Tuesday, April 30, 2013

News you can use-Colorado Fishing Atlas

Few things make my fish bragging more tolerable than ‘news you can use’. One of the most asked questions in regards to fishing in Colorado are “where should I go?” Hopefully this post will cover both aspects by adding the Fishing Atlas link from Colorado Parks and Wildlife to my sidebar.
This web feature allows users to search through hundreds of fishing areas within Colorado. There are several toggle features that help narrow down elements that you want or do not want to see. A few minutes of playing around and I was fairly impressed with the amount of information this new web tool has.

Realize that some of this data is antiquated and situations can change overnight. Property boundaries may or may not be accurate so some locations may need more verification. All in all I think this is exactly what a lot of anglers have been asking for.
Go ahread and give this feature atour and let me know what you think. If you come across data glitches or errors, contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife via the e-mail exchange link below.
Good luck and darn good fishing.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cast to the warm

Early spring weather can vary greatly in Colorado. One day you have snow and then a warm spurt of 60-70 degrees could follow. These fluctuations in temperature create windows of opportunity for early season big fish catches. Not being able to control the day these warm spells hit I had to pull the trigger on one of my PTO days.
Launch the tooner and action is nil as the morning mist lazily rolls off the water. I start throwing a black buzzbait looking for that delicious topwater action. No bites come along so I start working through the gear options hoping to stumble across a hot pattern. Switch to the spinnerbait and after a few casts come up with a solid bite.  

The bite came practically off the bottom. This was a significant clue and a large piece of the puzzle. I started running gear as deep as possible with just enough speed to keep the lures out of trouble. The weed matte is recessed and still sporting its winter look. But even in recessed mode, algea and plant growth cover the lure if it drops down too low. A few more casts and I land the fish posted at the top.

The lure is a 3/8oz Booyah spinnerbait with chartruse\white and some black speckles. The rod is a 7-foot medium\fast action on 6lb Hi-seas mono. The reel is a Pfluegar President that I can’t say enough about.
Air temperature would vary by the minute and the fluctuations were extreme considering there was barely a breeze on the water. One minute you basking in 55-60 degrees in the morning and then a blast of cold air would surround you like death’s icey grip trying to slither up in attempt to steal your soul.
“Bluegill…” I mutter dropping the spinnerbait rod and grabbing the pole with a light jig.

My panfish addiction will often put my bass game on the backburner when I see a large school of gills, sunnies, crappie or even perch. I went so far as to see a psychotherapist about it. After a few fish stories the doc was gearing up and trying to work himself into next weekend’s fishing run.

 By noon the sun had melted away the cloud cover and haze. Air temps were flirting near 70-degrees and for some reason the spinnerbait action faded. I struggled for a while sorting through the pastics and a few search casts with the heavy spoons. Eventually I fell back on my jig combos and managed to land a sturdy bucketmouth to close out the day.

Post disclaimer: This trip and photos were taken at the beginning of April before the recent snows. Then the warm spurt hit and it fit the delayed material close enough for to me milk on the blogilicious. 29 degrees one day and 70 degrees the next. Maybe next week I will do a expose on how to cast heavy gear and haul it on a dog sled.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic. 

South Platte snowpack reaches 95 percent of normal

"It was huge. We finally got some late-season snow, or we would be well into the snowmelt season right now."

The snowpack in the South Platte River basin -- a major water supplier for the Front Range -- is 95 percent of normal for this time of year, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service website. As recently as April 7, it was 70 percent. The basin's peak snowpack was 90 percent of the typical peak.

To read the full article from the Boulder Daily Camera By Mitchell Byars Camera Staff Writer, please click the link below.
Matt’s Rant: April typically is the snowiest month in Colorado and this sets the tone for conditions for the rest of the year. The big wet flakes didn’t really set in heavy amounts until the very end of the month. Truly I was in a panic and view the water situation to be beyond desperate. Colorado is not out of the woods yet but at least some areas are not in a disaster scenario that would have resulted from receiving little moisture from these recent storms.
South Platte drainages and others might even experience somewhat normal runoff this year.  I agree completely with Mage Hultstrand, assistant snow survey supervisor for the Natural Resources Conservation Service…this is huge right now.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

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.”

Viewers may have noticed a drop off in my blogging activity which is due to several factors. Professionally I am making huge strides at work and doing my best to keep up with the ever increasing demands. The pressure is keeping me from fishing and this wears on my sanity at times. My blog is also suffering from a Win 7 upgrade that has set me back in regards to software and settings. It never fails. By the time I start figuring certain aspects of technology the format changes and I have to start all over.  

Crosswalk Elk


(Above: One morning while taking the kiddo to school I pass a herd of elk gathering at a school crossing sign. On my way back to the main road I see the entire group cross the road in mass using the crosswalk. Humans waited patiently and not a single horn was blown as the elk had the proper right of way.) 

Snow Dino

(Above: One weekend I was very fortunate and the landscape received a large amount of wet snow perfect for sculpturing. Armed with only a snow shovel and determination I spent 3-4 hours building this snow dino. The head and spikes were done last and stairs were built into the back to help make the finishing touches.) 
Snow Tinting
(Above: A seasonal fad for automobiles in Colorado is “snow tinting”. It helps block bright sunlight while driving and also hides that annoying person practically riding on top of your back bumper. Probably not the safest form of window accessory but less expensive than professional tinting.)
Eventually I will get my Win 7 and internet tweaks worked out along with making more time to fish. Thank you so much for your views, comments and rates. This blog is fueled by your support. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Forest Service cuts impact summer work force-more cuts to follow

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado — An 18 percent budget cut for the White River National Forest this year will impact the seasonal work force at area campgrounds and along trails this summer, including the popular Hanging Lake area in Glenwood Canyon, Forest Service spokesman Bill Kight said Wednesday.

“We are looking at 18 positions that we had last year that we can't fill this year,” Kight said, confirming that the local forest has had to cut about $3 million from its $16 million annual budget.

The cuts are separate from the anticipated across-the-board budget cuts due to the federal sequestration that went into effect last month, he said.

Those cuts will also impact the U.S. Forest Service as a whole, including local forest offices. However, the exact impact of the sequester cuts on local forest operations are not yet known.

Meanwhile, the WRNF is working on ways to make people aware of the seasonal cuts that are known, Kight said of the non-sequester reductions.

“We will have to let people know that some of what they're used to seeing will not be up and running.”

One result is that there will not be forest rangers regularly patrolling the Hanging Lake area, he said.

That will present some difficulties in terms of enforcing the numerous restrictions for the area, which draws upwards of 80,000 visitors per year.


Link to full article from the Post Independent:




Matt's Rant: Expect some impact from budget cuts across the board this year in regards to outdoor areas in Colorado. Some management agencies will cut staff, services and even close recreational areas this year. It may be prudent to do a little research and\or call before making summer plans. Forest Service, CDOW-State Parks and even local agencies are scrambling to make budget-ends meet.

The Max Factor

Prolog: At work I am known more or less as a fishing nut. One day Max stopped over at my office and wanted a few for a family outing at Lake McConaughy-NE. After a few scribbles on the whiteboard and some basics he headed off for vacation. On his return he exclaimed that he had little time to fish but when he did get the chance it was met with success. My tips panned out for him and I couldn’t have been more pleased.

A few months later he stops by and tells me that his family is house sitting for a guy that owns a sizeable spread of land that just so happens to have a 10-15 surface acre pond.  Moments later we penciled in a scout trip and hopefully could show Max a little bit more about the Mattsabasser fishing that I am always babbling about. March is a little early for bass fishing but the conditions were good. Then it snowed. We waited a few days for the lake to soak up the following warm trend and then reset the meet.

The Trip

I showed up on a Thursday afternoon about 5 PM. Air temp was about 55 degrees with 5-15mph winds. I had prepped three rods, medium action-seven foot length. My plan was to work a few basic patterns with Max and I having one rod with one as a backup to transition other baits. Hopefully I wouldn’t regret not bring a fourth rod.

Max walks out the front door to greet me with his daughter leading the way. She is about 7 and I immediately saw the life jacket and intent look in her eyes. This girl wanted to do more than simply cheer on the sidelines. No sir. This girl wanted to fish.  There goes the extra rod.
Reaching the edge of the pond I hand Max the rod with the jig combo. We walk out on the small dock and on the first cast he caught a fish. It was a 14-inch largemouth bass and put up a scrappy fight. Seeing he was well on his way my focus shifted to the bluegill hovering around the shoreline. At first I tried the jig and then went to my panfish setup. After a few tries I hooked up with one and then handed the rod to the fisher gal. On the second try she landed a bluegill.

From there she was catching one about every few minutes or so. These fish were suspending near the dock and the school was large enough to keep her busy for a few hours. One or two of them actually came back twice. The fish were not mobbing the bat like they do in summer. It took a bit of finesse and I was quite impressed.

Over the next few hours Max and I worked the pond and caught plenty of fish in the 14-inch range. You could cast to any fishy looking spot and get a bite. However, each fish would look almost identical to the last one caught. I explained that fish can overpopulate quite easy in private water. The overpopulation can cause various problems one of which is stunting and nearly all the fish will appear to be the same size. It may take years for the lake to recover naturally and will require some sort of natural die off. I offered some tips to improve things such as removing a substantial number of fish annually (if overpopulation was indeed the case). Max will have to take a few more trips during the year to gain more information. Of course I offered to join him whenever he wanted.

In conclusion: Huge thanks to Max and company for letting me get a taste of a pond that I have been curious about for some time. Not all private water is a glorious big fish fest. With a little effort, this body of water could jump into more of a trophy fish situation.

My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Stage 2 Water Ban-In Effect…yes, already.

As much as I wish that this ban was going into effect to improve fishing conditions, it is being done to ration a dangerously low water supply. Colorado water conditions have become dire and Stage 2 Water Restrictions are in place even earlier than anticipated. This means that homeowners (excluding private wells) can only water their lawns two days a week per the schedule. There are a few exceptions such as new trees and freshly laid sod. For the exact restrictions and more information please review the link below.
As we roll into the hot summer months conditions may actually escalate into a Stage 3 Water Ban. Stage 3 will ban any outdoor watering altogether. At some point Denver Water may actually dust of my submitted recommendations  for Stage 4 water ban where households will be allowed to flush one toilet twice a day or two toilets once a day. Coffee and drinking water will be relegated to the bottle water purchased at your local grocer.
I know that my blog often sounds like some after school special about water conservation but please understand that the battle for water in Colorado becomes more serious every year. Population increases mixed with less precipitation move the discussion well outside global warming arguments and green house gas debates. The fact is Denver and other growing communities are using more water and Colorado is receiving less precipitation year after year. Colorado residents may not fully grasp how bad the situation is right now. It may take a few bad instances to illustrate the reality.
Below is a link to another article from the Coloradoan that highlights how an entire region could lose their water supply in lieu of pending fire conditions.
My name is Matt and I’m a fishaholic.