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.
When the calendar flips from June to July at Scott Lake Lodge, it’s reasonable to expect just about perfect summer weather—highs in the mid-to-high 70s, pleasant south or southwest breezes and lots of sunshine. Reasonable but that’s not what met our 5th group of the 2022 season. On their first morning, they were met by a stiff north wind that got bigger and colder as the day progressed. The last day of June turned into an ugly late September day. There were a lot of down jackets and stocking caps (OK watch caps or toques if you’re not from the upper Midwest) in evidence. But there was also the resilience, determination, and hope that’s in all anglers’ DNA. They met the day on even terms. The kitchen staff prepared for an influx of guests for lunch at the lodge. But noon came and went. No boats came back. Not one. The 26 guests and 13 guides were out doing what anglers do—fishing. Just three anglers landed trophy fish that day. Jay Finney somehow got three though, remarkable for the daunting conditions. We salute this hardy group.
Things got better, a lot better. By the group’s last day there was plenty of sunshine with guests and guides sporting shorts and sandals. In between those bookend days, there were wonderful shore lunches, fantastic dinners, musk ox and bear sightings, loon serenades at night, hot tub soakings, invigorating massages and yes, lots of fish. And quite a few trophy fish, 92 to be exact. That’s not a high number for this time of the season by any means. Given the conditions it was impressive, and there were some bruisers in the mix, including eight pike over 45”. John Green got three of those, two 45s and a 47. He and fishing partner Brent Laing had two remarkable days, bringing 10 trophy pike to the boat on their second day and 8 on their third. Steve Kozlowski had a four-trophy day with a 46.5” pike; Peter Leonovicz and Buce Kozlowski got 46s and Tim Delaney got the fish of the week– a fat 48. Kevin and Susan Edwards had a big day as well. Kevin landed the biggest trout of the week at 41” and added an 18” grayling, getting his Trophy Triple hat but missing the 100+Club by just a half an inch. Susan landed a 19” grayling and three trophy lake trout the same day. Everyone caught a lot of fish even if the cold front suppressed the trophy count.
So good times, good fishing and lifetime memories. The group made an excellent recovery from a tough start. In this corner of the far north, you don’t know what mother nature will hand you. But you do know that at Scott Lake Lodge you will always have a memorable experience with world class customer service. By the way, the week is already full for 2023. I guess it was a hardy crew.
Watch the New Fly Fisher’s visit to Scott Lake Lodge last fall. Shallow Water Lake Trout on the Fly is an extraordinary experience only possible during a couple of short windows during the year. This is only a small portion of the footage and amazing fishing we had. Cannot wait for more shallow trout!
Very soon some lucky anglers are going to feel. the boat slow as they roll into a shallow bay on Scott Lake or one of its many flyouts. The wake fades and your guide starts pointing out submerged logs that he assures you are big northern pike. A fly is chosen, tied onto a titanium bite leader and a cast is made. Strip, strip, strip, pause, BOOM. The log comes to life and in a flash, your fly is gone in a puff of silt and huge boil. The fight is one and your line on the casting deck is taken in a hurry.
Whether fly fishing for pike is a lifelong addiction like many of our guests or you are picking up a fly rod for the first time. Scott Lake Lodge is a great place to do it. Lots of opportunities, our guide staff are great teachers and the chance to hook into something truly special.
Sight fishing for giant northern pike on the fly. It doesn’t get any better.