Today marks the exact halfway mark of the 2023 season. It’s Halftime. There will be no breaks though for popcorn, beer or hotdogs. For the crew at Scott Lake Lodge, it’s just another day in our long season of keeping guests into food, fish and good times for 94 consecutive days. There is no rest for this team. But we can indulge in a bit of reflections and something all sports fans love—stats. We’ll give you a few here, but don’t just double what you read. We’ve been through 25 of these halfway marks over the lodge’s history and it’s safe to say that the second half of the game is rarely a mirror of the first half. Anything can happen on the 60th parallel. Fishing success will depend, as it always does, entirely on what the weather does.
For our pike and grayling fishing hot weather equals hot fishing. Plain and simple. We saw that maximum dramatically illustrated over the first half. When it was sunny the pike were happy and active. Over the first three groups we had a grand total of three sunny days (zero in Week 1) combined with very cool, no make it cold, conditions. Our average trophy count for those three groups was a fairly quiet number of 95. That’s still good fishing, but when the sun finally made a major league appearance for our fourth group the trophy tally soared to 195, mainly big pike. That sun felt so good! The weather for groups 5, 6 and 7 bounced around a lot and so did the trophy count (from 99 to 131), but the weather did stabilize for groups 8 and 9 and the counts for those weeks landed on very respectable numbers of 161 and 170. There is solid momentum heading into our second half. It will be an exciting game. For a little perspective we are at 1,180 trophies so far. With an equal second half (just speculation), we would be just over the totals for our most recent seasons. Last year we landed at 2,177, almost the same as the 1,965 for the 2017 season and the 2,221 for the 2018 season. (The 2020 and 2021 seasons were Covid years—it does seem like a distant memory now.) It doesn’t look like we will equal the all-time trophy record of 2,670 trophies landed in the hot and sunny 2019 season. But you never know. It could happen.
Behind this season’s numbers are a lot of angler’s smiles, wide ones. There are a lot of great fish tales to be told like the “Done in One” story of Joe Novicki and Bill Calabresa who on their 42nd trip to Scott (they do come more than once a season) both landed trophy pike, lake trout and grayling that collectively exceeded 100” and put them into the 100+Club in just a single day. And Joe did it all on a fly rod, the first time that has ever happened. Jim MacDougal used his fly rod to land the biggest pike of the season, so far. He subdued a 48.5” beauty on one of our smallest flyout lakes—Odin. Peter Myhre has a long history of getting a lot of trophy pike. In Week 8 he landed twenty trophy pike. Over his fifteen day stay he ended up with four 45s. Rachael Bandt had a stellar day, landing pike of 44,45 and 46 inches. The biggest smile and the best “feel good” story from the halfway mark has to be Cole Booth’s. This 10-year-old showed all the big people how to catch big northern pike. With no help from mom or guide, he landed a bunch of ten trophy pike, including two at 44”. But he also landed a 47” monster. That kid is hooked for life. The adults though have done OK. One of the most memorable days in years was Donna Quincy. This was her first Canadian fishing trip. So, what was her first Canadian fish? Nothing less than a 47-incher. Many ardent pike anglers have fished Canadian waters for decades without getting one that big. So how did she react? As the guide admired the giant resting quietly in the net, Donna politely asked: “Is it a big one”. Yes, Donna it is big, very big. Then she added a 45.5” hog a bit later. Jeff Berg, on his 20th trip to Scott, is a veteran angler, 86 years young, and has caught a lot of big fish, but he’s never got two giant pike on the same trip. He put a 47 and a 47.5” pike in his guide’s net and into his already full fishing memory book. Other first half anglers who successfully tackled 47s or 47.5s were Ross Purpura Jr, Nate Valenti, Joe Wright and Gary Peters. We had a total of 55 big pike of 45” or better, so far. It’s been a great pike story.
The trout story is finally coming into focus. Early season trout fishing is always tough. The small ones are everywhere when the surface temperatures are cool but the big can seem to be nowhere. Actually they are simply scattered throughout the water column and are impossible to target. With the surface finally warming up over the past three weeks, the big trout are going down into their deep-water summer homes. With the help of advanced electronics and their decades of experience here, our guides know how to knock on their doors. We have 17 lakers over 40” in the books at Halftime. Of those ten have been caught over the past 16 days. It’s trout time right now. And three of those fish were extraordinary. Joni Schackmuth got a 45.5” laker in Week 9, along with a 41 on the same day. Amazingly on the first day of Week 10 (the final day included in this report) we had two 45.5” lake trout showing up on the TV screens after dinner. Larry Rohan got just a mammoth 45.5-incher in the northeast end of Scott Lake and Bill Williamson got his on adjacent Wignes Lake. We’ve had many years without a 45” trout. To get three in just a few days is remarkable.
Grayling fishing has been steady with many in the 18 and 19” range. As the summer rolls on the grayling fishing just gets better and better. A few anglers are making grayling their top priority, spending full days on the arctic sailfish rather than just a quick step into the rapids separating our many flyout lakes. The biggest to date is a 19.5” grayling landed on the far end of Wholdaia Lake landed by Rebecca Graf. We have handed out 20 Triple Trophy hats to anglers getting a trophy in all three of our species and have entered 13 of those into the elite 100+Club. Not a bad showing in both those departments.
What’s on tap for the second half of the fishing game at Scott Lake Lodge? We expect the lake trout train to keep chugging along and the grayling numbers to shoot up as the rivers drop in volume making fishing easier for sun-loving fish. The pike fishing will depend entirely on our weather. We have had wonderfully warm weather of late and that has keep pike shallow and aggressive. Whatever the fishing we do know that the game at Scott is played with high energy and excitement. No one leaves this place without catching a lot of fish and absorbing a world class customer service experience. Stay tuned to our blog posts for the rest of the story. The game is afoot.
Does this all sound like fun? Adventure, fishing and making memories in the wilderness of Canada…all while being treated to the finest customer service in the business. We are almost full for the weeks that have passed, we expect the same result for the second half of the season. Reach out to our sales manager Jon Wimpney (firstname.lastname@example.org) to have your adventure with us in 2024. We will sell out quickly, the time to act is NOW!