, hospitality and maintenance staff members relish the quiet and begin their daily activities keeping the island running perfectly and preparing the rooms and the dinner for the return of the anglers and guides around 6:00 PM. Everyday for 95 consecutive days these patterns unfold with a crescendo of energy and excitement after the evening dining when the trophy announcements detail who caught what where. The showing of all the big fish landed that day on the two TV screens in the dining room puts a capstone on yet another day of life at Scott Lake Lodge.

So, what did our Week 6 guests see on those screens last week? Plenty of big fish for sure. We had a good week but not a great week of fishing. It was week of unstable weather with a bouncing barometer, lots of wind changes, and precious little sunshine. Not the formula for the kind of pike fishing we expect here. It begs the question: How can a fish be some violently voracious sometimes and with some rapid weather changes become a shy little puggy dog hiding in the corner. Forget what a biologist might say. Pike act like emotional, sensitive creatures, reacting petulantly to any change in their environment. They like everything “just right” which means warm, stable and sunny conditions. Things haven’t been just right for a few weeks. Our guides had to dig deep and count on the patience of our anglers. Both did their job.

The trophy count at 99 big fish was lower than many weeks but there were some dandy pike taken. Twenty of those trophies were pike over 44”. Long time guests Peter and Kay Myhre together landed eight of those twenty. And Peter added four more at 45”, a remarkable run of big pike. Lots of our guests get into that class of 44-inchers: Brendan Ysura, Charlie Crawford, Jeff Parts, Nate Valenti, Josh Makal, Tarek Arafat found two 44″ pike on his trip as well. Nate Sonstegard had his personal best pike at 45” only to top it a few minutes later with a 45.5”. Brendan Ysursa hit his personal best with a 46-incher. At the very top of the pike parade this week was Nate Valenti who got a perfectly proportioned 47-incher on the same day he got three other trophy pike. Brian Kozlowski, Justin Philips and Peter Myhre also had four trophy days.

It was a weak week in the lake trout department. This is the transition period from cruising the shallow sandbars to their summer homes in the deep holes (70-150’) on Scott and the flyout lakes. In this in between time it’s tough to target lakers. Only Todd Phillips got a trophy laker this week. Things were quiet on the grayling front as well. Only the New Fly Fisher TV production team went after the arctic sailfish. The show hosts, a father/daughter team of Jeff and Alyx Parks, caught a bunch with an 18-incher their biggest. They also landed on camera some very nice pike including a 44-incher by Jeff. Watch for that show next winter. We will be sending out a reminder when it airs.

The week in summary: not the best week we’ve had, not the worst. We just take what the weather and fishing activity offers and encourage our guests to enjoy every fish, every meal, every shorelunch, every sighting of a loon, osprey or eagle, and every moment in this pristine wilderness. Every week is a good week to be at Scott Lake Lodge. No one gets on the floatplane back to civilization with anything but wonderful memories of an escape into a rhythm of life that only happens in the far north.That’s what lodge living is all about.

The Goretex Gang: Week 2 Update

The Goretex Gang: Week 2 Update

If only . . . If only the entire week could have been like the fourth day of our Week 2 adventure. On that day we were gifted the most precious far-north commodity—bright sunshine. The sun on the water woke up the big pike and brought them scattered from deep water to bask in the shallows. Amazingly, it only took one day. And with sunlight, you could see the big pike in the shallows! For our anglers, it was a glorious day. For the after-dinner trophy announcements at the main lodge, the stack of trophy slips filled out by the guides was thick, 38 slips thick. That’s a lot of big fish for a single day (for some lodges further south of here that could be a week’s, a month’s or even a season’s total). And they came in bunches. There were four-packs of trophy pike for Rory Wright who landed a 44” and 45.5-incher, and Jeff Berg, who landed the biggest pike of this young season at 47.5”. There were three-packs of pike for Abe Martinez, Vinnie Purpura, Don Luke and Erik Luke. There was even Julie Heinmiller’s 40-inch trout thrown in for good measure. It was a hell of a day, but historically not an unusual day for the spring fishing at Scott.

Unfortunately, it was our only day in the sun. The other days, well to put it in a single phase—they sucked. It was cold, rainy or windy or all three simultaneously. Our anglers often had to work hard and fly far to find fish. Despite the tough conditions, there were fish landed on other days. We had a total of 115 trophy fish, not bad. Don and Eric Luke each landed four big pike trophies on Day 3, Don with a 44” and Eric with a 45.75” pike (now that’s a tight tape). On the same day, Jeff Quick landed three pike trophies including a 45-incher. Jeff Berg got a 47 (yes, he got two monsters on his trip). On Day 2 Conrad Schmidt caught four trophy pike. Notable fish were scattered throughout the week. One of our rare “first timers” at Scott, Al Malinowski, got his first ever big pike on his second day here and it was a dandy at 45-inches. There were 44-inchers taken by John Heinmiller, Abe Martinez, Peggy Light, Chris Luke and Jeff Quick. On the last day Ross Purpura Jr, not far from the lodge, brought a fat 47-incher into his guide’s net.

Given the high winds and limited sight conditions a lot of guides and anglers opted to troll for lake trout. There were many hundreds landed. Among those trout were some good ones. Ross Purpura Jr got a 38” laker; Ross Sr got a 37.5” lake trout; Peter Schmidt got in the trout game with a 37; Connie Schmidt landed a pair of 36.5-inchers; Judy Schmidt scored a 36-incher. The big 40-inch trout for Julie Heinmiller, along with a big 18.5” grayling and a nice 43.5” pike, gave her the first 100+Club membership of the season at 101.5 total inches for her trophy trout, grayling and big pike. Congrats to Julie.
So, despite having to bundle up against the wind, rain and cold our group did great in the fish department. And they all were determined to make the best out of some tough conditions. Our hats are off to them. Next time we hope they get only one day of rain instead of one day of sun. Then they can enjoy our marvelous shore lunch experiences and the sight-fishing we’re famous for. Of course, as all anglers know you fish what you get and our gang did just that, quite successfully.

TCO Flyshop Article: Mark Yocum

TCO Flyshop Article: Mark Yocum

This past September Mark had the opportunity to sample the trophy northern pike and lake trout Scott Lake has to offer on the fly rod.

Flyfishing for these fish in fall can provide some amazing moments!

TCO Fly Shop Article

For more information on catching Lake Trout on the Fly have a look at this Video

Want to be in the boat for one of these coveted September spots? Find out all the info you need to book right HERE

High Drama on the 60th Parallel: The Week 7 Review

High Drama on the 60th Parallel: The Week 7 Review


Every life needs a shot of drama now and then. Our seventh group of the season got their share, from the waters and from the sky. First the water. As we have written often in this space over the past couple of decades, at Scott Lake Lodge and in most of Canada generally pike fishing and weather go hand in hand: cold temperatures with no sun equals cool fishing; warm temperatures with plenty of sun equals hot fishing. After several weeks of cool (no, call it cold) weather and slower than normal fishing, the weather turned starting with the sixth group. And then it just got better and better. The lakes warmed up and the pike woke up and looked around. They found Blue Fox spinners, Havoc soft plastics, good ‘ole Len Thompson and Half Wave spoons, flies like bunny leeches, whistlers and deceivers. They just didn’t see them: they engulfed them. The group’s second day was memorable. Everyone caught a lot of fish and big fish. For some it was extraordinary. Peter Myhre, a fifteen day guest, continued his hot hand and landed eight trophy pike, topped by a 47 incher, on that day alone; the father/son team of Mike and Nick Manship boated nine trophy pike, both getting 47 inchers as their top pike; Terry Walker and Tom Granneman had a banner day getting a baker’s dozen big pike with a fat 44 as their top pike. That’s just five anglers on one day. With 139 trophy fish taken there were many other great days and great stories. All thanks to the sunshine.

Outstanding Fishing Weather

The sun also turned on the arctic grayling. After catching dozens of pike on a nearby flyout lake, Marc Pierce and Nick Witaker hit the rapids to try dry flies for this northern icon. They found them by the dozen and landed fourteen trophies, each getting nice 17 inchers. The sun didn’t help the trout fishing (lakers prefer cloudy weather) but Nick Manship landed a 37 and 39 inch pair.
Big pike though were the show on Scott and our flyout lakes. In addition to the three 47s mentioned earlier, there were three pike at 46 inches (Mike Manship with one and Peter Myrhe with two); three at 45 inches (Mike Sackash with one and Peter Myrhe with two), and nine at 44 inches (Chad Castro, Mark Peterson, Terry Walker, Tom Granneman, Adrian Levy with one each and, yes, a few by Peter Myrhe, four to be exact). Peter had one heck of a week.

Fishing Weather Sometimes Just Becomes Weather

That’s a lot of fish drama, but it was only part of the week seven show. It was the sky’s turn. In this corner of the world, hot weather like we had isn’t common and it generally creates some turbulent weather. Really hot weather creates really turbulent weather. With temperatures nudging over 90, the conditions were ripe for some summer thunderstorms. Those with any outdoor experience could feel something brewing in the skies. Our management team and our pilots definitely felt it: they were focused on just one thing—getting the fish-eager new group in and fish-saturated group out. We almost pulled it off. All the signs for a real “frog-drowner” were there so we tried to hustle up our changeover. One group of nine arrived in a private plane before out charter flight, a Dash 8-300, from Edmonton landed. We quickly got that group on an Otter and headed them out on the 50-mile flight from Stony Rapids to the lodge. With lightning at their heels, they landed safely at the Scott dock. With three more flights to go, Mother Nature had her say. That was the last flight to land for another three hours. With twenty-six anglers at the lodge waiting to go south and nineteen still in Stony waiting to head north, all hell broke loose. The skies at both ends of that trip opened up with driving sheets of rain, steady drumbeats of arresting thunderclaps, and way-too-close lightning.
It was a Biblical storm, probably the most violent in the twenty-five years of Scott Lake’s history and of course it hit on a changeover day when all 52 guests wanted to get to Scott or get home. For the aviation crew all hands were busy triple-tying down the three remaining floatplanes. In a minute they were drenched to the skin. The folks at Scott were warm and dry in the Last Cast bar enjoying drinks but the folks in Stony were huddled in a small float base office watching a new river running down to the real river. Then the power went out in Stony, so it was impossible to fuel the planes. It looked like it might be a long night in a town not famous for nice hotels. Then just like that the cell passed and the sun came out. The power returned; the planes were fueled, and the plane parade south and north continued without incident. There was a wonderful opening night dinner at the lodge, just three hours late. The returning guests jumped on their flight to Edmonton for a midnight snack before continuing home the next morning.
Everyone stayed safe and dry (except the pilots and ground crew) and all had a bonus—a great story. Just another week in the far north.