Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Coming Sept. 25! Senior Derby!

The idea sprang to mind more than a decade ago, when then-President Ray Park pondered ways to leave his mark on the Loveland Fishing Club’s legacy. We settled on the idea of a day of fishing for folks even older than ourselves, and began to scour the country for ideas we could steal, mostly by Internet search. We found a ton of “senior derbies,” but all seemed to involve some sort of blanket invitation for old folks to come out and fish.
Hey, we already had a club for that.

And so, over coffee, the idea evolved:  Why not a senior fishing derby for folks who find themselves physically unable to still get out and fish? We began talking with administrators of Loveland independent and assisted living centers, and on in fall 2006, held the first-ever Loveland Fishing Club Senior Fishing Derby, at Flatiron Reservoir southwest of Loveland. It may sound odd to have a bunch of mostly octogenarians hold an outdoor event for other octogenarians. But really, it’s simply a case of doing for others what we’d like someone to eventually do for us:  do whatever is needed to put a fishing pole back in their hands.

That first derby was funded largely through a Community Service Grant from the IBM Corporation, through a program that promotes volunteerism among its employees and retirees. Fourteen years later, the event is a Larimer County institution, still managed by Ray, Warren Wolf and a gang of gray-haired volunteers, though some are admittedly moving a little slower than when all this started.
This year’s derby is set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25th at Flatiron Reservoir, a Larimer County Open Space property where there is normally an $8 daily entrance fee. The club also works with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to purchase a sort of in bulk fishing license for participants, and the Division also stocks the lake in advance with trout.

To participate, pre-register by Monday, Sept. 9 at Chilson Senior Center, 700 E. Fourth St. Loveland.

The event cheerfully remains entirely free for participants, including loaner fishing equipment, a well-stocked lake, prizes, and a “gourmet” cookout of hot dogs, chips and soft drinks. The IBM Corporation had also helped the club fund major handicap access improvements to Flatiron in 2012, aided by a Fishing is Fun grant in a cooperative effort with the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources.
The derby remains, we think, the nation’s only free fishing derby focused on residents of assisted living centers, run by and for senior volunteers. Other seniors are welcome, as we partner with Chilson Senior Center, but the primary invited guests are residents of Loveland assisted living centers. 

 Among guests at the 2017 derby
was 95-year-old Gerald Ravenscroft,
a fighter pilot in China during World War 2.
With the City of Loveland providing liability insurance for the derby, Colorado Parks and Wildlife supplying trout, and the eager cooperation of a dozen senior living centers, the derby attracts close to a hundred participants each year. We could unquestionably grow larger. But truth be told, we’re too damned old to take on many more guests. The goal is highly personalized help with fishing, mixed with great conversation. And if you want, Tom Miller will clean and bag your fish to be cooked back at home.

The first couple of years, many guests weren’t sure what to make of the derby, and contented themselves with watching their friends from the bank. Now nearly every guest is there to fish, and some come back year after year.

Senior living centers in nearby communities have been asking to participate, but because of the need to keep the event manageable we’ve tried to keep to the original target community.

The fishing club was founded in 2002 by about men and women mostly in our late 60s and early 70s. It’s now 2019; you do the math. We count on a stream of younger retirees and senior living facility staff to help keep the event thriving, but truthfully, a fair number of club members may turn up this year as guests rather than volunteers.

We welcome the idea. Behind this annual outpouring of affection for anglers no longer able to fish on their own is a touch of self-interest:  we don’t talk about it much, but truth is, we’re hoping someone, someday, will come by where ever we’re living by then and say, “Hey, Ray, let’s go fishing.”  

Derby godfather Ray Park

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Smallmouth are biting in Door County Wisconsin

Looks like Rick Golz is having a good time catching fish in Wisconsin!

Photo by Rick Golz

Monday, August 12, 2019

Fish like no one else is looking

By Bill Prater
(This article will also appear on the Fish Explorer website.

Most of us nod our heads at the old cliché, “Dance like no one else is looking.” Well, the same is true about learning to fish, or getting back into the sport after a lifetime of being a responsible adult.

Since my own retirement right after the turn of the millennium, I’ve been a zealous member of the Loveland Fishing Club, (Our Motto: the club is open to everyone, but we fish during the week and we meet at the Chilson Senior Center). Over the years we have welcomed a fairly steady stream of newly retired folks. A few join us with enviable skills, armed with the latest equipment and knowledge of some or all freshwater sport fish. Most were like me, though, a guy who remembers being a legendary angler in my teen, but that was half a century ago and I sometimes forget things. They come seeking fishing buddies and maybe a little help getting back in the game. Let’s talk about how to do that. This will be the first in an occasional series on what some of us have learned the hard way, and how you may choose to restart your own fishing passions. Please feel free to join the discussion.

First, I think most of our newer members are reluctant to talk about their skill level, or more importantly, reluctant to ask for a little guidance. Truth be told, most of us like to talk about what we’ve learned about fishing as much as what we actually catch. And most of our long-time buddies really don’t want to hear our cherished opinions about lure choices or how to read the water. So you can take advantage of our lack of a reliably good audience.

Also, one frustrating but ultimately wonderful aspects of fishing in the Rocky Mountain region is, there are many species to choose from, and many ways to enjoy the chase. You can pick one, like stream fly fishing or tournament bass or walleye fishing. Or do like me and many other members of my generation of reborn anglers (again with the cliches’): become a “Jack of all Trades, Master of None.” If you do that, you may not be the very best trout or bass or walleye fisherman. But you can keep on learning and improving right up to the moment they pry your rod from your cold dead hands.

I don’t claim to be an expert on any one type of fishing (and regularly prove that on the water.) I DO know that most of the national fishing shows you can find on television or You Tube channels are created by anglers who live in other parts of our nation. Personal opinion: an awful lot of what is offered as Gospel from Southern and Midwestern anglers will not work worth in our fishing holes around here. Thank the good Lord for local legends like Terry Wickstrom, Bernie Keefe and Dan Swanson, who know what works around here, and when, and are willing to share. But you also have to figure the finer points of Colorado fishing for yourself.

So. You have barely fished for years and can’t quite remember how that happened. If you’re ready to get back in the game, be prepared for surprise: the sport and its options have changed drastically. Don’t start by rushing and investing in a bunch of Powerbait jars and a spin cast rig like you had as a kid. Think first about where you live, what kind of fish thrive in your area, and whether you can over time parlay your spouse’s outrageous spending on other hobbies to justify a few reasonable investments of your own.

In our little corner of the world, I have evolved to where I get by with lighter and lighter spinning tackle. I have some nice fly rods, and bait casters, and heavier way spinning gear, but they’re gathering dust. Around here, unless you want target catfish, I’d recommend medium light or even ultralight equipment. The sensitivity and castability of a modern-day quality, well-balanced rig is a thing of joy. But honestly, you’ll find even pretty inexpensive gear is pretty darned good in the 21st Century. So start thoughtfully, but start small. Stick to a brand you recognize or a friend recommends, and do the same with baits. You WILL probably want to switch to a better quality line. We’ll talk about that and various rigging options in a future column.

You don’t want to get too heavily invested in gear only to discover an unexpected love for something like fly fishing high country lakes, or Tenkara for tiny fish on tiny high country streams. You may learn to love fly fishing for carp; that’s going to require heavier gear than most of our trout or bass.

Truth is, here in northern Colorado we enjoy a multitude of species, but live with the fact that
1. Growing seasons are short, occasional drought is just something that will happen now and then, and water conditions are subject to human as well as divine intervention.
2. Someone else owns all the water and
3. Those same folks are notoriously willing to drain your favorite fishing holes without warning or apparent conscience.

You may find yourself with companions willing to travel for their sport, which will open your options tremendously. If so, be really nice to them, and flexible. If not, for now think a lot about the waters close to you, and the opportunities they present.

If you are blessed with reasonably experienced fishing companions, start by just going wherever they want to go, and try to figure out why. They may just be creatures of habit, fishing for the same stocked trout or stunted bluegill season after season. But hopefully their choices are based on the quality of the resource and, equally important, the season.

In July and August, we can catch fish along the Front Range; just don’t expect a record outing unless you are persistent, or have access to a boat and use it wisely. Over time, you’ll be plotting midsummer outings to the high country, or learning to fish deeper than in spring or fall. And take up ice fishing. Accept what you can’t change, like some lakes and ponds being occasionally cursed with algae or fluctuating water levels. All kinds of factors come into play, not all of them obvious to newbies. The fact that a flatland pond has just been stocked with trout, for example, doesn’t mean you’ll have much luck until the water cools. (The good side of that equation: trout also bite earlier in the year and later than most species). Your best bet in summer may be the high country, or patience.

Part of the challenge and fun is figuring out what waters are productive in what seasons, and what tactics work across the seasons.
Next, let’s talk about how to choose where we fish, and how to approach that water with some hope of success.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Boat Day is Wednesday 14 Aug at Boyd Lake, about a week away.

As far as I can tell, we have more boats than we have riders. That means a few boat owners should leave their boat at home ride with another owner.  Anyone still wanting to participate can use the Sign up sheet, available at Friday breakfasts, or you can get in touch with Rick Palmieri.

Charlie Higgs and Pat Mikulak have volunteered to do lunch for everyone around noon when we get off the water..

The typical schedule is 8am to noon but some may want to start earlier. Starting times and meeting places are determined by the boat owner and anyone that rides with that owner. Friday breakfast is a good time and place to work that out.

I'll be sending an email to those that have signed up soon. Right now we only have 11 people for lunch.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Photo by Pat Weller
Fished at North Michigan  Reservoir  last week with this hardy group, from left, Bill Prater, John Gwinnup, Rick Palmieri, Dave Johnson, Pat Mikulak and Jim Visger. Not many fish but lots of Colorado wildlife, red fox, doe deer with twins, Rocky Mountain sheep, 5 moose! WOW!  Also fell in a creek crossing when the bottom disappeared,  (up to neck)!  I am now a believer  in waders belts!

Friday, August 2, 2019

The day John and Bill arguably saved Jim's life

Or it seemed that way to Gwinnup and Prater on that fateful last day of July 2019. The Loveland Fishing Club's annual trek into the high country had wound its way west to the Delaney Butte lakes, legendary for big trout and equally big, murderous hordes of biting insects. On this fateful morning, most of those bugs seemed to realize some of us were planning to fish with a mosquito imitation, and vowed to keep us off the water.

It came to pass, not long after dawn, that Bambi-like Jim Clune emerged from that Lincoln Navigator of his wearing nothing a naive grin,short pants and sandals. In an instant, John Gwinnup and Bill Prater fell upon him and began dousing the lad's bare head and hands with insect repellant. By the thousands, though, the mosquitoes, fell on Jim's bony, bare knees and tried to carry him off into the sagebrush. Only a half bottle or so of Cutter's kept them at bay until Jim could slip into his waders and rubber fins, surviving to fish another day.

It seemed like those damned mosquitoes could bite right through the fabric of our waders. But all of Loveland's finest anglers eventually escaped to the unseasonably calm, clear water  for a memorable confrontation with healthy, gullible trout, who'd obviously been fattening up on mosquitoes. With Jim, John and Bill, though grimly concentrating on their fishing gear instead of lifesaving, were Jim Visger, Dave Johnson and Pat Mikulak. (Rick Palmieri and Pat Weller drove up for the day Tuesday, and concentrated on biting fish on North Michigan.)

A few million biting insects aside, it was another great club fishing trip to the high country, with better than average Jackson County weather, cooperative trout and understanding wives.
Club attendance was down this year, for a variety of reasons. So plan on joining us in 2020. We'll want to book our campsites at Ranger Lakes early.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Dixon Reservoir below Horsetooth 19 July 2019

Not many fish were caught but the ones that were caught were nice and fat.
Dixon Reservoir Photo by Rick Golz

Pumpkinseed for Bill. Photo Rick Golz

Bluegill for Rick. Photo Bill Prater

Walking to a good spot. East side of Dixon Reservoir. Photo Rick Golz

Saturday, July 27, 2019

River's Edge

Photo by Bill Prater
Jim Clune displays a fat crappie yanked from one of the River's Edge ponds Friday. Fishing wasn't great, but not bad either, as a steady stream of decent, hand-size bluegills came to the net.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Not one Master Angler award, but two!

Wayne Baranczyk had a great day on Boyd Lake fishing with Dave Boyle during Boat Day, earning a couple Master Angler awards from Colorado Parks and Wildlife:  one for a 30-inch blue catfish, the other for an 18-inch largemouth.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Volunteers Needed at Harvest Bazaar Fundraising Event for Chilson Senior Advisory Committee

Chilson Senior Center is asking for volunteers for this event on Saturday, September 14. Jim Visger will have a sign up sheet at the Friday breakfasts and also at the Annual Picnic.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Windsor Lake closed due to suspected blue-green algae outbreak

The Town of Windsor has closed the reservoir to "town-provided recreational activities" due to what it called "an abundance of caution" about a suspected presence of blue-green algae. Fishing is still permitted, but they recommend catch and release.

The Town of Timnath, a few miles to the north, issued a similar warning about its lake Friday, but it's not open to the public outside of town residents.

No reports of similar problems at other area lakes and ponds, but an outbreak is pretty likely. If you see a problem, let the rest of us know with a note to Bill.

The stuff is not a true algae but a form of bacteria. Humans can suffer sore throat, headache, skin irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, nausea and stomach cramps. The stuff's not rare in Colorado; it's generally caused by extended hot weather, which we've had plenty of, and nitrogen runoff from fertilizer.

At minimum, you probably want to wear waders if you go in the water, and keep your dogs away from ponds around here.

What the Town of Windsor has done is stop boat rentals and closed its dog park. Other access is at your own risk.

Fish Explorer website had a Forum posting on July 16 that noted "a strong algae bloom has clouded the water for very low visibility."

To see the complete Windsor town website posting, click here.

This stuff is annoying, but not uncommon in Colorado waters during summer months, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Hard to miss: may look like thick pea soup or spilled paint, can create a thick mat along shorelines, sometimes made up of blobs of slime floating at or just below the water's surface.

Ranger Lakes - North Michigan Reservoir Trip coming up

As a reminder, the Ranger Lakes - North Michigan trip is only about a week away, July 29-Aug 2.

Reservations may no longer be available at the campsites but there may be places to stay along the way to Walden, in Walden, or even in Poudre Canyon.
A few of us are planning on one day trips to go there and fish with the groups that are camping so even if you aren't staying for a few days come on up and join in the fun. It's about 1.5 hours drive time from where you turn off of Hwy 287 to go up Poudre Canyon depending on whether you make stops to fish on the way or just stretch your legs along the river or make a pit stop at the Moose Visitors Center.

Ranger Lakes and North Michigan Reservoir are both Colorado State Parks and require either an Annual or Daily Pass. No water craft on Ranger Lakes, shore fishing only but boats are allowed on North Michigan Reservoir.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Boyd Lake State Park: Lake Appreciation Day 2019 Saturday, July 20: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Saturday, July 20: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Boyd Lake State Park is proud to announce its sixth annual "Lake Appreciation Day" to be held on Saturday, July 20, 2019 from 10:00am – 4:00pm. This event is held annually to celebrate the importance of Boyd Lake to the community for recreation, drinking water, irrigation, and wildlife habitat, and to increase public awareness of the importance of water safety. We are pleased to partner with some local organizations, as well as CPW/ park staf that will provide a unique experience to Park visitors. Some of the activities include: • Colorado Boating Safety awareness and safety tips and kid's activities including t-shirt coloring, • Loveland Dive Rescue personnel & truck and boat on display; • Fishing Clinic; • Scheel's sporting good store exhibit; • Lake Appreciation Day giveaways; • Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Q & A booth- learn about mussels and plants; • Try out your skills on free trial of a Stand-up Paddleboard (SUP) provided by Mountain Rentals Inc., a concessionaire located at the Swim Beach building!
PLEASE NOTE: Event is free, however, ALL motor vehicles must have a park pass to enter the park. A Daily Park Pass is $9.00 and annual park passes are $80. We accept cash, check, Visa/MC/Disc.
Audience: All Ages
Swim Beach area
Boyd Lake State Park, 3720 N. CR 11C, Loveland, CO 80538
Boyd Lake

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The bad news was, Linda Prater went back for more eye surgery Thursday morning (minor stuff, honest; went well).

The good news was, that left Bill a couple hours to neglect his spouse of 50 years in order to fish Hygiene's Pella Crossing in 96-degree heat. Looking for bluegill, and using a black marabou jig 4 inches under a chartreuse bobber, the devoted lad hooked and released a very surprised 34-inch channel cat.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

You don't have to catch the biggest fish to be a winner!

Girl Scouts 16 July 2019 
Photo by Dan Chrouser

Are there fish biting in Dixon? Find out Friday

Bring your pole and some worms to breakfast, the club’s cleverest anglers are headed to Dixon Lake Friday. Haven’t been there since the big drawdown three years ago, so the fish should be gullible.

The plan is to head for the Fort Collins lake right after a satisfying meal, and bail around noon when temperatures start to get annoying. The lake is at the base of the first Horsetooth dam on the southeast end, just south of the site of the old CSU football stadium. Questions? contact Bill or see Charlie at breakfast.

Next Boat Day is 14 August at Boyd Lake

Howdy, our next Boat Day is Wednesday 14 Aug at Boyd Lake.

If you would like to participate by sharing a boat, riding on someone else's boat or just want to attend lunch with the group and socialize after they off of the water. Sign up sheets will be available at Friday breakfasts or you can get in touch with Rick P.

The typical schedule is 8am to noon but some may want to start earlier. Starting times and meeting places are determined by the boat owner and anyone that rides with that owner. Friday breakfast is a good time and place to work that out.

It would really be great if a couple volunteers who aren't going to fish would help with a lunch and drinks for all that attend. Food and drink items will be reimbursed by the club. The plan is to be off the water by noon so we can all meet together and share some food and swap fishing stories.

If we don't have volunteers for lunch then the group of boaters that have signed up will decide how we want to do lunch. It's hard to fish and also be responsible to do a BBQ or prepare lunch for the group.

I'll be sending an email to those that have signed up a week before the event so we know who's going and how many of us will be there.


Photos of Girl Scouts at Swift Ponds 16 July 2019

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Services Friday for Moe Yauk

Morris “Moe” Yauk, 73, of Loveland, passed away on July 11, 2019 surrounded by his family.  He was the loving husband of 23 years to Arlene (Hardy) Yauk. Born in Goessel, Kansas, he was the son of the late Clinton Yauk and Martha (Helmer) Yauk.

Moe was an active member of the Loveland Fishing Club for several years, a good angler and good friend. 

A Memorial Service will be held in honor of Moe on Friday, July 19, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at King of Glory Lutheran Church, 2919 Wilson Avenue, Loveland, Colorado, 80538. Luncheon to follow.  

Memorial donations in memory of Moe can be made to either The Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation ( or King of Glory Lutheran Church (

Moe is survived by his wife Arlene; three children Shannon Love of Denver (Keith), Adam Yauk of Denver (Stacy) and Meghan Gosk of Seattle (Canaan); two step children Sara Case of Loveland (Bill) and Angie Schaefer of Aurora (James); sister Phyllis Elston of Wichita (Don); and nine grandchildren Clyde and Keenan Love, Annie Yauk, Ascher Meunier and Cohen Gosk, Emma and Ryan Case, and Jay and Camryn Schaefer.

For a complete obituary, go click here.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Nice catch for Wayne out on Boyd last Wednesday

For all you flyfishing guys from tubes etc..

Catch of the week from CPW 12 July report. Zach with a healthy Brown Trout caught on a recent trip to Antero Reservoir using a size 16 callibaetis nymph!

Monday, July 8, 2019

A few Photos from Girl Scout Event at Lon Hagler 08 July 2019

All went well at the event today. We had lots of sunshine, a few welcomed breezes and good company. We had to close up shop right before the last of six groups of girls got to fish because of threatening weather that moved in.
The biggest fish of the day was a carp that looked to be about 14". He got off the hook but not before we caught a picture of it for evidence.

Seems like Norm always draws a crowd!

Updated Fort Collins Girl Scouts Fishing Events at Swift Ponds

OK, Save these dates to your calendar. These are the final dates for the Fort Collins Girl Scouts fishing event that we need volunteers for. Contact Jim Visger to volunteer.

Fort Collins Girl Scout Day events at Swift Ponds, Tuesday July 16, 2019, 9:00 AM – Noon. Fortunately, this time frame leaves plenty of time to attend our monthly meeting on July 16th.

Fort Collins Girl Scout Day events at Swift Ponds, Tuesday July 23, 2019 9:00 AM – Noon.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Lon Hagler fishing with Scouts is Monday

Reminder, Fishing with Loveland Girl Scouts will be 8:30 a.m. Monday, July near the boat ramps at Lon Hagler. If you can make it, we can use the volunteer help.

Fishing with Fort Collins area Girl Scouts will be at 8:30 Tuesday and Wednesday, July 23 and 24, at Swift Ponds north of Windsor.

Smallies at Horsetooth.


Charlie, Bob, and Rick Golz found a new spot on Horsetooth to go fishing. Rick says that it's an easy spot for Bob and Charlie to get to and sit in chairs. Sounds good to me!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Girl Scout fishing volunteers needed

One of our annual traditions is taking Loveland and Fort Collins area Girl Scouts fishing, at two events in July.  We'll be working with about 80 girls each day, so many volunteers are needed.

If you can help, please sign up for the days you can attend at Friday morning breakfast. 

The first for Loveland kids is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, July 16 and 17, at Lon Hagler.

The second out is for Fort Collins scouts, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday July 23 and 24 at Swift Ponds.

We'll be using worm pieces as bait for the Lon Hagler fishing, and small jigs and plastics at Swift.

Questions? See Jim at breakfast or contact him by e-mail:

Monday, July 1, 2019

Silent Auction - A StrikeMaster gas auger has been donated by Keith Gentry for a silent auction. This auger has an 8" steel auger with a Honda 4 stroke motor (35cc Lite). The winner will receive the auger at our December monthly meeting.This auger looks like it was just taken out of the box.
To enter a bid see John Gwinnup or Norm Engelbrecht at a monthly meeting or a Friday breakfast.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

An annual trip with friends to Wyoming's Pathfinder Reservoir paid off big time for Dick "Fishhead" Hunsaker. Over three days of trolling with Thomas Buoyant Spoons the lads scored with a succession of fat rainbow trout, including two over 5 pounds that measured 23-24 inches.