Week 2 Recap – When The Going Gets Tough…The Tough Get Fishing

Week 2 Recap – When The Going Gets Tough…The Tough Get Fishing

Our second week at Scott Lake Lodge, typically June 14-19, can be absolutely idyllic with blue skies, warm southwest breezes, warming waters and aggressive, hard charging pike that just engulf anything that comes near them. Can be. However, that wasn’t the case this year. The second chapter in the Scott Lake Book of 2024 was a lot more challenging than most years. Except for a very pleasant first day (a day with 40 trophy fish), the weather conspired against our intrepid group of anglers. Even though they had to layer on the layers, they made the best of the conditions and pressed on. And they did just fine. It was cold and windy without a lot of aggressive fish, but with the help of a guide team averaging over 20 years of experience, they caught plenty, a total of 113 trophy fish, mostly pike. In cold conditions everything has to slow down–the retrieve, the hook set and handling the fight. With a surface temperature of only in the mid-40s, more finesse was required than in warmer water conditions when anglers just need to cast, crank and hang on. A lot of slower moving plastic baits and flies were in order. The group did great in adapting their techniques to the tougher than normal conditions.

And we had some nice surprises like Don Luke’s 40.5” gorgeous lake trout caught on Scott Lake on a fly on Day 2. And the number of really big pike. Cold conditions and huge pike usually don’t go together up here, but we did have some very impressive fish. On that first day Mike and Kent Mathis had an incredible day on Wholdaia Lake, one of 24 of the lodge’s flyouts. They boated nine trophy pike including a 45-incher by Mike and a 46 by Kent. In between stormy weather and yes, even a snow squall, some big fish were taken. Pike of 45 or 45.5 inches were caught by long time guests Judy Schmidt, Clayton Jennings, and Peter Myhre (a pair). Barbie Purpura got a 44-inch pike as well. Despite conditions not conducive to fishing for arctic grayling, a species that loves warmer water than what we had this week, Don Luke got a few trophy sized grayling and earned the Trophy Triple hat, catching a trophy in all three of our species—lake trout, northern pike and arctic grayling. Hats off to Don. And hats off to Brigitte Jennings for also leaving the lodge with her Trophy Triple hat.

In our twenty-six years of operation, we have averaged just one “lodge day” a year—a day when it’s so ugly that all or most guests just don’t want to get out on the water. We checked that box on Day 3, a day with clouds, wind and even some snow. Just plain miserable. That didn’t stop some anglers though from getting out even if for just a few hours. Don Luke got his second big trout, a 38.5-inch beauty, while fly fishing in less than desirable conditions. On that tough day only three trophies were taken–Don’s trout, a 36” trout caught by Jonah Oberloh and a 40.5” pike landed by Jeff Quick. We salute these hardy anglers. Obviously a day with only three trophies did depress the weekly trophy total but card games, a hot lunch in the main lodge and a mid-day nap by some eased the pain of missing a day on the water. Scott Lake Lodge has plenty of creature comforts.

The week was a reminder for everyone on our island that fishing in the far north is not always predictable, but it is always inspiring. Fishing is never predictable. If it were, it would be boring. That’s one thing that never happens at Scott Lake. Our service team makes sure of that. A testament to the quality of our customer service program and the loyalty of our guests is one number: twenty of our twenty-six Week 2 guests, despite the tough weather, rebooked for next season. We thank those guests and thank our staff for making a wonderfully sweet lemonade out of the lemons the weather handed us. In fishing (and sports) there is always next year . . .

The Heat is On: The Week 8 Update

The Heat is On: The Week 8 Update



This has been generally a very cool summer, but this week the heat was turned on for summer fishing at it’s best. Everyone loved it, including the fish. For this far north it’s been HOT. The week started just nicely warm, then the knob kept turning higher until we hit 90 on the last day, a rare number to see in these parts. Finally, it was summertime. What do people do in the summer? They go fishing, have fancy dinners and outdoor cookouts, drink a few (or more than a few) beverages and just have a great time. We checked all those boxes and more this week. Fortunately, we had a group who knew how to party. The atmosphere in Laker Lodge when the guests come together as one large group for dinner and the evening program was lively, to say the least. To say the most, it’s possible that our nearest neighbors, just over fifty miles away, might have heard the roar of the crowd as huge fish after huge fish was shown on the TV screens during the nightly “fish du jour” experience. There was some high-octane energy in the room every night. We had a five-day celebration of great fishing, good times and enduring friendships, new and old. There was even a Hawaiian Night (it’s too long a story).

In between the fabulous shore lunches, the cigar puffing, the card games and the wildly competitive corn hole games, there was some summer fishing. And lots of big fish were landed, 170 to be exact. As is typical this time of the season, most of the trophy fish were northern pike. 133 to be exact again, but the lake trout started to make some guest appearances and the arctic grayling, well they are always cooperative. With warm temperatures and just the right level of wind, there were some incredible days. Longtime guests, Dave Wallace and Joe Wright, had the trip of a lifetime. One day they landed nine trophy pike. The next day they had only eight. And the biggest, caught by Joe Wright, was only 47”. Slackers. Other regulars, Tom Matthew and Rusty Brown, had four pike-trophy days. Jessica Word-Booth had a four trophy pike day as well. When pike are on, they are ON. Lots of guests had three trophy days. In the very big fish department, Gordon Jumonville got a 44 on his first day at Scott Lake. Jessica Word-Booth landed a 44 and a 45-incher, but the spotlight was directly on her ten-year-old son, Cole. His picture was on that TV screen every night. Last season he got a 48” pike. This kid is hooked for life, and summer fishing in the far north.

This was finally the week where lake trout made their presence known. They had been in the nowhere zone for several weeks, between their shallow water (but could be anywhere) period and their deep-water summer homes in 60-100’ of water, a nice cool place for fish that don’t care for water temperatures over 50 degreees. Well, they are home now and our guides have their addresses. Mark and Rebecca Graf love catching the big lakers (they are actually a char not a trout but that’s semantics—they are an incredible game fish). On the last day of this group they found the key to unlock the trout door. The each landed a girthy 41-incher along with a few dozen smaller lakers. Mark had taken a 40-incher earlier in the week. Some other dandies were caught this week. Lakes of 38 inches were scored by 14-year-old Jayden Brown, Brad Barousse, Mike Johnson and our Assistant Manager Dani Grunberg who managed to sneak out for an afternoon troll. Another Scott team member, Jesse Sawchuck, got a 39-incher. As the big lakers continue their descent to the deeper water they will be even bigger targets for our guides. Stay tuned for the full lake trout story.

There was just enough grayling fishing to create some Trophy Triple and 100+Club activity. Mike Johnson and Trevor Meyers waded some rapids catch some grayling and earn their Trophy Triple hats. Rebecca and Mark Graf had a banner grayling day with over a dozen trophies each. Mark’s 18.5” and Rebecca’s 19.5” arctic sailfish put them into the 100+Club’s custom jacket.

It was a great week with a fun group: good summer fishing, good times, leisurely evenings on the big deck overlooking the lake made it a memorable week for our group. It’s what a vacation is all about.

Some Hot Fishing & The Case of the Missing Terns: Week 7

Some Hot Fishing & The Case of the Missing Terns: Week 7



First, the terns. The Common Tern is a striking beautiful and elegant bird: sleek in design, graceful in flight, wearing a smart black cap and sporting a very sharp red bill that leads the bird’s watery plunge to capture small fish. They are often seen flying with their small, silvery trophies. Just a very cool bird. We have been graced at Scott Lake Lodge with a colony of Common Terns within sight of our island. Every year they arrive and depart (early June and mid-August) on the same day. This has happened for the three decades of current ownership and probably for countless decades before. Except for this year. They arrived on time, and everything was normal with their excited vocalizations and aerial dances delighting our guests and staff. Then one day just over a week ago they were gone. All gone. Not a feather could be found on their breeding site, a non-descript exposed cobble reef perhaps sixty by ten feet and only a couple of feet above the water line. They had prospered there for years. Avian influenza? Their sworn enemy, the herring gulls? A parasitic jagger wandering by from it more northerly home? A mink, pine marten or wolverine that swam to their home? Only questions. No answers. A Scott Lake mystery. Our terns will be missed and remembered.

What’s not a mystery is why so many of the homo sapiens species return every year to their summertime fishing home. It’s obvious. They love the fishing, the food, the world class guiding and customer service, the serenity of our pristine wilderness backyard and of course the warm companionship of like-minded people. Our Week 7 guests had all of the above. The summertime fishing was wonderful. The catching wasn’t the best of the year, but it wasn’t the worst either. Sometimes good is simply good enough and it was. There were 99 trophy fish brought to the boats with plenty of heavyweights led by Nick Manship’s 46” pike. His dad, Mike Manship, on the last day weighed in with a fat 45. Other 45s were taken by Don Mewhort, Russ Gesme and, of course, Peter Myhre who continued his torrid run through the Scott Lake Lodge fly out lakes. Peter loves climbing into our vintage (but trusty) De Havilland Beaver, GQD, and exploring some of the nine million acres of northern Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories that we call home. What a week he had. On his first and second days of fishing he landed seven trophy pike (yes each day). On his third he got six. Then he had to rest on the fourth due to the wild storm that shut down for a day not only our fly outs but nearly all of the fishing on our main lake. Over his three five-days trips to Scott this season Peter has landed 47 trophy pike, an astonishing number. And he is coming back for more later this season. Tom Granneman and Russ Gesme were also into the multiple trophy game, getting nine trophy pike on a single day. Ron Donnall and Alan Carney had plenty of big pike also, each landing a 44-incher.

The lake trout summertime fishing action picked up considerably this week. It helped Tom Kehoe with his quest to join the 100+Club. Tom landed a 39” laker that with a big pike and grayling gave him 100 total inches from those three fish. His fishing buddy, Mike Sackash, had trophies of all three species and got the Trophy Triple hat but just missed the 100” mark. Other big trout were taken by Mickey and Randy Moret. The Kings of the Trout for the week though were two first-timers, the father/son team of Mike and Nick Hylant. They really got into vertical jigging for lake trout, a technique preferred by some guides. It worked. On a single day they landed 101 lake trout. Mike ended up with two trout trophies at 36 and 37 inches. Both anglers enjoyed a trophy experience with almost constant bent rods. They also had plenty of pike action.

The summertime fishing excitement wasn’t limited to fish. On a fly out to Smalltree Lake, all four of the visiting anglers—Tom Kehoe, Mike Sackash, Tom Granneman and Russ Gesme—watched a lone bull muskox swim across the Dubwant river. When the huge animal hit shallow enough water to walk he was a raging bull throwing a “bow wake” comparable to their boats. Check out this National Geographic quality video .

Lot of fish. Lots of fun. Wonderful memories were made. We expect most of our guests will return to our island next summertime fishing season, just as we hope our terns will come back to their rocky home.

The Momentum Continues: Week 5 Update

The Momentum Continues: Week 5 Update


Trophy Fish Excellence

Momentum is a wonderful thing. We had big time momentum coming out of Week 4 when a season high (and one of our all-time highs) of 195 trophy fish were landed. The first day of fishing Week 5 picked right up where fishing Week 4 left off: it was gangbusters. The new group put 53 trophies in the boats on the first day, a top daily number for the season, and 44 on the second. The big pike were ravenous. Over those two days of warm weather four 44s, three 45s, four 46s and a 47 appeared on our nightly big fish of the day screening. That’s a season’s worth of big pike at most lodges. Then the temperatures dropped and so did our trophy fish totals, but we still managed to hit 131 for the group, not shabby at all. We did have some smoke in the air over the first three days which compromised the sight-fishing, but it didn’t seem to bother the pike. As long as the temperatures stay up so do the pike totals. And this was an almost all pike week. There were only a handful of lake trout and grayling (a dozen to be exact) landed.

Two of that dozen deserve a special mention. On the fourth day of our five-day “weeks” we had a Big Blow. The wind was ripping at over 40 miles and hour and the waves were a bit daunting. Most of our anglers liked the comforts of the lodge for that day with some card games at Laker Lodge, hikes on our Tundra Trail or just relaxing with a sauna or a book. But some did go out. Two of those brave guests were Julianne Harris and Chris Cervantes. They didn’t go far from the lodge. They didn’t have two. About two hundred yards from our main dock, they were trolling for lake trout in about 30 feet of water. Both got the lake trout of their lives, a supersized 40 and three-quarters for Julie and a 41 for Chris. Those were the only fish trophies of the day.

Our guests will probably remember those early days of the week when big fish seemed to be everywhere. It was a remarkable surge of wild action with so many quality fish. The big pike were the story. So many! Trophy northern pike of 44” were landed by Jim Kloote, Chris Cervantes, Adam Garvanian and Dave Morales II; 45s by Donna Quincey, Julianne Harris, and Susan Edwards; 46s by Dale and Jordan Pryor (same day), Jim Kusar and Steve Kozlowski. The best big fish story of the week though had to be Donna Quincy’s. On her first ever northern fishing trip she made her first ever pike catch quite memorable—a 47” monster. Yes, her first pike ever. She asked politely when it was in the net if it was a “big one”. Yes, Donna it was. Many hard-core pike anglers have fished for decades without getting one that big. She added a 45.5” trophy fish on the same day. Way to go Donna!

As it happens often, the big fish turn on at the same time. We had many examples of multiple trophies on the same day. Julianne Harris and Chris Cervantes really like Wignes Lake, a big lake connected to Scott and fished right from our dock. On two days they took the boat ride with wonderful results: nine pike trophies on one day and five on the other. A relatively new addition to our fishing empire, Wignes has become a popular destination for our guides. Our fly out lakes continue to pop out a lot of big fish. On Selwyn Lake the father/son team of Dale and Jordan Pryor landed eight northern pike trophies in a single day with two 46s. Another father/son team of Bruce and Steve Kozlowski got a cool dozen on the same lake with Steve getting a 46. (They also got five together on Sandy Lake.) Adam Garvanian and Andy Nardo picked up eight on Selwyn. Kevin and Susan Edwards got a mixed bag of six pike and grayling on Smalltree Lake. On the far east end of huge Wholdaia Lake, Gerry O’Brien and Andrew Troop got their mixed bag of nine trophies with all three of our species represented. Gerry earned his Trophy Triple hat there. Lots of big trophy fish. Lots of great memories, both on and off the water. It’s what we do at Scott Lake Lodge.

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.