Monday, December 31, 2018

Correspondence on Lonetree

The following update on Lonetree to LFC President Dave Johnson was received from Kristin Cannon of Colorado Parks and Wildlife: 

On Monday, December 31, 2018, 7:26:14 AM MST, Cannon - DNR, Kristin <> wrote:

Hi Dave,

I wanted to update you and the Fishing Club that Lonetree State Wildlife Area will be closing to public access at the beginning of January. We were unable to reach any kind of formal agreement with the metro district and the informal agreement we have been working with ends with 2018. We may still be able to work something out in the future but they need to get a few things done and come back to us. We will keep you posted on that and any other local fishing access issues. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Public access to Lonetree ending with the New Year

Well, I guess we all pretty much thought this was going to happen, but it still hurts. 

That huge residential development on the north end of Berthoud has now officially swallowed up public access to Lonetree Reservoir. Colorado Parks and Wildlife continues to hold out hope for some kind of future agreement with the Berthoud Heritage Metropolitan District on access, but you'll find the the state's announcement about the Jan. 1 closure below. 

The Metropolitan District is described in an earlier news release as a "special government entity authorized by state statute and managed by a board of directors." Not sure what that means, except the district is developing property around Lonetree including plans for a public golf course, and apparently planning to build a marina on the lake, which has been wakeless only. The state had leased the lake from Consolidated Home Supply District and Reservoir Company since the '70s.

Dec. 28, 2018: Lonetree State Wildlife Area southwest of Loveland to close to public access

LOVELAND, Colo. - Public access to the parking area and boat ramp at the Lonetree State Wildlife Area will no longer be granted beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, as a Colorado Parks & Wildlife surface lease was transferred to the Berthoud-Heritage Metro District.The surface lease for Lonetree Reservoir transferred from CPW in July 2018 to the metro district, who CPW had worked with to allow public access through the end of the year. CPW’s goal was to maintain the status quo and seek a long-term agreement to allow public fishing access. Although no agreement was reached by year-end, efforts between agencies are ongoing.

“While we are disappointed to see the Lonetree State Wildlife Area close, we remain optimistic that the public, including anglers, will have access to the reservoir in the future and that there will be other opportunities to increase fishing access to local waters,” Area Wildlife Manager Kristin Cannon said.

CPW remains open to working with the metro district to manage the fishery there and will determine the future of the parking area and boat ramp based on the best interests of the public hunting and angling community.

“The Berthoud-Heritage Metropolitan District is looking forward to continued efforts with Colorado Parks and Wildlife on providing public access and public fishing to this great reservoir,” said Berthoud-Heritage Metropolitan District Manager, Carla Hawkins, Pinnacle Consulting Group, Inc. “The Metropolitan District is in discussions with the Town of Berthoud for an expansion of the district to include a proposed marina and public access area. Unfortunately, public access and public fishing will have to wait until the expansion of the Metropolitan District is complete."

Lonetree Reservoir has not been stocked with fish since May 2017. CPW began removing fish from the reservoir in May 2018 and relocating them into Boyd Lake and Lon Hagler Reservoir.
Over 300 fish of a variety of species were salvaged from this effort last spring, including walleye, saugeye, largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie and bluegill. All walleye and saugeye along with two-thirds of the largemouth bass were sent to Boyd Lake while Lon Hagler received some largemouth and then all of the salvaged perch, crappie and bluegill.

Boyd ice fishing tourney moved to Wellington lake

The good news is they dumped a bunch of trout in Boyd in anticipation of an ice fishing tournament January 5. Other good news is, there’ll be a lot of trout still swimming around on January 6, as the tournament has been moved to a high country lake because of uncertain ice conditions.

The marina inlet is solid enough to fish, but the main lake remains mostly open.

Ice fishing at Boyd - and tournament set for Jan. 5

The club is tentatively planning an ice fishing trip to Boyd Lake next Thursday, Jan. 3, probably around 10 a.m. Details will be posted soon.

The marina inlet is frozen enough for fishing and should stay that way - but it may not be ready for the Saturday, Jan. 5 Ice Addiction tournament. Previous tournaments have drawn some big crowds.

Tightline Outdoors, sponsor of the event, just posted the following to their blog:

We’ve been fielding a lot of calls on ice conditions. As of this moment we are sticking to the plan of Boyd Lake State Park on January 5th. The weather turns cold in 5 days. However, if we do not receive or anticipate the ice conditions we need for the Boyd event, the event then rolls to Wellington Lake. All tickets will roll with the change of it happens. We will be watching the conditions daily and will give an update in a few days once we see an extended forecast.
We are also excited to announce our Title Partner of this event WilliamMRK Homes! We have worked with WilliamMRK Homes on many conservation efforts over the years and are excited they are joining us at Ice Addiction. The 1st Place Prize for this event is $5,000 CASH! You will also see prizes from Clam, Mr Heater, Jiffy, Vexilar, Bass Pro, Cabelas, Ford, Sheath, Costa, Diamond Archery, DX Lures, Eagle Claw, EGO fishing products, Vortex Optics, WorkSharp, and many more!
You will also be able to enjoy complementary Hot Chocolate, Johnson Corner Cinnamon Rolls, and Coda Coffee!

New boat ramp restrictions announced at Pueblo

It looks like boat ramp restrictions will continue to increase across Colorado because of increasing pressure from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. This week Colorado Parks and Wildlife issued a press release announcing that "boat ramp gates will be locked and lake access restricted" whenever inspection stations for Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) are closed.

A similar sounding "locked-gate policy" was implemented at Horsetooth and Carter reservoirs last summer. Previously you could have your boat inspected in advance (typically when you were leaving the lake) and launch after hours. And stay on the lakes after ANS inspection hours. You could enter if you provided proof of pre-inspection at drop-off stations.

In the case of Pueblo, where there's obviously not much boat traffic right now, the new rules are accompanied by Parks and Wildlife's plans to increase ANS inspection hours, which will reduce the negative impact. The real gorilla in the room with all of this is, "what happens next with other water affiliated in some way with Bureau of Reclamation?" In northern Colorado, water like Lon Hagler and Boedecker come to mind. The announcement is silent on this, as we enter a new year where a new fee is being imposed on boaters to cover the cost of ANS inspection.
Stay tuned, though. 

The ambitious and thus-far successful program to prevent invasive zebra and quagga mussels from spreading into Colorado exempts hand-launched, non-motorized watercraft, such as kayaks, canoes, belly boats, sailboards, rafts, float tubes, windsurfer boards and inner tubes. They're considered unlikely to be an ANS carrier. Last fall, boat ramps and ANS inspection stations at two popular impoundments, Jumbo and Turquoise, closed earlier than normal because of funding issues, and will remain closed until inspections resume sometime next spring.

Here is a link to the state's ANS inspection web page:

Following is the complete Parks and Wildlife news release, taken from its website: 

Dec. 27, 2018
Lake Pueblo boat ANS inspection hours to expand, ramps to be locked after hours
PUEBLO, Colo. – At the request of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), winter boat ramp hours at Lake Pueblo State Park will change to ensure all boats are inspected for invasive zebra and quagga mussels, known as Aquatic Nuisance Species, or ANS.
Effective Jan. 7, ramp gates will be locked and lake access restricted when ANS inspection stations are closed.
The good news for boaters is that Colorado Parks and Wildlife has committed to expanding ANS inspection hours to reduce the hours gates are locked. On Thursday, CPW secured funding from three partner agencies – Colorado Springs Utilities, Pueblo Water and the Southeast Colorado Water Conservancy District – to expand the ANS inspection hours.
So as the new locked-gate policy takes effect, CPW will open its ANS stations daily at 5 a.m., three hours earlier than before, and keep them open until 6 p.m., or two hours later each day.
CPW had been leaving the gates open 24 hours a day and allowing boats to come and go from the time ANS stations closed at 4 p.m. until they reopened at 8 a.m. CPW was operating under a drop-box system common at CPW-operated reservoirs. It requires boaters to insert in the drop-boxes written proof their boats had passed a pre-inspection process before entering the water during off hours.
But the BOR, which built Lake Pueblo in 1970-75 to provide drinking and irrigation water to southeast Colorado, was uncomfortable with the drop-box system. Invasive mussels have caused billions of dollars in infrastructure damage in neighboring states’ water systems and BOR doesn’t want the risk.
As spring arrives, CPW will revert to its traditional ramp hours. From March 1-April 14, the ANS inspection stations will operate 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Then on April 15, summer hours resume and the stations will be open 5 a.m.-11 p.m.
ANS inspection rules require all trailered or motorized watercraft must be inspected by on-site staff prior to launching and after exiting the lake. Boaters who fail to follow the protocols can be intercepted on the water or as they come off the lake. They face a citation for the violation and a fine.
“CPW’s strict inspection procedures have kept Lake Pueblo free of invasive zebra and quagga mussels,” said Monique Mullis, Lake Pueblo manager. “We are grateful to our partners for funding the extended ANS inspection hours.”
For more information about CPW’s ANS Program and the Mussel-Free Colorado Act, visit

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Looks like Front Range ice fishing underway

Drove past Boyd Lake this morning and two anglers were sitting on the extreme west end of the Marina Inlet peering into a hole in the ice.  Looks like they were drilled rather than fallen into, so it may be time for the club to find out for ourselves.

Meanwhile, Rick Palmieri checked out Douglas Reservoir north of Fort Collins, and also reports the ice looks thick enough to cut a hole through. Let's talk about it at breakfast Friday. Anyway been out? I know Norm and others were planning a Lake John outing before Christmas...

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Christmas advice from Colorado's most ethical angler

In the spirit of holiday giving, I have been sharing my thoughts on ethical fishing communications with a new generation of malleable young grand-nieces and nephews. Feel free to pass along to your own future generations...

Little Sammy prefers to be known as Sam now, and he is just now launching a career in law out in Virginia. A few short years ago, his beloved uncle Bill took Sammy fishing for bluegills at a pond near his home. After returning to a kitchen full of aunties, one of them asked the boy: “So, what did you learn from your uncle today?” Without hesitation, the little future lawyer piped up:
“He taught me how to lie about fishing.”
I should have known even then the boy was destined to a life of splitting hairs about legal stuff. But truth to tell, there is a fine line between light-hearted banter and outright disregard for truth. So as my holiday gift to young anglers and voters everywhere, here is how to tell the difference:

In Sam’s case, what he should have absorbed that day on the water was some basics of fishing communications ethics, such as:

  •      “The plural of one fish is still fish, so you can truthfully say after a near skunk, ‘Oh yeah. We caught fish.’”
  •       When you extend your hands in a time-honored manner to indicate the size of a catch, this is universally understood to be a rough approximation. Actual sizes may vary, though they are unlikely to be any longer.
  •      You can reasonably expect a truthful answer to one angling question: “Where is a good place to take my grandkids, so they can catch fish?” You may even learn specific locations, depth, baits and best times of day this way, so don’t abuse this rare candor to selfishly seek the location of a friend’s secret bluegill hole.
  •       As a youthful consumer of angling information, above all be skeptical. Anglers of Sammy’s age are naively truthful about things like location, water clarity, and accurate assessment of the number and size of a day’s catch. You can assume their uncles and aunts and grandpas are more likely to embellish.

Back in more innocent times, before Photoshop and random poaching images of other people’s fish pictures on the Internet, most people believed a cliché’ that said: “Photos don’t lie.” Truth is, that was naive even before the types of distortions you get from the wide angle lenses found on today’s smart phones.

I went fishing the other day with Dave and Norm, which explains why I’ve been thinking about the unwritten ground rules for communications within the Loveland Fishing Club (where average age now approaches 80, so we’ve had a lot of time to think about this.)

For one thing, the only time one’s fishing report must literally adhere to absolute truthiness is after fishing alone. Under such circumstances, it is easier to get away with outright deception. But there is no joy in deliberately misleading your fishing buddies, who are skeptical anyway. If you have one or two corroborating witnesses to an outing - that is, fishing buddies - they can truth check your report with a simple roll of the eyes or otherwise hint that your supposed Master Angler largemouth was really a 5-inch green sunfish. However, while obligated to add realism to any fishing conversation, they are also expected to remain reasonably silent until after a BS-er has his or her chance to properly embellish a story. Never prematurely stomp on someone else’s punch line.

Also, if you’re on the receiving end of an old timer’s tale, remember it is unreasonable to expect someone to tell you the unvarnished truth about exactly where to go fishing, or exactly what to do when you get there. On, a popular website that encourages information sharing, editors are wise and realistic enough to only ask members to share information on a lake’s current water level and temperature. Asking for more is like a spouse asking whether we have time to mow grass: such requests merely encourage otherwise honest people to blurt out something besides the unvarnished truth.

In short, remember the words of a Loveland Fishing Club member (who shall remain nameless):  My one worry about dying is, my wife will sell my fishing gear
for what I told her I paid for it.

Respectfully submitted,
Bill John Prater
Christmas 2018

Monday, December 17, 2018

15 state parks going reservation-only for camping

Boyd Lake State Park in Loveland is one of 15 parks going reservation-only for camping in 2019.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is expanding its reservation-only program after successful testing in 2018. Campers will need to reserve a spot online or by phone the day of arrival or up to six months in advance at the participating parks.
CPW is also eliminating its $10 reservation-only camping fee starting Jan. 1. Campers will still need to pay admission and per-night camping fees.
To make a reservation, visit or call 800-244-5613. CPW recommends making reservations before you arrive at the park in case of unreliable cell phone service. Campers who use a reservation-only campsite without a reservation could be ticketed.
The parks switching to reservation-only camping on Jan. 1 include:
·   Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area
·   Boyd Lake
·   Cherry Creek
·   Golden Gate Canyon
·   Highline Lake
·   Jackson Lake
·   John Martin Reservoir
·   Lathrop
·   Mueller
·   North Sterling
·   Pearl Lake
·   Ridgway
·   State Forest
·   Steamboat Lake
·   Yampa River
Lake Pueblo and Chatfield state parks will join the reservation-only program April 1. Cheyenne Mountain, Eleven Mile, Staunton, St. Vrain and Trinidad Lake state parks are already reservation-only.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Reminder: holiday meeting is 2 p.m. Tues., Dec. 18

There'll be no formal agenda for the meeting, beyond discussion of candidates for officers for 2019. 

If you want to participate in the gift exchange, get something (new - no White Elephants!) for about 10 bucks.  Wrap it up, but don't put your name on it.  We'll have a kind of raffle to decide who gets to choose their gift first.

If you're interested in serving as club vice president for 2019 (and president in 2020), contact Club President Dave Johnson or 2019 President Jim Visger. 

Get your 2019 dues to Barb

It's time to pay our 2019 dues, so consider paying up at Tuesday's holiday meeting.

Individual dues are $25 for the year. A couple's membership covering husband and wife is $30, which among other things covers the cost of the August picnic.

Please remit to club treasurer Barb Ding.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

To fish or not to fish - after breakfast Friday

Hey, if you're sitting around waiting for open water and blue skies, Friday may be your best bet until spring.  

Like the days, options are getting short. There's at least skim ice on all smaller bodies of water around Loveland, none of it ready to walk on. But we can fish pretty effectively around the Boyd Lake boat ramp, or the Carter Lake shoreline, and I see on that people are still fishing the north shore of Lon Hagler.

So bring your poles Friday and let's figure out best options. Trout are our best bet, though an occasional crappie is showing a willingness to bite...

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

New fishing and camping fees coming in 2019

Reminder, senior anglers will begin paying $8 for a license in 2019, as part of a general fee increase to fund Colorado Parks and Wildlife activities. A $25 stamp to pay for Acquatic Nuisance Species inspections also goes into effect for boats.

Partial list of fee increases for residents.
Annual Fishing License
Senior Fishing (65+)
Extra Rod Stamp
Wildlife Education Fee, Applied on Every License (except as noted)
ANS Stamp for Motorboats and Sailboats
Boat registration has no fee increase

State Parks Pass

Annual Affixed Multiple Vehicle Pass
$35 per vehicle
$40 per vehicle
Aspen Leaf Annual Pass (ages 64+)
State Parks Camping Permits

Full Hookup Campgrounds
$28-$30 per night
$32-$41 per night*
Basic Campgrounds
$18-$20 per night
​​$22-$28 per night*

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Two ice fishing newbies lose their virginity

Lake John's legendary wind was little more than a little bluster this past week, as some of Loveland Fishing Club's finest took advantage of good weather and better fishing.

Alan Jones shows off his first-ever trout caught
through the ice. 
First time ice anglers Alan Jones, a native of Jacksonville, FL, (photo at left) and Rick Palmieri both landed their first trout through the ice. Both say they're ready to go back.

Dave Boyle, left, and Pat Weller.

Norm Engelbrecht and friend.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A brief introduction to fishing through a hole in the lake

So we have a couple newbies heading onto the ice at Lake John this week, Rick and Alan, prompting me to put a few ideas together on how they might want to get started in this sport of ice fishing. 

Now I would modestly say I am close to the best ice angler in the club -- but only in the sense that I try to stand close to Norm Engelbrecht when we fish together. Norm is pretty darned good at this, but I would add that Dave Harem was probably even better. (The rascal up and died on us). Norm and Dave shared one – no, two -- common traits that made them pretty good companions on the ice:  a willingness to get out there when it’s cold and windy without whining about it too much; and a willingness to try different things to see what works on that particular day on that particular body of water.
When you’re just starting out, resist the temptation to visit Jax or Sportsman’s ice fishing shelves. You may find you're better off waiting until gentle, warm days and spring wildflowers. Just be sure to wear warm, windproof clothes and borrow whatever else you need, including hand warmers. I’m bad enough when it comes to having excessive equipment, but Merle for one could start a used tackle store. 

If you do decide to plunge in and invest, and you already have a good ultralight spinning reel, you may want to use that reel rather than pay for an ice fishing combo. Put your money into as sensitive a rod as your spouse thinks you can afford. You’ll get better equipment for your buck. Just switch your line to about 4- or even 2-pound fluorocarbon or braid designed to stay flexible when it’s really cold outside. (If you use braid, add a short fluorocarbon leader under a small, size 10 or so, barrel swivel. (Tying really fine braid to really fine fluoro under winter conditions can be a bitch. You'll find a swivel is easier to work with, and reduces line twist.) 

Anyway, for now, just get your hands on one or two ice rods.
They generally run from 24 to 33 inches long. You’ll want one with a ridiculously flexible tip section and stout backbone. (It’s harder to explain how to play fish with this kind of rig than it is to just laugh at you the first time or two you hook one of decent size. You’ll eventually figure it out. Again, you want something that helps you detect the most subtle bites you can envision. Lake trout/walleye type rods have a place in ice fishing, but they’re kind of the equivalent of a medium-heavy casting rod, and not as much fun landing a fish through a tiny hole in the ice. You want something with a really sensitive tip section, to help you detect and react to the subtle bites that can make this type of fishing such a challenge.

You begin with a hole in the ice. The trick here is to fish with someone with an auger, and bribe them with possibly unwarranted praise and an occasional cup of coffee. As winter progresses, and the ice gets thicker, you can’t beat a power auger. But early on you can get along just fine with a less expensive hand auger, by outfits like Strikemaster or Eskimo. An increasing number in the club are going to a hand auger powered by an 18-volt drill. I’ve seen them work well, and have one, but I really need a more powerful drill to make it work right. So I stick to drilling by hand, or telling the guy with a power auger how strong and good looking he is.

For Lake John, known for fast-growing, husky trout, you’ll basically use the same techniques we try on Front Range stockers:  a tiny (1/16, 1/32 oz. jig, preferably tungsten, preferably glow in the dark, with a 12- to 14-size hook. They come in all sorts of bright colors, which may attract fishermen more than fish, but hey, you never know. Sometimes changing colors really seems to help. I like hot pink, yellow/chartreuse and sometimes white. Besides the little jigs, you should try a tiny tube jig, like the Berkley Powerbait Atomic Teaser. Pink's good. You can also jig up and down with something like a Rapala Jigging Rap, which I like, or small spoons like the Kastmaster, in gold or silver.

Whatever, we generally tip the hook with one or two live wax worm or meal worms, sometimes pieces of nightcrawler or frozen raw shrimp. If the fishing's slow, go to a fresh worm every 15 minutes or so. In the past year or so, I’ve mostly migrated to Gulp Alive! or other tiny, scented plastics that have come onto the market recently, and seem to change about once a month. If those work well the day you’re fishing, you’ll find them less messy and tedious to work with. But keep wax worms handy.

Also, if you have a second rod stamp, and most of us do, you can fish in two holes about 18 to 24 inches apart.  In one you can jig it up and down like a marionette, which sometimes serves as an attractant to aggressive trout, or wiggle it ever so gently to trick the suspicious ones. In the other hole, I generally dead stick a bait – 6 to 12 inches of the bottom under a bobber. Not infrequently that’s where you get a bite, after jigging your arm off. I suspect the movement in one hole draws wary fish within range of the second, for an easy meal.

Lake John is really clear, with visibility usually 8-10 feet or more this time of year. If you lay down on the ice and cover your head and the hole, you can generally see all the way to the bottom. Myself, I have a one-man hut, and a Vexilar fish finder, which works even better for spying on our prey. They've helped me learn that I probably get twice as many trout come really close to my bait than ever commit to a bite. They’ll often pull up close to your lure, just look and look and look, and then swim away. Sometimes, rather than bite, they’ll just swat your best offering with their tails, and then swim away. 

It’s one of the reasons ice fishing can be so addictive.


Gift exchange set for holiday meeting, 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18

Dec. 18 is the club's annual holiday meeting; no formal agenda for the December.  We'll run over the possibilities for club officers, head for the cookies and coffee, and then have our annual gift exchange.

If you want to participate in the gift exchange, get something (new) for about 10 bucks.  Wrap it up, but don't put your name on it.  We'll have a kind of raffle to decide who gets to choose their gift first.

Contact Dave Johnson or Jim Visger if you're interested in being a candidate for club vice president, to serve in the 2019 calendar year.