Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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 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.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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.
- 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.
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.https://cpw.state.co.us/thingstodo/Pages/Catch-of-the-Week.aspx
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
Saturday, November 14, 2020
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 https://beanieworldbiz.com website but you can get $10 off if you type in the discount code FishingLover when you order.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
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 email@example.com; or Doug at 1-847-717-0298, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, November 9, 2020
The podcast can be found on the CPW website; click here.
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
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.
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.