Every year we try to get our maintenance work caught up after the last customers leave. This fall we tackled a lot of big jobs. In a ten day period we got a big start on a boat rehab project. All fifteen of our 18 foot Alumarine boats were stripped right down to their hulls. That alone was a big job. Next spring before the ice leaves another crew will come in to put in new foam floatation blocks, new vinyl flooring, repaint the interiors and buff the exteriors. New seats will be added to whole fleet. The boats will look and perform like new. Other big jobs tackled included the addition of soundproofing wallboard to the common walls in three of the guest buildings, major repair to the big deck off the main lodge and repair of landscaping timbers. Of course there was the routine but not minor job of shutting down the entire island: draining all water lines, boarding up all the door and windows and giving all the facilities a deep cleaning.
There was some time for fishing of course. One prospective new fly out lake was given a three day check but unfortunately failed the tough standards applied to the collection of jewels in the lodge’s fly out roster. There was no failing the big fish test though for Mel Linder, dad of long time guide Biff Linder. Just a couple of days after the last customer group flew south, Biff and Mel fished the Wayo cabbage, a popular spot all season. It’s usually a good spot but it usually doesn’t produce a 48” pike like it did for Mel and Biff. Just another monster pike to punctuate a season full of huge fish. That fish though wasn’t a surprise to some of the guides. Head guide Cory Craig was still on the island when he heard about the big fish. “I saw that one three times this summer but would it eat for me?” was his lament but only after congratulating Mel on his personal best pike. That’s fishing. The big ones are usually there but you never know when one will decide to hit. It was the last in a very long string of August monsters. In just 24 days there were 176 trophy pike caught in August, but 33 of those were 44s or better. There was an incredible run of supersized pike: seven @ 45; eleven @ 46; two @ 47; one (Mel’s big one) @48; two @ 49 and the lodge record 51 incher. While customer demand is much higher in June and July when the typical day’s numbers are higher, August (or fall as it’s known at Scott) produces the big gals.
There were some great northern lights nights to entertain the staff, but this was more of a solid work post season than most. The weather was typical of fall—a sunny day here and there mixed in with windy and rainy days. Weather is even more unpredictable this time of year than in our two other seasons (spring which is June and summer which is July). It’s amazing looking back at the three months to realize that there are typically three distinct seasons in that short window. Winter covers the other nine months. It’s always difficult to leave our island. This year was no exception even though it was a miserable day with spitting rain and a low ceiling. But as the Beaver taxied for takeoff it was sad looking back at the island: all the doors and windows boarded up; the main dock sitting on shore; the solar collectors covered on all the cabins; no boats in the water and the beautiful spruce wood chips in disarray from a downburst the second day of the Post Season. The island will be a lonely witness to the freeze up which will start in early October. But in May the island will be bustling again as a work crew descends to bring it back to life: finishing the boat work, cutting hundreds of spruce trees to provide chips for the walkways and getting the entire system up and running for the June 11, 2013 opener, a date that for most of the Scott Lakers can’t arrive soon enough.