Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Our thanks to Keith and Kay Gentry

Keith Gentry, who has led the club's highly successful and rewarding support of the Loveland Fishing Derby for several years, is relocating to Sterling, CO right after this year's derby. He and wife Kay were recognized at Tuesday's general meeting with a plaque of appreciation.

Club President Jim Visger, left, presents a plaque to Keith Gentry.
(Kay missed Tuesday's meeting, home packing; so she also missed out on cookies eaten in her honor)

Monday, May 20, 2019

Thompson Schools fishing Canceled

The fishing for Thompson Schools has been canceled and will be rescheduled for sometime in September

Set aside Saturday, June 1 for annual Kids Derby

Please plan to volunteer with the June 1 Loveland Police Kids Derby.

Under the oversight of Keith Gentry, the club's role in the annual event at North Lake Duck Pond is taking shape.  We'll be handling event registration, tackle loans, measurements and the free raffles and prizes for biggest and smallest trout.

The Saturday, June 1 event opens at 8 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m.  If you've not signed up yet to volunteer, look for the signup sheet at Friday breakfasts.  This is our largest annual volunteer project, and one of the most fun and memorable.

As in years past, Colorado Youth Outdoors will be cleaning and cooking the kids' fish, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife will stock the pond with trout.  Loveland Kiwanis clubs will provide family priced food and drink and Colorado FOP lodge 27 and 52 will provide free child identification cards to children up to age 14.  The event is sponsored by Loveland Police.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Dave Boyle outlasts a blue cat

Looks green to me, but Dave says he got the best of this blue catfish last week, using 6-pound test line and a lot of patience to get the 25-incher to the boat.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Location for Tuesday's Thompson Schools fishing

Weather looks bleak for Tuesday, so we'll let you know if there are changes, but for now we're looking to help with a day of fishing for adaptive needs kids from Thompson Valley nmddle schools.  

It's set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 21, at a private pond just north of the Big Thompson River west of Namaqua Road in Loveland; enter from the Eisenhower Bridge construction site, the same as last year.

About 65 students are signed up to participate.

Check out Cindy’s Navajo smallmouth!

Walt Graul concedes he’s mostly driving the boat this week down at Navajo, stopping  occasionally to admire Cindy’s fish - in this case a big hen weighing about 5 pounds! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

More from Jumbo... possibly the same fish

The latest reports from the Jumbo trip are still looking good, with good fishing to go with splendid weather.
Rick Golz and dinner.

Norm, Rick and Leland with the day's catch.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Fishing looks good at Jumbo...

The walleye bite is looking good at Jumbo Reservoir, based on some early photo submissions from Rick Palmieri, aboard Norm Engelbrecht's boat. They're threatening to eat some of these...
John Grady with 11-inch crappie

Norm, pointing where to cast next, and Leland Carpenter.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Jumbo anglers - sure we believe you. But we want photos!

Looks like more than two dozen club members are heading to Jumbo next week, and looking at the prospect of balmy weather. Have to be folks taking their cell phones or cameras - and we want to see some photos. Some with fish would be nice, but let’s see what you got.

You can post directly to the club Facebook page, and we’ll add to this blog. Or e-mail toBilljohnp@gmail.com And we’ll post to this blog.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019


If the weather forcasters are accurate Monday should be a great day for fishing and Tuesday won't be too bad either at Jumbo Reservoir. Lodging will be at either the Sedgwick Antique Inn or the Budget Host in Julesberg.

I suspect that most of us already have a boat buddy or know who they are sharing a room with but without a contact person for this trip there hasn't been much information or co-ordination about that. I'll send an email to everyone on this list and anyone else planing on going that isn't on this list can contact me and I'll do the best I can to let everyone know who is with who and who needs a boat to be on or needs to share a room.

Club members going;
Dan & Kathleen Barker
Dave Johnson
George Mayes
Jim Visger
Arnie & Karol Strochein
Ray Park
Larry Seib
Tom & Judy Boesch
Richard Radies
Norm Engelbrecht
Leland Carpenter
John Grady
Merle Boden
Rick Palmieri
David Boyle
Steve Cadle
John Gwinnup
Ray Petersburg
Charlie Higgs
John Nuspl
Rick Golz

Rick Palmieri

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Felt soles banned in six states and Yellowstone

This might be information that some of us already know but we felt it was important to ensure that we did our part to inform the rest of us regarding the ban on felt soled boots. Other states are considering a ban as well although the ban in Vermont expired after 5 years.

Which States Have BANNED Felt Soles Wading Boots
1.    Maryland
2.    Alaska
3.    Missouri
4.    Nebraska
5.    Rhode Island
6.    South Dakota
7.    Yellowstone National Park

Here’s a good article that compares rubber vs felt from Hatch magazine.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Harlan Ripley's wife Beverly has passed away

Harlan has been a club member for about 5 years now. He usually sat with Roger, Jim Baxter, myself, George and a few others at his table. He fell down weeks ago and broke his hip and pelvis and has been in rehab at Mirasol rehab center. That’s why he hasn’t been at breakfast. A few of us have gone to visit him in rehab and as his daughter says in an email after I sent her an updated contact list, “Thank you so much. I’m so great full for all of you fishing guys my Dad would be lost without you guys. “
Harlan’s wife Beverly has been in hospice. His daughter Terry, wrote and let me know that she passed away yesterday. I haven’t known Harlan long but clearly the friends and support the Loveland Fishing Club has given him has meant a lot to Harlan and his family.

“He is still at Mirasol but we have taken him out a couple of times to see my Mom. He is struggling a little as Mom passed away yesterday. We have an appointment today at the funeral home at 12:30 other than that he should be around. Could you pass the word of Moms passing her funeral is Friday at 10 at Resthaven. Thank you for being such a good friend to him. Terry”

RANGER Lakes trip July 29-Aug. 2

The club’s annual camp out up highway 14 will be a bit earlier than years past. President Jim Visger reports campsites at Ranger Lakes are filling up quickly. The North Park campground at Colorado State Forest is an alternative, but doesn’t have electric hookup.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Boyd Lake temperature readings

Tom Miller recorded temperatures down to 40 feet Thursday, finding a surface temp at 54.3, slowly falling to 49.5 degrees near the bottom. His trout had been feeding on plankton.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Okay, Wednesday was a little early for North Park fishing

Jim Roode is arranging for the annual Delaney Buttes ice-out trip for next Wednesday or Thursday, weather permitting. Contact him at jimroode@yahoo.com if you're interested in one of the best big fish opportunities of the year.

Bill and Walt couldn't wait another week, and drove over Wednesday morning to find every available body of water pretty much capped with ice. (They did land 3 decent rainbows after the only available puddle was vacated by other anglers in the afternoon, then drove on home to warm beds and understanding wives.) Jim's pretty sure the lakes will break open next week, and we're pretty sure he's right. If not, hey, that's ice-out fishing...

If you go, might want to bring a sledge hammer or at least an ice pick. Bill borrowed Walt's wading staff to try to wedge
open a channel to open water at Lake Cowdrey, but couldn't quite break through. Photos by Walt Graal.

All you need to know about float tubing, kind of

By Bill Prater
Reprinted from Fish Explorer
Let me begin by admitting this is not really an “all you need to know” introduction to the gentle craft of fishing from an inflatable. Because frankly, the rest of the angling community including me prefers watching first-time tubers learn by doing. So rather than offer newbies useful, practical advice, we view someone else's maiden voyage as an opportunity to reminisce about our own first awkward experiences with things like backing into the water in fins, learning about the effect of Colorado winds on floating objects, and realizing that cold water can bring on a sudden, irresistible urge to pee.

So resign yourself to learn by doing, and be willing to let others watch. Trust me, embarrassment aside, you will want to share that initial tubing experience with buddies. They may giggle, but they SHOULD also be there to help, eventually. Besides, if you want a how-to tutorial, just Google “float tube fishing,” scroll and scroll past all the advertising, and eventually you’ll find all the practical advice needed.

I will, however, offer one bit of my own wise counsel: 

Don’t be like me 25 years ago. Go out there with someone who’s done this before. Bashful by nature, I first ventured out alone on a pond near Longmont, avoiding humiliation only because there were no witnesses. I got needlessly wet, muddy and discouraged, and learned the hard way that it is really dicey to walk backward wearing fins. I also discovered the need to invest in those little cords that keep your swim fins from slowly drifting down and away. And I learned there are drastically better choices of watercraft than my now-obsolete ROUND belly boat. I don’t care how cheap you can find one on Craig’s List, don't try one. (In the 21st Century, you’ll find many good vendors have been making many good quality, non-donut watercraft you can actually get into and out of. Just pick a cute one from a manufacturer you’ve heard of, and you’ll do just fine)
That’s enough advice. Let’s concentrate on why that scary looking float tube can lure us onto wind-blown lakes and ponds despite spousal objections and our own instinct for survival. Truth is, float tubing is more fun than a honeymoon, and propels you into bizarre situations involving fish that you simply can’t encounter any other way.
Consider the average flatland gravel pond. Most have perilously steep, clay banks that plunge down to shallow, barely sloping lake bottoms. Most of the shore is lined with cattails, brush and worse. Those sometimes perfect fish hiding are largely inaccessible to shore anglers. In your tube, just position yourself within casting range (upwind if you really plan ahead), and either use your fins to hold yourself in place or invest in a 2- or 3-pound anchor. They hold amazingly well in even a stout spring gale.

Another benefit: many fishable ponds are closed to all but float tubes – even inflatables that rely on oars for propulsion. And on larger bodies of water, it’s increasingly tough to even launch a trailered boat. With the need for aquatic nuisance inspections, lake after lake has been closed to all trailered boats, while others have seen fishing hours cut or closed early early to fit inspection schedules. (Think Standley Lake). Float tubes pose little risk of carrying zebra mussels, so you can typically launch on the same water any hour of day or time of year, weather permitting. (And unless you power your float tube with a trolling motor, you also don’t have to pay the new Colorado annual aquatic nuisance inspection fee.)

One real limitation of the float tube is, you’re sitting very low to the water, so it can be hard to locate weedlines or be sure of drop-offs. But your slow, foot-powered propulsion can be an actual advantage, as you’re forced to slow down and work the water the way Izaak Walton intended.

Yes, Colorado winds can be a problem, which is like saying yes, it can be hard to enjoy a new baby with colic. But you learn to get out on the water early and get off when things get gusty. Apply reasonable caution, wear a life jacket and don’t fret. You may bounce up and down in your tube, but you’re not likely to bounce up and out.

Finally, everything else aside, the one great advantage of fishing from a tube is the sheer joy that comes with an eye-to-eye confrontation with your victims. Hook a decent fish and you’re going to get splashed, and you’re going to get towed, maybe even spun around. If you're in that antique round tube, you also learn to tuck in your legs to prevent your catch from swimming around and around your tube and wrapping you up like a Christmas present. (A lot of fun, in retrospect.) Being at eye level in the water in a little inflatable does mean you lose the kind of leverage that lets you cross a fish’s eyes with your hookset. But the same fish can’t break you off nearly as easily, and you can get by with drastically lighter gear. If you find bluegill spawning beds this spring, for instance, try going after them with flimsy little ice fishing gear. And don’t forget to thank me for the suggestion.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Slogan for the club

Tom Miller has been sitting around the house thinking, always a dangerous time, and came up with this suggested slogan for the Loveland Fishing Club:

   "Fishing is folk medicine of the first water.
      You feel better when your line is wet..."

I think it might be dirty, but you be the judge...

Fishing Wednesday at Fort Collins' River Bend

A small contingent of club members led by Charlie Higgs has been meeting with Fort Collins Natural Areas staff, Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist Kyle Battge and Fish Explorer's Matt Snider to enhance fishing in the city's natural areas.

This Wednesday April 24 we're going to begin an assessment of two ponds in the River Bend Natural Area - that is, we're going to see if we can catch some fish there! Let's meet at 10 a.m. in the parking lot on northwest corner of River Bend. It's just east of the Timberline/East Lincoln intersection. See map below.

Should be warm water fishing, hoping for bass, bluegill, crappie and maybe catfish. If all works as planned, we'll be working on ways to enhance the ponds to make them a more quality fishery.

Questions? Contact Charlie at achiggs4162@comcast.net

Image may contain: outdoor

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Let's go fishing after breakfast Friday

Going to be gorgeous Friday. Bring your pole to breakfast and we'll decide on where to gofrom there. We could head for Rivers Edge, Lon Hagler, Carter, Flatiron, Pinewood.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Forget that 26-inch carp...

Start getting your fish stories together for 2019 Angler of the Year. Bill for years has been in hot pursuit of a bluegill that would qualify for Colorado Master Angler. But he abruptly switched tactics on Tuesday after battling this 8 1/2 inch pumpkinseed at the Rivers Edge Bass Pond, a full half-inch beyond the minimum for Master Angler. Hey, they're rare here in Colorado, and it ain't his fault they don't grow to walleye size...Or that they're suckers for a tasty one-inch Gulp minnow...

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Not supposed to snow until Wednesday...

So Wayne and Bill headed to Douglas Reservoir on Tuesday. Nice day, threatened high winds stayed pretty much at bay,and a few fish cooperated. Wayne caught a couple nice walleye anyway, including this fat 18 incher.

Monday, April 8, 2019

You can now boat after hours on horsetooth, carter

CLOVELAND, Colo. – Attached you will find a joint press release between Reclamation, Northern Water, and Larimer County regarding new gates at Horsetooth Reservoir and Carter Lake.  
 Area resource managers have installed a new gate system at Horsetooth Reservoir to allow boaters to exit the water after scheduled boat ramp hours.
The gate system is located at the South Bay day use area and ramp at Horsetooth Reservoir. Gates will be closed and locked when boating hours end for the day to prevent vehicles from entering the area. An exit lane protected with spike strips will remain open after hours, allowing vehicles to exit the South Bay area but prevent vehicles from entering it. This system will allow boaters to remain on and get off the water at the South Bay boat ramp outside of regular hours of operation.
A similar system will be installed at the North Pines boat ramp at Carter Lake by April 15. The North Pines ramp has not yet opened for the boating season.
This will be welcome news for anglers who wish to remain fishing after ramps close for the day, as well as people staying at boat-in backcountry sites who may need to exit the water after hours.
The new gates are a joint endeavor among the Bureau of Reclamation’s Eastern Colorado Area Office, Northern Water and Larimer County Department of Natural Resources.

If you would rather not receive future communications from Bureau of Reclamation, let us know by clicking here.
Bureau of Reclamation, Denver Federal Center, Alameda & Kipling Street PO Box 25007, Denver, CO 80225 United Stateshijo

Friday, April 5, 2019

Link to fishing club photos

Following is a link to photos of various Loveland Fishing Club activities taken over the past decade. https://photos.app.goo.gl/4m9Xdf7Zm2KiEko5A

You should be able to open and copy them for your own use. If you have any problems, let Bill know, billjohnp@mail.com.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Mandatory fishing after breakfast Friday!

Okay, optional. But you really should join us about 9 a.m. Friday at Lon Hagler, somewhere in the vicinity of the boat ramps. Going to be a warm spring day, and if you can’t find a way to catch a fish, Tom will give you one.

Questions or complaints? Need to borrow a worm? We can talk about it over breakfast.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Corrected date: CYO Maverick fundraiser is coming up. A Pre-event breakfast is this TUESDAY

The club traditionally volunteers as a group to help Colorado Youth Outdoors with its annual Maverick fundraiser at Sylvan Dale Ranch west of Loveland.  This year's event will be held on Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, and most club members will be helping on Friday, when need is greatest.

To volunteer, contact Dave Boyle, davnanboy@aol.com, 970-223-7351.

Also, in advance of the Maverick a Sylvan Dale Ranch breakfast and tour is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, April 3. Cost is $10 per person, and spouses are invited as well.  

Volunteers run the sporting clay shooting and do other things like parking assistance.  Traditionally, a number of Loveland Fishing Club members volunteer, some as a group to help with a shooting station.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Sonar/GPS for Beginner to Advanced Users Classes

Join us for this hands on class and learn how to get the most out of your Sonar/GPS Unit!
The class will be led by Fishful Thinker guide and tournament angler, Dan Swanson and Fishing With Bernie pro, Bernie Keefe. Dan and Bernie are members of the Lowrance prostaff.
This will be a 3 hour hands on class that covers:
– Installation of the sonar/GPS unit for optimal results.

– How traditional sonar displays on the unit and why.

– How you can use color to interpret the screen.

– How to interpret downscan and sidescan images and how to use traditional, downscan and sidescan together.

– It will also cover using GPS with all of the different displays and mapping.

Date: Saturday, March 30th

Time: 10:00AM – 1:00PM OR 2:00PM – 5:00PM
Location: SCHEELS Training Center
Cost: $25
Registration (Max of 20 people per class): https://bit.ly/2XZkoEM

Sonar/GPS for Beginner to Advanced Users Classes
**Units will be provided**

All attendees will receive a SCHEELS Gift Bag (over $25 value).

Scheels Fly Fest

Come join us for a Spring Fly Fishing Festival! Learn new techniques from local fly tying experts, build your fly fishing network, save big on fly fishing gear, and enter for a chance to win great prizes!
10:00AM – 11:00AM
Colorado Youth Outdoors – Youth Intro to Fly Tying Class
*Registration Required. Please register at: https://bitly.com
11:30AM – 12:30PM
Wayne Carlson (SCHEELS Expert) – Intro to Fly Fishing.
1:00PM – 2:00PM
Rick Takahashi – Midge Fly Fishing Seminar.
2:30 – 3:30PM
Domingo Rodriguez – Euro Nymphing 101.
4:00PM – 5:00PM
Dave Mosnik – Float Tube Fishing on Lakes: Trout and Warm Water.

*Seminars will be in our Training Center located on the second floor near the fishing shop/second floor bathrooms (go in the west doors, turn right past the registers, go up the stairs and to the right).

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Planning some club fishing trips

There's still ice in the high country for the stalwarts in the club, but it's time to begin planning warm water expeditions for spring and summer.

(Don't forget the planned 10:30 a.m. outing Wednesday, set for the north shore of Carter but possibly involving a reset because of a troubling ice cap over about three-fourths of the lake. Should we do Lon Hagler instead?

Anyone can suggest a trip; you just have to persuade other anglers and ideally take the lead in setting dates, finding out housing options and other details of a good trip. The same goes for local outings; just let the rest of us know what you're planning to do and when. Send Bill Prater or Rick Palmieri a note and we'll post something on the blog.

See Club President Jim Visger, visgermnj@aol.com for details on plans to date, particularly for overnights. He'll have signup sheets at monthly meetings, and you can pigeonhole him at Friday breakfast.

Here's what we've decided to date:

So far, we have the Jumbo Reservoir walleye trip set for May 13 and 14th, and Lake John trout on June 11-14. In both cases you'll need to plan for an overnight stay. We usually carpool and share a room to hold down expenses. 

  • We'll also be heading for the Delaney Butte lakes at ice out in mid April; we let nature tell us when to go, and Jim Roode sets the date. We usually motel it overnight in Walden, though some prefer to make a long day of it.For Jumbo, which has been a good source of walleye in past years, 16 anglers have signed up already, a good sign for optimism about the coming season.
  • At Lake John, you can stay in town or at the Lake John Resort, which has rooms, cabins and campsites. Here's a link to their website.
  • Another almost certain overnight trip is the Ranger Lakes campout, a club tradition popular with spouses since our inception. There's a nice campground with electric hookups about two hours up highway 14 past Fort Collins, and easy access to several good trout lakes. It's been held in August in years past, but we're also looking at dates in July, set make your preferences known. 
  • There's no reason we can't plan regular trips to local lakes and ponds, and we seem to be missing trout streams here. 

It's been too damned cold lately for after-breakfast outings to local lakes and ponds, but they will resume at any time. Stay tuned, and keep your rods handy.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Okay, it still looks like winter around here

Tom Miller and I took a quick tour of area lakes this morning, starting with Boyd. By 8:45 about a half dozen boats were already on the water taking advantage of opening day for the ramp and aquatic nuisance and inspectors. (The main ramp was still closed and the dock wasn't in, but you can launch at the jet ski ramp.) The lake's clear and mostly ice free.

The ponds by my house, Heinrici and Glendoll, were iced over as we left but just about totally clear when we returned about 1 p.m. Lon Hagler's was about 50-50, with a few anglers from the bank.

At Flatiron, the north half was still pretty solidly iced, and there was ice out 10 to 15 feet from shore on the south side.

We may need to rethink the planned Carter Lake expedition Wednesday. There's some open water on the north end but about 85 percent of the lake carries a pretty solid looking white ice cap. Tom visited Horsetooth on Thursday and said most of the entire lake is iced over, which is darned rare. (Carter and Horsetooth boat ramps are not set to open until April 1.)

We also swung by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife fishing expo at St. Vrain State Park. With the help of loaner poles there were quite a few kids trying their luck on mostly open ponds, but we didn't see any fish.

If you're catching anything, tell us about it. Send me a note here.

I'm thinking Lon Hagler may be a better bet for our Wednesday outing. Stay tuned and get your hooks sharp.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Spring is in the air. Let's go Fishing!

Signs of Spring are everywhere, if you just overlook those reports of "biggest blizzard on record," and maybe that lingering ice cap on most ponds. Water levels are supposed to be rising at Carter and Horsetooth, the weather forecast for the nextweek looks almost balmy, and most of us have a serious case of Spring Fever.

So, let's go fishing. In fact, let's go help Bill launch his new pontoon boat! Here's the plan: Larimer County is not going to open its boat ramps until at least April 1, which means that between now and then, anything you don't have to trailer to the lake will have Carter all to itself. Doesn't get much better than that.

10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Carter

So let's hit the north end of Carter about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, allowing the ice cap to melt a little more. I'll bring my new pontoon, and craftily row out to just about a half a cast length beyond the reach of Ray Park and Tom Boesch's Power Bait from shore. And we'll see who gets bit first. Dan reports the lake has been quietly rising, to nearly 90 percent of normal pool.

I'm game for heading for a local pond after Friday breakfast sometime soon, but it's still a bit chilly by 8:30 or 9. Anyone tried River's Edge or Flatiron lately?

I'm thinking 2 1/2 inch Gulp minnows, maybe a small Kastmaster.

Questions or alternatives? We can always try Boyd, but I'm thinking it needs to warm a bit more before Dan and Kathy risk getting that boat of their's all muddy. Send me an e-mail and we can argue about it.

Fishing day Saturday at St. Vrain

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is kicking off the season with a day of fishing-related demonstrations at St. Vrain State Park.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes demos and information on aquatic nuisance species, boat safety, basics of fishing and cleaning and cooking of fish. -

March News from CPW - Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Colorado and Kansas resolve 40-year deadline with the signing of a historic agreement to provide a new source of water in John Martin Reservoir

HASTY, Colo. Thanks to a historic agreement between members of the Colorado-Kansas Arkansas River Compact Administration, John Martin Reservoir State Park will benefit from water transfers that will maintain a permanent pool for fishery and recreation purposes.

John Martin Reservoir is a multimillion-dollar fishery and source of water recreation, camping, hiking and wildlife watching. Extensive collaboration between a variety of agencies means a consistent flow of water into the reservoir, which will save money, reduce the risk of fish loss and provide more consistent boating opportunities at the park. 

New Colorado Parks Hang Pass

New for 2019, our annual hang tag pass allows you the flexibility to bring any of your family vehicles to our 41 state parks.
Annual hangtag passes are associated with an individual purchaser instead of a vehicle. This means that the hangtag pass can be moved between vehicles as long as the pass holder is present. These clear, recyclable hangtags are available at all state parks and all CPW offices. If you purchase your pass online or at other license agents, you can pick up your hang tag on your first park visit. 

Highline Lake now open for boating

LOMA, Colo. – Though slightly delayed by weather this season, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has opened the water at Highline Lake State Park to boating and other water recreation. Get your boats, fishing gear, jet skis, water skis, wakeboards and wet or dry suits ready for all of the activities now available on the lake.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Loveland Fishing Club's toughest angler

Charlie Higgs has been recovering nicely from a recurrence of health problems, waiting for a reasonable spring thaw and organizing an effort to improve fishing in Fort Collins Natural Areas ponds. He's also been declared the Club's 2019 Toughest Angler. The following just appeared on the http://fishexplorer.com website.

By Bill Prater 

I used to be one of the younger members of the Loveland Fishing Club. I’m, uh, not anymore. But I still remain in awe of buddies willing to try any darned thing when it comes to fishing, regardless of obstacles like a heart attack, scheduled joint replacements or potential frostbite trying to ice fish Lake Grandby when it’s minus-23 degrees.

Every year or two, members of the Loveland Fishing Club update ourselves on “Who is the Club’s toughest angler?” It amounts to a review of questionable behavior that bewilders spouses and gives club members something to talk about over coffee.

The very first was inspired by a cranky old bachelor named Frank Zupanc, who would startle the rest of us with one bizarre adventure after another. The most memorable was a could-have-been-tragic-but-wasn't spill into Boyd Lake while fishing all by himself, far from the dock, in a leaky rubber pontoon boat. We didn’t know how Frank could even launch the little craft – hampered by that broken neck of his.

One of my all-time favorites, though, was the late Dave Harem, legendary in part because of a solitary, late fall archery hunt in Mount Zirkel Wilderness, weeks before his badly, badly needed hip replacement surgery.

That may sound tough enough, but what we really admired was Dave’s account of frantically limping into an abandoned cabin while being pursued by an enraged mother black bear.

Not long after I joined the club, Dave and I and about a dozen other stout-hearted men and women made a memorable ice fishing trek to Lake Grandby. With backs to a gale-force wind, we perched on 5-gallon plastic buckets, waiting without success for a bite.  “You know, Bill," Dave told me, “I think we do things like this to remind ourselves we still can." 

So who is 2019's toughest? 

With this kind of wisdom, and these kinds of mentors, club members like myself have learned to stoically endure thinning gray hair and frequent midnight trips to the bathroom. No one is thrilled with the aging process, but some of us have seen it coming for more than half a century, and don’t worry about it too much anymore. And in that spirit, we (okay, me) polled the membership and came up with this year’s hands-down “toughest angler:”

It is retired forester (and former club secretary and treasurer) Charlie Higgs of Fort Collins.

Retiring in 1998 from a career with Wisconsin Natural Resources, Charlie arrived in northern Colorado in 2010 looking like a cowboy:  tall, broad at the shoulder, narrow at the hip. He’s more gaunt these days, unsteady and stooped over with a cane under the increasing impact of multiple myeloma, a one of the leukemia/lymphoma group of cancers that’s that’s not curable but treatable with chemotherapy. It damages bones, causes neuropathy and impacts the immune system and kidneys. In Charlie’s case, the outdoorsman’s body that worked fine five years ago is less reliable every day. But this dude is relentless.

In April 2013, for example, not long after his myeloma started getting worse, Charlie waded right into a particularly frigid prairie lake near Walden, seeking big ice-out rainbows, cutbows and browns. He found them all that day. “There we were,” he recalls, “with 40 or 50 feet of open water between the shore and ice cap. The action was fast and furious. I got one particularly large brown up into shallow water, but he got off.  Even though one boot got stuck in the mud and I stepped in the icy water, I was hooked on ice-out fishing right then.”

Almost every angler knows big Rocky Mountain trout come out to play when the ice thaws each spring. But most of us with a sense of self-preservation stay home where it’s warm. Once again, however, despite a mid-March blizzard and a relapse of that damned myeloma, Charlie is hoping for an early April thaw. “It can be incredibly cold and windy up there.  I got skunked last year, mostly because I had to stick to shore and couldn’t really wade out.  But this is another year.”

The fishing club meets every Friday for breakfast at the Loveland Perkins, a few miles northeast of Carter Lake, one of the few northern Colorado lakes that usually doesn’t freeze all over. Aware of the reservoir’s relentless January-February-March winds, most members prefer to enjoy a meal, swap questionable stories, and head for home. When we do head for Carter, though, usually Charlie gets there first.

“Fishing can be good; it can be awful,” he says.  “But I look forward to just getting out there. I can’t explain it. Sometimes you get fantastic luck with the weather, sometimes you just get cold. Sometimes you just have a glimmer of hope. But at least you’re trying.”

Thursday, February 28, 2019

CANCELED Casting with kids at Loveland Children's Day Friday CANCELED

Jim Visger has communicated that Chilsons will not have outside events tomorrow so the Casting With Kids event is CANCELED

Monday, February 25, 2019

Reminder: Casting with kids at Loveland Children's Day Friday

Club members will demonstrate casting and other fishing techniques to attendees of the annual Kids day event at Foote Lagoon near the Chilson Center.  For more information, contact Karol Stroschein.

Setup begins at 10 a.m. and Karol will have donuts!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Trip to Laramie Plains Lakes Monday 25 Feb!

Norm Engelbrecht says he has never caught a fish out of any of the Laramie lakes so come join us and see if history will be made. Merle Boden has had his gear in the back of his pickup for a month waiting to go somewhere so he's itching to go. 

Fishing reports from the West Laramie Fly Store for the lakes are encouraging. 
Lake Hattie:  10-14" of ice. Fishing is fair. The fishing is getting better since the derby at the beginning of the month.
Meeboer: Fishing is Good!  Ice is 7" to 10" thick, open water in the middle of the lake by the aerator.

Twin Buttes: Fishing is slow to fair. Ice is 7" to 9" thick.
Gelatt: Fishing is Fair. Ice is 7" to 9" thick

Weather is always suspect but current reports for Tuesday show high temps of 45 degrees with wind up to 20 mph dependent on where you get your reports from. Monday has a zero chance of precipitation

Norm, Merle and Rick will be leaving about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday for a day trip to the lakes just southwest of Laramie. We'll have our choice of several lakes, and we'll probably decide after a stop for out-of-state licenses at the West Laramie Fly Shop.

For details and to discuss carpool arrangements, contact Norm at 970-685-0566; or Rick 970-231-9225. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

Planning our Early Early Spring Fishing

By Bill Prater
So. I’m not sure exactly how warm it needs to get before we can cast again into unfrozen water, but I know it’s something more than 10 degrees.

That’s exactly what it was 10 months ago as I emerged from Walt's warm truck for ice-out fishing in North Park. Ever the over-eager one, I quickly jumped into my waders - and then mid-thigh into the frigid water of a lake not fully committed to its spring meltdown. I managed one ragged, unsuccessful cast, then another. Then I raced back to that warm truck with both hands curled into a fetal position. And then and Walt and I sat for an hour swilling coffee and watching the temperature gauge still recording 10 degrees.

Periodically I would wade back to see if my hands would start casting again (they wouldn’t), while Walt to his embarrassment never even got out of the truck. Charlie, Pat and whomever else was with us on that cold windy day never ventured from their vehicles until well past mid morning.

The point - and I do have one - is that when it eventually did warm into the ‘20s, we got into  memorable trout. Even the wind wasn’t all that bad, eventually. On that very productive fishing day we were reminded once again that intolerable conditions can be tolerated when fishing prospects and spring fever warrant. Just force yourself to stay in the truck until the outside temperature is a few more degrees above zero.

So.  This brings us to Early Early Spring 2019. Along the Front Range it is still possible to ice fish - unless you doubt the wisdom of anglers hopping around on Boyd Lake within casting range of open water. Or we can head into the mountains and use Dave’s new drill on that two-foot thick icecap. We can slso begin to plan what to do when our baits finally stop bouncing around on top of the lake.

Club President Jim Visger is keeping the club fishing calendar. Let’s load him up with options.

I for one see several:

As soon as early morning temps get back above the teens, we should resume after-breakfast club ventures to Carter, Flatiron or River’s Edge. And we will surely have open water restored soon at Boyd - where holdover trout having been hanging around the boat ramp, Dan is hoping for an early walleye bite run high, and the boat ramp is optimistically set to reopen March 1.
In Loveland proper, the Recycle Pond should be first to melt, with its eight or nine aerators still keeping some water circulating. And Flatiron Reservoir west of town generally stays partly clear year-round as the water is pumped back and forth to Pinewood. Carter, though recently frozen, should remain accessible through spring, though boat access there and Horsetooth is not set to begin until April 1. (By the way, there has been no further word on boating access to Pinewood, since it was closed last summer because of increasingly stringent aquatic nuisance regulation. But as soon as things thaw we can still launch a kayak or float tube there without restriction. That boating ban should cut down on the competition)
Beyond an easy 20-minute drive, another option is easy:  the annual ice-out trip to North Park as soon as weather dictates, hopefully followed by a follow-up ice out trip to North Park the following week. Where else should we go?

To me, others outings that should be on our spring list: Sterling, John Martin, Stalker Pond. And another shot at the Promontory Ponds in Greeley, before the weeds get too thick.
At least, this is what’s keeping me awake nights. That, and hands that occasionally still gnarl up like a bunch of unripe bananas.

So let's talk it over, and make Jim start building a list. Here's the old boy's e-mail.

Monday, February 11, 2019

John Martin!

Okay, I just got through watching Chad LaChance’s latest episode, about white bass at John Martin in early May last year. As I recall we scrubbed a trip about the same time due to high wind forecasts. Turns out he got blown off the lake early even in that big heavy boat of his...but not until he’d caught a buttload of big white bass and wipers.

I’m thinking, long trip down there, possible gale force winds, but buttload of big white bass and wipers... So, what do you think?  Time to start planning the spring fishing season.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Finding your secret fishing hole Part One of Two

By:  Bill Prater
Note:  These articles also appear on Fish Explorer
Close the door, and move in close. Today we talk about a 21st Century way to explore the bottom of your favorite lake, pond or stream, using a free “Google Earth Pro” tool called “historical imagery.” Don’t let your eyes glaze over; this is harder to explain than it is to use.
Most folks with a personal computer have used the application to see how their home looks from a few thousand feet in the air, or whether there’s a new truck parked outside an old girlfriend’s apartment. It’s an amazing, evolving tool that used to cost a couple hundred bucks; people use it to explore everything from vacation spots to Mayan ruins to the perfect spot for a new mall. But as a clever Fish Explorer, you can also use it to improve your knowledge of your secret fishing hole. And your buddy’s. (Note: this is a pretty non-technical way to study a lake bottom. To really get into this sort of thing, check out Dan Swanson's article in Fish Explorer on "Mapping the West.")

With water supply reservoirs in places like Colorado, Wyoming and Texas, when the water is drawn down, you can sometimes just park by a lake and scout the dried-up lake bed for logs and rocks and drop offs. But that’s a lot of work for an armchair angler. Here’s an alternative: Use “historical imagery” to fly back in time to find secrets revealed only during extreme drawdown. 
One nifty benefit of “Fish Explorer” is built-in access to Google Maps and Google Earth images under lake information. You probably use it to zoom in for a look at boat ramps, weed beds and so forth. Now take things one step further.

Before we go any further, a few caveats: You CAN pull up the most recent satellite images with your cell phone, but the screen is tiny. Also, this is a Google product, not made to work well with Apple products. You CAN fill your IPad screen with a satellite image of your favorite lake, and move all around the earth, which still seems like magic. But the only available satellite imagery is the most current one, and doesn’t include things like navigation coordinates. So you really need a laptop or desktop PC. If you don’t have one, explain what you want to a librarian. 

WHY BOTHER, YOU ASK? Bernie Keefe can probably use the latest fish finder technology to pinpoint one particular lake trout in a whole lake. Dan Swanson can cruise a lake at highway speed while pointing out secret drop-offs, weed lines and spawning beds. But I for one have a hard time telling the digital fish finder difference between a small boulder and a big fish. I would still like to see what a particular stretch of lake or pond would look like without its water, or at least, really low. 

When you fly around the planet using Google Earth, it looks like a single globe. It’s really a patchwork of images taken on different dates and stitched together by powerful computer magic. The ones you see are typically taken within the last one to three years. (less populated rural areas are photographed less often). 

SO HERE’S THE TRICK: First, download Google Earth Pro and create an account. Here's a link: https://support.google.com/earth/answer/21955?hl=en  It’s free, but I think you have to get a Google e-mail. Now play around with the program, making particular use of the cursor. When ready, search by name for a lake or pond, or “fly” over the landscape until you find what you want.
The important thing is this: after Google updates images, you can still find and manipulate older versions, dating back to around 1995. Think about that. Then go to the list of options on the top left of the screen. Find View, then turn on “Historical Imagery.” Or click on the little clock icon to slide the cursor from the most recent image, to earlier ones. You’re looking versions with low water, or clearest weather or clearest water.
FOR EXAMPLE, below is an image of the south boat ramp area of Carter Lake near Loveland, CO at full pool, taken June 19, 2014. The ramp and most interesting structure is underwater. Scroll back to April 4, 2007, and check out the lake bottom beyond the end of the ramp. (Enlarge the photo for a closer look, and remember you can really zoom in closer in Google Earth itself)
Remember, you can thumb through ALL previous images. Some show a lake that’s bank full; in others the lake is hidden by clouds or snow. Again, look for an image taken during drought or irrigation drawdown. For northeast Colorado, that's mostly April 4, 2007. You can work the same trick on any body of water subject to drawdown, anywhere.
HERE ARE other specific low-level examples from Fish Explorer states: 
  • TEXAS: For Lake Travis, October 20, 2014.
  • FLORIDA: Lake Okeechobee, January 2009
  • CALIFORNIA: Milleston Lake, April 5, 2014
  • WYOMING: Glendo, Sept. 9, 2006 
  • COLORADO: Blue Heron Lake, St. Vrain State Park, October 7, 2012 
That should get you started. With practice you’ll learn to zoom in and out, place waypoints, and copy, save and even share an image. I’ll put another examples in Part Two of this discussion.
South boat ramp at Carter Lake, full pool
                                       # # #
Same view of Carter south ramp, April 4, 2007

Finding your secret fishing hole. Part Two of Two

by: Bill Prater 2/5/2019

Note:  this article also appears on Fish Explorer.

In Part One we used Google Earth Pro to introduce historical imagery to look back in time as water levels of lakes, ponds and streams fluctuate. Let’s take that further and explore the prehistory of a new lake: BLUE HERON LAKE in St. Vrain State Park near Longmont, Colorado. It was opened to the public a few years ago. Before that Colorado Parks and Wildlife transformed it from the spoils of an old gravel quarry into a nice little lake with reefs, humps and other intriguing underwater structure. If you didn't have a chance to look it over as it was being built, you can still look back on the building process using historical imagery. 
After reading through this, I'm hoping you log onto the free Google Earth Pro application and get familiar with how it works, particularly the slider that moves you between the current satellite images and ones taken over the past three decades. Here's the link to get started: http://support.google.com/earth/answer/21955?hl=en 

When you're ready, log onto Google Earth Pro and search for St. Vrain State Park. Zoom in on Blue Heron, the biggest pond in the cluster. See something interesting? The lake bottom at the end of the boat ramp? Intriguing weed beds or underwater humps? 

Probably not; again, Blue Heron was created from an old gravel quarry, and bulldozed into shape to attract and hold fish. The most recent image shows a kind of boring pond full of dark water. But there’s more there than meets the eye.

Check out the two images below. The one from May 31, 2018 just shows water and a small island on the southwest corner. Now enlarge the other one taken when the lake was filling, Oct. 7, 2012.
If you were in the application right now you could zoom in and study detail. But even here you can spot emerging weed beds and at least 10 humps or gravel reefs created by the construction crew. Check out the edge where rip rap ends and other lake features begin. I put a yellow placemarker on a hidden east-west hump just west of the island that is now the lone visible structure. Here’s something else important to remember: any coordinates or waypoint you place on the dry lake bed will be a coordinate or waypoint AT THE SAME SPOT AND IN THE SAME SCALE on the latest Google Earth image. That's pretty cool stuff: If you use a fish finder, you have an even better head start at finding where the fish are hiding.

If you slide back even further, the image from Oct. 27, 2011 shows the lake under construction. You can learn something there, too. 

That’s it! The software has all sorts of other powerful tools you can use to use and share fishing maps, but I admittedly don't know how to use at least some of them. Just wanted to share something I find useful. Honest, Google won't even give me a T-shirt for telling you this. Hope you find it useful, and let me know what you think.
Blue Heron at full pool. Quite a bit of hidden structure can be identified. Not the waypoint in open water just west of the little island. Coordinates are the same as the waypoint from 2012, when the lake was filling...
Same view as above, made while the lake was filling. Another view, while bulldozing was still underway, is also available...