Thursday, May 31, 2012

Fish steals prosthetic arm in Florida tournament

Wounded veteran Jack Wiseman lost more than the catch of the day in a fishing tournament in South Florida over Memorial Day weekend. A fish pulling extra hard on his reel popped out his prosthetic arm, Fort Myers, Fla., TV station WINK reported.

"All of a sudden the hand snapped off the prosthetic device, still hooked to the rod, and the rod and the reel and the hand went down into the water," Wiseman told St. Petersburg, Fla., TV station Bay News 9.

Link to video and full article below.

Thank you for the support of war veterans and the Wounded Warrior Project

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Low Colorado snowpack has ripple effect on river enthusiasts (Denver Post)

The combination of historically low snowpack and early runoff are putting pressure on Colorado river guides, kayakers and canoeists. The first impact has been an early paddling season and lower flowing rivers.

"We really live on snowpack. That's what it comes down to," said Richard Ferguson, a trip coordinator for the Poudre Paddlers Canoe and Kayak Club, which serves northern Colorado.

He said low river flows already have forced him to cancel one trip scheduled in July on the Yampa River. A group outing that had been planned for Memorial Day had to be moved.

"A light snowpack means that the peak is very early," Ferguson said. "What happens is the season just disappears very quickly. What you have, essentially, is no water to paddle in."

Although he still plans to hit the rapids just about every other week for the time being, Ferguson predicts there won't be any paddling on the Poudre River by midsummer.

"At some point, you're scraping bottom and kind of beating up your boat," he said. "At some point, it gets to where it's really not worth it anymore."

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the statewide snowpack was 7 percent of average as of Thursday, with more than half of all snow survey locations reporting no snow.

Link to full article at the Denver Post below:

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fish Memory…the T-Shirt (A funny filler post)

Trying to explain fish memory to a fellow co-worker and the next day he sends me a link to a shirt design that he found on about the subject. This is a great place to purchase those overstocked or reduced inventory items along with a few things that you might not see anywhere else. 

The conversation revolved around a theory why some lures work for a while at a particular spot and then fizzle out after prolonged use. It boils down to fish memory. The brain of a fish doesn’t have space to store and record daily events like that of a human. Their brain more or less records positive and negative responses throughout their life. Certain details may stick in their recall bank for long periods of time after some level of reinforcement. Not all fish are the same so memory will vary between species and even each individual fish.
It is difficult to say exactly what fish remember and most studies revolve around monitoring fish behavior. Instincts may play a large part as well but I think it is safe to say that most fish remember things well beyond three seconds as originally believed. Here are a few articles recently released that help support this.
It is my experience that fish will also remember lure types, colors, patterns and more making it increasingly difficult to catch over time. After so many years fishing of fishing a few small ponds, I swear that I have trained these fish to avoid senkos in 3 main colors. Each trip I am digging deeper and deeper into my tackle bag.
Here is a link to the shirt on No affiliation with ColoradoCasters but the shirt graphic made me smile. Hence the funny filler post on the blogilicious.
Good luck and good fishing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

There we go

Pull up to the fly rod re-match location with the tooner and gear in tow. An overcast sky shrouded the landscape in a veil of gray fog. Visibility was enough to see what you were loading and unloading but not much else. Air temps started at a slightly frigid 55-degrees but would build to near 80 for the high by noon. All we needed was the sun to break through the haze.

There was little surface action so it was an easy option to go with the all braid setup right from the start. Large purple wooly bugger with a bead head is tied on the braided setup as where a nymph pattern was rigged on the standard floating line setup. About the third or fourth cast I come up with a dink fish. It is a small fish but helps support my pattern choice. A few moments later I get a larger hit from something substantial.
The fish finder screen was showing a water temp fluctuating from 63 to 65 degrees. Algae appeared to be fairly thick in the water making visibility even harder with the overcast skies. You couldn’t see an inch through it to start out. Finding fish would be a test.

Let the fish go and I continue my search for fish in the hazy murk. Then as if by magic, the clouds began to break. The sun peered through dissolving the haze and the window of sight was opened into the water. Being able to see the submerged weed structure made a lot of difference. But it also allowed me to spot schools of panfish. For some reason I am unable to pass these palm-sized fin slappers by. My casting elbow reaches for the other fly rod with the tiny nymph presentation and hammer some of these little guys for a while.
After getting a good gill fix I decide to put the nymph rod down and start chasing bucketmouth bass again. Roll near some wood structure and drop a cast to let it slowly sink to the bottom. Pull out a decent 15-inch chunk and start cleaning the fly. Algae builds up on the wooly bugger\streamer and requires a little maintenance now and again. Just about ready to drop down again when I see a small congregation of crappie. They were clinging to the wood structure and not easy to see unless you very close. A furious panic ensued as I switched back to the nymph rod and set out to cure my panfish addiction all over again.

Why do I lose my mind over panfish? Maybe it is the pint-sized battle in an extremely colorful fish. It could be the fact that these fish congregate in groups and make the slamtastic action soooo easy. There are certain times of year where I think that I might actually need counseling for my panfish addiction.

Nail a few black crappie and they all seem to be carbon copies of each other. Just as I am about to leave the nymph setup I see a flash from deep in the water. At first it looks like a bass. I lower the nymph rod and miss the strike on an enormous crappie (or at least enormous for my standards). Drop down again with more focus and land the black crappie beast. I do my best to get a picture with the failing camera (the battery door is loose forcing me to hold the bottom shut while I take a photo). The photos don’t do this fish justice but at least I was able to grab some sort of capture.

Wind was nil in the morning but steadily increased as we reached noon. Afternoon gusts are something I could set my watch by these days. I hunker down with an anchor in one spot and start using the wind to my advantage. The trick here is to look at the water and see the direction of the current. Factor in areas where baitfish may be pushed up against a deep bank or ambush points. Imagine yourself as a fish looking to avoid the steady current but be where the food is being accumulated or positioned well for ambushing prey as it passes by.

One thing I noticed was that the fish would burst in a flurry of movement when the water was calm. Baitfish would rise to the surface and occasionally there would be a large roll on top of the water from a large bass smacking the daylights out of said baitfish. To my right I see a large bass miss a small bluegill at the edge of the weed-villa. Toss the purple bugger out and let it sink for a few seconds while I trim some slack. The fish moves for it and I give the line a few short zips while getting the rod ready to go pow. Fish hit the bait and was sure that this fish was going to give me the slip. Instead of burrowing into the weeds it ran for open water. Big mistake.
Get the fish back in the water and go back to the two-rod switch up. The nymph was jettisoned and replaced with a small bass popper from Cortland. This was a mistake as the lure was an absolute no bite getter. A few gills would nip at the edges but otherwise the lure was scoffed at. Maybe it’s a little early for this pattern.

All in all it was a very productive day. Lost count of the total number of fish caught and even pulled a few that were not in the ho-hum section. These fly rod only trips teach me a lot and the challenge helps make me a better angler overall.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Case of the Mondays? Weekend Outlook from ColoradoCasters

Back at work and you wish the weekend would have lasted forever. Mondays are often met with fatigue and loathing of the weekly tasks ahead. One thing that often boosts my spirits Monday morning is the planning of another fish trip.

The Memorial Day Weekend is upon us

The first 3-day weekend of the season is quickly approaching. Memorial Day Weekend is typically the summer kickoff and the metro masses rush for the outdoors. Public water will take a serious pounding this weekend as weather looks ideal. The cold front we experienced this weekend is rolling on and a high pressure system is rolling in. Expect increased traffic and crowds at most public venues. If you can get out early…do so.
Hopefully your plans are already well under way and your destination will come with some sort of solitude. I typically like to throw out a few pointers for these 3-Day holidays to help folks avoid potential problems as well as milk a well timed filler post.

1. Allow extra time for driving: Roads and community areas will have an increased flow of people this weekend. They have exactly the same plan as you, get out of town. You can avoid a lot of this madness simply by getting an early start. Hit the roads or that public gathering a little early and you will eliminate a lot of the hassle.

2. Be courteous-avoid hostile situations: It happens every 3-Day weekend where someone gets careless or out of control and someone pays the price. Elbow tipping and alcohol consumption will be at record levels which removes a lot of common sense from the situation overall. Being courteous and allowing a little indiscretion now and then can go a long ways in regards to keeping things from blowing up into a knock down drag out like we had last time.

3. Start checklist now and review checklist before leaving: Make a list and run down everything you might need. Before heading out, give the checklist a review. It sounds simple but one of my pet peeves is when I go camping and someone says, “Oh did you remember the…” 

4. Plan your trip and activities beforehand: A lot of people have no plans for Memorial Day but will try to wing something at the last minute. This almost never goes well and everyone ends up disappointed or frustrated. Planning now will make things smoother come this weekend.

5. Have a backup plan: many times I plan a trip only to see the destination blown out for one reason or the other. Having a Plan B within close proximity can make all the difference in a rebound situation. Pick a lesser known, lower expectations destination for a Plan B.

If you have a crazy or hilarious Memorial Day story, feel free to submit it to me via e-mail at and I will do my best to run it on the blogilicious. Mattsabasser and ColoradoCasters (really it’s just one guy behind the curtain) wants to wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend. Good luck and good fishing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Photos from the field

Through my adventures photos are taken that never seem to make it into specific fish posts. So much of my fishing goes unseen or heard. Even though these pictures may not be ready for prime time fishing posts, I have found a way to fit them in an excerpt called “Photos from the field.”

Chasing Turtles

Turtles are something that I see on almost every summer trip to the lake. To find them you want to go to lakes with log or rock structure where they can sun themselves with little intrusion. For this one I used a little zoom action to get the shot.

Pond Leviathan

Ok, so maybe I could have gotten a better shot of this enormous snapper moving through a shallow pond. Some of these snapping turtles get very large. Spotting them is not easy and for me it is absolutely a case of the right place at the right time. Moving very slowly along the shoreline keeping eyes open for fish as well as things that might take a chunk out of my leg. 

Pooping Fox

One day while cruising through an area of suburbia I spot a yellow dog with no leash nosing around someone’s yard. Upon closer inspection I see that this is a fox (Vulpes vulpes). Moments later it leaves its lasting mark and moves on with the landowner shouting from the front porch.

No egret

Here is a shot of a white-faced ibis. Not sure why they call it a white faced ibis and it took me a few minutes to dial this one in using my National Geographic field guide. I find bird and pant identification much easier using book references as opposed to the internet most of the time.

A little conservation goes a long ways

Here is an example of something that I have asked for quite a bit from various urban fishery managers. The message of proper fish handling, catch and release along with species identification can go a long ways in regards to helping the sport. A conservation mentality blossoms from this type of education. Many people that fish the urban scene often do not know the type of fish they are catching and why catch and release helps maintain the population of fish overall.

Thank you so much for your views, comments and rates. This blog is fueled by your support. 

Good luck and good fishing.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Sunny on top

Weather turned south for the weekend and I ended up doing a Sunday switcharoo with a trout target as opposed to the warmwater action that was originally intended. But when temperatures drop fast and cold weather sets in on the morning take off, a change up may make all the difference.

Traffic going up is smooth like butter but conditions are rainy. Roads are wet and it wouldn’t take much to have everything slide right out from underneath you. As the vehicle got closer to the top the clouds faded and blue sky was above. The clouds of rain hung on the valley below in my rear view mirror.

Reach the stretch in record time. Pull out two rods and look at the water. Conditions are lower than I have ever seen. Here I expected some level of runoff and water levels to be on the high side. Not so. The concern was pushed aside as best as possible as my mind focused on tacking this stretch of water (now what I would call a “slip”) on this day. Toss out the minnow presentation and get a few follows. After a while I manage to pick up a brown trout nearly ten inches in length.

Work the rest of the pool with a tandem of both rods and see quickly that the spinbug method is out due to low water. Immediately I reach into the bag for what has been a secret of weapon of sorts for me over the last year. Unfortunately I had used the last one on the trout scout trip. My fall back pattern is a different style jig that I had wanted to try for a while but had more or less scoffed at it because it seemed too obvious for some reason.

First cast I get a follow in the riffles. Then I toss to the side and get a quick strike but the fish lets go. Then I simply toss the lure out, let it sink and the fish picks it off the bottom. It takes me a couple of misses before the timing of the hookset is figured out. But after that it almost seems automatic. First fish is a decent rainbow\cutthroat hybrid.

A few more fish came along and I was able to work the pool for a while before the fish got wise\tight-lipped. Move down the stretch and start working small pockets. Water this low congregates fish into areas that are fairly easy to see and target. These are conditions I would expect late summer and fall, not May. The headwaters could be in dire straights come fall and get even worse as we roll into winter.

The brilliant blue skies started to fade and I was forced to contend with wind and spotty rain. Cold air would rush through the canyon and then the warmer air would surround me again. Batten down the hatches at one moment and fish periods in between the small maelstroms that were fairly pleasant. Two layers of clothing on top was too much and not enough depending on the minute. The fish didn’t seem to care and would hit the new presentation whether it was sunny or overcast.

Cutbows were the most aggressive species versus the bully brown trout that dwell in this section. This is typical for most Colorado waters where the fish have separated aggressive behavior into shifts. Rainbow\cutties usually take the first shift, spring and early summer as where the brown trout take the second shift in the fall. Cutbow hybrids do well in the upper section of this 50-mile slip of water, as temps are cool and whirling disease resistant.

The minnow pattern started to pick up fish later in the morning. Maybe these smaller fish needed to wake up a little before taking on a larger meal. Even though it is extremely downsized it can be a difficult pattern to run in a small, shallow stretch. Hoping to coax out larger fish I still give this a toss after the new pattern has given things a go. As I walk back to the parking area and the vehicle I give the minnow pattern another toss. Deep in the trough I see a flash of silver and feel a bump on the line. Lift the rod tip up and bring another beauty cutbow to the hand. This fish must be the exception to the rule; fish are furthest from the parking area.
Hopefully more moisture comes our way and water managers are compassionate in regards to allocation of flows downstream. When it comes to water delivery and overall use in the state of Colorado, anglers and fish seem to have the smaller voice. Low flows, lower snow levels and dire situations may in fact be the future of Colorado fishing. Every living thing will have to adjust accordingly.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Well lookey there…Almost Famous

Bluecollarguy posted a comment on my cleanup post stating that I was on the State Parks website. At first I thought he was thinking of a picture I sent in a long time ago and a webpage that was buried deep in the archives section collecting dust. Only a waterhound would ever find that picture now. “Man he must have been really digging.” I laughed reading the comment. Then I go to the site to try and dig up some info myself (still researching budget info for a crisp reply on that ‘hug an angler’ post a while back) and wham, there it is…my ugly mug in a hat that everyone told me not to wear.

No mention of my name, my blog or any kudos to the Mattsabasser. Thankfully they didn’t bring up my terrible slump of all slumps I am having this year. But I have to admit that it is really nice getting any sort of publicity or acknowledgement.

A complete stranger took this photo after I wrestled with a strudy-girdy bass topping the scales at 4.8lbs. This was the fish that made me want to stop weighing fish altogether. It is just too damn disappointing. The camera took a 3.5mb diskette. Remember those? We are talking circa 2004-2005 here.

A warm thank you goes out to the folks at Colorado Parks and Wildlife for running the photo again. Maybe I should send one in with a different hat. A Mattsabasser is only as good as his next fish so I better get after it.

Good luck and good fishing

Trout scout

After months of waiting the orange badge showed up on my desk. After some brief discussion about how to get there and where to park it was set to finally fish here. This was a place that I had tracked for a while, given up on and then eventually it fell right in my lap after making a connection at work…and then waiting nearly four months.

With cautious jubilance I get in the truck and make the run. Finding the place was easy, as I had scouted this once before. Barrel roll through the short park and walk to finally reach the first lake. Decent size but relatively shallow. Houses are set off in the distance and fairly secluded so you still have that mountain isolation feel when making the shoreline tour.

The lake was wide open, no ice or snow visible. This is about 9K feet elevation and often sports some ice or at least a crusty iceberg on one side. It is a little unnerving to see this small lake so low at this juncture. Hanging by a thread it could be reduced to nothing if the county decides to tap it out.

Caught one small stocker bow and saw a few larger fish that didn’t want to take a swipe at what I was throwing. The fish in shallow water were easily spooked and most would not let me get a cast to them with the fly rod (I tried anyway). My other option was to work the distance on the spin action and I picked up this bow using a silver\blue spinbug pattern.

All in all it was good to look at the place and resolve some of my curiosity. A lot was learned and expectations can now be accurately set for future trips. Sometimes the research pays off. My waterhounding continues on.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Denver Water, 2 counties sign Colorado River deal (Denver Post)

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS, Colo.—Colorado's largest water utility and two western counties have ratified a deal aimed at balancing the Denver-area's demand for water with the needs of mountain communities and avoiding costly legal battles.
Denver Water and the leaders of Grand and Summit counties signed the Colorado River Cooperative Agreement on Tuesday along with the Colorado River District and the Clinton Ditch & Reservoir Co.

The deal has been in the works for six years. The negotiations were challenging because of Colorado's complicated water laws and a history of distrust between eastern and western Colorado over water.

Gov. John Hickenlooper joked that the water wars have now been scaled back to "rubber bullets and bean bag shotguns." He said he hoped other similar deals would be worked out across Colorado, where 80 percent of the water comes from west of the Continental Divide but 80 percent of the demand is in the more populous east.

"Colorado is the ultimate beneficiary," he said.

Denver Water—which serves about 1.3 million people in the Denver area—and nearly three dozen Western Slope water users announced the proposal last year. Eagle County and its water districts became the first to sign in February. The endorsement of the cities of Rifle and Glenwood Springs and some irrigation districts is still pending.

Under the deal, Denver Water will contribute $25 million to western Colorado projects and limit its service area. In return, the signers won't oppose Denver Water's proposal to hold more mountain water in Gross Reservoir.

The utility's future water development projects also need to be approved by the Colorado River District and counties hosting the projects. The deal encourages conservation and allows for sharing with other Front Range communities.

In Summit County, home of the utility's largest reservoir, Denver Water agreed to pay $11 million for projects including improvements to a wastewater treatment plant and to provide 250 acre-feet of water to districts and towns for free. Denver Water also plans to keep Dillon Reservoir full enough to support summer boating and fishing.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Another bass-crappie slam

Took an all out late morning gamble rolling into this spot on Saturday. Two cups of coffee and a gear load up puts me on the road at 9:15AM. My original destination was blown out of the water due to the late wake up. Some places are starting to get too crowded already for my liking and school isn’t even out yet.

“They’ll be mobbing the hot spot.” Echoes the sound of two marbles that roll around in my brain. “Better go with Plan B and a little extra driving.”

Reach the parking lot and there appears to be only a small handful of vehicles. Right off the bat my eyes scan bumper stickers looking for telltale signs of hobbyist markings on the parked cars.

“One NAFC sticker, a few bird watcher club markings and a ‘I love my dog’ license plate ring…not too shabby.” This means that potentially I have only one angler to contend with on a 50-60 surface acre lake.

The tooner, three rods, fish finder unit, fish finder unit clamp, anchor system, PFD, two oars, and the tackle bag are loaded onto the wagon before being hauled a very long ways to the launch point. Most of this lake is covered with rough terrain and the only suitable launch point has to be halfway around the pool. Finally get to the water, launch and get to work on the northern edge of the lake with the fantastic plastics with a sidearm cast. First cast and a heavy bite comes to the line. I hold my breath while the battle ensues. Once in the hand I decide to do a quick grab and go photo op hoping there is more fish nearby. A few dinks are landed and then I move on.

I work the entire northern edge with one quality bucket and a handful of dinks. Another fish comes along but it is merely average. After spending so much time in the ho-hum doldrums this year I decide to void the photo op on this one and focus on larger fish. Then my fish finder does something it hasn’t done in a long time. It actually signals a fish on the screen. Well not one fish mind you but a handful of smaller fish. For some people this may not be a surprise but even on sensitivity setting number 8, this fish finder unit doesn’t show me fish that I can clearly see in the water only a few feet away from the boat.

“Oh now you decide to start dialing stuff in. You are lucky I don’t toss you overboard right now.” Yes, the sun and water gets to me sometimes.

The sonar blips could be nothing more than large shad or even an anomaly of sorts showing up on the screen. Answering the question would require a presentation of a smaller size.

Trim the spinnerbait off the fast action rod and tie on a lightweight jig presentation. Miss a few tiny hits, readjust and then start pulling out crappie like I was the Hamburgler at McDonald’s. One after the other came to the hand but they were not really slabs…more like mini-slabs. I still dig crappie and consider them a major staple of the panfish category. Having an addiction to panfish I stay there nailing wannabe slabs for almost an hour.
The trick was getting the jig at the right depth and setting the hook right on top of the bite. As soon as they hit you had to spring back fast with the hookset elbow or miss the bite completely. Truth be told I was 50/50 on the hook up most of the time. Towards the end of my crappie slammage a slight feeling of lament started to overcome me.

“Man…I shouldn’t have trimmed the spinnerbait. That sexy white and black skirt and deliciously shiny blade might be the hot ticket right now.

And so I stopped and had to change everything up. Spinnerbait went back on the fast action rod, light jig trimmed off the second rod replaced by the fantastic plastic. Then that rod (heavy-medium action) was fixed with the heavier jig to work some sandy\mud sections. Rarely do I have the patience to do this most of the time by the way and usually adjust or deal with it. This year I need to be damn near perfect for some reason to get anything.
The day wears on and the fish are all over the place but the bass are moving from the bottom of the incline into the shallow water and then back to bottom of the incline. There are a few bass that are lingering in the shallow water but not nesting (some lakes I can’t tell if there was a bass spawn at all actually which troubles my already frazzled mind). One of the largemouth is chasing gills and nipping furiously at them.

“Oh that fish is hungry!” I say flipping the heavy jig onto the shoreline and then slip it into the water through a light barrier of moss, which I expected to foul the rig completely. The fish stops dead in its tracks and makes a dead run for the bait. The moss must have worked like camouflage because at first the fish looked as if it had lost its quarry. Give the rod a few bumps and the fish moves its head back to the bait location. One more bump and I see those massive bass lips explode. With a lightning fast inhale the fish tries to suck in the bait less than fifteen feet away from me. No brainer hook set and the fish goes nuts! Had it broke my line the thing would have landed itself on shore with the massive leap out of the water.

It is so good to see aggressive bass finally instead of the wary, no biter, timid-fish. I couldn’t tell you whether this lake was in prespawn, post-spawn, under-spawn or over-spawn. All I do know is that water was holding at 62 degrees on the shady side and 63 on the other. If you saw baitfish, start throwing. The big bass are close by and most of them are hungry.

My name is Matt and I'm a fishaholic.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Study: Colorado River generating money and jobs

DENVER—Recreation on the Colorado River and its tributaries contributes about $17 billion in direct spending annually to the economies of six of the states that depend on its water, according to a study released Friday.

The report was commissioned by Protect the Flows, which represents small businesses such as fishing guides and others who rely on the Colorado River basin in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

The group supports cost-effective conservation and water efficiency so the overtaxed river can meet demands for water as the West grows.

Southwick Associates Inc. developed the report by first conducting a telephone survey of people in all Colorado River basin states except California from Jan. 24 to Feb. 12 to estimate how many people hike, fish, raft, camp, picnic or otherwise play on the river system and how often.

President Rob Southwick said California was excluded because only a small part of the state uses the river for recreation.

Then, researchers matched the survey results with data on spending on travel and equipment for outdoor activities to estimate economic impacts.

The study estimates that business activity from recreation focused on the river system supports about 234,000 jobs in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and generates more than $1.6 billion in federal taxes annually and $1.6 billion in state and local tax revenues.

The figure of $17 billion in direct spending from river recreation would likely be higher if visits from outside the region were included, said Sarah Sidwell, manager of Tag-A-Long Expeditions in Moab, Utah. Sidwell said 40 percent of customers for her rafting and off-road business are international.

"Our stake in this is huge," Sidwell said of keeping the river system healthy. "We need to have a flowing river in order for me to have a job and 100 part-time employees to have jobs."

Rhett Bain, owner of Reel Deal Anglers in Jackson, Wyo., said a seasonal guide for his business earns about $30,000 in 90 days including tips.

"We're supporting jobs in an economy that has no jobs," he said.

By comparison, a 2006 study that Southwick conducted for the Outdoor Industry Foundation estimated outdoor recreation nationwide contributed $730 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

To put the $17 billion in spending in context, Southwick said the figure tops the annual revenue of some top companies, including General Mills Inc.

"It's tough to know the value of water until it's gone, but the Southwick report starts to put some good numbers on the economic effect of keeping water in our river," said U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat and former mountain guide.

The report comes as the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reviews ideas for how to solve an imbalance in supply and demand in water on the Colorado River.

"Fundamentally, it's an asset we've got to find a way to preserve and protect," said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

Santana Garcia of the Las Vegas Latin Chamber of Commerce said even businesses that don't depend directly on the Colorado River focus heavily on conserving water because businesses contribute to spending for reservoir projects.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Finding the groove

The tooner and I hit a spot of water where the action has been consistently off and on this year. One day you have the fish jumping in the boat and the next day you can’t find a single fin slapper. Load the gear, launch the boat and right away I get bites from small fish on the 4” weightless grub setup. This is something I throw in the morning when a buzzbait may seem too obnoxious. Casting distance is limited but a good choice in the lightweight department. After a few dinks I manage to pull a nearly respectable fish from under a large section of moss.

Before leaving this area I switch to a larger plastic bait. I work the moss area again and then search fast for a while before moving. The electronics are giving me varying depth and a water temperature of 63 degrees. Wind is fairly consistent at 15mph and the air temp was climbing. Only small bass under 12-inches were gathering in the shallows. The larger bass were not nesting or even cruising in shallow water. The electronics were not picking fish off the bottom either. After an hour with no fish of size from the edges I switch to the spinnerbait and started going into search cast mode. This picked up a few chunkers. Nothing in the shameless bragging department but enough action to keep me casting with sexy skirted spinnerbait.

Search casting with the naked spinnerbait (no trailer) allowed me to cover water more quickly. This pattern was the most affective of the day but I would still drop down a creature presentation or a fantastic plastic setup if the fish finder came up with “pocket terrain” on the bottom. When fish are elusive and not in an aggressive bite pattern, this is usually money. However on this day I did not get so much as a nibble from the deep drop.

Somewhere along the line I see some wood structure and start throwing the small jig setup. My goal here is to see what kind of mood the panfish are in. It may be a little early for bluegill or sunfish to be staging but a few crappie were still around to make the attempt worthwhile. This is not a slab by any means but my first crappie of the year.

By now my blog’s small handful of regular viewers are probably getting tired of me complaining about my lack of success and absence of shameless bragging this season. In previous years it seemed like I could pitch anything near water and come up with a big fish. This year however I am struggling to just to be average. Hopefully I am finding the groove and getting back into fish catching mode.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Hug an Angler – Friendly reminder from The Wildlife Council

(Video from The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Youtube site)

Ever get the stink-eye from a bird watcher or dog walker while fishing? Ever get a shoreline lecture from some do-well nature lover about how much the sport of angling hurts fish? Negative sentiment towards anglers (and even more so for hunters) can take you by surprise at times.

Many nature enthusiasts may not fully understand that without anglers and hunters, there would be little or no money to manage the large amounts of habitat space nature goers enjoy. Without license revenues from in-state and out-of state sportspeople Colorado would be at the mercy of real estate developers.
The Wildlife Council (Parks and Wildlife) has come up with a new champagne that will help shed more light on who contributes the most to keeping wildlife habitat economically sustainable…sportspeople. Our licenses and fees contribute the lion share of moneys that pay to accumulate, maintain and preserve natural habitat for all sorts of recreational opportunities. 

Admittedly I wouldn’t mind getting a hug from some of the female followers of my blogilicious. A handshake from male followers would suffice. A warm thank you goes out to The Wildlife Council for this friendly reminder.

Good luck and good fishing.

Shorebang coughs up a bucket

It was getting to the point where I was asking myself, “Am I ever going to catch a big fish?”  Had to pull a quick morning cast grab just to try and beat some of these “weekday warriors” to the hot spot. Get there and see fish shallow but in ultra finicky mode. As much as I love the flat water morning bite, I think the afternoon bite has been much better…or so I am told. Lucky for me I was able to trick ol One Eye here into taking the tube jig.

The trick was casting far away from the fish and bringing the lure in as slow as your patience will allow. Most of the time I have to slow hop the lure to keep it out of trouble or the weed matte. When I get close I let the lure stop and give it a slow “bump, bump, bump” with the rod tip. This will literally call the fish to the bait sometimes. When it works I look a genius. When it doesn’t, I try something else.
These days I am weighting my tubes with 1/8oz weight until I see fish run on the plop. Then I trim down to 1/16 or go weightless. Even then a timid fish will flee at the first sign of trouble. Air temps were a blissfull 58 degrees but warmed to near 80’s by mid-day. If I was a gambling man I would say that the warmwater action would have been better at 6PM as opposed to 6AM. Fishing is a gamble most of the time and every trip is another roll of the dice.
 My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Postcard from Sam Slinger

Last year while doing some pond hopping I run across this guy that looked a cut above the standard metro pond angler. After watching him throw laser guided casts along the shoreline I dubbed him “Sam Slinger” on a subsequent blog post. A few weeks later our paths across again but at another set of ponds thirty miles away from the last meeting. Before I could recall to him my tales of woe this year, he opens up with one sentence.

“Man, I am just killing it!”

We talk for a while and he offers his condolences to my stuttering, stumbling, flat out bumbling start to the season. He shared stories of his success and I shared tales of my utter disasters. He offered to shoot me a few pictures to post up on the blogilicious which is really hurting in my shameless bragging department. I chose this one because the fish is downright plump! Fine specimen and well done Slinger!!!

Good Luck and Good Fishing

Adopt a lake trash grab at WP

Just doing another lake cleanup, folks. Wish that I have better fishing action to post but the trash grabbin’ action is always there. This place gets a Mattsabasser scrub about every year give or take a few. The good news is that I am not the only one doing annual scrubs at this location. The bad news is that at times you would never know anyone was doing nothing BUT leaving refuse. Only way to make it go away is get to grabbin’.
Pull into the fence guarded dirt parking lot and see a few empty cans. Sometimes I see bags of leftover fast food or the remnants of a small party when I roll in here. Get the trash bags out, put the gloves on and make sure I have the new trash claw grabby thing on hand. This was a 10-dollar purchase from Walgreens to keep me from getting bit by spiders and snakes while digging stuff out of the bushes. Before I can so much as pick up a single trash can I step on something metal. Seconds later I kick something silver. Reach down and pull up two discarded lures. These would have really ruined someone’s day had they ran their dog or tires over.
Coves seem to gather up the most trash due to wind and frequent use. When reaching one of these areas I know to set the bag down and start collecting items by the handful. The southwest cove offers half a trash bag of refuse. The northeast cove however filled up one bag all by itself and reduced the trash grabbing helper unit into trash as well. There was a chunk of carpet. Several cans and broken bottles were strewn about but the worst may have been the enormous snarl of line. Thankfully I didn’t have to pull out any dead birds or baby rabbits from this mess. Could have made a small hammock with the amount of line pulled from this one area. The photo below doesn’t do this line snarl proper justice.
Conditions have been dry in Colorado making it a lot easier to pull off a good scrub at the local lakes that I fish frequently. Earth Day rolled around again this year and was a helpful reminder for me to get out and give a little back to the sport I love so much (even though things have been slightly worse than terrible for me this season).

Trash removal is one of the best things anglers can do for the waters they fish. Empty beer bottles, aluminum cans, spent fishing line and more takes away from the natural setting on so many levels. I encourage everyone to adopt the waters that they frequent and pick up trash on a regular basis. Earth Day can be any day and this amazing planet could use the help. You might see an increase in wildlife activity as a result.

Good luck and good fishing.