THE OLD AND THE NEW, PLUS LOTS OF PIKE: The 10th Week Fishing Report

THE OLD AND THE NEW, PLUS LOTS OF PIKE: The 10th Week Fishing Report


It was a very memorable week at Scott Lake Lodge. We had a wonderful blend of old and new customers, with first timers out numbering our veteran guests for the first time all season, but our returning guests had a leader. Howard Weiss has had 28 trips to Scott Lake Lodge. Even at the tender age of 95, Howard (better know as Harley) made the trip to the 60th parallel to renew his ties with our northern pike and many friends here. Harley didn’t hit the water quite as hard as he did in years past when he was known as the Ironman, flying out to remote lakes almost every day and making more casts, catching more fish than anyone else on our island. But he still fished every day and enjoyed every minute of it. He’s planning on his 29th trip next summer.

The week started like we were in an endless summer. Our tenth group of the season stepped in their boats on the first day with blue skies, blue water and a gentle warm breeze. It was perfect—the twelfth consecutive day where the day had that feeling of being “THE DAY”. For many of our anglers it was. There were 36 trophy pike landed on that pleasant summer day. Some nice ones too: two at 46”, a 45 and three 44s. Chuck and Conner Dannewitz have a long tradition here of getting big pike. They made great use of that perfect opening day by teaming up for ten trophy pike. There were leisurely shore lunches and soft boat rides over glassy water. It was the perfection of summer. But nothing lasts forever. For the next couple of days, a biting north wind turned that glassy water into some hard chop. This group didn’t allow the change of weather to slow down their fishing or their catching. The daily trophy counts did drop with the dropping temperatures, but the gang here kept plugging away. There were still around twenty trophy pike a day. (This was an unusual week where no one went after arctic grayling, our miniature sailfish and only a few anglers spent time going after lake trout.) This was a pure pike group.

And they got plenty of them, ending up with 101 trophy pike (a fish of 40” or better), interestingly the exact number of the prior group which enjoyed five perfect summer days. Maybe this group just worked a little harder. It paid off; they got into some big fish. Four anglers (Mike Weiss Jr, Dana Brigs, Garrett and Gary Rutherford) landed 46 inchers. Chad Payne got 45 and Chad Rutherford had a big day, pulling in a 45” and a 45.5” pike along with two other trophies.

There was one notable lake trout landed this week. Assistant Manager, Dani Grunberg, took a rare day off and fished for an entire day, something unusual for any Scott Lake staff members who are used to working seven days a week all season. She made the best of it, landing a monster lake trout of 41.5”, a personal best by more than a few inches. Gary Rutherford and Chad Payne also got trophy trout this week but it will be remembered as a great pike fishing week where a lot of new guests became old friends.

Sun, Fun and Fish: The Week 9 Fishing Report

Sun, Fun and Fish: The Week 9 Fishing Report


For our ninth group of the season, the fun in the sun just kept rolling on. Like our last group, they were singing the song of summertime. When anglers make the trek to the 60th parallel, they generally aren’t thinking shorts, sandals and T-shirts. Or swimming or paddle boarding. Yet for five straight blissful days, this group enjoyed perfect summer weather. With the abundant sand beaches around Scott Lake, if we could have transplanted palm trees for the black spruce, we could have convinced our guests that they were in the Caribbean. Except this water is sweet, clear and clean enough to drink right out of the lake, really. Weather-wise, it was as good as it gets.

So, what did the fish think of this? Apparently, they liked it. The northern pike, lake trout and arctic grayling were eager dance partners with our anglers, grabbing with abandon the Mepps and Blue Fox spinners, the plastic Turbo Pike, McRubbers and Havocs, even a few old-school Doctor Spoons and Dardevles, along with lighter furry or feathered-fare like bunny leeches, deceivers or whistlers. It was summer: why not have a picnic? Of the several thousand fish landed over the five days (the numbers were great), there were 202 that made the cut as Scott Lake Lodge trophies. Our pike, the heat-seeking missiles of the fish world, represented exactly half of that total, not a record but a very healthy number. Many did some reel tail-dancing as our angler’s drags sang an upbeat note. Our quite acrobatic grayling, 79 trophy-sized, also showed some tail when they took to the air on the fast water that connects many of our 22 fly out lakes. Their dance music? The heavenly sounds of water rushing over rocks, of course. Our big lake trout didn’t need any music. They just pulled and pulled, trying to wear down the person on the other end of the line. Some succeeded. Some didn’t. While this year’s “trout season” has been late due to the cool weather in June and early July, it picked up some energy this week with 22 trophy lakers including 40 inchers landed by Thomas Purcell and Kevin Fisher. Bob Noble got a 41 and Greta Hall a 41.5” beauty.

The most dancing action though was with the pike and arctic grayling, our solar-powered gamefish. When pike get enough sunshine, they really turn on, going crazy with aggressive energy as several our guests discovered. It was the right place/right time for Thomas Purcell who found himself on a pristine lake 50 miles north of the lodge and found himself tied to big pike seven times in one day. He landed them all. Janet Rucker, Luke Dunn and JR Dunn picked up a six-pack of trophy pike on their fast dancing day. The father/son team of Gary and Garek Peters combined for eight trophies on their memorable day. But it was the big pike that made the headlines in the Tundra Times, our daily paper of fishing news. There were 45 inchers caught by Bob Noble, Bob Fisher, Greta Hall and Thomas Purcell, a 45.5 incher by Mandy Purcell, a 46” dandy by Greta Hall and a very heavy 48” lunker by Gary Peters. Some impressive fish. Most impressive though was the 49” perfectly proportioned (meaning wide across the back and girthy in the middle) pike landed by Suzanne Noble. Truly a fish of a lifetime. It was the same day that husband Bob landed a 41” lake trout. With several other trophies and many near trophies, the day prompted Bob to say that this was the best fishing day he had ever experienced. Considering that Bob has made Canadian fishing trips for 60 consecutive years, that’s saying a lot.

With all the blue skies and light winds, more guests than usual flew out to team up with some arctic grayling (usually combined with pike and trout fishing). Ten of our anglers hit the “super-sized” grayling mark of 18 inches: Bob and Suzanne Noble, Kevin Fisher, Eric and Greta Hall, Thomas and Mandy Purcell, Don Madl, Luke Dunn and John Bolen. There were 79 grayling that hit the 15” trophy size. Grayling just love sun on the water. With all those grayling, there were lots of Trophy Triple hats passed out this week. Roger Fuller had a “Done in One” Trophy Triple day, getting all three of our species in trophy size in one day. A season high of seven anglers got their hat and had enough total trophy inches to join the 100+Club. Joining the 12 other anglers this year in the club were Mike and Mandy Purcell, Bob and Suzanne Noble, Eric and Greta Hall and Kevin Fisher. Greta Hall’s total of 105.5 inches puts her in third place in the season’s standings. Foster Graf still leads the pack with a whopping 108.5 inches.

After all the fish were counted, one thing that defies counting stood out—the fun factor. It’s not the number of fish caught that counts: it’s the fun people had catching those fish. This group was fun-focused all the way. Every night at trophy announcements the group went wild, cheering their own catch and everyone else’s. The fun continued throughout the evening. Led by the Purcell-Hall group, there were card games, dice games, lots of wine sampled and animated conversation on the big lodge deck. On the quiet evenings when the big lake rested like a giant millpond, the laughter from the lodge, mixing with the laughter of the loons, drifted miles down the lake. It was summer at Scott Lake Lodge, a perfect week all will remember.

Summer Time and the Livin’s Easy: Week 8 Report

Summer Time and the Livin’s Easy: Week 8 Report


“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.

A Wonderfully Average Week: Week 6 Fishing Report

A Wonderfully Average Week: Week 6 Fishing Report


Average gets a bum rap. In our media-saturated era, everything must be way above average to be respected. If you don’t see words or phrases like “the next level”, “over the top”, “stupendous”, “sensational” or “tremendous”, you just want to tune out. What if average though was still good or even great? Take our Week number six. Having average weather (some sun, some rain, some clouds but not much heat), having a group of anglers with average experience (some pro level, some early in their angling careers), and having the imperfect but functional marker of an average number of trophies (at 143 to the boat which was higher than three of the previous weeks, but way below the other two—so average), it was a classic average week.

But those are just numbers. Let’s look at an average week of fishing at Scott Lake Lodge. We did realize our #1 goal here: everyone we talked to had fun and had a safe trip; that’s the top priority of management here. No one at the dock when the floatplanes landed to take our group south was eager to leave, especially those who did have some extraordinary days on the water, like Bog Hoagland who landed six trophy pike in a single day, or Tim Fierbaugh, Frances Sun and Tom Granneman who had five. Our guests who thought skill, luck or some combination of those two elements caught super-sized fish certainly didn’t think their trip was average. I’m sure Paul Granneman, Dan Spielman, Frances Sun, Tim Fierbaugh or Tom Granneman didn’t think their 45” pike were average. Without a doubt having a 46 incher on the line didn’t feel average to Jeff Christiansen. What about experiencing the fury of a monster 48.5” pike? Ask Dennis Hetler. He did it in an average week, but that’s about as far from average as you can get. Tim Fierbaugh battled successfully with a 41-inch lake trout. That’s a lifetime memory. While smaller fish, the big grayling of the week (fish of 18” or more) provided some huge angling satisfaction to the lucky group (Frances Sun, Frank O’Neil, Craig Brown, Randy and Mickey Moret) who went to our northern rivers to bend their light rods against the current and beautiful, high-jumping arctic grayling.

An average day doesn’t describe the “Done in One” Trophy Triple days of Dan Spielman, Frances Sun or Craig Brown who landed trophy-sized fish of all three of Scott Lake Lodge’s gamefish in one day. Frances had a very special day because her three big ones totaled 102 inches, putting her in the exclusive 100+Club. There were, of course, many moments that just can’t be quantified: enjoying the traditional and delicious fresh pike shore lunches; the sight of a soaring eagle; the unearthly calls of the common loon at night; that first bite of the prime rib, the duck confit or the New York strip steak—just a few of the twelve entrees served to our guests. Maybe the most above average experience was the warm feeling of being in a room full of excited, happy anglers who loved this northern experience. If this was an average week, we’ll take it. It was wonderful.



For nearly all our guests, the trip to Scott Lake Lodge is something they roll around in their brain for months. In the middle of a sentence in an email, there will be the image of a nasty looking pike engulfing your fly or lure. A dinner conversation might have a pause as thoughts of sitting on the big deck after dinner, just absorbing the sounds and sights of the big lake, intrude. All the planning, preparation and the splendid anticipation .  .  .  And then, it’s here: you’re on the dock at Scott Lake Lodge. It will happen 442 times this summer.

We welcomed our first 2019 guests, nearly all Scott Lake regulars (all but four anglers had fished Scott before) on a quite cool evening on June 9th. Change was the arrival theme. Right by the docks was a new Fitness Center and, on the hillside, a new guest cabin, Ptarmigan, which replaced Moose, an older cabin. There was a new floating dock and a new staff cabin for our pilots. But the absence of change was also noticed immediately. Every one of last year’s guides were there to greet our guests as they stepped off the floatplane. Of course, it’s been that way for many years. Now the average guide tenure at Scott Lake Lodge is 16 seasons. As our first guests made their way to Laker Lodge, they noticed that the Hospitality, Maintenance, Management and pilot groups were also the same. Sometimes no change is a good thing.


Many guests were surprised to see a bit of white on the north facing shorelines—ice hanging on after a cool spring. They were shocked to find out that four of our fly out lakes were still covered with ice, a vivid reminder of just how far north they were. The first couple of fishing days had a definite northern feel. Our anglers were layered up well as they jumped in boats and floatplanes on our first day. It’s wasn’t our best opening day ever, but it wasn’t bad. Peter Myhre got things rolling, landing five trophy pike, the biggest a fat 47 incher, and a trophy lake trout. There were plenty of other super-sized pike (our nomenclature for a pike over 45”) as the week went on and the temperature started to rise. Things really started rocking on Day 3 when the cool spring immediately turned into summer. The sun came out of hiding and so did the pike. Over two days 75 trophies were landed. There were some big days: Peter Leonovicz had a seven-trophy day; using his fly rod like a magic wand, Paul Hanna landed a six-pack of trophy pike including a 46 incher; Rob Shafflo grabbed his own six-pack of pike, and Tom Goebel brought five big pike to his guide’s net with a 45 and a 46 incher. Mike Sackash, John Goebel and Victor Digeronimo all super-sized their trip, getting 45” tundra sharks.

While pike were the main attraction, there were a lot of lake trout cruising near the surface. Many were caught while casting for pike. Alexa Moulopoulous was the leader of the trout parade, landing four trophies with the biggest a 37.5” fish. Her brother, Aris, had the last word in a sibling trout rivalry. He latched onto a 41” monster that took him for a ride—probably the best fish fight of the week. Robert Shaffalo and Richard Chernus pulled in 38” lakers. Despite the slow start to the week, the group landed a very respectable 115 trophy fish and had more black bear sightings than we can remember. It was a great start to a promising season.


We did the shift from spring to summer in a day. There always seems to be one group that lands not just on the clear waters of Scott Lake but also in a big pile of 4-leaf clover. Sometimes it’s early in the season; other times it’s mid or late season. While there are sixteen more groups to make that landing, it may be hard to beat the luck of group number two. Fishing at Scott and elsewhere in the far north is all about heat. Pike crave warm water. When the intense sub-arctic sun hits the water, the pike feel it and head for the warm shallow bays and channels. Starting on Day 2 we had the sun and the heat. While temperatures in the low 80s don’t make headlines to the south, they do on the 60th parallel (at least in the Tundra Times). Our pike just went nuts with that sun. After a nice batch of 38 trophies on the first day, things almost got out of hand. Day 2 was Father’s Day and the father/son team of Joe and Ty Daugherty celebrated by landing 16 trophy pike between them. In that haul was a 48.5” monster landed by Joe. It’s the biggest of this young season. What a day it was: 62 trophy fish. The big show though was Day 3. Our experienced anglers set the camp record for the most trophies in a single day—78.  The big pike came in big bunches:  Peter Myhre landed nine on his best day; Joe Daugherty landed nine on two different days in this memorable week; Don Luke also had nine in a single day including two 45s and a 46;  Rory Wright took seven; Judy Schmidt six (she did that twice); Eric Luke, Ross Purpura, Mike Rogers, Peggy Light, Ryan Luke, and Connie Schmidt, all with five. With another day of bright sun and considerable heat, the really big fish came out of the shadows into the shallows.

On Day 4 there was another big batch of trophies, 62, but some real dandies. Adding to his legendary status around here, Joe Daugherty brought in a 47.5” pike along with a 40.5” lake trout. The father/three sons of Team Luke put on a real fishing show. The fearsome foursome collected 25 trophies on Day 4 with all three sons and dad getting a 45” or better pike. It was dad’s day though: Don Luke landed nine trophy pike with two 45s and a 46. Dick Emens got a 45 and 46 that day, giving him four super-sized pike for the week. Simon Horan got into the 45 game as well. That made 10 pike over 45 in one day. Remarkable. Big trout for the week included a spectacular 41 incher by Peter Schmidt and a 37 incher by Bridgette Jennings.

On Day 5 some clouds moved in and slowed down the pike juggernaut, but it was still a good day with 21 trophies including the first grayling of the season. Peter Schmidt became the first 100+Club member of the season. It’s a tough admission standard. You must catch trophies in all three species whose collective measurements hit 100 inches or better, not an easy task. After getting an 18.5” grayling to go with his 41” trout and 43” pike, Peter totaled 102.5 trophy inches. Barbie Purpura got a 45” pike on the last day, making the supersized pike total a fat 15 for the week. Stay tuned. The Day five trophies put the week’s total at an amazing 261, blowing out the prior one-group record of 203 which was set last year. It didn’t hurt that our Week 2 group had among them taken 332 trips to Scott Lake Lodge. Experience is a great teacher. They put on an awesome display of casting and hooking setting. Let’s see what Week 3 brings. Let the sun keep shining.