The 2018 season closed like it began: sunny skies and plenty of fish, including a dramatic “fight of the season” when Kevin Morse, casting with spinning gear to a rocky shoreline, hooked a huge trout in just two feet of water. After twenty minutes of excitement he brought a 42” laker into the net. It made six long runs during the battle. A few casts later he got a 41” pike. That’s the way for an angler and a lodge to end the season. That was shortly before he joined his fishing friends and the entire Scott Lake staff, 30 strong, for probably the biggest group shore lunch in our history. And it was an amazing shore lunch. Every guide was part of the cooking team and the number of dishes was over the top. While there were clouds to the south, the weather held up to offer a wonderful ending for the four-day corporate group that was on the island for our final days of the season.

While fishing was a focus of the group, they were more interested in all the other reasons people travel to wilderness destinations—the peace and tranquility, the fine dining, the opportunity for bonding with friends and colleagues, and to simply have a good time, with a few drinks involved of course. They did all of that and worked in some massage time and even a hike before the final day’s shore lunch. They all knew that they would be in the far north at the end of the season where fall can be crisp. So, most guests had plenty of layers to fend off the cool fall weather but fall went a big beyond the norm this year. We had temperatures right around the freezing mark for a couple of the days. And we had some fierce north winds. The week started out with a bang when Todd Jaranowski landed a 45.5” and a 46.5” pike.  Larry Rohan picked up three trophies that day and Jerry Kolek, Scott Sarason,  Lonnie Thompson and Louis Koszewski each landed a pair. It was a great start, but mother nature had a real punch to land on the second day. The north wind roared all day. All fly outs were cancelled, and most anglers stayed in camp or very close. The trophy count shrunk to a single, barely over the mark, 35” lake trout. The next day things picked up with VJ Ciarlo getting a trio of trophy pike and Lonnie Thompson getting his Trophy Triple hat and joining the 100+Club, but it was very, very cold. Most of the big pike just went deep and waited for warmer water temperatures. The good news though is that the cold temperatures on Day 2 triggered a massive movement of lake trout to the shallow spawning reefs. While there just a few trophy-sized trout taken, there were hundreds of medium-sized lakers hooked on the many shallow, rocky reefs all over Scott Lake. It made no difference if anglers were throwing flies, spinners, plastics, spoons or well, anything else. These trout were banging on everything; there were bent rods all over the lake that day and the next. It was the first time in many years that we had guests in camp when this annual movement to the shallow waters occurred. We can thank the overall cool season and late cold fronts for bringing these beautifully colored spawning fish to the surface where sight fishing for lake trout could be enjoyed. It was a show.

The season ended with that festive shore lunch. Behind it there were 90 days of fishing action that broke almost every record we have every set at the lodge. One number—2190—tells it all. That was the record number of trophy fish taken over the season, 135 over last year’s record. We also set records for the number of northern pike, the number of pike over 45” at a whopping 168 (30 more than the record) and tied the last year’s record of pike over 47” at 40. Big numbers to match a big season.