Friday, November 27, 2020

Gear Test - Garmin Striker Cast GPS


Garmin Striker Cast GPS—Castable Sonar

Garmin Striker Cast GPS | Fishing Wire ( 

For the many anglers around the country who fish from shore, piers or docks, it’s always a bit of a mystery how deep the water is within casting range, what structures are on the bottom, and where the fish are in relation to that structure. Without a sonar/GPS screen to tip you off, you’re fishing blind.

Garmin’s Striker Cast GPS puts fish-finding technology into the hands of these anglers, at a very affordable price. It provides quality sonar and GPS on any smart phone.

The whole system is encased in a hard plastic housing about the size of a tennis ball. The unit turns on when it’s immersed in water, and links via Bluetooth to your smart-phone once you download the Striker Cast app. You attach the device to your fishing line, cast it out to the water you want to check and presto, a sonar screen appears on the phone.

The Striker Cast is about the size of a tennis ball. It can transmit to your phone from up to 200 feet away.

The device weighs about 3 ounces, so it’s not something you’re going to throw on your light action spinning rod. And it would be easy to pop your line and lose the Striker if you got a dead-stop backlash on a hard cast. I tied it on with 65 pound test Spider Wire braid on the heavy duty snap swivel, just to be sure—that braid will hoist a couple of concrete blocks, so it’s not going anywhere.

You don’t really cast the Striker—it’s more like lobbing a tennis ball, unless you put it on a 10-foot surf rod. I used a heavy action Shimano Sienna 7-footer and a 4000 size reel that would whip a kingfish, and it was about right.

Manipulating the rod, reel handle and your smart phone all at once is a challenge unless you have three hands. The way I worked it out was to hold the rod in my right hand, the phone in my left and also lightly hold the reel handle. I then rotated rod and reel to retrieve line—it sounds more difficult than it is once you’ve made a few casts.

As with any sonar, the faster the transducer moves, the more the terrain and fish below are compacted, while the slower things move the more they are stretched out. Thus, a foot-long bass going slow under a fixed transducer can look like a 40-pound pike. However, you quickly learn to adjust. The system automatically sets range and gain, or you can adjust both manually at the tap of a virtual scale.

Bottom shows red/yellow, water blue, fish and structure also red if large, yellow if small or scattered. The screen has digital depth and water temperature readouts on the upper left.

The unit also has a very accurate GPS system which allows you to map the area you are graphing. Walk all the way around your favorite pond, casting every 50 feet or so as you go, and it draws a chart of all the water you can reach, complete with depth profiles. You can name and save this, and you can also share it publicly. (I suspect that’s a function not many serious anglers will use!)

The chart was made by repeated casts with the Striker Cast. The opening at the center was where the author walked around a creek, so there’s no graph of that area.

The transducer is not like your boat floating over a fish, which usually flushes anything shallower than 10 feet in most lakes. Fish are not aware of it, and in fact I had a catfish come up and bump it apparently to see how it tasted. So, you can graph an area with a couple casts, spot fish, tie on a lure that gets to their appropriate depth, and hopefully connect.

The Striker Cast would also be very useful for ice fishers—it’s compact, easy to carry, and would give you a quick read of what’s happening at each hole you open.

After saltwater use, you’ll want to rinse the connections thoroughly before hooking it up to the included USB charging wire—corrosion is not your friend. I wished the charging LED was a bit easier to see or had an alternate color when fully charged, but that’s a minor inconvenience. The battery lasts 10 hours with a full charge.

Here’s a useful video that teases out the many functions:

The Garmin Striker Cast GPS goes for about $180, and it’s sized about right for a stocking stuffer. Check it out here:

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thank you, Mr. Watson, for taking me fishing

 Nearly 60 years ago, I got my fondest wish for my 14th birthday, a fiberglass fly rod. I hadn’t a clue how to fish with it, though; neither did Mom or Dad.  Across the street, fortunately, lived a quiet widower named Mr. Watson. After he spotted me clumsily trying to make a cast, I came to learn he was a terrific warm water fly fisherman, at a time and in a place (metro east St. Louis) where the sport was pretty much unknown. Not a relative, at the time not even a close acquaintance, he launched me on a path toward becoming the modest, legendary angler I am today. While we all struggle to find something to be thankful for in 2020, I have no trouble being thankful for my friend Mr. Watson.

To make a long story short, not easy for me, Mr. Watson took me to a local bait store, bought me a handful of homemade, blackened cork spiders with long rubber band legs, and asked: “Could you be ready to go fishing about 3:30 tomorrow morning?” With Mom’s help, it turns out I could. Off he and I went  to Staunton (IL) City Lake, a pond really, 45 minutes down the road. We pushed a 10-foot wooden jon boat into the water, he rowed, and I began flailing about in the predawn darkness.

I couldn’t see a darned thing. But all about me were the unmistakeable sounds of bluegills sucking mosquitoes off the surface film, mixed with the croaking of unseen bullfrogs and the occasional splash of something even bigger, lurking out there in the dark. Under his quiet direction, almost immediately I caught my first big bluegill on a fly rod, then another, and another, the start of a lifelong addiction. A short time later, one of the biggest bass I’d ever seen inhaled my spider, then foolishly dived into a big patch of coontail. Mr. Watson patiently winched the big girl to the surface with an oar. And I can still recall peeling back all those weeds to reveal a really annoyed largemouth.

God, I miss taking kids fishing 

Of the many things I’ve lost these past nine months, one of the toughest is taking kids and old timers fishing. In particular  

  • On the first weekend in June, the annual Loveland Police Kids Fishing Derby. 

  • In July and August, trips to Colorado Youth Outdoors with ridiculously enthusiastic little Girl Scouts. 

  • And in September, the Loveland Fishing Club’s annual derby for the residents of assisted living centers. And other opportunities, large and small. 

Mr. Watson was killed in an accident at the steel mill while I was away in college, or I suspect I would still be thanking him for that unforgettable fishing trip. Though come to think of it, that’s what I’m doing right now. Besides I suspect he enjoyed it as much as I did. 

Mr. Watson didn’t have to get up at 3 in the morning to go fishing with the backward, freckle-faced kid from across the street; he just wanted to. And I’ll bet he’d like knowing I’m still trying to pay that gift back, more than half a century later. 

As soon as we can, let’s all take some kids fishing.

Richard Radies not doing well

 Our friend Rich, Raffle Chairman and mainstay of the Loveland Fishing Club for many years, has gone into hospice treatment at his home in Loveland. Our thoughts are with him and wife Sheila this Thanksgiving week.

Richard has had limited fishing time recently because of health problems, but he's been an active club member for more than a decade, helping make the club's raffle a big success and serving as one of the original organizers of our Senior Fishing Derby.

Norm Englebrecht, who visited with him this week, says he'd enjoy getting a note or card. His address is 2690 W. 36th St. Loveland 80538. 

Rich and a friend he found in Boyd Lake.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Boedecker Reservoir to continue to be managed as a State Wildlife Area

 LOVELAND, Colo. - Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Consolidated Home Supply Ditch and Reservoir Company have signed a contract for a 10-year lease renewal that will allow CPW to continue to manage Boedecker Reservoir as a State Wildlife Area. 

"Colorado Parks and Wildlife has worked together in partnership with the Consolidated Home Supply Ditch and Reservoir Company,” said CPW Area Wildlife Manager Jason Duetsch. “Over the past several months we've developed a renewed lease that is a win for lovers of public access to local waters. We are excited to continue to offer fishing, hunting and wakeless boating opportunities to our customers and hope they have a chance to visit this beautiful property in the future." 

The fishery management at Boedecker Reservoir is for warm-water angling. 

Amenities at Boedecker include a boat ramp, primitive restrooms, ice fishing during the winter and wakeless boating during the spring, summer and fall. Past stocking efforts in the reservoir include plants for black crappie, saugeye, channel catfish and white bass. 

“Boedecker Reservoir will be a quality destination for anglers targeting white bass and crappie during 2021,” said Ben Swigle, aquatic biologist for CPW. “Both species thrive in Boedecker in large part because of natural reproduction. White bass can be targeted in open water while crappie tend to associate with submerged vegetation.”

Dove and waterfowl hunting opportunities also exist at Boedecker SWA.

“This was a collective effort to ensure the reservoir would remain public and available for outdoor recreation,” said Kristin Cannon, Deputy Regional Manager for CPW’s Northeast Region. “Larimer County, the City of Loveland and local neighborhoods were supportive throughout this process and because of that its residents will be able to enjoy this cherished piece of the outdoors right in their own backyard."

State Wildlife Areas (SWAs) are state- or privately-owned lands that offer wildlife-related recreation to the public. A valid hunting or fishing license is required for everyone 18 or older accessing any State Wildlife Area or CPW-leased State Trust Land

About Boedecker SWA
From Loveland, go two miles west on First Street to County Road 21, then 1/2 mile south to the reservoir. Boedecker is a wakeless lake with a concrete boat ramp and parking on the northeast side of the lake. When the lake is full it contains several submerged grass and brush piles along the western shores.

Sportfishing Notes

  • For walleye and saugeye, fish any rock structure when water temperatures are between 45-55 degrees.
  • Later, fish are scattered but tube jigs, kindy rigs, triple ripples, are good choices.
  • For white bass, follow the birds. The white bass will be chasing gizzard shad. Use silver castmasters or another shad imitation. White bass are also often attracted to flows when the reservoir is filling (especially at 60-65 degrees fahrenheit).

Boedecker SWA Regulations

  • Boating is prohibited in a manner that creates a white water wake. 
  • Fishing is prohibited from boats from Nov. 1 through the last day of the migratory waterfowl season. 
  • Horseback riding is prohibited.
  • Sail surfboards are prohibited.
  • Discharge of firearms or bows is prohibited except when hunting. 
  • Fires are prohibited. 
  • Camping is prohibited. 
  • Public access is prohibited from one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise daily except for fishing.
For more information or questions, please call CPW’s Fort Collins office at 970-472-4300.

PLEASE RESPOND: Getting ready to set up club Zoom meetings


Hello everyone,

We are trying to see how many club members we can add to a Zoom list. 
Please e-mail Past President Jim Visger at and answer the following three questions "Yes" or "No" 

1.    Do you have access to a smart phone and do you get your emails there? Yes  No
2.    Do you have access to a computer with camera and audio? Yes  No
3.    Do you have access to a I-Pad and do you receive your emails there? Yes  No

The information will be used to set up a list of members who can use Zoom for club meetings. 

Once we have a current list of Zoom-capable members, either Peggy Gwinnup or Jim will e-mail you with further information and an invitation to a Zoom meeting.

That initial meeting is tentatively set for 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 10.

Winter Fishing Tips from Colorado Parks & Wildlife


Brad Bryant enjoying some fall fishing at a Denver Metro lake. Brad caught this awesome bass using a jig. 


Thanksgiving provides an excellent mark of when anglers need to set their sights on winter fishing. For many, they gear up for the ice fishing season, while other anglers are thinking about winter fly fishing. Winter fly fishing is dramatically different than hitting the river in the spring, summer, or early fall. The bitter cold, ice clad banks, and mounding snow are enough to make me think twice before heading out. For those anglers that are able to bare the elements, they will be rewarded with beautiful landscapes, little angler pressure, and hungry fish. One of the best ways to be successful catching winter trout is fishing midges. Midges are small mosquito like insects that hatch year-round. Fishing with midge patterns is fairly straight forward. There are three life stages that midge patterns imitate, larvae, pupa, and adult. Larvae patterns are small, simple patterns that are fished deep near the riverbed to imitate the early life stage. The pupa pattern is a larger and more complex fly that is fished in the water film or just below the surface. The adult stage pattern is a typical dry fly presented on the surface of the water. Regardless of the stage, midge flies are typically very small (#18-24) and require a couple extra considerations. Such a small fly needs a similarly thin tippet (5x or higher) to be discrete as possible. Likewise, the small size makes it difficult for anglers to identify a strike on even a dry fly. Anglers will need an indicator to catch the slight strikes typically associated with midge fishing. Although patterns of all three stages can be successful, many anglers utilize the pupa pattern while winter fishing. A simple dead-drift just below the water surface is an effective way to attract trout. Pupa and adult stage patterns are particularly productive in the late morning and early afternoons on sunny winter days. 


One of the greatest lessons I have learn from fishing has been patience. It is a lesson that I learned as a child and have been constantly reminded throughout adulthood. Whether trolling, retrieving a spoon, or fly fishing, anglers need to have the ability to withstand the lulling action that we all experience. When I was young I assumed that to be patient was to simply wait. I've come to think about patience as more than sitting idly until the magic moment when a fish strikes. Patient fishing is an active process of observing, learning, and acquainting oneself with the rhythms of the ecosystem around them. I remember the first time I noticed birds swooping down over the river hinted at the start of a new hatch. Or the importance of sitting and studying the water to see if fish are rising or what bugs may be flying around before rigging up my fly rod. Through a process of patient observing and learning, anglers become better equipped to know when to call it quits, move onto another location, change a lure or fly, or simply to go home. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Not Too Shocking: Your Electrofishing Questions Answered

By Alex McCrickard, DWR Aquatic Education Coordinator
Photos by Meghan Marchetti/DWR

Have you watched some of the videos from aquatic biologists at the Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) and seen a boat outfitted with long, wand-like poles with dangling cables? Have you ever showed up to a river or stream and witnessed a crew of biologists with large backpacks and long rods extending into the water? This unusual-looking activity is called electrofishing, and it’s modern science in action.

As Virginia’s state fish and wildlife agency, DWR is responsible for the management of our fish and wildlife resources for the benefit of the public. Our agency staff work hard to conserve and protect our freshwater fisheries across the Commonwealth. The best way to monitor the health of fish populations is to catch a number of fish from one area at one time. While our aquatics biologists are all excellent anglers, there is a more efficient, safe, and effective way to catch the fish! Electrofishing is a common method used in fisheries science; this type of biomonitoring is truly one of the most effective ways to monitor our fisheries.

Fish can really help tell the story of the health of a certain waterbody. They are in the water 24/7 and are constantly exposed to the elements. Some species are more tolerant to pollution than others. The make-up and diversity of a water body’s fish population can help tell the story of water quality and inform our agency’s biologists. In turn, all of this influences sound management decisions that can improve habitat, water quality, and fish health, which benefits the general public and anglers who cherish Virginia’s freshwater resources.

So, you now might be wondering what exactly happens during electrofishing? What’s going on behind the scenes during these surveys? Our electrofishing FAQs below cover these basics.

What is electrofishing?

Electrofishing is a technique used in fisheries science to sample fish populations. Sampling is when biologists study a number of fish from a certain area, measuring and examining them and recording the statistics. When biologists electrofish, a generator or battery gives off an electrical current that runs through the water. Volts, amps, and frequency can be adjusted based on water temperature, conductivity, and other variables. Electrofishing can take place on foot with a backpack unit on a small stream or river. For larger rivers and lakes, electrofishing typically takes place from a boat or barge.

From a boat, the anodes enter the water from a long boom off the bow. Electrical current travels from anode cables back to the cathode(s)–in many cases, the metal hull of the boat acts as the cathode. The electrical field typically expands 5 to 7 feet in circumference from each anode and down about 6 to 7 feet. The size of the electrical field can vary depending on conductivity, voltage, and frequency of electrical current.

Fish are temporarily stunned as the electrical current causes their muscles to contract.  The fish then float towards the surface where they can be easily netted.

Is electrofishing harmful to fish?

Electrofishing has the potential to be harmful if not used properly; however, biologists have the training and experience to operate the equipment safely and effectively while minimizing impacts to fish. Prior to any sampling, biologists adjust and monitor electrofishing settings to the target species in a particular habit. In some cases, electroshocking is avoided during spawning periods and habitats of certain rare and endangered species to eliminate even the perception of harm.

Does electrofishing affect different species of fish differently?

Yes, the frequency of the electromagnetic current can affect species differently. For example, low frequency electrofishing tends to only affect catfish species. When we sample tidal rivers to assess the catfish populations, we solely use low frequency. High frequency sampling is often used for standard community assessment of multiple species. Because of their larger surface area, big fish such as bass and muskie are more susceptible to electroshocking than small fish such as minnows and darters.

Electrofishing is only efficient in shallow water, so sampling is usually conducted when all species and sizes of interest are likely to be vulnerable to this technique.

Why do DWR biologists electrofish? What’s the goal for sampling and what do DWR biologists do with the fish during electrofishing?

Electrofishing is an effective method to assess the health of a fishery in a non-lethal manner. It allows biologists to evaluate the health, variety, size distribution, and abundance of fish species on a given body of water and how that population can change over time. Length and weight measurements further allow biologists to assess overall fishery health. This type of sampling allows DWR to look at interactions within a fish population. Furthermore, we can track status of endangered and threatened species or the status of spread of any invasive species. All of this information influences sound management decisions that benefit the public who recreate on these resources.

DWR staff weigh, measure, and evaluate the fish netted during electrofishing, keeping careful records of the information.

The information collection during electrofishing helps DWR fisheries biologists make sound management decisions for fish populations.

Is electrofishing safe for the DWR biologists?

Yes, because of their training and experience, DWR biologists are safe when electrofishing. Our biologists wear non-breathable waders that keep them from being shocked while using backpack electrofishing units. For electrofishing boats, numerous electric cut-offs are in place to prevent accidents, and the boat is grounded. All DWR biologists wear personal flotation devices while sampling on boats. DWR biologists have also had formal training in electrofishing principles and techniques (for example the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service electrofishing course), which contributes to the safe operation of electrofishing gear.

In what kinds of waters do you electrofish?

Electrofishing takes place in freshwater and tidal freshwater rivers and streams. Because of the high conductivity of saltwater, it is not conducive to electrofishing.

Can anglers use electrofishing equipment to catch fish?

No, it is unlawful for the general public to use electrofishing equipment to catch fish.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Christmas idea for anglers from a local beanie maker

Wayne Baranczak is sporting a nifty new beanie these days made by a couple of local businesswomen, Beverly and Christine. The mother-daughter duo has created a variety of beanies with embroidered designs including this "Gone Fishin'" logo. They're $29.95 on the website but you can get $10 off if you type in the discount code FishingLover when you order. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

The club needs a vice president for 2021. Consider tossing your fishing cap in the ring

 A year has come and gone since we elected Doug Money as the club's vice president. Now it's time for him to prepare for the presidency, and for the club to choose a new VP.

This has been a strange year for the club like the rest of the world, so you probably haven't had the chance to really think about seeking a leadership position yourself. Well, now is the time. Assuming 2021 will be a little less scary than 2020, find it a great way to get really involved in the club, and help us plan for the future.

Whether you're an old timer who's been with the club since the beginning in late 2003, or an old timer who's just joined, we need you consider running for office. Frankly, unable to meet regularly with other club members, we do not have a vice president candidate in mind. 

Election will be Dec. 1

The election is planned for Dec. 1, with the new board taking over in January. "We're not quite sure what will be involved in the job in the coming year, but we'll be doing our best to get the club back to interacting with each other and some fish," says President Jim Baxter. 

The way the club is set up, we select a vice president each year who serves alongside the president, then assumes the top position in January of the following year. That gives that person experience with leading the board, setting up monthly general meetings and establishing the general direction of the club with things like fishing trips, volunteerism and general merry-making.

Over the years, the club has become a leader in outdoor projects here in Larimer County, known for public service and enviable fishing skills.

Questions? Contact Jim at 970-689-3923, or; or  Doug at 1-847-717-0298, or


Monday, November 9, 2020

New podcast available on the impact to Northern Colorado fisheries from this fall's wildfires

 No sugar coating it:  the two largest wildfires in Colorado history will have a fairly horrifying impact on northern Colorado wildlife, aquatic life and forests. For an excellent discussion of the expected impact on the Poudre River watershed, check out a new Colorado Parks and Wildlife podcast on "Wildfire impacts on Wildlife."

The podcast can be found on the CPW website; click here. 

The 30-minute podcast covers a broad discussion of the pros and cons of wildlife. (You'll find the main discussion of fisheries comes from northeast region senior aquatic biologist Jeff Spohn, starting about 11 minutes into the podcast). Jeff was heavily involved in assessment and restoration efforts on the South Platte after the Hayman Fire. Based partly on that experience, he says, essentially, that loss of fish will be extensive, and the worst damage to fisheries will come with ash and other debris being washed into waterways with the next big rain or snowfall.
The Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires are the largest wildfires in Colorado history, burning more than 600,000 acres. In addition to Jeff's discussion of fisheries, the podcast includes assessments by the senior wildlife biologist for CPW's northeast region, Shannon Schaller, and Casey Cooley, who is CPW's forest habitat coordinator. 
(Thanks to Walt Graal for letting us know about this). 

Friday, November 6, 2020

We need a volunteer who can get us going with Google Meeting or Zoom!

 Most of us have probably kept in touch with relatives and friends using Google Meeting or Zoom! videoconferencing. Club President Jim Baxter is looking for someone with enough experience with one or the other to get us together for board and club meetings.

If you have the skills and the interest, please contact Jim at 970-689-3923.

Club dues waived for returning members in 2021!

 Between a pandemic and out-of-control wildfires, we didn't accomplish much as a club this year, so the board has decided to waive dues in 2021 for all returning members.

New members will pay the usual $25 for an individual membership, $30 for a couple.

"It was the right thing to do, and hopefully we'll get back into club activities in earnest here shortly," says Club President Jim Baxter.