It keeps getting better and better. We thought Week 3 was great fishing until Week 4 showed up. With abundant sunshine the big pike and the pike anglers were happy and energized. On 176 occasions a trophy fish brought smiles to our guests and a graceful return to the lake to the cooperative fish. With all those trophies (141 pike, 20 grayling and 15 lake trout) this recap writes itself. Our group didn’t waste any time: the week started out with one of our all-time high single-day trophy counts of 56. Just one day. Leading the Day 1 charge was the Kristo Clan. If your last name was Kristo, you had a good day and a good week. On that first day on Wholdaia Lake, 10-year-old Coyen led the charge with five trophy pike, topped by a 45-incher. Older brother Griffin landed three, also topped by a 45. Uncle Tom took the prize though with three, including an absolutely massive 49-incher, the biggest of the season so far. Steve Kristo, the proud dad, added a pair of trophy pike. As a group, they had a Lucky 13 day. Team Kristo went on to catch a total of 35 trophies with Coyen getting nine of those. Will there be stories back at school this fall! While most kids will be talking about the bluegills or crappies they caught, Coyen will be talking about pike almost as long as he is.

Another young angler got a taste of big-time fishing. Loki Johnson at the tender age of nine (yes, not even double digits) landed a dozen trophy pike, including a 45-incher and not one but two 46-inchers! His dad, Odinn, had to settle for just three big ones. Who’s teaching who how to fish? But Loki was just oozing in paternal pride. His encouragement was admirable. Another father/son team put on a big show. How’s this for bonding? On Sandy Lake, Rory and Brian Wright demonstrated perfect family symmetry. Each landed a pair of 41-inch pike. That’s common enough. But each also landed spectacular 47-inchers, another story altogether. (There were a few years in our 27-year history where a 47” pike was the biggest of the season.) The Wright’s showed us the right way to create a lifetime memory. Interestingly, the two huge pike were the first and last big fish of the day, but were caught at spots less100 yards apart (and no they were not the same fish caught twice—we have picture proof). You can bet their guide will be back to that part of the lake again soon.

The big days just keep rolling along. You don’t end up at 176 big fish by getting them one at a time. Rich Kracum landed seven trophy lake trout including a fat 40-incher and three trophy grayling on his flyout to Wholdaia Lake. (That was the hot lake of the week, but next week it will probably be a different lake.) long time guests, Frank and Susan Saraka, landed eight trophy pike on Smalltree Lake. For Susan her 46.5” beauty was her personal best. Matt Kracum picked up five trophy pike on Wholdaia on his memorable day. Andre Lechowicz picked up four nice trophy pike on a sunny day on Flett Lake. The big fish were spread all over our flyout system and on our three “home” lakes—Scott, Premier and Wignes.

Just so many big fish. In addition to all the huge pike, referenced earlier, there were some very big trout. Matt Kracum, Steve Kristo and Curt Frisbie all landed 39 or 39.5” lake trout. Matt and Rich Kracum got 40-inchers. Big grayling of 18 or 18.5-inches were pulled out of the rapids by John, Rich and James Kracum, Joe Novicki and Bill Calabresa. With all those big grayling there must have been some Trophy Triple hats handed out, right? Of course, all those anglers took home a hat; all except John upgraded to the 100+Club, our first members of the 2024 season. To enter this prestigious club, one needs to land trophies of all three of our gamefish (pike, lake trout and grayling) whose collective measurements hit or exceed 100-inches, not an easy task. Members receive a custom jacket with the lengths of their trophies embroidered on the front, a wearable reminder of a serious angling accomplishment.

The week ended on yet another sunny, though windy, day. Most of the group had a final leisurely shore lunch before they wrapped up their amazing week. Memories will focus on fish caught but memories of the long evenings with spectacular sunsets (the evening light really doesn’t end this time of year), the haunting calling of loons and the rare opportunity to experience pure, pristine wilderness will linger for years or until this entire group comes back again next season. It’s that kind of place.