Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Dan catches Colorado's fattest fish

Trolling for walleye at Boyd Lake a few weeks ago, Dan Barker felt a tug and then hauled in the butterball white bass below, a whopping 19 3/4 inches.My math may be faulty, but I think that's 116.2 percent of the Colorado Master Angler criteria for white bass.  Too bad he didn't have a scale, as this is one obese fish. The catch should put him at the top of the heap in competition for this year's Angler of the Year award.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

If you can't afford a new 20' Lund and don't want to paddle or use fins try one of these to get across the lake in a hurry


UPDATED Walleye Fishing at Jumbo Reservoir (Julesburg, CO) Oct 16-17


We recently discovered (Thanks to that Jumbo Reservoir is closed on Wednesdays as a result of no ANS inspections those days.

I called the CPW District office in Brush and was referred to CPW in Denver. This was news to them and they are checking this out and will update the CPW website. Then I started call the Visitors centers at the lakes.
I talked with the ANS inspector at North Sterling and she told me North Sterling Reservoir is open all week. Although the visitors center is closed on Wednesday and Thursday a ranger is on duty and can do the ANS inspection for us. The other opportunity is to get your boat inspected at Boyd, or another lake, and leave the GREEN tag on the boat and have the associated WHITE paperwork with you.

Norm and I talked about this and our plan is to fish North Sterling Reservoir on Wednesday and then drive to Sedgewick and stay at the Antique Inn (Lupe's place) and fish Jumbo on Thursday. 

So far we have Merle, Rick Palmieri, Rick Golz, Norm Engelbrecht, Dave Boyle, and Steve Cadle. Dan and Kathleen said they may come to Jumbo on Thursday and include that as a destination on their 4 day fishing trip they are doing. Everyone is welcome and lets hope we have good weather that won't force us to cancel the trip.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Beautiful day at the Delaneys

South Park’s legendary winds held off enough for Wayne Baranczyk to scoot around all day in his float tube, and a handsome mix of rainbows, cut bows and greenbacks fought their way to the net. The forecast for Thursday at Walden is snow and minus 3 degrees, but Tuesday was terrific.

How about this 19-inch cutbow? This space was reserved
for a shot of Pat Weller and one of his fish, but, uh,
he dropped his phone in the lake.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Walleye Fishing at Jumbo Reservoir (Julesburg, CO) Oct 16-17

Merle Boden and Rick Palmieri are going to Jumbo Reservoir Oct 16-17 to see if we can catch some Fall Walleye. Norm Englebrecht says he's planning on going too. Sure would be nice to have a few others join us and see if we can't catch some nice fish to bring home.
Water temps are finally dropping with the cool nights and fish might be on the move because of that. This Spring fishermen were catching their limits from shore and they were just as nice as the ones we caught from the boats. Min size for Walleye is 15" and Min size for Crappie is 10". 5 Walleye possession limit.

General Information: Jumbo Reservoir is a 1,578 acre water (at full capacity) located on the Jumbo State Wildlife Area. Anglers can expect excellent fishing for walleye and crappie, and quality fishing for channel catfish, smallmouth bass, and bluegill. Fishing pressure is moderate. Location: Logan and Sedgwick Counties. From I-76 take Exit 155 and head 3 miles north to Hwy 138. Take Hwy 138 1 mile northeast to CR 95. Take CR 95 2 miles north to the reservoir.

Map to Julesburg, CO. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Really nice writeup on the Senior Derby by Fish Explorer

Matt Snider, the executive editor of Fish Explorer, joined us at Wednesday's derby and posted the following writeup on the website.

LFC Senior Fishing Derby

Blog by: Matt Snider 9/26/2019
When the time comes I am no longer able to physically or mentally get out and go fishing on my own, the only thing I ask is that you come take me fishing now and again. Since my earliest memories, I have spent nearly every day wanting to be fishing.  I can't imagine that'll ever go away.

Which brings me to this. Yesterday was the Loveland Fishing Club's 11th Annual Senior Fishing Derby, which Bill Prater wrote about in August.  I had a moment to visit with Bill at the event held at Flatiron Reservoir, and I wanted to share some photos with you all.

So much kudos goes out to the LFC for putting this event on.  62 men and women from about 8 senior living centers from various locations (mostly around Loveland) took shuttles with helpful staff members to spend the morning fishing for trout.  Numerous LFC members and other volunteers busily attended to the anglers stationed up and down the lake.  The fishing pier was dedicated to those unable to navigate the shoreline safely.

Numerous fishing rods were rigged up ready to go. There was the worm crew assorting bite-size bait into small canisters for each participant, and there was the front line crew casting rigs out and landing fish.  There was a fish cleaning crew that took care of preparing meat for the anglers who wanted it, and there were a whole lot of others preparing lunch and tending to snacks and drinks. Food was served and awards and prizes handed out (including Oldest Man/Oldest Woman.)

Fish were caught while hoots and hollers soared up and down the shore.

Bill wrote about the derby in detail, I just wanted to express my gratitude and share a little of this experience.  I know running an event of this sort is difficult, takes a lot of preparation, and there are a lot of moving parts.  I would love to see more of this happening around the state.  I know there are many similar events that occur but don't get much attention.  Consider FishExplorer a place to share them.  Shoot me information any time you have an event like this, submit it to our calendar ahead of time, or consider sending photos and a write-up as a guest blog.

I know there were plenty of folks there that were grateful to be out fishing.  Thank you LFC for this event and all else you do.
Rods rigged, ready to go - and these were just the backupsBeautiful day at the Larimer County ParksDotting the shoreline, hauling in fish
Bill to the rescue - freeing up snags from muddy shorelinesWheelchairs on the pier, walkers and chairs on the shoreWorm crew kept busy all morning
Medals you won`t see at many other fishing events.
Blog content © Matt Snider
Blog Comments
bgflys, CO   9/26/2019 7:30:51 AM
This is outstanding and much needed! Did they have the lake stocked prior? I would like to do something like this in Colorado Springs. Well done!!
Matt Snider (Matt), CO   9/26/2019 11:51:13 AM
I got word that the lake was stocked prior. I am not sure how much or whether or not it was due to this event. Let's chat if you think this is something you'd like to take on down in CO Springs. I can help facilitate if nothing else, I am sure Bill and the others could offer some framework.
bgflys, CO   9/26/2019 7:49:44 PM
I would be interested. How much time in advance did you plan? I'm thinking around spring of '20 due to my schedule and hunting. Wondered how it was promoted and participation? Looked like there were quite a few participants. I'm not sure what lake but first thought is Quail lake due to accessibility. I also wondered about fishing licenses and if I recall there is now a charge for the senior lifetime license. I would be willing to help with that cost depending on participation. What did they use for transportation? Their own vehicles? Assistance? Handicap access? EMT on site? Sorry just a few brainstorming questions...
bgflys, CO   9/26/2019 8:00:04 PM
Ok - I read Bill Prater's blog and got a ton more info. I will start checking for sponsors and do some more research. I'm not sure how much participation I would get but it seems that it could grow fast. I want it manageable also. Thanks for the reply and I will reach out to get advice in the future

Boat inspection schedule at Jumbo

The following news release about reducing hours for inspection is from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Note the boat ramp will be closed on Wednesdays.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife thanks boaters as boating season winds down at Jumbo Reservoir

Thus far during the 2019 season, watercraft inspectors at Jumbo Reservoir have inspected just shy of 9,000 boats for the presence of aquatic nuisance species and 165 were decontaminated prior to launch.

“Reservoir usage has increased annually and with this increased usage comes an increased risk of introduction,” said Robert Walters, CPW Invasive Species Specialist.

With increased usage comes an increase in demand for water access. To meet this public demand CPW has expanded the inspection season at Jumbo Reservoir through the end of October. Hours of operation during the month of October will remain a half-hour before sunrise to a-halfhour after sunset Thursday – Tuesday. The boat ramp will be closed on Wednesdays due to decreased staffing levels. Boating is only permitted during inspection hours and all boats must be off the water prior to the inspection station closing.

“Keeping Colorado’s waters free of invasive species is critical to maintaining high quality fisheries and providing high quality boating opportunities for our residents and visitors,” said Walters “The program would not be possible without the support of the boaters and anglers.”

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Prater, Golz win 2019 annual Club Tournament

While most of the club chose to fish closer to where they'd be eating hot dogs, Bill and Rick huddled in a far corner of Flatiron Reservoir Thursday and emerged with a one-two finish in the annual Club Tournament.

Using a mysterious secret bait, Bill put together a legal limit string of two 14-inch rainbows and two 13 1/2 inchers for a total of 55 inches, in a contest determined by combined length. Rick's string totaled 50 inches.

The winner walked off with a $50 cash prize and assurance that his name will be placed alongside past winners on on the club's rotating Grand Champion trophy. If you want to see it, it'll be at his house until at least next year's tournament.
Photo by Dan Barker

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Reminder, Rules AND CORRECTION about Thursday's tourney!

First, the Correction:  we originally told you 8 a.m. it's 9. Sorry about that. Hey, I'm old. 

Also, the rules of combat for the 8th annual event have changed from last year, when we fished Swift Ponds. Here they are:
  • No Wading
  • No Boating (park rules) 
  • One - Pole
  • One - Hook or Lure or Fly
  • Limit - 4 Trout
  • Stringer = 4 Trout measured (kept or released alive)
  • Time Limit – 9:00am to 12:00 noon.
  • Finally, All Kept or Released fish meant to enter the derby must be officially measured and witnessed by another club member who needs to legibly write the length of the fish on a card along with their initial. 
The First Prize Winner, the angler with the longest total string of 4 fish, gets $50 cash and her or his name on a handsome 19 1/4-inch revolving trophy, and you keep it until it's presented to the 2020 winner. Second prize is $25.

Larimer Count Parks and Open Space levies an admission fee at Flatiron. A few of us with annual passes will meet in the southeast corner of the K Mart parking lot and can give you a ride through the gate. We'll be leaving for Flatiron no later than 8:30 a.m., so be there before then or get out your purse.

While the rest of us watched fishing shows...

Rick Golz was actually out fishing in the Poudre west of Fort Collins this week. As you can tell by these photos, it was a gorgeous day to be out on the water. And he reports catching about 20 trout, mostly browns.

Another great old day at Flatiron...

Bright sunny skies and a brisk wind greeted 2019 guests of the Loveland Fishing Club's Senior Derby at Flatiron Reservoir. About 70 anglers, most from area assisted living centers, enjoyed the day, and we cleaned and iced about 50 freshly stocked trout for take-home. To see more photos, follow this link. (You can download any or all of them to your own computer, or print a copy).
Prize winners for 2019 include
  • Jim Bair, 93, a World War II veteran of the Army Air Corps, for biggest fish, a 16 1/2 inch trout.
  • Bernie Chin, smallest fish
  • Jane McAfee, 93, oldest female angler
  • Floyd Schweiter, 98, oldest male angler
  • Marilyn Beavin, best fishing hat

Jim Bair (center in blue hat), who caught the day's biggest fish,
hauls it in under the close eye of LFC's Norm Engelbrecht, who had nothing to do with the catch.
Bernie Chin, left, earned a medal for
smallest fish of the day,
presented by Karol Stroschein 

After a slow start, catching got good.
Tom Miller cleaned about 50 fish to send home
with anglers.

Our oldest angler of the derby was Floyd Schweiter, 98.

Oldest female angler was Jane McAfee, 93.

Best fishing hat belonged to Marilyn Beavin.

Jim Bair, with his medal and gift for
biggest trout of the day.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Your help is needed at Wednesday ‘s Senior Derby

Please make every effort to help the club make this annual event at Flatiron Reservoir a success. We’re expecting about a hundred guests, most from area assisted living centers.

The event runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. but plan to be there about 7:30 to help with setup. There’s no charge for admittance to the property, and there are rumors there will be donuts.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Jim Baxter didn't have to go all the way to Cody to land this trophy

Jim Baxter at Boyd Lake
Photo by ??

Jim in the Flat Top Wilderness
Photo by Steve Jetter or Roger Smith

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Gwinnup and a big Wyoming brown

Just in from Wyoming:  John Gwinnup displaying a fat Cody area brown trout.

Boat Day turns into Hootenanny

After a good day of fishing at Boyd Lake, with at least a few fish on board, the club broke for lunch and entertainment from this legendary crew.

Who wants to hit Delaney?

Mark your calendar for an overnight fishing trip to the Delaneys around Oct. 30. And in the meantime, who wants to blast over for a quick day of prime fall fishing?

Wayne Baranczyk and Bill Prater are looking at a trip around Tuesday, Oct. 8, leaving here around 5:30 and coming home victorious in the evening.Interested? Give me a call or text at 970-988-9174.

South Delaney rainbow and Dave's hand.
It's about a 3-hour trip to the lakes west of Walden. Dave Johnson and others were there a few weeks ago. He reports the mosquitoes have left the vicinity for the season, leaving us alone with a bunch of gullible trout.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Consider carpooling to Club tourney

The club is covering entrance fees for next Wednesday’s senior derby, but Larimer County Park fees will be in effect for Thursday’s annual club tourney. Let’s carpool.

The tourney begins at 8 a.m. Meet at the southeast corner of the K-Mart parking lot to carpool.

We’ll leave for Flatiron no later than 7:30, so don’t be late! If you have a pass, please stop by and help.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The reason why girls so often outlive guys

Make no mistake: one of these days I may be writing about some of you like this. As that old saying goes, "I should live so long..." Bill 

Since learning about the passing of boyhood buddy Billy Grable, I have moped around in a sadness offset by slow smiles as I recall the way we used to be. I am thinking back on the Summer of ’66, when our intertwined lives were one damned crazy adventure after another.
Whatever we did that summer almost inevitably involved me, Billy, brother Paulie, our other inseparable best friend Jim, and a revolving collection of girlfriends who went on to collectively become our ex-girlfriends, wives and ex-wives. (Sadly, only Linda and my relationship has survived the intervening half century).
Time, distance and changing life circumstances combined to drag us apart, in ways that seemed impossible in 1966. To my great regret, I haven’t seen Billy since a Granite City Senior High Class of ’66 reunion back in the ‘80s. Aw man, now I really miss that kid. So does Paulie, who recalls he and I and Billy gigging for frogs in what was then known as the Hartford Canal. (Jim wasn’t along for some reason. It was likely Joyce. Or another Joyce. Or Sandy.) Anyway, the canal was an historic but sadly neglected, sewage-choked backwater downstream from a Shell Oil refinery, that dumped into the Mississippi just across from the mouth of the Missouri River.
My brother and my memories of that adventure differ. He most recalls the three of us nearly getting swept to our doom in the Mississippi River current. My brain is flooded with images of three chubby boys crammed into a two-man inflatable rubber raft, with one paddle, one flashlight, a three-pronged frog gig and, eventually, a snake. With the hindsight of half a century, yes, we probably should have had three life jackets, a second flashlight and a spare paddle. But if we’d had common sense, we wouldn’t have been bobbing around in the dark in a life raft. And we barely fit in the damned thing as it was.
In Billy’s memory, let me tell you what I think happened that warm summer night.
The raft was my first major purchase after beginning work at Poor Boy John’s discount house, plucked from the pages of the Herter’s Outfitters Catalog for the Professional Hunter and Fisherman, a 1960s precursor to Amazon. Herter’s generously described it as a two-man boat, but reality proved it would be perilous for just one of us at a time to fish from the thing. Anyway, at some point one of us, probably Billy, proposed the three of us use the raft as a platform for spearing bullfrogs, in the closest thing we had to wilderness in the St. Louis area. (The canal was pretty dicey. Historians of the era may recall that a septic tank service run by a family down the street from us on Warnock Avenue were later caught dumping raw human waste at the Hartford Canal boat ramp). It was, in short, not Walden Pond.
Anyway, I can’t even remember whether we actually captured any bullfrogs that moonless night, though it seems like we did. What I DO vividly recall is one of the Prater Brothers paddling, one holding the flashlight, and Billy hanging onto the frog gig, a short length of bamboo fishing pole attached to a small but really sharp three-pointed spear. It was way past dusk, a typical steamy mosquito-ridden Granite City evening. Street lights were either non-existent or long-ago shot out, so we drifted slowly along in scary darkness, looking for tell-tale signs of a bullfrog – two bright eyes hypnotized by the glare. As silently as we could, we approached our prey when Billy (did I mention his world-class stutter), screamed a single word that sums up the entire adventure: “S-S-S-Snake!”
The rest of that evening is an out-of-focus but otherwise vivid memory of a mindless scramble in the darkness, highlighted by a flailing paddle, flailing spear and flashlight pointed everywhere but the snake, as three over-sized friends in raft meant for two scrambled for the exit. Darned if I can tell you more about the snake. MIGHT have been a cottonmouth.
I do recall laughing about that evening with Billy at that long-ago Granite City Senior High reunion. But darned if I remember why we didn’t get together more after that, to recall that summer when we were awfully young, kinda dumb, and mostly inseparable.
So Billy’s gone now. So is his sweet girlfriend Sue. Paulie is a retired Methodist minister, while I do my best fishing-related ventures now out of a sturdy float tube. Even the Hartford Canal has amounted to something. It’s now all polished and landscaped and marked with a sign identifying it as the “Lewis & Clark National Historic Park,” commemorating a time when the Lewis & Clark Expedition camped for the winter before launching this nation’s most memorable adventure.

One of these days I’ll have to tell you the reason why Billy named his hunting dog after his future wife, and the rest of us called her “Grable’s shit-eating dog named Sue.”

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Interesting article on blue green algae problems ...

Seems like this is another one of those problems that keeps getting worse. The Colorado Springs Gazette just posted the following article on how the blue green algae situation is cropping up down there. To me, it's not just the toxic algae that's annoying; algae growth in general is out of hand. I think the aerators at the Loveland Recycle Pond have been very effective, and wonder whether they might be something to look at for River's Edge. Dragonfly in particular has been pea soup this summer. Bill

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Don’t forget Harvest Bazaar Saturday

Whether you’re a volunteer or just hungry, don’t forget the bazaar starts at 9 a.m. Saturday.

October 2019 Board meeting date changed from 21 Oct to 14 Oct


Jim Visger sent a message that the October Board meeting date is 14 Oct and the club meeting is on 15 Oct.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Annual club tournament will be Sept. 26 at Flatiron

The Loveland Fishing Club's annual club tournament will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26 at Flatiron Reservoir, the day after the Senior Fishing Derby.

Rules will be announced later; at last year's tournament at Swift Ponds the top prize went to David Koon for a 17 1/2-inch largemouth, which would be a really good trick at Flatiron, stocked only with trout.

David Koon, left, and Dan Barker with the traveling trophy.
Cooking chores for the event will be handled by Koon and Dan Barker, who won the prize for biggest non-bass of the day last year. If the menu looks a bit familiar, it may be because we'll be having food left over from the Senior Derby.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Long Draw Reservoir water levels have dropped severly

Pat Weller and I went fishing at Long Draw and Peterson reservoirs on Wednesday. We had the lake to ourselves but fish weren't biting. One fish was caught at Paterson.
The last time we were there was July 31st, when a large group were camping and fishing at N. Michigan reservoir and Ranger Lakes. Five weeks ago Long Draw was full to the brim, now the water level has dropped considerably and continues to empty out into the South Fork which eventually leads to the Poudre River.

Pat Weller at Long Draw with Rocky Mountain National Park behind him.
Photo by Rick Palmieri

Long Draw, five weeks ago these stumps were all under water. Water was up to the treeline on the other side.
Photo by Rick Palmieri
The dam on the north side of Long Draw Reservoir. Photo Rick Palmieri

Peterson Reservoir water levels have dropped too.
Both of these lakes look like a great place for float tubes or kayaks.
Photo by Rick Palmieri

Evidence that there are fish in Paterson. this guy was 9-10".
Photo by Rick Palmieri

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Horsetooth, Carter boat ramp hours cutting back

Boat ramp hours at Horsetooth and Carter reservoirs are being reduced for the fall season. Here's the schedule and a link to the Larimer County website:

Horsetooth Reservoir Boat Ramp Hours

Sept. 1st thru 30th, 2019
South Bay ramp6 AM - 10 PM, 7 days a week
Inlet Bay ramp6 AM - 10 PM, 7 days a week
Satanka rampSept. 3rd-15th
8 AM - 8 PM, 7 days a week

Sept. 16th-30th
8 AM - 8 PM, Friday, Saturday and Sunday only
Starting Oct. 1st, 2019
South Bay ramp7 AM - 7 PM, 7 days a week
Inlet Bay ramp7 AM - 7 PM, 7 days a week
Satanka rampClosed for the season
Starting Nov. 1st, 2019
South Bay ramp8 AM - 4 PM, 7 days a week
Inlet Bay ramp7 AM - 7 PM, 7 days a week

Carter Lake Boat Ramp Hours

Starting May 1, 2019
North ramp6 AM - 10 PM, 7 days a week
South Shore ramp6 AM - 10 PM, 7 days a week
North Pines ramp6 AM - 10 PM, 7 days a week

Monday, August 26, 2019

Time flies! Boat day is scheduled for 11 Sept which is only two weeks away!

Most of you are aware of how boat day works, basically sign up or let Rick know that you are willing to share your craft or want to be a rider. September is a busy month with lots of activities and is also one of the busiest time for anglers to go fishing and others to take vacations. As a result Boat day may not garner a lot of interest but then again temps should be cooling and maybe the fishing will be better too.

02 Sept----Labor Day
11 Sept ---Boat day
14 Sept ---Harvest Bazaar at Chilsons
16 Sept----Board meeting
17 Sept----Monthly meeting
25 Sept----Senior Fishing Derby

I'll have a signup sheet at Friday breakfast, time is short to get this together and we also need to have volunteers for preparing lunch again.


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

Harvest Festival Saturday at hilson

Whether you’re volunteering or just ready for a good meal, don’t forget the harvest fest Saturday, Sept. 24.

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.