His Slice of Paradise
Growing up in a small town and working at a family-owned sporting goods store, Tom Klein always yearned to get “up north.” The lake country of northern Wisconsin was his first stop. From there, the Minnesota/Ontario border country drew him. Then he ventured further to fly-in fishing lodges in Ontario before finally landing at Scott Lake Lodge, where he found his slice of paradise, not far south of the Saskatchewan/Northwest Territories border.
“To have a job that involves living on an island in a pristine wilderness lake is a dream come true,” Klein said.
The Wisconsin native first came to the lodge as a customer in 1995. The following year, he and his wife Patricia became the lodge’s new owners.
A labour of love for the couple, the Kleins have built up the business to what it is today. Located on the 60th parallel, the five-hectare island on which the lodge sits has 28 buildings, including the main Laker Lodge that is situated on a hill with impressive views of the surrounding lake and wilderness. It houses the dining room where guests are treated to a first-class fine dining experience, starting with pre-dinner hors d’oeuvres, gourmet entrees ranging from prime rib to pheasant, and desserts that are said to be legendary. Laker Lodge also has a bar and common area where guests can socialize and brag about their catch of the day.
Scott Lake Lodge’s 12 private cabins can accommodate 24 guests and feature comfortable beds, modern baths, thermostat-controlled heating, wood floors, pine-paneled walls, Wi-Fi and daily maid service. Named after native wildlife, each cabin’s themed decor is unique with its own personality. Cabins are nestled among the spruce trees, some down by the docks, others tucked back from the shore offering more privacy. All offer a lake view.
Situated at the centre of the island is Stone Haven Spa, a newly remodeled facility where guests of Scott Lake Lodge can enjoy professional massage therapy services.
For further relaxation after a long day on the lake, guests can soak in the large hot tub, unwind in the Finnish sauna, or sit around the campfire watching the twilight fade or maybe even a spectacular show of northern lights.
Beyond the first-class facilities at Scott Lake Lodge, what the Kleins are most proud of is the level of personalized customer service delivered by an experienced, well-trained and motivated staff of 32 that cater to all of the needs of the lodge’s clients.
“I can be confident that our team will take care of all of our anglers,” Klein said, noting that every trip detail receives their full attention.
Guests at Scott Lake Lodge enjoy incredible fishing for northern pike, lake trout and Arctic grayling with the help of experienced and professional guides and top-quality equipment.
From its dock, the lodge offers fishing on more than 80,000 hectares of water along 800 km of shoreline on Scott, Premier and Wignes lakes, all connected. Additional options are available at 18 fly-out lakes. Floatplane trips to these fly-outs depart daily.
There is one particular destination in Scott Lake Lodge’s fly-out system that Klein recommends. “Fishing for Arctic grayling below Lefty Falls (Hunt Falls) would have to be at the top of my list. It is a spectacular place.”
“Without question, the most exciting part of this business is test fishing new lakes,” Klein said. “What greater joy for an angler could there be than to fish a lake that had never been fished with hook and line.”
Each season, approximately 2,000 trophy-sized fish (northern pike over 40 in.; lake trout over 35 in.; and Arctic grayling over 15 in.) are landed and released by Scott Lake Lodge’s guests. It is these numbers that keep guests coming back year after year – approximately 80 per cent are repeat customers.
“That’s customer loyalty. We work every day to earn it,” Klein said, acknowledging the entire Scott Lake Lodge team, including Patricia, new investor/co-owner Ron Spork and general manager Jason Hamilton. “It is never taken for granted.”
Having been to fishing lodges all over the world, Klein has wet his line in some very cool waters and knows a quality experience when he finds one. Based on his travels, Klein sees his role as the head of quality control for his luxury fly-in fishing lodge.
“I have one simple metric: everyone leaves our island fully satisfied with our customer service.”
Klein believes that as an owner, one needs to understand their business and love it. And, after two decades on the job, he surely does.
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**Aerial photos courtesy of RAWfish Creative Group**