Our second week at Scott Lake Lodge, typically June 14-19, can be absolutely idyllic with blue skies, warm southwest breezes, warming waters and aggressive, hard charging pike that just engulf anything that comes near them. Can be. However, that wasn’t the case this year. The second chapter in the Scott Lake Book of 2024 was a lot more challenging than most years. Except for a very pleasant first day (a day with 40 trophy fish), the weather conspired against our intrepid group of anglers. Even though they had to layer on the layers, they made the best of the conditions and pressed on. And they did just fine. It was cold and windy without a lot of aggressive fish, but with the help of a guide team averaging over 20 years of experience, they caught plenty, a total of 113 trophy fish, mostly pike. In cold conditions everything has to slow down–the retrieve, the hook set and handling the fight. With a surface temperature of only in the mid-40s, more finesse was required than in warmer water conditions when anglers just need to cast, crank and hang on. A lot of slower moving plastic baits and flies were in order. The group did great in adapting their techniques to the tougher than normal conditions.

And we had some nice surprises like Don Luke’s 40.5” gorgeous lake trout caught on Scott Lake on a fly on Day 2. And the number of really big pike. Cold conditions and huge pike usually don’t go together up here, but we did have some very impressive fish. On that first day Mike and Kent Mathis had an incredible day on Wholdaia Lake, one of 24 of the lodge’s flyouts. They boated nine trophy pike including a 45-incher by Mike and a 46 by Kent. In between stormy weather and yes, even a snow squall, some big fish were taken. Pike of 45 or 45.5 inches were caught by long time guests Judy Schmidt, Clayton Jennings, and Peter Myhre (a pair). Barbie Purpura got a 44-inch pike as well. Despite conditions not conducive to fishing for arctic grayling, a species that loves warmer water than what we had this week, Don Luke got a few trophy sized grayling and earned the Trophy Triple hat, catching a trophy in all three of our species—lake trout, northern pike and arctic grayling. Hats off to Don. And hats off to Brigitte Jennings for also leaving the lodge with her Trophy Triple hat.

In our twenty-six years of operation, we have averaged just one “lodge day” a year—a day when it’s so ugly that all or most guests just don’t want to get out on the water. We checked that box on Day 3, a day with clouds, wind and even some snow. Just plain miserable. That didn’t stop some anglers though from getting out even if for just a few hours. Don Luke got his second big trout, a 38.5-inch beauty, while fly fishing in less than desirable conditions. On that tough day only three trophies were taken–Don’s trout, a 36” trout caught by Jonah Oberloh and a 40.5” pike landed by Jeff Quick. We salute these hardy anglers. Obviously a day with only three trophies did depress the weekly trophy total but card games, a hot lunch in the main lodge and a mid-day nap by some eased the pain of missing a day on the water. Scott Lake Lodge has plenty of creature comforts.

The week was a reminder for everyone on our island that fishing in the far north is not always predictable, but it is always inspiring. Fishing is never predictable. If it were, it would be boring. That’s one thing that never happens at Scott Lake. Our service team makes sure of that. A testament to the quality of our customer service program and the loyalty of our guests is one number: twenty of our twenty-six Week 2 guests, despite the tough weather, rebooked for next season. We thank those guests and thank our staff for making a wonderfully sweet lemonade out of the lemons the weather handed us. In fishing (and sports) there is always next year . . .