Let’s get this straight right off the bat. The big girls of August refer to the incredibly heavy pike that have been caught at Scott Lake and its fly out lakes over the past few weeks. All big pike are female; they need the larger body size to produce the hundreds of thousands of eggs a large female produces every spring. Most males top out at 38 or 39 inches, not the stuff of legends.
The big fish and the good times just kept rolling through the third week of August. Warm temps and moderate winds kept everyone smiling and fishing. The initial transition to fall was subtle, like most years when summer and fall melt together like the marshmallows and chocolate in bonfire-roasted s’mores. But this year the melding of seasons ended abruptly. On August 24th fall came like an uninvited guest to Scott Lake Lodge. One group left the island in the garb of summer: T-shirts and shorts with fresh memories of sight casting to pike in sunny bays. The next group donned as many layers as they could find topped with hooded rain jackets.
It got cold fast. Evening temperatures at Scott dropped to the high 30s and low 40s. Daytime temps hovered and shivered in the 40s with rain and strong winds. Unfortunately the group enduring the worst the 60th parallel has to dish out was from Texas and other southern states. But they were troopers and fished through the worst of it, shop catching fewer big fish than they had hoped for. But they kept the wood fired sauna running and spent plenty of time in the hot tub and around the big bonfire pit outside the main lodge. They burned more wood than the previous 16 groups combined. We honor their tenacity and ability to have a great time despite the nasty weather.
But the three groups fishing at Scott during the final two weeks of August did manage to catch a lot of fish—hundreds with 132 trophy sized fish landed. In fact some of our biggest girls of the season were taken during this period. Jared Dubinsky fishing on Premier Lake, a lake connected to Scott, got the biggest pike of the season so far, a fat 49 incher. There were three 48” pike landed over the three groups. Scott Bixby, who also had a 45, was in that elite group along with Damian Carroll and Sondra Eoff.
Sondra’s story is worth telling. While her husband Toby spent a big portion of his trip lounging in the hot tub and sauna, Sondra was on the dock every morning going out with her guide, Shaun Ledoux, fishing in whatever the elements threw at her. It was her first pike fishing trip and she was going to make the most of it. She did. On her second to last day she hooked into a fish of a lifetime. It was probably the heaviest of all the big girls of the season. It had a monstrous girth and a nasty disposition. It was the best pike battle Shaun had ever witnessed. But the outcome was never in doubt. Sondra talked to the fish during the entire fight. After a third blistering run, she let the fish know she meant business: “You ain’t going anywhere– I’m going to win this fight” were the exact words Shaun recalled. Sondra won. It was for her “the experience of a lifetime”. We believe it was the biggest pike ever taken by a female angler at Scott.
Lots of other memorable fish were caught as well. Long time Scott regular Mark Graf got his personal best, a beautiful 47” pike and Katherine Velas on her first trip to Scott tallied a 46.5”. The leader of the Texas contingent, Todd Lee, scored a 45 incher along with several other trophy pike. Kay Myhre landed the heaviest 46 incher veteran guide Jon Wimpney had ever held. However it was a slow period for the trout heavyweights. Two over 40 inches were caught, one by Ron Kirwer (42”) and one by Mark Graf (40”). Mark landed the biggest grayling of the season, a 19 incher and his son Foster got an 18.
The 2014 season is winding down quickly. The late August weather did rebound after the cold front and brought back the mild summer temperatures. If you don’t like the weather. . . We’ll see what the first week of September holds for the final group of anglers rolling into the lod ge today. Stay tuned for the season finale.