At the 60th parallel late August isn’t late summer—it’s fall. That means fall fishing at Scott Lake Lodge, one of our guide’s favorite times. The changing of the season with the heavy migration of geese, the gathering of common loons, and the subtle shift in the color of the birch trees brings out the best in Scott Lake and our network of eighteen fly out lakes. The final fifteen days of the 2016 season were no exception. The fishing was good, even great at times. The last three five-day groups of the season averaged 19 trophies per day, just under the full season average. But there was nothing average about the fish. These are the hard fighting or, if you will bear the alliteration, the fat, feisty fish of fall. As typically happens in mid-to-late August, the big fish go on the prowl. They are putting on the feedbag, putting on some pounds to cope with the long, quiet winter ahead. At any depth the burbot, whitefish, lake cisco and even other pike are not safe from the relentless hunting of these voracious predators. Just the kind of fish we like.
SOME BIG FISH STORIES
The biggest pike caught during these final groups became our best story of the year, maybe ever. Peter and Kay Myhre have been coming to Scott Lake Lodge for a few years now, at first mainly to escape the Texas heat. They would trade 65 degrees for 105 any day of the week. They took a liking to the place. Being first rate anglers, they started to get some big fish. In 2015 Kay topped the 100+Club leaderboard: she can set a mean hook. That was the year that she and Peter had a memorable day on one of Scott’s fly out lakes on the last day of the season. It was also their 47th year of marriage (watch the numbers here). On that crisp fall day, they both caught 47” pike, two casts apart. So this year would, of course, be their 48th year of marriage. (You’re getting ahead of me.) So they did another fly out and yes each caught massive 48” pike—two casts apart. We think it’s an interesting way of renewing one’s marriage vows. We look forward to their 49th summer together. Maybe.
They weren’t the only anglers who went the distance with some of our angry pike. Another good story here. Joe Novicki, who is the 2016 100+Club champ, decided to introduce his good friend, Subhash Desai, to the sport of fishing. Subhash had never, not once, fished before arriving at Scott Lake for our final five days of the season. What do you think happened? Of course, on his first day here, he catches, with considerable and unnecessary coaching, a 47.5” pike, quite a girthy one. Many serious pike anglers have spent a lifetime trying to catch a fish like that. All in a day’s work for Subhash. Joe, on his second trip of the season, had to keep up appearances: he got a 47 incher to complement the 48.5” and 51” pike he caught in June. Joe is a man for all seasons. Ron Spork and Taylor Lajoie also brought in 47s. Pike of 46” were taken by Carol Freking, Patrick Spork, Kay Myrhe, Julie Heinmiller and Sue Ellen Readinger. Those last three names prompt yet another story. On August 22nd, one of five consecutive sunny, calm days, Kay, Julie and Sue Ellen all got their 46s. On the same day, husbands Peter, John and Mark also got trophies, 42,41 and 40 respectively. I guess wives listen better to their guides than husbands, but we’ve known that for twenty years around here. There were still more big pike. Fish of 45” were landed by Patrick Spork (again), Rebecca Graf, Mark Readinger, Suzanne Billing, Ronnie Williams and Judy Schmidt. Some big trout also made the Tundra Times. Not happy with just a big pike, Ron Spork got a very fat 41-inch lake trout on Premier Lake, an adjacent lake to Scott, about an hour’s boat ride away. Keith Huss got a 40” laker on Scott. Two big arctic grayling were taken by the Myrhe’s—really big 19.5 inchers. Grayling of 18” were landed by John Heinmiller and Bill Russell.
THE “MORE” IN WORLD CLASS FISHING AND MORE
Our final fifteen days offered more than just big fish. There were outlandish shore lunches, featuring stir fries, gumbos and elaborate bakes, lots of moose and bear sightings, and northern light viewing. It takes the dark to see the light and by mid-to-late August it finally got dark enough to view this spectacular phenomena of the far north. They didn’t disappoint. It was during the wee hours some nights but the lights were there. Sitting around the big bonfire at the lodge is a late season ritual here. With drinks served to people sitting on wooden stumps in a totally bug-free atmosphere, no one wanted the nights or the lights to end. To sleep or perchance to watch the northern lights: that is the Scott Lake Lodge dilemma. Some guests did both at the same time in the hot tub—that’s living large. Conversations around the fire, in the sauna and at the dinner tables were animated and far ranging. This is a place, first and foremost, for people to relax and enjoy themselves. That they did, making it a great year.
As the last floatplane pulled away from the dock, the thirty strong team of guides, pilots, chefs, housekeepers, servers, maintenance men and managers (what do they do anyway?) gave out a big cheer. Then they realized that it’s over. It’s a strong, bittersweet feeling. Their lives back home are calling everyone, but the pull of this little island in the north is strong. It’s a great place to stay and a hard place to leave. But the season was over and now it’s shut down time. It was a season of big fish, big laughs and big friendships. It will be remembered as one of the best. Thanks to our staff and to our loyal customers who made all of the above possible. See you all in 2017.