Friday, October 30, 2020

They're calling him "Fish Slayer"

Or at least, that's what Rick Golz is calling himself these days on his Google Photos site, after scoring this classy trout at Carter Lake Thursday. 

The big mama is believed to be one of a number of big brood fish rescued by Colorado Parks and Wildlife at the fish hatchery up Poudre Canyon in advance of the Cameron Peak fire. That black stuff on her is ash from the fire still floating on the surface of the lake.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Let's fish Carter Lake Thursday

Editor's Note:  sorry if this gets to you late. I tried sending it as an e-mail but it looks like it got bounced for some mysterious Google reason. Bill 

Let's meet at 9 a.m. in the vicinity of the Northeast boat ramp.

I'm going to bring the float tube, but you're welcome to fish from the bank. Hopefully this cold weather has drawn the fish in shallow. Gonna be a bit chilly but winds are supposed to be 2 to 3 mph. 

Questions? Anyone hit the lake lately? Give me a call at 970-988-9174 

Sportsmen’s expo canceled for 2021

Haven’t seen anything about other outdoor shows yet, but Colorado Parks and Wildlife says the Denver stop of the International Sportsmen’s Expo has been scrubbed for 2021. They do plan to return Jan. 6-9, 2022. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Have to cancel ice-up trip to North Park Wednesday

I knew we were in trouble this morning as I drove past Westerdoll Lake and watched a dozen geese standing on the middle of the pond. Then Walt called with the news that he'd spoken with a guy at the Walden Fly Shop, who reported temperatures hit 22 below last night and the Delaneys were about one-third iced over. Wind chill there hit about minus 45, which is kind of cold, even for Norm.

For those of you packing to join us for a day trip Wednesday, I guess we can watch some old Bill Dance episodes. 

Meanwhile, Larimer County is closing the Carter and Horsetooth boat ramps today and Wednesday but hoping to reopen Thursday.  But after a two-month closure due to the Cameron Peak Fire, 

Colorado Highway 14 has reopened between north of Fort Collins and Walden. (We had planned to take the long way to Walden, through Laramie)

While fire activity in the immediate area has diminished, which allowed for the opening, CDOT crews will still need to clear some debris from the shoulders and do other road work to get the road ready for the winter snow season. 
CDOT is strongly encouraging people NOT to be on the road unless necessary. All forest areas accessible from CO 14 are closed now due to the fire danger.

It's supposed to warm up a bit over the next few days; I'm thinking Rivers Edge should thaw out. And if we can get our float tubes out, there have to be some hungry fish waiting by the aerators. I can't believe I have spring fever already. 
Let me know if you're interested. Bill 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Madison River Angler Rescue Reminds Wading Fishermen to Follow Safety Precautions

 From The FishingWire, 

Recreationists of all experience levels should take water-safety precautions 

WEST YELLOWSTONE – By the time Mark Bromley came to a stop, his strength had been almost entirely absorbed by the cold current pulling him downstream.  

His waders were full of water. Fly fishing line was twisted and tangled around his body, and breathing was painful. All he could do was hold on to the root of an overhanging shrub while keeping his eyes, nose and mouth out of the water.  

“I was just beat. Totally, totally beat,” Bromley recalled. “I couldn’t move.” 

Such an outcome was not in the forecast for the day, which started out as an enjoyable fishing experience on the Madison River in July. Bromley, his nephew and his nephew’s wife were fishing at Raynold’s Pass Fishing Access Site, about 30 miles northwest of West Yellowstone. This was a favorite spot for Bromley’s family that they visited regularly. 

Also at the site that day were two fisheries staff from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Dan Cook and Colin Dougherty were spraying weeds at Raynold’s Pass and had seen Bromley and his companions walk down to the river.  

The three anglers decided to wade across a narrow channel to an island in the river. It was the kind of maneuver Bromley had done many times. With years of experience wade angling, kayaking, canoeing and working on the Columbia River, he was always cautious on the water, especially in rivers. So the group held hands and used wading staffs as they worked their way across.  

Then in sequence, they each lost their footing and were overtaken by the swift-moving water. The group became spread out, and Bromley’s companions eventually recovered themselves along the bank. By then, however, Bromley was out of sight.  

Cook and Dougherty were working close to the riverbank when they heard shouting. From a distance, they could see Bromley’s nephew getting out of the water and gesturing downstream. Cook and Dougherty dropped their equipment and ran to look for whoever else was still in trouble.  

The farther the current carried Bromley, the more his situation worsened. He tried to hold on to two fly rods as he drifted, but that quickly became unmanageable as he got tied up in fly line, a hook got lodged in his finger and the tether of his fishing net wrapped around his neck, choking him as his head bobbed in and out of the water.  

“I didn’t have control of anything, frankly,” Bromley said. “Because I was wearing a wading belt, my waders were initially full of air. So my feet were up, and my head was down. I was trying to keep my head above water and get a breath here and there, but mostly I was underwater.” 

Bromley exhausted himself trying to regain control and get to shore. Eventually he floated into a shallow area of the river near the bank and grabbed hold of an overhanging shrub, almost 500 yards from where he fell in.  

Cook and Dougherty found him there, and together, they dragged him out of the water. They helped remove Bromley’s waders, which, by then, were full of water. They removed the fly line tangled with pieces of broken fly rod. Bromley was conscious, but in pain.  

Dougherty had previous medical training from military service, and after an initial assessment, he and Cook decided to call an ambulance. Cook walked up the hill to make the call and bring medical responders in to where Bromley was waiting with Dougherty. Cook and Dougherty also cared for Bromley’s two family members, who were shaken by the ordeal.  

“Dan and Colin saved all three of us. They saved me directly. Clearly, I could have drowned,” Bromley said. “They went above and beyond. I can’t thank them enough.” 

After spending the night in Madison Valley Medical Center in Ennis, Bromley was released and able to continue fishing on the Madison River with his family before traveling home.  

Reflecting on the experience, Cook and Dougherty said they feel fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time, and that other factors contributed to the successful rescue. 

“We were lucky that our equipment was shut off and we were able to hear them,” Cook said. “We were right on the bank, we knew they were there, and we were able to get cell service.” 

“You wonder, ‘What could I have done differently?’” Dougherty said. “I can think of 100 things. But Dan and I work well together. We both had some experience that helped, and it worked out.” 

‘A real wake-up call’ 

The Madison River sees hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, many of whom are experienced anglers and boaters. What this incident illustrates, however, is that any waterbody can be dangerous, and recreationists of all experience levels should take extra precautions to increase their chances of survival in the event of an accident.  

Bromley hopes his encounter will help people recognize the inherent dangers that come with recreating on lakes and rivers. 

“It makes you realize how quickly things could change from a relatively innocent mistake, how powerful the river is and how quickly it can get that bad,” Bromley said. “To find myself in that situation was a real wake-up call.” 

However you spend time on Montana’s waters, here are some steps to help you be safe and prepared: 

  • Familiarize yourself with the area you plan to visit. 
  • Tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to return. 
  • Go with a group of people, whenever possible. 
  • Wear a life jacket. Some life jackets are inflatable, making them more compact and convenient for some recreationists. 
  • When wading, use a staff and wear spiked shoes. 
  • Watch for signs of hypothermia, which can occur in any month of the year. Pack extra clothes, food and water. 
  • Remember that phone signal is often unreliable in Montana’s wild places, and it may take a long time before emergency responders are able to reach you.  
  • River conditions change rapidly. Be aware that new hazards often appear suddenly.  

For more information about being safe on the water, please visit

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Highway 14 to Walden reopens

Just saw this on inciweb. Note, though, that they’re urging everyone to not use it unless really necessary.

55 degrees my butt

 Okay, so it was 27 degrees when Jim Clune, Wayne Baranczki and I hit Dragonfly Saturday morning, and 37 when we headed for hot coffee. And the water is covered in a nasty black ash.  Caught a few trout tho. Who wants to go tomorrow? I’ll sit that one out.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Hey, let's go fishing Saturday!

I know it's the weekend. But the darned kids and other homebound wretches we've shared the water with since March are probably going to be inside playing Tik Tok. 

Despite an incredible amount of fishing pressure this spring, summer and fall, the fishing has generally held up pretty well at River's Edge. Even so, I haven't seen a trout there all fall. With the coming of cold, and the addition of timely stocking by our friends with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, that should change abruptly Saturday if we just get out and fish.

Timing is critical,  Fellow Anglers.  The temperature is only supposed to hit 24 degrees today, 21 on Sunday. But it'll be a balmy 35 degrees by 10 a.m. Saturday, and 54 by 2 o'clock, made even more balmy with winds pushing no more than 5 or 10 mph.

So unless we wake up to another ashfall, or Karol and Arnie get evacuated again, let's meet about 10 a.m. at Dragonfly, on the northeast corner by the little dock. I'll be easy to spot:  the handsome gray-haired guy in a Loveland Fishing Club hat holding a bag of Gulp Minnows.

Know where we're going? River's Edge can be reached on the south side of First Street in Loveland, just east of Taft. Be there or naively wait until the high tops out at 12 degrees Monday... As they say on Game of Thrones, "Winter Is Coming." 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

What we know about fish caught near the fires...

By Bill Prater (Note:  this article is also being published in

It’s far too early to begin assessing the extent of damage to the outdoors of northern Colorado, and probably unhelpful to our collective state of mind. But there is news to report on our northern fisheries, not all of it bleak. 

Thanks to our friends with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, here are a few things we now know with some certainty. Riley Morris, Hatchery Chief for Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s two hatcheries on the Poudre, reports that the Poudre Rearing Unit, located in Poudre Canyon about 55 miles northwest of Fort Collins, was evacuated before the Cameron Peak fire reached it in the early days of that fire. Thanks to firefighters and CPW staff, no fish or hatchery facilities were lost in the fire. 

However, the Hatchery relies on Poudre River surface water for it's raceway water supply, Riley says. “Meaningful precipitation events after the Cameron Peak Fire will inevitably result in an ash-filled "slurry" coming down the drainage which would be fatal to fish at the facility. Therefore, all the fish in the raceways at the Poudre facility were stocked into Carter Lake while CPW staff still had access.

There were not tremendous numbers of fish stocked, Riley says, but many were larger than the 10-inch average fish CPW normally stocks as catchables. The Poudre hatchery’s bigger sister, the Bellvue-Watson hatchery just west of Fort Collins, has so far been untouched by fire, and its water supply from the Poudre “is fine for the time being, but the staff there will be monitoring the post-fire water quality situation on the Poudre River and will develop a contingency plan in case they need to evacuate the trout from the facility quickly,” Riley says. 

(On that note, some smaller stockings of trout along the Front Range was suspended because of the coronavirus this year. Fish usually stocked for special events like the spring Loveland Police Kids Derby in the Loveland Duck Pond and the Loveland Fishing Club’s annual fall derby for assisted living center residents at Flatiron Reservoir. Riley says most other stocking has followed a normal schedule.)

(My thanks, by the way, to Jason Clay, CPW Public Information Officer for the Northeast Region, for his help with this article)

Jason told KDVR News recently that we should prepare for long-term impacts to water as vegetation and soil are scorched and the ash is deposited in rivers and streams. “A lot of that ash will get into the water and can change the pH levels,” he said. For most of us not involved in fighting fires or saving hatcheries, all we can do right now about lakes, ponds and streams in burned-out areas is worry. But previous fires offer grim evidence of what we can expect. 

The fish population in the Animas River, a Gold Medal fishery in southwest Colorado, for example, suffered a massive loss from the “416 Fire” there in June 2018. A year later the fish population there was reportedly down about 80 percent, after that wildlife scorched about 54,000 acres of the Hermosa Creek watershed, and heavy rain afterwards led to a runoff filled with ash that suffocated fish in the river.

In the same gloomy vein, in Utah ash runoff in 2018 killed darn near every brown trout in that state’s popular Wild Strawberry River. Utah fisheries said it would take three- to five years to recover. Here in Colorado, the rain that will inevitably cause so much ash runoff can help later on by flushing that ash from our waters. But we’re also in the midst of a drought. So first we need some rain or snow in the high country to help our firefighters. 

As we’ve heard from the Fort Collins Coloradoan’s environmental reporter, Jacy Marmaduke: “The coming weeks and months will bring more news about what the Cameron Peak Fire will mean for the Poudre River. Until then, some staff of the agencies that monitor the river are in a similar position to the rest of us: Stuck in an anxious waiting game as the blaze continues, temperatures warm up and many details about the fire remain obscured in the ever-present haze. 

You might also think about the bright side: you needn’t worry as much about the impact of all this on our drinking water if you stick to drinking beer...Stay calm, fish if you must, and stay safe. 

For a map showing state fish hatcheries, click here:

Nebraska: Try for the State Trout Slam

 Nebraska truly is a state where east meets west and north meets south. Our state has a great diversity of geography, climate, habitats, wildlife and fish. As a result, Nebraska anglers are blessed with opportunities to fish for a variety of warm-water, cool-water and cold-water fish including several species of trout.

Although trout may not be native to Nebraska, they can be found in stocked waters across the state during the fall, winter, and spring. Furthermore, Nebraska contains cold-water habitats mostly in northern and western regions of the state that will support trout year-round.

Adventurous anglers can prospect those cold-water rivers, streams, and lakes, many in the most picturesque parts of Nebraska, in pursuit of brook, brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout.

To encourage exploration of Nebraska’s cold-water fisheries and recognize achievement, anglers can now pursue a Nebraska Trout Slam.

How to enter

Submit entry

To achieve a Trout Slam, anglers must catch, photograph, release if wished and submit a photo of the four trout species found in Nebraska — brook, brown, rainbow and cutthroat.

Each time you catch a fish on your way to a Trout Slam, let us know by filling out the form at the link above, and be sure to attach a photo of your catch, too. When you have caught your last fish, check “yes” next to the box indicating that you have completed your slam. Those who complete the slam will receive a certificate and pin.

About trout

View a detailed map of waters containing trout in Nebraska, download guides and other information or read our fishing blog to help you plan your trout fishing trip.

Find trout

View a list of those who have completed the Trout Slam so far.

View finishers

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Lake Hattie reopens to watercraft use

 LARAMIE - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has reopened Lake Hattie to watercraft use effective immediately. The temporary restricted watercraft access was necessary to allow specialized aircraft to collect water from the lake to help with the Mullen Fire suppression efforts.

Incident Command on the Mullen Fire indicated they are no longer using Lake Hattie for air operations, so watercraft use can resume.
The Mullen Fire is currently 176,840 acres with approximately 34 percent containment. More than 800 fire personnel are battling the blaze. More details can be found on the Mullen Fire webpage.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Horsetooth, Flatiron, Pinewood closed to public access


Horsetooth Reservoir is CLOSED to public access until further notice, Larimer County Department of Natural Resources announced Monday. Boating and day use areas are CLOSED.

Devil's Backbone Open Space and Prairie Ridge Natural Area are also closed to public access until further notice, along with FlatIron and Pinewood Reservoir.
Horsetooth Mountain Open Space and Blue Sky Trail are CLOSED.

Campgrounds at Horsetooth Reservoir remain CLOSED October 16-18 in response to the weather forecast for the weekend. Full refunds will be issued for any reservations during this period.
No new camping reservations will be taken through October 25 at Horsetooth Reservoir.

Park management will continue to monitor the situation, and current reservation holders will be notified Monday, October 19 if the park reopens. Campgrounds at Flatiron Reservoir and Pinewood Reservoir are CLOSED until further notice. Hermit Park Open Space, Eagle's Nest Open Space, Carter Lake, and Red Mountain Open Space are OPEN.

For any questions or concerns, please call the Horsetooth Area Information Center at 970-498-5610. You may also call 970-619-4570, or email for more information. Update 10-17-20.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Fishing through the Apocalypse...

 So Arnie and Karol were forced to evacuate Friday under attack from the historic Cameron Peak wildfire. Tom and Sheila were thinking of making a run for it, too, and packing a few things just in case. Meanwhile, the corona virus was beginning a frightening second run through the local citizenry, the drought was getting worse and, despite my earnest prayers, the election was still nearly three agonizing weeks away. 

Under such bleak, Apocalyptic conditions, a guy has few alternatives. Fortunately one is to say "the hell with it," and go fishing. So this morning I simply had to scout around for one of the few bodies of local water that isn't either dried up or under mandatory evacuation orders, and get to fishing before the winds picked back up. Kinda wished I'd listen to those forecasts, though.

Despite other, more questionable decisions I made this morning, after arriving at a favorite fishing hole I craftily kicked the belly boat to the upwind, west end of the pond. This would make the inevitable journey back to my takeout point a couple hours later a bit more survivable as the wind started gusting toward 50 mph. 

Though I am usually too modest to tell you how well I did on the water, I have to say that, despite questionable conditions, the fishing on this late October morning was superb. Even on a usually busy pandemic Saturday, I had the pond to myself and schools of gullible, plump crappie and bluegill. By late morning, though, as hurricane-like winds began to tear back through peaceful Loveland, I began to feel like an oblivious angler in Pompei before the Mount Vesuvius eruption. 

Only one thing marred the morning (unless you want to consider those gale-force winds, turd brown air reminiscent of the Dust Bowl, and increasingly ominous dark smoke from the west.):  the surface of the pond was choked with ugly chunks of black ash from this historic Colorado wildfire. Before releasing each graceful fish back into that nasty water, I literally had to wash the gunk off their scaly little bodies.

Still, eventually the wind pushed me right back to where I had begun the morning, and I didn't even fall down taking off my fins. Another good, eventful day to be alive in the Rocky Mountain West. 


Thursday, October 8, 2020

Public fish salvage lifted at Jumbo (Julesburg) Reservoir


SEDGWICK AND LOGAN COUNTIES, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife is lifting the emergency public fish salvage at Jumbo (Julesburg) Reservoir immediately (Oct. 8).  

The emergency public fish salvage was enacted on Aug. 24 due to high irrigation demand created by severe drought. It was expected that the reservoir would decline to a point that would likely result in a loss of the entire fishery resource.

However, irrigation demands have decreased since the salvage was initiated and the reservoir has received water following recent storms. Anglers are expected to revert to fishing under the normal regulations:

- Minimum size for walleye and saugeye is 15 inches (only one can exceed 21 inches)
- Minimum size for wiper is 15 inches
- Minimum size for crappie is 10 inches
- Statewide bag and possession limits also apply
- Anyone 18 or older must have a valid hunting or fishing license to access the property

"We are pleased that Jumbo was not completely drained as anticipated, and that the reservoir did not suffer a fish kill during this drought," said Area Aquatic Biologist Mandi Brandt. “It will take some time for the reservoir to completely refill, but the incoming water should support the fishery for now. Anglers are still welcome to fish the reservoir, but must obey the normal regulations as of Oct. 8. We will know more about the fishery if we are able to sample it this fall, but it appears the fish survived the low water levels and anglers can expect good fishing again next spring." 

During the fish salvage, anglers were catching mostly channel catfish, black bullheads, and bluegills. Walleye fishing from the shore was not as productive. 

The boat ramp at Jumbo Reservoir will remain closed for the season, which means boating both from gas and electric motors is prohibited until the ramp reopens next spring. The boat ramp usually closes between the end of September and mid-October, depending on the availability of the ANS Inspection Station. 

Members of the public can still enjoy shore fishing and other types of boating, like in a kayak or canoe. Any use of ANS-exempt non-motorized boats must be hand-launched. Visitors will not be able to drive their vehicle down to the water's edge, due to the low water levels.

Similar to all northeastern plains reservoirs, Jumbo Reservoir was constructed to store irrigation water for agricultural use first and is utilized secondarily for recreational purposes.

Jason Clay
Northeast Region Public Information Officer
303-291-7234 / 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

Walden area fire update

Starting Saturday, Oct. 3,  they’re restricting fishing on lake John to shore fishing; ie, no boats. Using lake water to fight the Mullen fire. I’m kinda dreading to see how our high country is faring these days...

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Big day at Wheatland 3...


George, Left, Dave and Dan hoist a day’s limit of walleyes hauled from Wyoming’s Wheatland Reservoir 3. 

Tom Miller, Dave Boyle and and Tom Bosch went to Carter and fished for three hours. Look what they got!


Most of these are about 13 inches

This one measured out at 22 inches