The Old Men and the Freshwater Sea: The Week 13 Fishing Report

The Old Men and the Freshwater Sea: The Week 13 Fishing Report


OK, Scott Lake is not quite a freshwater sea, but it is big. And, a lot of people might resent being called “old”. Can’t be too careful these days, but we’re hoping that the Fearsome Foursome who attacked the waters of Scott Lake Lodge on Week 13 will not mind a bit. They will be proud. Because when it was cold, windy and rainy, this group hung in there and fished while many of the younger folk retreated to the warmth of the lodge and the promise of a hot meal. Eager anglers all–Dick Emens, Don Hunt, Dick Hutson and Joel Tune–came to fish, as they have all done for many years. In fact, the four have 86 trips to Scott Lake Lodge under their collective belts. Using that experience, they show the younger crowd how catching big fish is done.  Leading the parade, Dick Emens, the elder statesman of the group, but only by a few years, caught not only a 45” and 47” pike but he added a monster 44” lake trout and a 19” arctic grayling, about as big as they get around here. With those top trophies out of the many that he caught, he hit an incredible 110 inches for his 100+Club total, the second highest in lodge history. Joel Tune, the younger, by a lot, of the “old guys”, also joined the Club with 102”. Dick and Don missed the 100” mark but had some huge fish: Dick a pair of 45” pike and Don also with a 45” pike. Experience counts!

They weren’t the only anglers who landed big fish. As last week’s report suggested, the fish of fall are bigger and more aggressive. In addition to Dick Emen’s 47” pike, there were two more 47s—landed by Dan Lafferty and Carol Van Brunschot. Outfishing her husband badly, Tina Walker landed just a hog of a pike. This 45.5 incher had a massive girth, measured at 20”. Not many pike are that well fed.

This week the lake trout made our Tundra Times headlines. It’s been an odd season for this majestic freshwater fish. While typically the big trout are on our fishing menu by mid-July, this season they were late to show. They sure are now. Dave Van Belleghem and Tom Simons combined for ten trophies in one day; Joel Tune and Dick Emens had nine together for their big day. We’re not talking just over the line trout either. Dave landed a 44.5” laker and fishing partner Tom got a 42.5” that day. Dick Emens had a 43.5” and his 44” to make their nine- trophy day very special. Joel and Dick had the same kind of day with grayling, combining for twenty with both getting grayling over 18”.

It was a week of extremes: some picture-perfect days where swimming at shore-lunch felt just right mixed with some ugly, cold ones where the smart thing to do was to head for the wood-fired Finnish sauna and the big hot tub on the lodge deck. Both were popular spots over a week, but the real star attraction was way up in the sky. Our guests enjoyed the first high-powered northern lights display of the year. For many it was the highlight of their trip. As the days get shorter, those displays will start earlier and last longer. Seeing the lights or seeing some musk ox as a few of the guests did are bonus gifts from the 60th parallel. The cooler days did bring a lot of smaller lake trout within casting range, another sure sign of fall. The big ones may stay deep for a few more weeks.

The important criteria for any week at the fishing lodge is simple: did people have a good time? The answer was a big time yes, helped by a healthy consumption of wine and spirits.  

And so it begins….The Week 12 Fishing Report

And so it begins….The Week 12 Fishing Report


We’ve seen this before. The skies get heavy; the first birch leaves start to turn yellow; the ground cover of mosses turn russet and the northern lights fight to get through the clouds. Even though it’s early August, the change of season is at hand. You can see it and feel it. The big pike feel it too. This is the time of year when they make their move; it’s time for them to feed like there’s no tomorrow. For cold blooded creatures, that’s not just an expression: it’s an order from Mother Nature. As the season turns, the water temperatures drop, and the prospect of a long winter ahead stares right at them. So, they feed—heavily.

On Scott Lake and the many fly out lakes the lodge fishes, the big gals took their cue. Our 12th group of anglers braved some nasty weather to put six “mega” sized pike (our slang for a northern pike of 47 inches or better) in their guide’s big nets this week. That’s a number as healthy as those fish look in the accompanying photographs. There were another four over 45”. It was a week of monsters and this is just the beginning of our fall fishing action. It’s time to grip the rod tightly. And time for small pike to look over their shoulders. There were a lot of “T-bones” this week where a hooked pike becomes the lure when a bigger one sees a fish in trouble and grabs it right in the middle of its body. It’s exciting but probably not for the fish on the shorter end of the T.

The week started with some heavy action. There were 55 trophy fish taken on the first day (years back that might have been a decent week). If you’re name was Williamson, Day 1 was a good day. The three anglers carrying that name landed 13 trophy pike with Ken Williamson Sr and Ken Williamson Jr each getting a fat 47 (Ken senior did up the ante the next day getting a 48). That first day also produced a 47.5” pike, the first of many huge pike caught by Jim Heinmiller, who caught a 45.5 that day as well and 46 incher a few days later. Despite the rough weather, everyone seemed to find angry pike on the first day out. Jamy Paterson and Zelko Barac had one that took, at almost the same time, both their lures. That fish was hungry: it knew fall was around the corner

The good times continued the next day with an amazing 66 trophies. And again, there were monsters: a 48 and a quarter inch (that’s a tight tape) pike taken by Greg Scott and a 47.5 incher by Jason Loughran who got a 45 a couple of days later. The grayling were active to say the least over those first two days. On the first day, in addition to a bunch of pike trophies, Jim Heinmiller landed ten trophy grayling. Jason Loughran had ten trophy grayling and Ken Williamson, Jr got twelve on the second day. Grayling aren’t for everyone, but those that love light tackle fishing can’t get enough of these acrobatic fish. Five anglers—Jim Heinmiller, Jason Loughran, Ken Williamson Jr, Jeff Klein and Matt Miller—landed grayling of 18” or over, the kind that barely fit in your hand. After those first two days the action did slow down a bit but there were still 66 more trophies to log in the Scott Lake Lodge website. There were many heavy pike, showing girths that we always see at the turn of the season, like the 45.5” taken by Kim Wright and the 46.5” fatty taken by Darin Waggoner. As is common when fishing is hot, it’s hot. Jim Williamson landed five trophy pike in one day and Jon and Jim Heinmiller combined for seven in one day as did Mike and Nick Manship.

What about lake trout? Enough with the pike and grayling. Of course, there are lake trout in this story. Lots. One was impressive—a 44 incher with a girth more than half its length. At the other end of the line was Todd Rosenburg, a very happy and proud angler. He and his guide trolled deep and worked hard for that fish. Big trout don’t come easy. Damon Rao also got a monster trout, 42 inches from tip to tail. Mike Manship and Jim Heinmiller each landed 40-inch lakers. There was great action in deep water for smaller trout. Some guides get their anglers into jigging for lake trout, a very effective method for small to medium sized trout. Jigging for numbers or trolling for size; it’s a wonderful choice. It was a couple of big trout that put two anglers in the 100+Club. Ken Williamson Jr hit the magic number with a half inch to spare. Jim Heinmiller with his 40” trout, 47.5” pike and 18.5” grayling hit a big number—106 inches. In any normal year that might have been the top of the heap but this year we have had some huge numbers including a new lodge record of 111 set by Amy Towers.

And there is always the choice for guests to just have fun. The quest for more and bigger fish controls the narrative for many of our Scott Lake guests, but some just want to have fun. We had a few of those this week. They caught plenty of fish but found time some days to come in early for a massage, spend time at the Last Cast bar and enjoy the company of our staff and other guests. There was even a late evening sing-along by the indoor fireplace. Ron Kenison bravely took the lead. The beautiful spruce chip walkways took quite a beating with the heavy rain during the week, estimated at around four inches. The sun came out at the end of the week. The chips will be raked, and they will dry and offer the sweet smell of Christmas again, but the big lake loved the rain which after a summer of low water is now back to its full capacity. The season is winding down with just four more groups in camp. Watch this space to see if the monsters of fall keep coming to the net.



What a week at Scott Lake Lodge! We had it all: perfect sunny days, a wild storm, four huge pike, a new 100+Club record, the annual staff Trout Derby and  a fantastic upbeat group of guests. Most dramatic was an all-day storm on the fourth day that brought big time thunder and lightening with a frog-drowning rain (good thing we don’t have any frogs around here). That storm apparently didn’t bother the pike at all. Fishing right through the rain Bob Chadwell landed six trophy pike; Bill McGraw got four over the 40” mark. Amy Towers had a pike way, way over the trophy minimum size. She landed a massive, beautiful 49” pike. Those inches, added to her earlier catches of a 43.5” lake trout and a 18.5” arctic grayling, gave Amy the new 100+Club record of 111 inches. Getting even one of those three fish would have made a memorable trip. Getting all three is just plain amazing. Congrats to Amy. And to Amy’s husband, Jeff. He ended up with 105.5 inches with his trio of trophies. And to Amy’s mom, Martha Golz, who with the push from her 48” pike landed at 105 inches. What at trip for that crew, they had a blast and the fishing was a bonus!  

It was a week for some simply huge fish. Scott Lake Lodge co-owner Ron Spork came north for some relaxing fishing time. He wasn’t relaxing when he landed a 47.5” and a 48” pike. They don’t grow those in Ron’s Chicagoland backyard. Jason Davison waited until the last day to make his big fish statement. Using his fly rod and a mini-leech with a tiny (size 6) hook, Jason put another 49 incher in the Scott Lake Lodge books. Gus Ruetenick Jr. added a 46 incher to the mix. Mike Stanford got a 45 incher and son Chad got a 45.5” beauty. As we see every year, this is the time (late July and early August) when the big fish start going on the prowl. This wasn’t just a big pike week. Finally, some huge trout ended up in the guide’s nets. When Amy Towers got her big 43.5” laker she also got five other trophy trout, three over 40”. Jeff Towers got a 40 and a 42. During the annual staff Trout Derby (an evening fish when the lodge management team serves dinner), chef Rachael Basler got a 40.5 super fat laker, winning the contest handily. Some dandy grayling also put in an appearance. Jeff Towers got the biggest, a 19 incher. Bill and Martha Golz got 18s. So many big fish. The trophy count was substantial at 157 with a nice mix of pike, lake trout and grayling.

It was a wonderful group of guests that made all this happen. We had quite an age span, from 12-year-old Charlie Stanford who earned a Triple Trophy hat to 95 years-young Gus Ruetenik. Gus loves every fish he catches and over his 19 trips to Scott he’s caught a lot. It would be great to report that Gus got a monster pike on this trip, but he didn’t: he was very satisfied bringing in a bunch of pike and trout under the trophy mark but well within the fun mark. He did show everyone at the lodge how to have a perfect trip without the perfect fish. A true sportsman, Gus just loved being on the water with his son and grandson, enjoying the serenity of the lake country and the pure joy of just fishing. We salute Gus and all the guests who made this week one of the best of the season.

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.