Sunday, June 29, 2008

Still Giving Back

Keeping the momentum going this year on a few projects that are intended to help the lakes that I fish, fish better. One lake is fairly small, under 5 surface acres and seriously weed choked. I have been manually raking two sections, one at each end, to open them up a bit as well as dig down to the original gravel bottom. Now the biggest bluegills are battling for those spots to use as spawning areas. And bass are always cruising by looking for a snack. How cool is that?

Photobucket
(After one raking, this beautiful bluegill moved in and spawned.)

The results from the manual raking have been so good that more areas will be selected and worked next year. An even earlier start will commence in 2009 with a goal of manually raking 25% of the weed matte.

The next project on the drawing board for this place was a viable port in. The steep ledges make it a bit treacherous to enter and leave the water with small watercraft like a belly boat. The area people use now to get in and out is causing erosion and gets very sloppy. You could easily pop the tube on some of the sticks poking out around the area as well. One slip and so many bad things could happen.

“No more complaining about this.” I said last weekend. “Let’s do something for a change!”

So utilizing some old landscape material that was just sitting there, I crafted a small stairway into the steep slope. This is so much safer and pleasing to the eye. It may just save me from having to replace a tube sometime so it’s a complete win-win from all sides. Hopefully I get a better picture from the front on my next trip.

Photobucket

The rock on top was added because it was smaller and more natural looking. If I had more of these rocks, I sure would have used them. Instead I used some square concrete blocks and placed them as needed. Very solid and should withstand the elements for at least a few years. Some shoreline backing will be added over time as well to eliminate some potential erosion problems.

Add one water bottle, one Heineken can and two glass beer bottles to the trash tally. This spot I visit frequently enough that I can gauge the “ill Pressure” by how much trash I pick up each trip.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Still Fishing and The MAD Fishing Show

After watching some of the fishing shows on cable TV, Don and I thought,”Man, we could do this.” So we started accumulating pictures and video footages of our trips and putting them into full feature episodes. Nothing too serious but another medium to share fishing exploits. They both will have the same look and feel for the most part but there is a difference between the two formats.

“Still Fishing” will be the solo trips and property of ColoradoCasters. Some of my solo adventures are pretty entertaining and I am only limited by the fact its just me with one camera. I tend to push the limit a bit in regards to spoof sponsors on some of these but its all part of the fun.

For the currently released “Still Fishing” episodes, click on the links below.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=38ryPDN95zM

http://youtube.com/watch?v=xY3KxJtxZ6g

http://youtube.com/watch?v=lP4g8ybC2s4

“The MAD Fishing Show” will be with Don, occasionally special guests and myself. The MAD Show has tested better in focus groups and the two person dynamic is much more entertaining than just me all smackity smackity. MAD stands for Matt And Don…too clever. The MAD Fishing Show is property of the MAD Fishing Show by the way.

For the currently released “The MAD Fishing Show” episodes, click on the links below.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=hQ3v-vM-N_s

http://youtube.com/watch?v=JrGVxhVKZQM

Eventually, we hope to grow these into a more professional format with actual sponsors and some really cool guests. We are looking for camera assistance and other technical support so if you want to be involved, shoot us an e-mail with your desires and qualifications.

If you are a professional guide, outfitter, fishing resort owner or otherwise fishing entrepreneur, we would love to hear from you. Let’s sit down and talk about getting your name on youtube via Still Fishing or The MAD Fishing Show. We are not looking for financial support necessarily as much as we are trading what we do for what you can share. Knowledge, fishing access, discounts, supplies, or even trading services are just some of the possibilities. As we grow in popularity, and we will, you will gain more visibility on one of the fastest growing platforms today (youtube/interent).

Feel free to repost these youtube links on the forums or fishing websites if they allow it. We could really use the extra support as well as any feedback you can provide. If you are a subscriber to youtube, please favorite our videos as well as rate and leave comments.

More episodes are on the way so stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wyoming and the God of Wind

[late post material-Late April 2008]

It seemed like every time that I stepped outside this season to fish in Colorado the wind would pound on me like a big willowy hammer. Taunting me and torturing me, the wind would block my casts as well as destroy my aim. Distance was tough and accuracy was even tougher. If I moved to one side of the lake, it moved with me. It seemed relentless and with only an hour or two in the morning with glassy waters, it was hurting my desire to fish. If I looked out the window and saw any wind at all, my thoughts went to chores rather than fishing.

“Snap out of this funk!” I slapped myself. “We don’t have to fear the wind…embrace the wind…it can be your friend.” The words fell on my ears and onto the floor. “Wind?…ugh! No thanks.”

So when Don offered me a spot in the GMC for a Wyoming-Miracle Mile run…well I pondered it for a moment and thought to myself, “Now there is some real wind. Maybe that is exactly what I need right now…Extreme Wind!” I gave the nod and before I knew it, gear was loaded and we were on our way. For those of you that have never experienced Wyoming in the spring, understand that this place is wrought with constant gusting winds of 30 to 40mph on a calm day. Some parts of the state are better than others but Laramie to Casper can get windblown pretty badly.

We fished the canyon from where you can legally enter upstream and moved down to various holes. We caught fish but at 1200cfs we were lucky to get what we got. These fish see a lot of pressure so showboating for pictures was not allowed unless someone got into a monster (for this area +5lb trout is what we are gunning for)…My biggest was a little over 20”…this shot will have to do.







The real story was having to face the unrelenting wind all day, every cast from the moment you open the truck door to the time you get back in. Wind so strong that you stand at an angle and almost fall over when the wind changes direction. I found myself timing the gusts as it couldn’t hold that 70mph rate all the time. It would bluster and backfeed on itself creating little gaps you can cast through. Once you let go it was a battle of current. It was by far the toughest wind that I have ever had to face and it made me truly appreciate the weather I have here in Colorado even if it is only slightly different than Wyoming compared by most standards. But now I can face any amount of Colorado wind and still feel like I can fish through it.

“I have faced the God of Wind and it lives in Wyoming.” I said later casting through what felt like a subtle afternoon Colorado breeze. “This is soooo fishable.”

For the rest of the story on the Wyoming Run, check out the latest The MAD Fishing Show videos...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=hQ3v-vM-N_sLink

Monday, June 23, 2008

First Cleanup for 2008-Catch of the Day

As soon as the snow fades, I like to go in and clean up a few of my favorite fishing spots. Now is a great time for this as foliage is still in its winter dormancy and bugs are not very active, if at all. The fishing was an absolute “no-go” anyway with the 99.9% ice lid so picking up some trash was pretty much the only way I was going to “bag” anything.

Photobucket

Today’s catch was a bit more than I expected and pretty good for a first scrub. Most of the time, one good cleanup a year goes a long way. Subsequent trips should be trash free or very light cleanup at the most.

Most of this trash was blown in by seasonal winds. People left only a fraction of this debris and I don’t want to give the impression that people are dumping their trash in fishing lakes. It just looks that way sometimes. Taking the hands on approach can help reverse this trend on the lakes, ponds, rivers and streams that you fish. It does make a difference.

[Re-posted material from Feb-2008, Some people talk trash...I'm picking it up.]

Sunday, June 22, 2008

RMA opener/fiasco 2008

What a zoo this place was for the first hour. The crowd was insane. Even with a 3AM alarm set, 4AM gate show up, I was third at the gate. At 6AM the gate rolled open and the place turned into a fiasco. A lot of folks rolled right past the check in booth altogether. The system just gets worse every year. No traffic control for 50+ cars at the gate and virtually no crowd control for the 100+ people fishing. One ranger with a truck isn’t going to be able to cover this entire facility. The mention of law enforcement that I don’t think anyone actually saw added no help to calm the insanity. This could very well be the Keystone Cops of fishery management.

This sounds abrasive, but this was once a trophy bass and pike fishery that you had to see to believe. Now its a run of the mill public fishery with obvious signs of abuse. Is this typical for a wildlife refuge? I don't know but its a far cry from what this place deserves.
Photobucket

Here is a shot of the parking lot at 5AM. The gates open at 6 and the link below is a vid shot of the madness about 15 minutes before they opened her up.

video

Ladora was a free for all. People were practically climbing on top of each other to fish. This is just crazy combat fishing and something I am not a big fan of. The crowd and slow action literally pushed me off the big lake and onto Lake Mary. There I caught my “skunk beater” bass on a jig-grub combo. I saw a few pike caught that were the standard 24-26”. A far cry from what most anticipated.

Photobucket

(Boy, was I glad to see this fish. Nothing seemed to work except this off the wall jig-grub combo. Maybe I just needed to find a fish that wasn’t scared for its life.)

So what does the future hold for the RMA? It’s not hard to quantify “the best is already over” statement spoken by most who know the property’s history. This may be true. I also think some major factors are in play right now for the arsenal that tell the rest of the story. Fishing workshops were allowed in before the regular crowd and they worked the fish pretty well. This kept the opener action down to a dull roar.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

No Memorial Day Madness at Ward Pond

[Over the next few days I will be migrating some notes from earlier in 2008 to the journal. I will do my best to put a date of reference on these. Let me know what you think.]


So I am driving by Ward pond on Memorial Day and I see one single lonely beat up pickup truck in the parking lot. I had the belly boat and the rods ready to go from the other day. I didn’t have a reload on some essential gear items (like the pliers that I dropped in the water…DOH!) but it was 9AM under mild cloud cover. Hardly any wind was present. The water was warm even though the air temp was dropping slightly hour by hour it seemed.


Photobucket



“Matt, you would be stupid if you did not fish this place RIGHT NOW!” as the words echoed in my brain my heart started pumping and without even realizing it, my hands were turning the wheel and I was flipping a U-turn on Ward Rd.

After the gear up and walk down the staircase walled with olive tree branches, I looked for signs of nesting fish or pressure. I found neither save for one shore banger on the northeast end. Rather than brave the perilous entry closest to the parking lot, I decided to walk over and port in on the southwest corner. Note: People still try to use the northwest corner for entry and it can be pretty tough. Funny story to follow in a bit.

The tactic choice for me has always been hit or miss here but I am working on it. Sometimes I find myself switching up far too much. This day I just stayed put with what I had been throwing all week: jigs and fantastic plastics. The only thing I was missing was the grubs.


Photobucket



See those trees in the background? That is where this guy was hanging in less than a foot of water. Pitched close to shore and the fish clobbered the plastic stickbait.


Photobucket



Shallow water just down a few hundred feet from the first one. These guys were hitting the stickbait-junebug color from Maniac Lures…(gotta use up this surplus before the ban is lifted. Non-scented but seem to work ok. I don’t even notice a difference most of the time.

Now for the funny story…the northwest cover is overgrown and perilous, as I had mentioned before. Canoes are especially prone to a piece of hidden structure just off the shoreline. It’s not really a safety hazard as the water is fairly shallow but I imagine it could be quite disheartening to carry a canoe down here only to tip over on the way out. It happens time and time again. They shove off a bit too hard, hit the structure and “plop!” right on the side. So when I saw the trio carry the beige canoe down the stairway, battle the trees to get her at the water’s edge…well then I wish that I was a lot closer. Then I could have warned them. Shouted out something like, “Easy in! There are rocks in front of you.” At the very least I could have gotten some video footage.

They had life jackets and even matching gear. Even after facing wave after wave of thorny tree branches, they still looked very excited to get in the water. The guy even seemed to check the path in front of them by pushing the boat ahead and bringing it back.

“Oh…this guy has been here before.” My lips muttered and I went back to fishing.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw them shove off, hit the structure and tip right over. Everyone went in the water and you could see them get right out and onto shore quickly. Then they took a minute to rethink things. It was a while before they made it back out and they hugged the shoreline as they went along.

“That’s a good first trip out.” I thought to myself. Better learn a hard lesson now and walk away than learn to one that you can’t. It was hard for me not to chuckle a bit…and then went right back to fishing.

From here I worked my way to the northeastern cove. My game plan was to finish up the coves and bail from the water victoriously. Switching from the plastics to the jig, I started working the rock structure under the trees. I tossed out a total “flub cast”. The line caught my finger sending the jig off at an angle and smack into a nearby tree trunk. My fingers were getting cold and I was struggling quite a bit. It was one “goof-cast” of many that day I assure you. Somehow the lure bounced off the tree and onto a flat chunk of concrete that is pretty common material out here. The jig just sat there on the concrete like a frog waiting to jump in the water. I cleared the line from a small overhanging twig with a quick snap of the rod, which sent the jig into the shallow water with a small “plop”. A few inches of retrieve and WHAM! The battle was on.

This fish was not huge by most standards but good sized and all fight. He ran twice on me and tried to go deep! It was a few hard fought moments until I could turn his head back at me. Then he ran right at me. This pretty much closed the deal for Mr. Bucket.


Photobucket



Ever catch a fish and have to sit there for a minute to catch your breath? I love it when a fish is worth every inch of the battle. This was a good fish.

Once the wind started up, the temperature started dropping. I could literally feel my core body temp dropping one degree at a time. I hit my pinky finger on the bail a bit too hard and it went completely numb. I could still bend it and there was no color change but the light damage and the cold made it something to be concerned about. The weather didn’t help either and seemed to get drearier by the second.

“Get out while you are still alive.” I chuckled talking myself out of several more hours of wet, cold and rainy fishing. I wouldn’t die but it made it sound better.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

First Blog




We are trying this new format out. (by we I mean me and a few fishing pictures hung up on the wall along 7 or 8 fishing rods) The idea is to give me something that I can update daily with pictures and text without having to run all the edits through my web staff.

Break one webpage so bad that you have to start over and they never let you hear the end of it.

I really think this will give readers the best of both worlds. My insanity can come unleashed at a moment's notice. Viewers, fans and the occasional reader needs to see this stuff aside from the webpage. Once the webpage goes "glossy" with actual sponsors and prime time material...well the blog Will be the only place that I can rant, rave and go off at the things that really make me mad.

This blog will be updated at least once a week as where web page edits take longer to develop. So don't be afraid to check in regularly. Hopefully I can figure out all the formatting to make this look really sweet.
My name is Matt and I'm a fishaholic.