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Scott Lake 2011 (Long)

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Scott Lake 2011 (Long)

Postby AMJohnston » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:22 pm

Scott Lake Report—2011
I made my now annual trek up to Scott Lake Lodge in northern Saskatchewan searching for big pike beginning on June 24 and ending on July 4. My wife and 2 family friends joined us for the first 5 days and then the Boss Man himself joined me for the second 5 days. The was my 11th year in a row fishing there—can you tell I am somewhat smitten with the place?
The two dominant themes this year were The Weather and Topwater.
As to The Weather, fishing at the 60th parallel is always tremendously dependent on the weather and I was somewhat hopeful going in to the trip that we’d have ideal weather for hunting big pike in the shallows as the reports I had gotten from the week before were that the weather had been warm and sunny—ideal conditions. Day 1 proved hopeful as the weather from the previous week held. We caught 4 trophy pike –including a 43 inch hog--on our 2 boats, all sight casting in shallow bays. And a 46.5” pike had been caught that day by a fly fisherman sight fishing. That hope changed at 10:32 PM that evening when, as if a switch had been flipped, the winds went from negligible to blowing 30 from the northwest with clouds streaming in. Those winds and the colder weather brought with them stuck around for 36 hours and turned off the fish. Day 2 was tough with us struggling to catch a fish for shore lunch. We played with some bigguns’ in a bay close to the Lodge that is called “The Tit” after a small hill that is near the bay. This is a heavily fished spot as it is on the way to many sections of the lake. It often holds big fish but because of the fishing pressure, they can be finicky and they were (alas) this day, egged on no doubt by the big weather swing. Day 3 was much the same with the winds howling although the clouds cleared a bit. We fished a few hours in the morning, seeing some bigger fish who were clearly out of sorts (meaning they did not want to play) from the weather. We then hopped on a plane for a short ride to Lefty Falls, one of the 7 natural wonders of Saskatchewan, for some sight seeing and grayling fishing. We had a wonderful afternoon, with lots of grayling caught, mostly on dry flies, up to 17 inches. The Lefty grayling tend to be a bit smaller than ‘ling on other bodies of water so catching a 17 inch fish was a nice surprise. I saw what I’m pretty sure was the back of a wolverine running away from me into the woods as a I walked down one of the stretches on the river.
On the evening of Day 3 is when the second theme started to come to the forefront—one of out guides offered to take us to a bay on the lake into which fish could get but boats could not for some attempted top water action. We parked the boat at the entrance to the bay and hopped rocks in to the fishing spots. The sun was low on the horizon at 9 PM and winds toned down to a mere gale when started fishing and we spent the next 90 minutes catching 25-30 fish between the 3 of us, all on gurglers. What a hoot. None of the pike was huge—the largest was maybe 32 inches—but the takes and misses were amazing. Talk about fits and giggles.
Weather returned as the dominant theme the next day—Day 4—as 2 of us flew to another lake and 2 stayed on Scott. The fly out lake (Sandy) is a narrow lake and the wind was blowing hard in the wrong/right direction to really stir it up. We saw very few fish but had lots of practice fly casting in difficult windy conditions. The folks that stayed on Scott did not fare much better. The highlight of Day 5 was a trophy caught by the one person in our party that had not caught one and an end of the day shore lunch (including coconut fried pike) that left us full a ticks.
Changeover came at the end of Day 5 with my party of 3 leaving and the Boss Man arriving.
Day 6 (or Day 1 for the Boss Man) was supposed to start with a late fly out to Smalltree-one of the consistent producers of big pike. However, a last minute plane problem left us fishing on Scott. Although the day was cloudy and rainy at times, we had a blast. We caught fish all day. Highlights included catching 23-25 inch lake trout at an inflow, the “fluffing up” with a lake trout of a 39” pike that the Boss Man eventually caught , and several hours of non-stop topwater action , all on gurglers, including an awe inspiring take by a 39.5” pike on a gurgler 5 feet from the back of the boat. Day 6 was July 1, which is Canada Day, Canada’s Fourth of July. Dinner was punctuated with a rousing rendition of “O Canada” and many libations consumed by the Scott Lake Staff, all of whom are Canadian. I “enjoyed” my first (and hopefully last) shot of Jagermeister (which was quickly followed by a gallon of water). Day 7 took us to a fly out lake-Ivanhoe -and fishing was OK but not great. Our guide worked hard to find fish for us but visibility conditions in the water were not great. We continued to use gurglers if we came to a spot and found fairly aggressive fish there in our first few casts. The risk of using a top water fly is that bigger fish (40+) may not be attracted to them and in fact may get spooked by them. So, if the visibility is not good, there’s a risk you’ll miss a shot at a big fish. We were having too much fun to care.
Day 8 took us to The Elk River for some grayling fishing and sight seeing. The Elk is the most northern body of water the Lodge fishes at and it above the tree line in the tundra. We were right at the edge of the season for the grayling and, as it turned out, a little on the early side. So, although we caught some big grayling, including a 19”, the fishing was not epic as I had hoped it would be. Still , the Elk is as much about the scenery and spectacle as the fishing and we hiked up a ridge above the river for some amazing views. While the fishing was not epic, the mosquitoes and black flies were . The day was cool, cloudy, a little rainy and initially windy. When the winds subsided, the bugs came out with ferocity. Tom Klein, the Lodge owner, said the bugs were as bad as he had ever seen except when he had spent time further north in the tundra. But we survived and lived to fly out the next day (Day 9) to Smalltree. We were hopeful because the day dawned clear, sunny and mostly breezeless. We had good but not great fishing on Smalltree with one 40” pike, a doubleheader of 38” pike and a “toilet flusher” of a strike on a gurgler when it landed and before it had been twitched. We probably needed one more day of weather like we had for the fishing to really turn on but of course we didn’t get it. We woke up Day 10 to cloudy, breezy and rainy conditions. It was sloppy enough that many of the guests chose to shorten their fishing day or not to fish at all. We fished the whole day, however, and had a blast—lots of fish, many on a gurgler, with pauses to induce a 38” fattie to eat a leech. In the last bay we fished, The Boss Man had the classic stalking of what turned out to be a 39.5” pike—we spotted him as we made our way in to the bay. The Boss Man threw a black leech at her (fish this big are almost always girls) and got her following and close to the boat but she would not commit to the bite. We backed off and the Boss Man switched to a fly with feathers. He made a long cast to the big girl, she followed it in close to the boat and just as he was about to run out of room, a subtle twitch and shimmy of the feathers induced a spectacular “open wide” bite. It is an experience like that—I call it pike crack—that keeps me coming back.
Tom Klein the Lodge owner and John Gariepy, the Lodge manager, continue to run an impressive operation. The food and service was top notch (again). The staff is a dedicated, devoted bunch who really care about what they do, and it shows.
Rods and lines: we used mostly Sage 8 weights (TCR, TCX and Xi2, although The Boss Man brought up some new Xi3s). I used the Rio Pike lines and an SA intermediate cold water line. The Boss threw Rio's Cold water Out Bound Floaters and intermediates. Remind me to bring a sink tip next year.
Flies: The usual assortment of bunny leeches in black and tan/sand colors, simple streamers with long feather in red, yellow or orange and of course gurglers ( I get mine from Lee Haskins who ties up a heavy duty pike gurgler that holds up well to the abuse of toothy pike). I am now a firm believer in having both a leech and something with feathers available at all times on the boat—as shown by the Boss Man’s fish on the last day, feather can sometimes induce a bite when a leech won’t.
Leader: Nothing fancy-25 or 30 mono with a long bite tippet of Tyger wire or other wire bite tippet. The Boss Man used a tieable Rio wire product that worked well too.
I’ll post some pictures later.
Last edited by AMJohnston on Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Scott Lake 2011 (Long)

Postby bhorsley » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:43 am

awesome sums it up

Andy is the big pike whisperer
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Re: Scott Lake 2011 (Long)

Postby Emerson » Sat Jul 09, 2011 11:08 am

Andy,
Glad to hear the poppers worked so well. Looks like I need bigger flies! :o Sounds and looks like you guys had a super time

Are you still scratching the bites? :D
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Re: Scott Lake 2011 (Long)

Postby Cutter » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:56 pm

Andy,

How do you tie a 10" long gurgler? Hook?
The world is your oyster-
So show up with a knife and know how to shuck.

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Re: Scott Lake 2011 (Long)

Postby bhorsley » Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:48 am

growing old ain't for sissies
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Re: Scott Lake 2011 (Long)

Postby meatstick » Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:17 pm

Mr. Gartside would be pleased ... I mean, he "is" pleased.

What is it about gurglers ? So many species like 'em, but I don't know, my head hurts.

Did ya throw a Mahi crease fly at 'em ?

Yes, I would have thrown a black leech, Just on a eeny-meeny-mynee-moe basis.

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Re: Scott Lake 2011 (Long)

Postby bhorsley » Sun Jul 10, 2011 7:40 pm

i did not throw my Micklenson Crease flies at the pike. They are reserved for Baja. The be very hard to replace. They ate the gurglers good enuff!
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Re: Scott Lake 2011 (Long)

Postby LeeH » Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:17 pm

Great Report, Andy. Hard to beat those top water explosions!

I'm glad the gurglers worked so well for you, especially the new Magnum Pike Gurgler! ;)

Cheers,
Lee Haskin

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