Saturday, March 28, 2020

Is a nationwide debate about to erupt over the need to shower in a time of social isolation?

By Bill Prater
I don’t know, people; academic discussion has raged for centuries over simpler philosophical questions such as, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" As we sit at home, unable to join joyful crowds at the mall, one has to ponder: “Do we really need a good deodorant in Today’s America, when virtually no one is around to smell?”
     Let’s digress a moment. Jump back 60 years or so to the Warnock Avenue of Granite City, IL in the Fifties, when and where I grew up. Two-holder outhouses were still the norm for a few more years, a nod even then to a desperate need for social interaction. Also, trust me on this, there was an equally memorable, distinctive odor from a nearby, infamous “rendering house” a stinky place that I guess paid farmers to bring in dead horses and cows to be rendered. (I never knew exactly what that meant).

     On the other side of town, there was also a notorious stretch of Illinois Highway 3 that went right by a section of Granite City Steel that smelled so bad, everyone would roll up their car windows and literally hold our breath until we reached the far side (memo to youthful readers: in those days vehicle windows had to be physically cranked up and down , and they were down because we had no air conditioning).
     Anyway, bad as that spot was, my late Uncle Bus and Aunt May lived just a few hundred yards down the road, adjacent to the Cargill Chemical plant. Honestly, after we’d visited them for an hour or so, I can’t recall being bothered by the stench.
    My point, and I do have one, is that the human nose, like that of a catfish, is amazingly adept at tolerating noxious odors, which is how we can survive four to eight years under the same President. And growing up on a diet of Great Northern Beans. 
    So. In the grand scheme of things, and in the spirit of these times, if we are sequestered in a tight space for weeks with a loved one or two, does it really matter if we patriotically decide to save on soap, water and time?
    Now is, of course, the perfect opportunity to test such a theory. Not by me, though. Linda has the sense of a smell of a young beagle, and an equally powerful a sense of  outrage. Plus which, I plan to keep on sleeping with her. The woman can detect even minimal changes in body odor - as witnessed by my switching from a seasonal favorite Smelly Jelly scent for trout fishing to a more bass-appropriate Pro-Cure Crawdad, or occasionally, Nightcrawler. Besides, she’s getting a little testy these days, if you catch my drift.
    All of you are encouraged to try. At minimum, I am counting on an experimental contribution from Tom, or Norm, or maybe Karol - all people known for being a bit stir crazy these days, and for retaining spouses keen on contributing to the social good. 
    I close this discussion with a reminder to older readers about a massive 1980s advertising campaign for the science fiction classic, Alien:  “In Space, No One Can Hear You Scream.” Nowadays, in 21st Century America, one has to ponder: “In Isolation, Can No One Smell if You Don’t Shower?”

Here's something we didn't know about Doug Money!

From Doug Money:
I have been retired for only about three years now. Other than relaxing, enjoying the family and having more time to fish I am still working on that great retirement story or experience to share. I have shared that I am from the Chicago area and was in commercial construction. Every contractor though has that one project they are most proud of in their career. 

For me it was leading the project team from 1996 thru 1998 on construction of an underground parking garage, new lobby entrance and the Pioneer Zephyr train exhibit for the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.  

History & Architecture buffs may know that the original building that houses this museum is the last surviving major structure from the 1893 Chicago World's Exposition.

Train enthusiasts would find it interesting that in 1934 the Zephyr broke the speed record from Denver to Chicago in 13 hours.

Friday, March 27, 2020

April club meetings postponed.

Club President Jim Baxter has cancelled April's Board and General meetings, planned for the third Monday and Tuesday of the month. Hopefully we'll be back in business soon. Reminder:  our Friday breakfast gatherings are also on hold until further notice.

Soon we will simply say "Alexa, or Siri, launch the boat and get me two Walleye for dinner"

Part 1. Sharing and getting to know each other better. 

Hi, last week Jim Baxter and I were talking about how many of our club members have such varied backgrounds and experiences and we don't know much about any of that unless we have taken a road trip or a multi day fishing trip with them. That's one reason I try and move around to different seats at Friday breakfast, to give me a chance to get to know members of our club and for them to know me for better or for worse. I'm glad I've done that, it's been an easy thing to do and has been very rewarding.

Jim and I have talked a little bit about how we might get members to tell us a little or a lot about themselves in an open environment so that we might all be enriched by hearing about some of the journeys, some of the cool things we have seen or done. Many of you have been members for a long time and know quite a lot about each other already but many others of us don't and we would like to hear those stories about you.

We are kicking around a few ideas about how to do this and to make it fun. For myself I'm a bit reluctant to post anything on a blog that people outside of our club might read because they're pretty personal but I've shared some of that already with the people I've fished with. Bill Prater (great write up Bill) opened up about the loss of a good friend last year and shared that with all of us. By doing that he told us a story about himself, growing up, getting older and it touched all of us because we've all been there. More than just "Hi, my names Rick and I live in Fort Collins. Nice to meet all y'all" We could use some of this now that we can't meet together for awhile and even after we can meet what other creative ways can we have fun and share our lives with each other?

Share your ideas.Send your ideas to Jim, or Bill or Doug or me or come up with one that you can surprise all of us with. We want to know more about club members. Write something up with your spare time, long or short, share a photo with a story, tell us something about yourself we don't know. Don't worry about mispellings or "I can't write". You can send these to myself or Bill. Anyone want to be interviewed for a write up? 

OK, I'll share something about myself that some of you already know and use that as a segue into a new product on the market or rather what we call connected products or integration or synergy or (I'm searching for a word I used to know).

Part 2. Sharing a small part of who I am
I'll admit I'm a nerd when it comes to anything that looks cool or a tool that is really slick or a new scientific discovery or invention. I used to know how to use a slide rule (sort of) because it was cool. Heck, I send Tom Miller emails about cool tools ( that I'm looking at just because I want to know the temp and wind speed when I'm ice fishing. It's just a small part part of who I am and what stitches me together.

I like history, science, archaeology (Speaking of which did you know that the new iPad has a built in LIDAR) if you don't know what LIDAR is I'll be glad to share that with you and the impact it's had on archaeology), gardening, reading, fishing, learning, mechanics, fixing things, optics, movies, the list goes on. I'm a Scanner. (look that quote up on the internet and a book by Barbara Sher).
And, I like to share things that I think others might find interesting. Here in this forum that usually has a connection to fishing in the form of stories, news, pictures, or maybe a Darwin award here and there especially if it's connected to fishing like Norm on the edge of the ice up in Laramie. So today's new product sharing is in Part 3.

Part 3. The new product synergies.
Sometimes it's about using old tools in new ways.
Fishing certainly has come a long way. As a relative rookie I am always impressed by the knowledge gained by years of experience, learning, paying attention and researching that some of our members have gained through the years. With such a large compendium of knowledge who needs a fish finder or a shallow stake anchor system (dual by gosh) to keep us in place or $4500 chart plotters connected to trolling motors that read lake contours to keep us in 20' of water along the shoreline?

I often think I do and who among us hasn't dropped a few coins (or a lot) to get the latest fishing marvel that marketing tells us we need? How many of us have tackle boxes full of stuff we haven't used in years, all things that promised THIS would catch more fish?  We say "I need to clean that tackle box out" but we rarely do because you never know when we might need those secret weapons, those magic bullets that used to catch fish.

So here's something new on the market. Lowrance, ANGLR and Abu Garcia have given us the ability to connect our fishing rod and a chart plotter to capture data. You can read about it here,  Below is the beginning of the announcement.

Tulsa, Okla. — ANGLR, Lowrance® and Abu Garcia®, announce the successful collaboration between the three brands to blend their cutting-edge technologies to create a powerful new way to plan, record and relive fishing adventures – all while using precise data to catch more fish. Giving anglers a previously unavailable level of control, the ANGLR app acts as a bridge between the new Abu Garcia Virtual™ Rod and compatible Lowrance chartplotters/fishfinders. This new functionality lets users privately capture key fishing data with a click of a button – without the need to stop fishing to access navigation displays, logbooks or mobile devices.

With all of the devices getting more and more interconnected I really don't think we are far off from being able to talk into our cell phone and ordering up fresh fish for dinner. We can already beam images from anywhere to our tv's or phones. We can see the fish follow lures and get hooked .We can remote control our boat. We can say we caught those fish can't we?  We're really good fishermen. Look at that catch!

"Hey Siri, beam us up to the moon will you? I want to see how far I can cast across that crater".

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Fish Explorer on fishing during the stay-at-home order

There's a lot of uncertainty these days on what we can ethically do during the pandemic, including that most vital retiree past time, fishing. Fish Explorer Executive Editor Matt Snider outlines the Colorado situation in a blog post Thursday. The situation may change over time; New Mexico, among other states, has basically told anglers to postpone fishing until further notice. Here's a link to Matt's report:

Can I go out fishing with a stay-at-home order?

If you’re an eager angler, and I assume you are because you’re reading this, then you probably know the answer to this.  The answer is yes.  So long as you adhere to social distancing recommendations, you can be outside recreating. [edit: keep in mind that cramming with a friend or friends into a car or small boat would not be considered good social distancing.
Matt's full article can be found here:

Recommendation for club members on enforcing social distance!

The ever-thoughtful Walt Graal points out that your typical spinning rod is 6-foot in length, making it the ideal tool for enforcing social distance. Great idea! I would only add that, especially around small children, you should always use barbless hooks. Be safe out there, people.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

CO Youth Outdoors postpones Maverick fundraiser

Many club members have volunteered every spring for CYO’s annual fund-raiser skeet sheet. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to continue that tradition, but our friends have postponed the event until fall. Here’s the note posted on the Website:

After reviewing the situation we all have before us associated to the COVID 19 challenges, the Board of Trustees along with staff have made the decision to postpone the 2020 Maverick to the new date of September 11th and 12th 2020. Please email if you have any questions. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

An angler at home with their spouse

Linda and I are approaching a 7th day of isolated marital bliss. I have to tell you, in all that time scarcely a harsh word has come between us. Though we are legendary lovebirds, in the pre-viral world, gentle Linda was known to voice an occasional opinion about ways Bill could improve himself . You know. Make a good spouse even better. You know. Nag.

While I am known for a willingness to overlook spousal shortcomings, Linda has kinda needed work on that aspect of an otherwise flawless personality, if you catch my drift. These days, though? As I said, there has been scarcely an intemperate word in an entire week of alone time.

“Why is this?” you may ask. Well, I have a theory, along with a way of evaluating that theory, one at least as valid as the way our nation’s leaders want to test scary experimental drugs.

Here it is:

I have a long-held but mostly unspoken theory that the bulk of all marital disagreements in this world stem from a single source: backseat driving.

In the Prater Household, in 51-plus years, scarcely a day has gone by without Linda giving into an irresistible, passenger seat temptation to describe a better way for me to slow down, to watch out for that driver on the left, or find the quickest route to the damned grocery store. In the past week, though, our one lone, brief trip to that grocery store yielded only a single startled gasp from the passenger seat. And back in the home, alone again? Only continued good cheer, camaraderie, and occasional spontaneous sex, the kind that in earlier days might have yielded a third Prater daughter. Coincidence? I think not.

As I said above, we have a unique opportunity to verify this theory: other Loveland Fishing Club spouses can simply, bravely, describe their own backseat driver-driven experiences. And eventually, at Friday morning breakfast at Perkins, we can again share those insights.

Be cautious, though, guys. As I say, this is only speculation on my part, like our President’s hunch that everything will be back to normal by Thursday. Like White House theories on pandemic panaceas, this theory could be outright wrong - or mutating over time. Ominously, just this morning, I heard sweet Linda exclaim: “For God’s Sakes! It’s been seven days now! Change your underwear!”

That sounds dangerously close to harsh words.

More later. Prater.

Sportsman's Warehouse Buys Two Field & Stream Stores

While the presence of Scheels close by has impacted sales at our local Sportsman's Warehouse it's clear that the company has been doing well and expanding into other markets. More information can be found at

 One of North America’s major suppliers of fishing tackle, Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings, has bought two Field & Stream locations from Dick’s Sporting Goods.
It has paid $5m for inventory and assets and will sublease the two locations at Crescent Springs, KY and Kalamazoo, MI, which will be rebranded as Sportsman’s Warehouse.
The acquisitions are part of its strategy of growing by expanding its store network in strong markets with well-established customer bases. In October last year it acquired eight Field & Stream stores in Pennsylvania (three), New York (two), North Carolina (two) and Michigan.
Jon Barker, CEO of Sportsman’s Warehouse told US-based digital news source, SBG Update: “The original acquisition of the Field & Stream stores has proved to be a very good investment. A critical component of its success has been the passionate associates and managers who joined us as part of the acquisition.
“We are excited to add another two stores and their team members. The current transaction is similar to the previous one and we anticipate a strong reception to the Sportsman’s brand in the two new markets.”
Sportsman’s Warehouse currently operates 104 stores in 27 states. It has announced a total of five new stores for 2020, including the two new Field & Stream outlets, with more expected to be announced in the near future.

Invasive Mussels Can Survive Wyoming Winters

Invasive Mussels Can Survive Wyoming Winters
This is an article found online called FishingWire. It really calls to attention the fact that we need to take pay attention and clean our watercraft properly to ensure that we don't spread zebra, quagga mussels or invasive plant species.

Aquatic invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels are tiny but resilient. Once introduced, eradicating them from a water source is extremely difficult — if not impossible. Luckily, Wyoming is still mussel-free. But if the invasives ever are transported into the state, the harsh winters and freezing temperatures would hardly slow their ability to persist.

Research shows mussels are impacted by temperature and will die if exposed to either of the extreme ends of the thermometer. However, freezing temperatures may only kill a trivial amount. Mussels attached above the waterline to structures like docks, rocks or boats might die if exposed to freezing temperatures for three days. But, freezing isn’t a dependable way to kill a mussel.

For boaters, mussels surviving the winter onboard their watercraft is rare but possible. Attached mussels can survive up to 30 days out of the water if the temperature is warm enough, and longer if they have a little water. Further surprising, recent research from the University of Idaho showed juvenile mussels can survive in boat motors after winterized with antifreeze.

AIS specialists know mussels have an upper temperature limit and use that to their advantage. Larval mussels can’t survive in water more than about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. So, in Wyoming, boats that require decontamination are treated with hot water. Specialists spray the outside with 140-degree water and flush motors with 120-degree water. Living mussels die in about 10 seconds.

Boaters should follow the clean, drain, dry processes each time they use their boats. It’s crucial, and the law, to have your boat inspected before launching.
Josh Leonard
Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Day 5 at the Prater Household: basement cleaning update

So far we’ve moved stuff from the unfinished part of the basement into the space where Bill was supposed to be watching March Madness basketball. So far we’ve stayed away from where I hide my fishing stuff...

Friday, March 20, 2020

Day 4 of self-imposed isolation of the Prater Household...

WARNING to other home-bound anglers:  This may be my final update. Linda just looked up from her knitting and said: “This is a GREAT time to clean the basement...”

Colorado Parks and Wildlife will be waiving fees for changing and/or canceling camping reservations until further notice.

CPW has updates for Coronovirus on their website and you can also sign up to get customized alerts (CPW eNews) for fishing, hunting, etc on a general basis.

CPW Coronovirus updates

CPW eNews: 

Another point of confusion was resolved by the good people at Boyd State Park for ANS requirements for a kayak or inflatable pontoon. Regulations clearly spell out that any kayak with a sail or trolling motor needs to be registered and have an ANS inspection. The same holds true for an inflatable pontoon/belly boat. I was told by kayak shops that as soon as you trailer a kayak it then requires ANS inspection as well. What about trailered pontoons? 

The answer is that IF YOU PUT THE TRAILER IN THE WATER TO LAUNCH the vessel then you need an ANS inspection for the trailer. If you are just using the trailer for transport, as one of our members did to the Riverside Ponds, then nothing is required. 

Happy Fishing!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Day 3 of self-imposed isolation

Day 3 of self-imposed isolation for the Prater Household...

During these challenging times of social distancing, here are two new things I have learned about my lovely spouse of 51 years. You may find them useful:

  1. Even with logic on my side, do not point out to Linda that her Dragon's Hoard of "fat quarter" quilt fabric would be a potential substitute for our dwindling supply of toilet paper.
  2. She is also not nearly as understanding about ice fishing bait pucks in the refrigerator when she finds out what I keep in them. (Especially when I've left them in there a bit too long) (And for God's sake, and the sake of your marriage, only refer to them as "waxies," or "larvae." Never refer to "spikes" by their more technically accurate name, "maggots."  

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

JIm and grandson Joe light up Grey’s Reef rainbows

Jim reports he and grandson caught big trout at Grey’s Reef in bunches Tuesday, averaging 10 trout an hour between 15 and 22 inches. It was downright balmy by Wyoming standards, temperature in the 50s and winds up to 15 mph. He’s hoping to organize a club trip this time in 2021.
Joe holds he and grandpa’s double.

Just one more way I’m making the club a kinder, gentler place...

As we go through these early days of enforced social distancing, please share your learning experiences with the rest of the club. I’ll start:

This probably won’t help your grandkids. But whenever you are on the verge of saying or hearing something likely disruptive to the household, simply reach behind both ears and firmly turn off the hearing aids. And again, let the rest of us know whether this helps keep you safe in these trying times. Bill

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

An aging introvert calmly embraces social distancing

By Bill Prater

Authorities are warning everyone to avoid crowds, but anglers have never been fond of others getting too danged close while we're trying to fish.

The average crowd-loving American is going bonkers, faced with the spectre of closed signs on bars, unhappy people lined up for carryout at restaurants, and no department store clearance sales. Without question, extroverts make up the bulk of the hordes we see swarming into grocery stores; truth be told, not so much for the opportunity to buy more toilet paper as for the chance to crowd together in a fine, shared misery.

This is just a note to the extroverts of the world, advising you not to worry overmuch about introverts like me. 

Were it not for the likelihood of horrifying illness, and the pandemonium and financial ruin around us, “social distancing” would be something introverts have (quietly of course) longed for our entire lives. Others moan in collective misery as recommended maximum crowd sizes drop from 250 to 50 to 10 to the current one or two trusted soulmates. We who have always avoided big birthday parties and tiny workplace cubicles are feeling oddly liberated.

I know; I am generally viewed as one who staged mass meetings as a communications guy in Corporate America, and now organizes things like group trips for the Loveland Fishing Club. Again, truth be told, I did that kind of work for a living, but really didn’t like it. And I much prefer fishing in solitary, or at most with two or three close buddies. Extroverts, I find, will take a perfectly good loner sport like fishing and immediately start to organize tournaments. I prefer to catch my fish, admire his or her slimy good looks, and quietly ease her unharmed back into the water. No public weigh-ins necessary.

Extroverts, the folks who truly suffer in isolation, have us quiet people vastly outnumbered. We are beginning to see reports of shutdown-related overcrowding at national parks like Zion. With group activities closing down, people are said to be risking ruined health by packing into the visitor centers and squeezing onto shuttle buses. For God’s sakes, people, just park at a trailhead and walk away!

And it may get worse. Over the weekend, the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department closed all that state’s State Parks. Surely this is a time to throw the gates open wider and tell people to spread out in the open air. New Mexico’s Department of Game and Fish is also advising “those choosing to participate in fishing activities to practice social distancing and avoid interacting with large groups.” 

Well, yeah. The Loveland Fishing Club won’t meet as a group for quite awhile. And me personally,  I am selfishly beginning to worry. With all these business and school closings, I may soon find way too many new anglers venturing everywhere that remains open, angling for my fish.

Others now hoard toilet paper. Long before the pandemic, I cleverly tucked away enough jigheads, Z-man plastic fish baits and Gulp products to last me through the Apocalypse and beyond. I just need somewhere quiet to use them.
So, please don’t fret on my behalf over the sudden threat of mandatory peace and quiet; it is one of a limited number of positive things I see as my 401K falters but the water begins to slowly warmer. 

Here is the question we should be asking ourselves: with local ponds at about 42 or 43 degrees right now, can the bass spawn be far away?

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Ouch. New Mexico shutting state parks monday

Not sure of the reasoning, but just saw this news out of New Mexico...

EL PASO, Texas (KSTM) — Starting Monday, all New Mexico state parks will be closed in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has directed the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department to close all New Mexico state parks and cancel all events through April 9.
The closure could be extended if needed.
EMNRD sais there will be law enforcement presence at all parks to “ensure the protection of natural resources.”
Visitors with overnight camping reservations will be issued a full refund.

Mon Board meeting and Tues general meetings cancelled

Also, we’re cancelling Friday morning breakfasts at least through March.

President Jim Baxter says the board will continue to assess the situation over time, and hopes to reschedule the planned day of fishing at Colorado Youth Outdoors’ Swift Ponds.

So stay safe, and don’t stop fishing. Surely even really, really big crowds of hungry fish won’t be contagious.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

New Custom LFC coffee mugs are in!

A limited number of custom coffee mugs with the Loveland Fishing Club logo are available to club members for purchase.

Based on input from the February meeting, retired Navy veteran Ron Rodgers has created a dozen travel mugs for us, at a cost of  $16 each, a dozen camping style mugs at $12 and four ceramic mugs at $6, added as an option because someone requested a microwaveable option. 

They will be available at cost from Bill Prater until supplies are exhausted, first come, first served. If we hold the March meeting at Swift Ponds Tuesday as planned, you can get them there, If you can, please bring exact change or a check.

Here’s what they look like (please forgive the slight imperfection; I, uh, didnt get it corrected. Hey, I’m in the high risk group).

March Board meeting moved to Perkins

With Chilson Center closed due to you know what, the March Loveland Fishing Club Board meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Perkins. The meeting is open to all members.

The general meeting is scheduled to be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Colorado Youth Outdoors (Swift Ponds near Windsor), but the board will decide at Monday's meeting whether it should be cancelled. We'll let you know as soon as possible.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Updated maps for Next months General Meeting on March 17th is at Swift Ponds (Colorado Youth Outdoors)

Next months General Meeting on March 17th is at Swift Ponds (Colorado Youth Outdoors). Chilson's Senior Center is unable to host due to a large celebration. 
LFC club members are invited to fish at the Rainbow Hole (see second map) before and after the meeting. The meeting will be held at Richardson Hall. Meeting time will be the same as usual at 2:00 PM.

From Loveland take 392 East or Crossroads Blvd East to Centerra Parkway and travel north. That road will change names from Centerra to N Fairground Ave and finally to S Co 5 until you get to Ketcher Rd. Turn west and you will see the gate to Swift Ponds.
From Fort Collins go to East Harmony and then turn south on Co 5.
If you get lost you can call the CYO office number at 970-663-0800

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Where to fish while awaiting the Apocalypse...

Lest we get in a rut, it’s time to ponder where and how the heck we’ll be fishing in the rest of 2020.

This time of year, we’re held back in places by the weather. Front Range ice fishing was short this winter, but open water awaits. For fishing through a hole, from now to ice off we’re pretty much limited to the mountains, North Park and the plains of south central Wyoming. 

Open water options along the Front Range will expand steadily as temperatures rise. Someone needs to give us a fishing report from Boyd (boating is open, and the lake is ice free everywhere but the Marina Inlet. We’ve got decent options at St. Vrain, Rivers Edge and the Recycle Pond, and Dixon is typically one of the  first small lakes around here to offer warm water species options. Carter and Flatiron also provide decent open water options for trout. There has been talk, which I strongly endorse, of getting a jump on the Horsetooth smallmouth season by launching float tubes in Marina or South Bay inlets, but right now those probable hotspots are annoyingly frozen over.

Newbies who want to test their mettle should consider joining the club’s traditional ice-out trek to the Delaneys west of Walden, for the chance of a personal best big trout. And now that Norm Engelbrecht and Rick Palmieri have invested in out-of-state annual licenses for Wyoming, we can expect them to push the rest of us to help them with their search for at least one damned Wyoming fish. Where else up there might we go?

Carter and Horsetooth are expected to open to boating around April 1; the limiting factor there is the admission fee and additional fee for your boat. Walleye anglers, pay close attention to talk of trips East to Jumbo and North Sterling. And we may want to give John Martin another try. Our last effort got some of us blown off the lake by high winds.

Still looking East, I’m thinking we should try Stalker Pond outside Wray, and maybe McConaghey or another Nebraska water or two. I’ve studied the maps and Google Earth for a couple years now and thought, “Why haven’t we ever tried Rock Creek Recreation Area in Southwest Nebraska?” I hear there's camping, good clear water, it's remote enough from any town to be remote enough, and the state runs a hatchery right down the road.

So, where else might we plot a road trip? I’ve long lusted at the thought of the Sand Hill lakes near Valentine, Neb., and fell hard last spring for a gin-clear Ute reservation lake near Pagosa Springs, but those both involve a long drive. Any takers? 

Whatever. Remind yourselves that we are retired now, so we've got the time, and can save money by carpooling. Where should we go? 

Send Bill an e-mail by clicking here. Or Rick by clicking here.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Want to try a Grey Reef float?

Jim Roode and his grandson are planning to float Grey Reef in Wyoming on Tuesday, March 17th, and as he says, it “would be fun to have others make the float.”

Winter Rates are $375 per boat. Here's the link Contact Jim at Jim

Boyd open for boating, North Sterling, Jackson hopefully by March 14

With spring inching closer, some of the warmer-weather outdoor activities will begin to pick-up in the coming days and weeks. Here's Colorado Parks and Wildlife update on projected openings to campgrounds and boating at its Northeast Region parks and state wildlife areas.

Boyd Lake State Park kicked it all off for the season by opening its boat ramp at 8 a.m. Friday, March 6. It’s aquatic nuisance species (ANS) inspection station hours will run from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the month of March, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in April and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. from May through the remainder of the summer.

A dozen or more boats reportedly hit the water Friday, including a couple wake boats.

Remember to get your boat inspected prior to launch, check your lifejackets and boat plugs.

Jackson Lake State Park anticipates being open to boating by March 15, depending on weather and ice. It was scheduled to open on March 1, but because ice was still on the lake the opening day was pushed back. It’s northern campgrounds and shower houses will open April 1.

North Sterling State Park anticipates opening to boating around March 14, depending on weather and ice. Its south campgrounds (Inlet Grove and Chimney View) will open for the season on March 27. The swim beach will open around May 12, depending on water temperatures.

Barr Lake State Park’s boat ramp and 3D archery range will open on Saturday, April 4.

St. Vrain State Park’s Coot, Kestrel, and Pelican campgrounds are now open for the season.

Chatfield and Cherry Creek State Parks have not established opening dates for boating yet, those will be dependent on weather and ice.

Jumbo Reservoir State Wildlife Area will open to boating on April 17 and close the season on Oct. 18.

Be sure to call the park or area office you plan on visiting in advance to check on current conditions.

Learn more about boating, camping or other outdoor activities by visiting For more information on mandatory aquatic nuisance species inspections, please visit

Always check with your destination reservoir before going to verify hours of operation.

Friday, March 6, 2020

UPDATE LODGING SUGGESTION FOR Annual Club Walleye Trip To Jumbo Reservoir May 12-13

This years Annual Club Walleye Trip To Jumbo Reservoir is scheduled for Tuesday/Wednesday May 12-13
Norm Englebrecht is the Wrangler for this trip. A sign up sheet is available at the monthly club meetings or at Friday breakfasts. You can also call Norm at 970-685-0566.
Last year almost everyone caught their limit and weather was great. People caught their limits from shore as well as from a boat.

Jumbo Reservoir is close to Sedgewick, CO east of Sterling and is about 150 miles from Loveland. The easiest route is east on HWY 34 to I-76 which will get you pretty darn close to the reservoir.

Barb Ding notes that the Antique Inn in Sedgewick is a great place to stay - it is $40 per person - call Lupe at 970-463-9932 for reservations. 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Winter belly boating

By Bill Prater

With the water around here warming slowly, this may be a good time to consider whether to get out there and fish from a float tube.

Since I wrote a few weeks ago about the rewards of mid-winter, open water fishing, several have asked whether it’s really possible to fish from a float tube as soon as a little ice opens up, and whether you can avoid hypothermia and general freezing of the nether regions. The answer to both questions is “yes,” but I’ll leave it to you and your spouse or Mama to say whether you should. I wouldn’t recommend it to the cold-natured or the belly boating beginners, but you don’t have to be an Inuit to do this, either.
Prepping the float tubeYou might think your little boat will lose air over the course of the day, but advance planning should keep that from happening. If you fill your tube in a warm garage and then take it out in the cold open air, it will start to collapse. Pump the thing up in an unheated area, keep it in the cold on the ride to the pond, check it before launch and top it off if needed. If you start fishing at mid-morning, the water temperature is usually going to be stable and the air is as cold as it’s likely to get. If anything, your tube may get firmer as the day progresses. If you fish well into evening, as the air cools you may have to stop and pump your ride back into shape. Dressing for success. All kinds of expensive, waterproof, windproof gear is available these days, along with thick neoprene waders and battery-powered, heated socks. They work fine, but I prefer to save my scarce retiree dollars for fishing gear. Here’s how I stay warm enough for three- to four-hours of fishing at a stretch:

This time of year, we’re mostly talking about the pursuit of trout in lowland lakes and ponds. But with early spring on the horizon, you can explain to spouses and other skeptics that it’s also good prep for early season bass and crappie. You probably won’t catch many if any of those in 39 degree water. But gradually, those other species will start develop a prespawn appetite too. They’ll start showing up occasionally at the other end of your fishing line, and you’ll know you can try other tactics.

You figure out baits and such;  let’s just talk about how to keep warm when fishing where you can reach out and pick your jig out of  the ice. It should go without saying that you need as stable a fishing platform as possible, and for at least the first time or two, don’t try this by yourself. It’s embarrassing when your buddy sees you stumble from your belly boat in warm weather; it’s an abrupt end to the day if you get wet when it’s 40 degrees.

I have a sweet little backpackable belly boat, but it stays in the garage until the arrival of much warmer weather. (In it, my butt drags in the water.) My fishing buddy Jim has a big old external frame pontoon boat equipped with oars and a trolling motor, but leaves that gear at home this time of year in favor of flippers and hip boots. He’s got a wheel that makes it easy to push that heavy craft to the water’s edge and back again. 
I rely on a sturdy float tube that weighs about 12 pounds. It’s an older model with an inflateable seat; newer foam seats keep you higher off  the water. I make up for it by adding a  life saver cushion. 

If it's too damned cold, stay home or fish from shore until it warms up. For me, it’s okay to get out when it’s 35 degrees or so outside, with reasonably calm wind and likely warming into the ‘40s.

As the old saying goes, dress in layers. I start with medium-weight long johns, top and bottom, and add fleece waders with a strap at the bottom of each leg, loved by fly fishermen. Add white liner socks and sturdy wool socks, preferably ones that reach near the knee. I know neoprene is warmer, but I get by just fine with breathable, chest-high, stocking foot waders, with fleece pockets to occasionally warm the hands. I don’t bother with foot warmers, and my regular wading boots keep my feet warm enough. (I thing the boots add warmth). Add a heavyweight wool shirt, a hooded windbreaker if it’s going to turn nasty, and a wading belt and life jacket.

A wool hat with ear flaps, and waterproof fishing gloves complete the ensemble. You might add chemical hand warmers; I throw a couple in with my soft plastic baits to help keep them supple in the cold. 
Since it should be above freezing when you’re out there, line or guide freeze shouldn’t be an issue; I stick to an ultralight rig with braided line and fluorocarbon leader. Everyone is different, so please don’t take this as gospel, and be overly cautious out there. I have a pleasant plumpness about me that probably shields me from leg cramps when left in cold water too long, for example, and a shocking lack of common sense. You may not have either of those advantages.

Using barbless hooks and a landing net makes it much easier to release fish without getting hands overly wet, the one chill factor guaranteed to bring your cold weather outing to a chilly halt. Bring along an old towel, preferably two, to help keep your hands dry.

Pick an overly safe place to launch, quit before you get cold, and if you’ve never hopped into a belly boat before, wait until warmer weather to give this a try.

Good day on a cold pond

While the rest of the crew battled valiant but kinda scrawny stockers Wednesday, Jim Clune quietly sat atop his pontoon and caught three big brood rainbows.

To prove it to the more skeptical among us, Jim took some movies with his cell phone, but for some danged reason we can see them on his cell phone but the files can't be viewed anywhere else. Damned 21st Century technology. I'll testify, though:  they looked pretty fat and healthy. One was 19 1/2 inches, another 21 1/4.

So let's go fishing again soon. I hear Norm and Rick P are up at the Laramie Lakes today, but I also hear it's supposed to be pretty windy up there. We should hear all about it at breakfast Friday.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Obituary information on Ann K. Higgs

Ann Kara Higgs, 80, loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and caregiver passed away peacefully on February 27, 2020 surrounded by her family. 

Service information is not yet available.

Ann was born on June 28, 1939 in LaPorte, Indiana to Eloise (Krueger) and Ogden Jarvis. Ann attended school in Michigan City, Indiana where she met the love of her life Charlie, longtime member of the Loveland Fishing Club. Ann and Charlie were married on June 12, 1959 and moved to Ann Arbor, where Charlie attended the University of Michigan. During their 60 years of marriage, Ann and Charlie lived in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Colorado. You can view the complete obituary by clicking on the link below

Speaker topics for 2020

Here the tentative speaker topics for 2020 Loveland Fishing Club meetings and the name of the member responsible for those speakers:

Month Topic and Host

  • March Walleye fishing, Dan Barker
  • April        State Wildlife Areas, Ray Park
  • May         City parks, Tom Miller
  • June         Lakes around the state, Tom Miller
  • July         Fishing with Wayne, Wayne Baranczyk
  • August Club picnic
  • Sept         Fish Explorer, Bill Prater
  • October Larimer County parks, Dave Johnson
  • Nov        Open
  • Dec        Holiday party

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Surely boat ramps will be open soon

Okay, several of northern Colorado's most stalwart anglers were still haunting the receding edges of Boyd Lake ice on Sunday, but the more cautious among us are ready for Front Range open water.

Tom Miller, after visiting with Dennis Kelsey at Rivers Edge Friday, took the tour of Boyd and Carter lakes to see if he could get information about opening dates for boats.

At Boyd, he says, "I saw that the Marina is still ice bound, but the ramp was free of ice. The courtesy dock is on the parking lot, lined up and ready to go down the ramp (when it’s time)." He stopped by the office and reports "the lady there suggested that they are looking at opening on March 1." That ship has obviously sailed. With the ice still lingering around the marina, it is most likely that opening will be at least a week away.

The Boyd website today just says "to be determined when Boyd Lake will be opening to boating." Acquatic nuisance inspection hours in March will be 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

At Carter, Tom found patches of ice floating mid lake, unusual for that lake.
Molly at the Bison Center says boating is not expected to begin until some time in April, the question mark being availability of ANS inspectors.