THE FIRST INNING
It’s summer and it’s baseball season. So why not frame the recaps during the 2018 Scott Lake Lodge fishing season as a baseball game? It’s such a good fit. We have 18 groups (or 18 at-bats) during this summer, just like a regulation length baseball game. We have guys and gals who can really pitch out their casts and hit that hook-set like a pro. So, let’s give it try. Generally, you can’t predict the outcome of a game after the first inning UNLESS there was some heavy hitting. In this game of anglers vs big fish, the anglers made quite a statement in the early going.
We opened the season right on schedule on the evening of June 9th when the first three float planes with other than staff or many tons of supplies landed at the Scott Lake Lodge docks. It was picture perfect start, but our first group of hitters had to overcome some tough obstacles that the elements threw at them—cold temperatures, some stiff winds and more significantly an almost total absence of sunshine. Because our Weeks 1s have historically been sunny and hot, it was unusual. As we stated many times in these annual recaps of the fishing action, sun and pike fishing are joined at the hip; they just go together, especially in the early season. During Week 1 the fish, with the help of the weather, were playing some pretty solid defense. For our Scott Lake Guide Team this wasn’t their first season. In fact, the starting lineup of Scott guides has been on our field (or water) for an average of 15 seasons. They knew all the moves of our big fish. It didn’t take them long, in spite of the weather, to get their number. One number tells it all—140. That’s how many trophy pike were landed during Week 1. Plus a few trout including a massive 43” beauty landed by Tom Kehoe III and a just slightly massive laker landed by Harry Moulopoulos Jr. Another number was impressive—9. Not 9 innings, but 9 trophy pike over 45”, our benchmark for truly remarkable fish, what we call “supersized”. Pike of that 45 mark were taken by Jack Goebel, Peter Myhre, Tasha Stasiuk and Mike Sackash who tallied a pair that size. Mike was also on the winning side of a battle with a 46 incher. There were three pike of 47 or 47.5”, taken by Tom Kehoe III, Paul Hana and Peter Myrhe. A 47-inch pike for most people is a fish of a lifetime experience, but Peter has been up a lot and has caught many of that size. If we had a Mike Trout for the top half of the fist, it was Peter who landed an incredible total of 29 trophy pike on his trip and he even sat out one of the five days. That’s quite a slugging percentage. And that’s a trip of a lifetime. But as we talked to people taking off at the end of the trip, it was a trip of a lifetime for many.
For the bottom half of the first, we had some real heavy hitters in camp. Collectively our Week 2 group had been to Scott Lake Lodge a total of 260 trips, an average of ten trips each. That’s a depth of experience. The fish didn’t stand a chance: this group hit it out of the park. They did have some help though. That big ball of fire that was hiding during Week 1 was out strong and high. Big pike are defenseless when they are basking in sunshine. (It must soften their brains.) The stats for Week 2 were amazing led by the number of total trophies, an incredible 203!! The number of pike over 45 was also amazing—20. It’s what sun on the water will do. Big pike moved into the shallows on Scott Lake and all the fly out lakes (22 fly out destinations are in this lodge’s lineup). Some huge pike were literally sunning in inches of water. It is easier to catch big fish if you can see them. Some were hanging out in inches of water. Those are some easy pitches to hit. And hit our gang did. The 45” parade was led by Ross Purpura who captured two 45.5” tundra sharks on the same day, but they were not the same fish—they were miles apart. Judy Schmidt and Dick Emens also landed 45.5” fish. Joe Daugherty, Dan Meyer and Peggy Light got 45s as well. There were a bunch of 46s. Rory Wright got three of them all by himself. Mike Rogers, Dick Emens, Tim Rudd, Joel Tune, Chris Luke and Peggy Light filled in the 46 roster. In the 47” dugout, there were some familiar names—Dan Meyer, Mike Rogers and Joel Tune, all going 2 for 3 in the huge fish categories. But the guy who hit the grand slam was a rookie, and a 15-year-old. The honor of the biggest fish, a very heavy 48-inch pike, of the young season (we’ll see how long it lasts) went to Linus Maurer who tamed that beast with a fly rod. He is probably ruined for the balance of his fishing life. How can you top that?
I guess everyone who caught a ton of fish (possible), enjoyed a classic Canadian shorelunch, watched the thousands of geese flying north, heard the haunting cry of the common loon, witnessed the late evening sunsets, enjoyed the relaxed conversations in the boat or on the expansive deck at the lodge or just soaked in the full experience of spending time in a pristine wilderness setting did top that. What a first inning!