How does a fishing lodge wrap up a season as sensational as the one the guests and staff of Scott Lake Lodge experienced in 2017? After all this was the year when our guests landed a total of 1944 trophy fish and 40 northern pike that measured at 47 inches or better, both all-time lodge records. Well, I guess the best thing to do would be to record two monster 47 inchers on the very first day of our last group of the season. Sean Saraka and Joey Albarelli found themselves on the other end of the line from those bruiser pike who cooperated nicely by slipping out of the transparent waters of Scott Lake just long enough to pose for a few pictures. It was a smashing start to a wonderful week of abundant big fish. Add in the many wildlife sightings, over-the-top shore lunches and wonderful customer bonding and we are getting close to that closer week. With so many of our guests coming back the same week each season, it’s like mini family reunions every week. This final week had that in spades. The conversations and card games went on well after dinner every night. We had some new guests this week which made it even more exciting. As a fishing lodge, we get just one chance to make a good first impression with our new guests. I think we made it.

The big fish are always energizing and the group was fired up every night at trophy announcements. There were cheers for Peter Mancuso’s 46.5” pike; Paul Rowland’s 46; a pair of 45s landed by both Zack Skolnick and Chris Rowland; Mark Graf’s 45 pike; a pair of 40” Lake Trout captured by Joe Albarelli and Mike Albarelli’s 40” Laker. Our guests really get into sharing their trophy experiences, whether those trophies are fish or a close encounter with a loon. There were lots of fish stories. Even our small fish, the arctic grayling, got bigger this week. Todd Rosenberg pulled a fat 20-inch grayling out of the Smalltree rapids, the biggest of the season. Bill Russell wasn’t far behind with a 19 incher. Joe Parker landed an 18 incher there as well. That exhilarating “it’s a trophy” feeling was shared another 100 times during the five-day trip, despite some very strong winds that at times made fishing a bit chaotic. The thirteen Scott Lake guides though, with a total of just under 200 seasons at Scott under their belts, handled the conditions well and kept their guests on fish. Their years of experience on these waters rarely lets the customers down. The daily fish counts for some boats were off the charts. Big fish came too but there is a reason we call a 40- inch pike a trophy—there aren’t a lot of them. Don’t ask the father/son team of Paul and Chris Rowland how rare trophy pike are. For at least one day on Sandy Lake the big pike weren’t rare at all. Between them they landed a cool dozen trophy pike—all in a single day. The next day on Labyrinth Lake they focused on grayling and landed 19 trophies. Making that day even more spectacular they spotted not just a bear but seven black bears along the lake shore. One big boar was lured right into the water by the guide’s effective dying rabbit call. The guide did check the depth under the boat to make sure the bear had to swim not walk to the boat and making sure the bear, who apparently thought that he had three big rabbits to eat, didn’t join them in the boat. The big guy did wade out to within 30 feet though. He wanted that rabbit, but he needed some glasses.

As with every one of our five-day adventures here, big animals were encountered almost every day. There was a great video of a bull moose shown on the screen during the after-dinner slide show of the day’s highlights. Several moose and bears were sighted. The big non-fishing event of the week though was not terrestrial but celestial. All our guests had to do to see northern lights was stay up a bit later than normal and look up, straight up. You don’t need to look to the north when you’re on the 60th parallel. Just up. We had two nights of jaw-dropping displays of the aurora. One night the lights stretched across about a 120-degree arc. It was glorious. For many of the two dozen anglers here that light show was even more exciting than bringing in big fish. (Not talking about you Mark.) The week was more than visual. There was a soundscape too. With thousands of geese heading south, the stirring calls could be heard night and day, along with the wild calling of loons who were also starting their trip south. Of course, the zinging of the drag was probably still the favorite sound of the week. With the hard hitting and fighting fall pike on the prowl, there was plenty of that and it didn’t take a trophy pike to rip out line. But then just like the geese, it was time for our group to also head south, both refreshed by the adventure and worn out by the hard fishing and late nights—actually, a great combination. So, the crew climbed into the Beavers and the Twin Otter for the trip to Stony Rapids where they jumped in a prop jet for the journey back to Saskatoon and civilization. The 30-strong Scott team watched with mixed emotions as those last planes of the season took off. It was a fantastic season and all good things do come to an end. It wasn’t quite the end though, because coming to Scott on those same float planes were a couple of dozen participants in Friends and Family week—the parents, children, boy-friends, girl-friends or just friends of the Scott Lake staff. So, it isn’t over yet. Stay tuned.