Go Take a Leap!

2016 is a Leap Year, so we are blessed with one extra day in the year. How will you use your extra dayhunting? Here are some ideas:

Idea #1 - Learn a new outdoor skill. Of course this will be our first choice. Never fished? Have someone who fishes take you. Warm weather or cold, there are plenty of fish and plenty of places to catch them. Never hunted? Do the same. Find someone who hunts and have them take you on one day. Don't be scared to ask...sometimes you have to ask more than one person. If that happens...contact us. We'll put you in touch with one of our hunting or fishing pros. They love to introduce people to fishing and hunting!Fishing

Idea #2 - Visit a new place. This is my favorite. As a born and raised Iowan, I am continuously amazed at how many fellow Iowans don't know all of the cool places there are to visit in this state. They may have traveled across the country, or outside it even, but they couldn't name three of Iowa's state parks or have never been to Lake Red Rock or any of our other beautiful lakes and parks.

Idea #3 - Learn to read a map. Forget about the phone GPS or Google Maps or whatever. Start with a free road map at your area rest stop and look at it. Learn your state. Then decide where you're going to go for Idea #2 above and figure out your route. Then, if you hit a detour, you won't be led 1.5 hours out of your way by your electronic friend. You can read the blue and gray lines and get there on your own...quicker. From there you can move on to hiking maps, etc., for those hikes you'll take in #5!

Idea #4 - Try a new taste. Are you one of those people who say "Ew!" at the mention of venison or other game? Yet, you've never tried it. Find someone to give you a small amount of ground venison, like a pound, and cook it up for spaghetti or some baked pasta.

Idea #5 - Take a hike...or at least a walk around the block. If you're not an outdoors person, try it. Start by walking around the block and see where it takes you. Fresh air, exercise...you've heard it all before.

Idea #6 - Plant a garden. Start small so you're not overwhelmed. Plant for yourself and plant to share. You can start the seeds indoors.

February is American Heart Month. It's a perfect time to take that extra day to start on a journey of enjoying the outdoors, being healthier, and learning new things.

Take a leap into something new. You can start any day, not just on THE Leap Day (February 29), but that will be a memorable starting point.

It will do your heart and mind good.


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Shad Season 2016

January, February, and March in central Florida means Shad for an ever increasing number of anglers that discover the wonderful fun than can be reached a short distance from their doorsteps.  But fish being fish will dash the hopes of even the best organized and practiced angler, therefore increasing the intense desire to return for another try year after year after year.

Shad fishing can be one of those things that will test your patience because you just have believe the fish are there and one will eventually find the fly.  I don't think I have ever blindly casted for a fish more than for shad, which requires a great deal of faith on my part considering that I'm a sight fisherman at heart.  Thankfully though, shad like to travel certain corridors and hold in particular locations so we can eliminate 90 percent of the water and concentrate on the remaining ten.  They tend to run in deeper channels and stack up in holes that can be up to 30 feet in depth, making the presentation tough at times but the rewards well worth it.  Steelheaders will appreciate the method of presenting quartering downstream, allowing the fly to sink and swing with the current until it's parallel to the shore, then working slowly upstream for a bit. "Swingers" from out west and the great lakes should love fishing for shad in the traditional manner.  Sometimes we do get lucky and have a phenomenal topwater bite but I can count those days on one hand if I'm to be realistic.  Enjoy it if it happens but don't plan on it.  You might want to check out "Wade Fly Fishing The Upper St. Johns River Basin(Florida) For American Shad" If you'd like to read about some of the locations and tactics before throwing caution to the wind and venturing forth.

Shad season is about more than chasing a fish some might call mythical because they've only seen them in photographs.  We look forward to seeing friends on the water, taking pictures of the wildlife, getting some exercise, and maybe catch a few fish in the process.  I love viewing all the different birds visiting the region during winter, including the American White Pelicans and the Caracara.  Both are indicators that shad season is here and it's time to hit the water. 

This season has only just begun and the conditions are near perfect right now so pack up and hit the river somewhere along "Shad Alley" (not too early since the bite may not really get going until late morning or early afternoon) with a few friends in boats, kayaks, or maybe even walking the shore.  Bring along some small bright flies along with your favorite five or six weight, or some shad darts and small Rat-L-Traps for the light action spinning rods. Throw them close to the deep drop offs, channels, creek mouths, or anyplace that looks fishy and you never know what you might hook into.  Crappie, sunshine bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, sunfish, mudfish, and maybe even a shad or two might join the party.  It only takes a little of your time and a bit of effort to have a wonderful time.  Good luck.


Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando



It's all about the base (layers)

Base layers are the most popular of our cold gear, especially as our temperatures continue to drop.

We have base layers for both men and women. For men the brands we carry are XPS, Under Armour, Columbia, and the Redhead Military Fleece. For women we carry XPS and Columbia.

Base layers come in several different weights depending on the temperature. XPS brand comes in 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0. The 1.0 for more mild weather and 4.0 for more harsh and extreme weather. The XPS base layers utilize Zone Ventilation Panels in order to keep the individual warm. In Under Armour we have 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0.  It is midweight and utilizes ArmourBlock which is anti-odor technology. Columbia comes in midweight and in heavyweight and uses Omni-Heat which reflects heat back. Lastly the Redhead Military Fleece only comes in one weight. Military Fleece is very lightweight and breathable.



Pictured:  XPS Extreme Base Layer and Under Armour Base Layer

On your next visit to your local Bass Pro Shop apparel department stop by and visit with one of our knowledgeable and friendly sales associates and let us help you find your perfect base layer. This is a fantastic gift idea for anyone who might enjoy hunting, fishing, or even if they work out in the elements during the wintertime. Don’t let the elements keep you or a loved one inside this winter!

Check out these other articles on layering pieces!

Layer, Layer, Layer

Cold Weather Fly Fishing

Columbia Omni-Tech Apparel - the Cold and Wet Don't Stand a Chance!!

Get Ready for Cold Weather - Under Armour Has You Covered!

Jacob - Apparel Department, Independence Missouri



An Eventful February Is Headed Your Way!

There are so many exciting things coming up in the next month at your Independence Bass Pro Shops store!


Our Crappie Madness event kicks us off January 29 - February 15.  We will have several fun events and activities going on.

Friday February 5 - Join us for our kids casting challenge from 5pm-8pm or get your photo taken with a trophy fish!  At 7pm, Kevin Rogers - Crappie Professional Fisherman will be presenting a seminar on Crappie Techniques.  You won't want to miss it!

Saturday February 6 - Kevin Rogers will be back again to give us more Crappie Techniques at 11am and 2pm.  Our kids casting and photos will be going on from 1pm - 5pm that day.  We will also have fried fish samples from 2pm - 5pm while supplies last!

Friday, February 12 - Join us for tips and tricks for Crappie Fishing from an area local professional at 7pm!

Saturday, February 13 - Join us for tips and tricks for Crappie Fishing from an area local professional at 11am and 2pm!

Be one of the first 50 to join us for the seminar and receive a BPS logo tote bag!  Also - attend the seminar and you can enter our sweepstakes for the chance to win a 2016 Tracker Pro Team 175 TF boat with Rod Holders!

Be one of the first 100 to do the kids casting and photo each day and receive a bobber draw string bag!


Spring Fishing Classic:

The spring fishing classic kicks off on February 12 - February 21.  Outline of the event planned for this event are below:

Local Fishing Tip Seminars by Local Pros:

Friday February 19 - 7pm

Saturday February 20 - 11am, 2pm, 4pm

Sunday, February 21 - 11am, 2pm, 4pm

Please keep an eye on our webpage for more information on topics and who will be speaking at each seminar!

First 25 people to attend a seminar will receive a Spring Fishing Classic Logo soft cooler.


Fried Fish Samples:

Saturday February 20 from 2pm - 4pm while supplies last

Women's Workshop:

Saturday February 20 at 1:30pm - Fishing basics and how fishing can be fun!

First 25 women to attend will receive a tumbler.

Next Generation Weekend:

Saturday February 20 & Sunday February 21 - 12pm - 5pm

Free Photo Download

Kids Workshop:  4:30pm only!!!


Catch and Release Pond (live fishing indoors!!!)

First 100 kids to finish their punch card will receive a fish drawstring backpack!


Professional Bull Riders

On Saturday, February 20 we will also have our Professional Bull Riders event going on in the store as they invade Kansas City and the Sprint Center for the Invitational!  Stay tuned for more details via our website and Facebook page as they become available.



We hope to see you in for one of these fun events!!!  For any questions related to what is going on in the store, please feel free to contact April at (816) 795-4307.





Crappie - From the Shore

I have only been crappie fishing for a few years now in Missouri and thought I would share the different styles and colors of baits that I have had success with fishing from shore. Like some crappie fisherman will tell, it doesn’t really matter what color of bait you use, as long as it is chartreuse. There is some truth to that statement and most of my baits are, or have some chartreuse in them. For example “Electric Chicken”, in recent years, has become a popular color, and yes, it does have a touch of chartreuse in it. Baits used in crappie fishing include live minnows, small spinnerbaits and crankbaits, small flys and soft plastics. From curly tail grubs to small paddletail swimbaits, soft plastics have the most styles and colors available of all the crappie baits and I use them under a float. Bass Pro Shops have a great selection of soft plastics, and my favorites are Bass Pro Shops 1” Squirmin’ Grubs, Bass Pro Shops 2” Triple Ripple Grubs, Crappie Maxx 1/32” Paddletail Minnow and Fle-Fly Brand 1” Go Go Minnow. For 1” plastics I use a 1/64 ounce jighead and for the 2” plastics I will either use a 1/32 or a 1/16 ounce jighead.



Something else I never leave home without is additional fish attractant. Attractants include Berkley PowerBait Crappie Nibbles and liquid attractants. Either type will greatly increase a strike. Nibbles are used to tip a jighead hook and come in a variety of colors. Sprays can include Berkley PowerBait for Crappie, Chompers Formula G, my favorite, or Kick’n Crappie. Simply just give your plastic a couple of drops or squirts.


With all of the proper equipment, styles of baits and techniques, the search for evasive slab can be the most aggravating fish to find, or it can be literally like fishing In-A-Bucket where you just can’t keep them off your hook. Good Luck and wishing you all Tight-Lines!!!


Advanced Crappie Jigging Tactics

Spring Crappie Tactics

Written By:  Paul Stover - Fishing Team Lead


2016 Spring Fishing Classic!

The world's greatest fishing show and sale is back, and there's something for everyone! Awesome activities, and hot deals all 10 days! Check out complete details and specials at www.basspro.com/classic!

Rod and Reel Trade-In

The Rod and Reel Trade-In is back...and it's 10 days long! 
Trade in your old reel and save even more on a new one! Trade in your old rod and save on a new one of those, too! It lasts for the whole Classic and includes fly rods and reels!

Rods and reels must not be broken. Lat year our amazing Bass Pro Shops Altoona customers donated over 500 rods and reels, all of which were donated to Scouts, the DNR, Lake View Camp for kids, and a veteran's program.

Local Seminars - February 19-21!

Join us for these great seminars all weekend! the First 25 people to attend each seminar will receive a free SFC logo cooler bag!

Friday, Feb. 19

7 p.m. - Bladed Jigs: Learn How and Where to Fish Bladed Jigs for your Next Big Catch

Saturday & Sunday, February 20 & 21

11 a.m. - New To Fishing? Learn All You Need to Know to Get Started - Presented by Lance Baker, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

2 p.m. - Understanding Baitfish and Their Seasonal Movements - Presented by Kary Ray, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

4 p.m. - The Strategy of Successful Kayak Fishing - Presented by Associate Kent Petersen, avid kayak fisherman.


Next Generation Weekend - February 20 & 21!

Bring the kids out to celebrate the coming of warmer weather and learn more about fishing!

  • Noon-5 p.m.: Casting Challenge - Kids receive a fish-shaped water bottle when they complete the challenge!
  • Free 4x6 photo download
  • Free Craft - Decorate a fish magnet! (While supplies last)

Kids' Workshop - 4:30 both days  - "Think Like a Fish!" Kids receive a certificate and the first 25 at the seminar receive a blow-up bobber ball!

Saturday, Feb, 20, the kids' workshop is presented by Taylor Howard, Coordinator of the Mitchellville Elementary Fishing Club for kids!

Sunday, Feb. 21, the kids' workshop is presented by Joel VanRoekel from the Iowa DNR!


Women's Fishing Workshop - February 20 - 1:30

Fishing basics for women - fishing can be fun! First 25 women to attend receive a free tumbler!


Fried Fish Sampling - Feb. 20 - 2-4 p.m.


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Southwestern Wild Turkey Stew

In the middle of winter, nothing is better than stew. Of course, having it cook all day in the slow cooker is even better! This kicked-up, healthy wild turkey stew, created by my husband and I, will warm you up from tip to toes! You'll notice there's not many exact measurements...that's the way we cook! Plus, we were able to use up some things that were in the fridge - like the salsa, spicy vegetable juice, and some adobo sauce. Use your own measurements to your own liking - that's the fun of creating!

Southwestern Wild Turkey Stew

2 turkey thighs - cubed and boned
two stalks celery - diced
potatoes - chunked
baby carrots - halved
1 can black beans
2 cups of corn
1 red pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 bottle spicy vegetable juice
1 1/2 C chicken stock
garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp adobo sauce
1 cup of salsa

Put the meat, celery, carrots, potatoes, corn, black beans, red pepper, and onion in the slow cooker. In a bowl, stir together the vegetable juice, chicken stock, seasonings, adobo sauce, and salsa until it's all well-mixed. Our over the ingredients in the slow cooker and stir all together. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until turkey is done and tender. We actually went more toward the six hours. Pull out the bay leaves before serving...serve it up with some Uncle Buck's Biscuits and you've got it made!


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Meet the Hunting Pro Staff - Chance Patrick

Our second new Hunting Pro Staff Team member is Chance Patrick!  Chance got interested in hunting as a boy and is now an avid hunter and outdoorsman, in general. He shares that love of the outdoors through his Iowa's Great Outdoors program, helping kids and adults experience Iowa's natural resources. 

How did you get started hunting?

I found an interest in hunting about 20 years ago, at the age of 12, and it quickly became a true passion. As a kid, I was taught all of the amazing things that the outdoors, and nature, have to offer. I’m not very singular when it comes to the type of game that I like to hunt, however, the hunting I enjoy most is for deer.  Not only do I love the hunt itself, but I'm very thankful for the food my hunting provides for my family all year.

What’s your favorite hunting method and why?

Archery is, by far, my favorite method of hunting.  As an adolescent, I competed in indoor and outdoor archery and, through that, met some amazing guys who got me into bow hunting. I do a bit of shotgun hunting from time to time, however, the up-close-and-personal experience of archery hunting, and the dedication it takes to prepare and hunt that way, makes it my favorite.

Three tips or techniques everyone should practice:

The number one tip for hunting is safety, safety and safety! Safety in learning about your equipment, and how it functions, and knowledge of the land/area you are hunting. Second, know the game you are hunting and regulations for that game (i.e., the legal regulations for harvesting that specific game, best legal times of the day to hunt that specific game, and the best places to find that game). Third, ALWAYS enjoy Iowa’s outdoors, but also respect all the great things it has to offer you.

Three items you never leave home without when you go hunting?

I always check, and double check, all of my safety equipment, like a working lighter for a safe fire should the need arise, all lifeline equipment, and a compass (especially if you are unfamiliar with the land/area you are hunting). Second, more clothing than I'll actually need. You should always prepare for the worst possible conditions for the season you are hunting. Third, communication and a plan with family or friends. I can't stress enough how important it is that someone be aware of where you will be and when you should be expected back.

Who has been the biggest influence on you when it comes to the outdoors?

Unfortunately, I lost my grandfather five years ago and he was the biggest influence in my life, in general, and definitely when it comes to my love of Iowa’s outdoors. Though he was mainly a fisherman of catfish and bullhead, (which I absolutely love as well!),  some of the best times I’ve had in Iowa’s outdoors were with him at a lake or good ole’ farm pond just spending time together.


Chance's passion and mission as a pro staff member for Bass Pro Shops Altoona is to educate people of all ages, especially the next generation, about what Iowa’s outdoors has to offer. Like hunting, fishing, camping, and more, and all of the places there are, and equipment available, to do these activities. Outdoor activities are being replaced by electronics and people get so wrapped up in all of the day-to-day things that need to be done, that they forget all of the beautiful and educational things nature and the outdoors have to offer.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” If I even reach one family that decides to try something new outdoors and go down that "dirt path," then my job is being done.


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Tin Plate Special

I saw this recipe on the Food for Hunters Facebook page and had to try it! It makes a hearty meal and is perfect for the weekend. We eat a LOT of venison roasts in the slow cooker, however, this method cooks the roast low and slow in the oven surrounded by beans and other goodies.

The only change I made was using olive oil to sear the meat (instead of lard or shortening), spicy vegetable juice (instead of tomato juice, fresh chopped jalapenos (instead of canned), and, of course, a bit of smoked paprika!  I also did not tie the roasts together and they cooked just fine. Just writing this makes me realize I need to make this dish again!

Tin Plate Special

1 lb dry pinto beans
6 lbs of venison roast (we had about 5 lbs)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or lard or shortening)
1/3 C chopped jalapeno (or 4 oz can)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 C spicy tomato juice (or regular tomato juice)
1- 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 C water
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste (we use kosher salt and pepper blend seasoning)
1 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp dried thyme

Wash and clean the beans in a colander. Put them in a large pot, cover with water about 3 " above the beans, bring to a boil, cover and simmer until soft, about 3 hours. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. As always, when using roasts, trim as much fat and silver as possible.

Using a large Dutch oven or similar cookware (I use a large oval enameled French oven), heat the oil over medium-high heat. Salt and pepper the roast on both sides. Make sure the pan/oil is hot and then sear the roast on both sides. Once seared remove it and set it aside on a platter.

In that same pot, soften then onion, stirring. Add the drained beans and the jalapenos. (If using canned jalapenos, use the juice, too.). Add the tomato juice, sauce, water, brown sugar, cider vinegar, mustard, and thyme. Stir it all together and then add the roast, submerging the roast in the mixture. It should be pretty well covered.

Cover and put in the oven, roasting at 350 for about 2 to 3 hours or until the roast is tender. We did ours about 2 hours. Timing will depend on the size of your roasts.

Serve with some crusty bread to help soak up the gravy!



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Ring Out the Old- Bring in the NEW!


It's finally here - 2016!!! Happy New Year!

January has been cold but not horrible this year- so far....

It has some of us dreaming about the Spring and warmer weather. And honestly with some of the new merchandise coming in its hard not too.





NEW for 2016 we have- Lew's Tournament MB

Speed Spool Baitcast Reels






Get ready for Spring time fishing right now!!

Come see our Fishing Associates and check out what is new for the season in the Fishing Department.



Happy New Year from all of us at Bass Pro Shops to you !

Let's make 2016 the best adventure yet!!!

Keep up on the latest events and happenings with us on Facebook.



End Of Season Sale!!!





If you have been waiting on winter to get here before you buy new cold weather gear- now is the time! We have clearance in EVERY department of the store right now. Get in and get shopping while selection is best.




We have everything from Men's Clothing, Ladies Clothing, Kid's Clothing, Shoes for the whole family, Compound Bows and today I even saw a few firearms with Clearance signs on them!











Selection is at it's best RIGHT NOW!




Savings from25-50% off STORE-WIDE!














So, hurry up get  to your Bass Pro Shops, Sevierville today! And Don't forget those gift cards!


Isle Royale: The little park with big adventure

Due to the popularity of recent movies and books, grand adventures of long distance hiking, such as the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail, have had an increase in appeal.  Getting out and backpacking into the true wilderness, as a way to test one’s physical and mental abilities, is becoming attractive to everyday people who are looking for epic adventures.

For many, the opportunity to become unplugged, self-reliant and to
re-discover the beauty of nature is an irresistible siren’s call.

But what if you don’t have months of time to devote to such a quest? Or you’re a first-timer wanting to try something a little less grand before you venture off into a full-blown trek? Where can you go that will give you a taste of the experience without having to invest huge amounts of time and resources?  

A perfect place to consider might be Isle Royale National Park.

Lake Superior from Isle Royale credit: Zilkowski


  • Located in the waters of Lake Superior, Isle Royale is the smallest of the United States national parks. 
  • About 45 miles in length and only 9 miles across at its widest point, it is accessible only by boat or seaplane. 
  • The park is open from April 15 until October 31 every year. 

Because of this, Isle Royale receives fewer visitors in one year than Yellowstone Park receives in one day!  The closest ferry point to the island is located about 600 miles from East Peoria’s Bass Pro Shops, in Copper Harbor MI.  A three hour ferry ride will then bring you to the island.

  • Isle Royale has been a backpacker paradise since it was established in 1931. 
  • The park has 165 miles of hiking trails and 36 different campgrounds. 
  • There are two major hubs in the park, each located at either end of the island; Windigo on the southwest and Rock Harbor on the northeast. 
    • This is where you acquire your backcountry/camping permit.  Permits are free but are required for everyone who plans to stay overnight at the park (groups of seven or more are required to get a group permit in advance).
    • A user fee of $4.00 per person (for anyone over age 11) per day is also required and should be paid for in advance of your visit.
    • There are campsites located at both Windigo and Rock Harbor (there is even a lodge at Rock Harbor) and both sites have a small stores that sell food, gifts and a few backpacking supplies if you have forgotten or need to replace some essential items.

Your true wilderness adventure begins once you head away from either of the two hubs.  Grab your map, don your backpack and make sure you have everything you’ll need for the number of days you will be on the trail (food, clothing, tent, sleeping bag, etc.…).  Fully equipped hikers at summit credit: Zilkowski


"Isle Royale shipwrecks Lake Superior" by Wikid77 - self-made derived work from map made by U.S. National Park Service.Reference page: accessed as "view map" on NPS webpage: http://www.nps.gov/isro/siteindex.htm (updated).. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Isle_Royale_shipwrecks_Lake_Superior.jpg#/media/File:Isle_Royale_shipwrecks_Lake_Superior.jpgThere are many trails that crisscross the island, and campgrounds are never very far from one another.  The famous Greenstone trail runs the length of the island, from Windigo to Rock Harbor, along the high ridgeline that bisects the park.  It offers spectacular scenery and has easy access to campgrounds via side trails. 

Other trails run along the island shoreline next to the cold waters of Lake Superior, connecting one campground with the next.  Still other trails are in the interior and will take you to campgrounds that are located on the edge of the many beautiful inland lakes contained within Isle Royale.  The small size of the island, along with its many well marked and easy to follow trails, make the chances of getting lost for any length of time unlikely. While some trails are flat and smooth; others are rocky and elevated and will require hikers to be in good physical shape.

Hikers stopping at the Lake credit: ZilkowskiWhen moving from campground to campground you can expect to do a minimum of 3 miles per day with 6 – 12 miles per day being more likely.  How much of the island you elect to explore is entirely up to you and will depend on how fast you want to move and how much time you have to spend. A typical week long stay will afford those in decent hiking shape a chance to explore roughly half of the island, or more if you really want to push it. In addition to hiking from campsite to campsite, you can also elect to catch the island ferry boat from various campsites located along the shoreline of Lake Superior.  For a fee the ferry will transport you around the island allowing you to be dropped off at any of the other campsites or ports it visits.


Campgrounds throughout the island are very basic with usually 6 – 8 individual sites.  Some sites also have separate areas for large group camping (these are reserved in advance).  Each campground has tent sites, a water source and outhouses.  Some campgrounds have a number of small shelters available, on a first come first serve basis. The shelters allow you to spend the night without having to pitch your tent.  Picnic tables can be found at some of the campsites and a select few allow campfires (within designated campfire rings only).

Hiking across wood planks credit: ZilkowskiFlora & Fauna:

The island contains lots of pine and birch forest as well as some swampy areas and rock outcroppings.  Many different animals call Isle Royale home but it’s most famous for its moose  and wolf populations.  Moose sighting are fairly common during your visit but it is only the lucky few who get the opportunity to catch a fleeting glimpse of the wolves.  A delicate balance exists between these two species for keeping the populations of one another in check, something you can learn more about during your visit.  There are no bears on the island but many other small animals will require you to make sure you keep your food safely tucked away when not eating it. 

Visitors to the park in August can treat themselves to wild berries such as blueberries, raspberries, and thimbleberries that grow readily along the trail and in the campsites. Water on the island is abundant but does require filtering and at various times of the year insects pests (mosquitos, blackflies) can reach very uncomfortable levels.  Fishing is allowed on Isle Royale and a Michigan fishing license is required for anyone 18 years or older wishing to fish in the waters of Lake Superior.  No license is necessary to fish the island’s interior lakes and ponds.

Group hiking credit: Zilkowski


Now is the time to start:

For the backpacking novice, or for those who have plenty of experience and just want to get away from it all for a brief period of time, Isle Royale National Park can be a perfect choice.  Fabulous scenery, no crowds, well maintained trails and campsites, fascinating wildlife, and an excellent opportunity to test one’s mettle make this little park one that is certain to be a memorable visit.  Now is a great time of year to start planning your trip and getting all the necessary permits, passes and reservations you’ll need and don’t forget to visit the National Park Service Isle Royale website soon to help you learn more about this fascinating island.


Put your best foot forward at Isle Royale by first visiting your local Bass Pro Shop.  We have all the equipment you’ll need to make sure you have a successful adventure.  Whether it’s the putting you into the proper hiking shoes or finding you the best backpack, we have the experts who have been there and done that and can help you make the right choices.  Our camping department carries a full line of backpacking supplies, everything from lightweight tents, backpacker stoves, freeze dried foods, maps, compasses, first aid kits and all the other essentials you need for wherever you want to venture. Stop by soon, we love to talk adventure!

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Bruce Zilkowski, Camping Department

Bass Pro Shops, East Peoria, IL   


Learn about more great outdoor/camping places, visit Bruce's other blogs:



Time to Plan for Boating Season

Whether you are planning to clean or tune your existing boat or you are in the market for a new one, Bass Pro Shops is your one-stop boating source.  We carry all types of boat cleaning supplies and products to get that hull and deck in pristine condition.  At Bass Pro Shops' Marine Department find quality parts and lubricants you need for that 2 or 4 cycle engine and all-important gear oil for that lower unit.  In our salt-water environment, don't forget to re-grease those wheel bearings on the trailer!  Our Certified Service Department can take the hassle out of tune-ups, electronics and equipment repair and installation, and we can even replace or upgrade your existing outboard!

For those looking for a new boat, Bass Pro Shops' "No Haggle, No Hassle" pricing policy assures that prices are the same everywhere and guarantees the best price possible!  Our boats have the best warranty in the business and are backed by Tracker Marine Group, American's #1 boat manufacturer.

From Tracker Marine riveted and welded jon boats to our offshore deep "V" Makos, and in between, Bass Pro Shops has the perfect boat for you!  Choose from the offshore Makos, skinny-water Mako skiffs, Nitro and Tracker bass boats and deep "V" aluminum boats, Suntracker pontoons, and Tahoe inboard and outboard runabouts!

Not interested in powerboats?  Check out our full line of Ascend and other kayaks.  Our "sit-on-top" kayaks are equipped for all types of fishing and our "sit-in" kayaks are ideal for serene paddling, cruising the waterways, and camping.

Don't let another season pass you by without getting on the water!  Come by Bass Pro Shops today and checkout our 2016 lineup or shop for new, but last year's models!


Photo by Ryan Cox taken on Black Creek near Freeport, Florida from one of our SunTracker pontoons.

Gary Feduccia



What the CRAPPIE is going on at Bass Pro?


It’s time for Crappie Madness in Sevierville, TN!!!

We are pleased to have Crappie Master Ralph Riley back this year to help us learn everything crappie.


Friday, February 5

           Ralph Riley                  7 pm                            Crappie Fishing Techniques                           

Saturday, February 6 

           Ralph Riley                  11 am and 2 pm          Crappie Fishing Techniques               

Friday, February 12

           Fishing Pro Staff          7 pm                            Crappie Fishing Techniques

Saturday, February 13           

            Fishing Pro Staff          11 am and 2 pm          Crappie Fishing Techniques


We don’t want to leave anybody out for this event….

Crappie Madness Free Family Activities:

Friday, February 5

  • 5-8 pm                         FREE Photo Download

                                                  Kids Casting Challenge

Saturday, February 6

  • 1-5 pm                         FREE Photo Download

                                                  Kids Casting Challenge

  • 2-5 pm                         Fried Catfish Demos


Want to know what's going on at YOUR Bass Pro Shops?? Keep up with us on facebook !!



A Rooster's Tale

"Seven years ago I thought I would be the one teaching this little kid how to hunt turkeys and he ended up teaching me about life."

Hunting Associate Andrew Tressel harvested a beautiful buck this past fall - a heavy-duty, 8-point.

It wasn't his first hunt and, like many hunters, it didn't happen overnight or without challenges. You see, 21-year-old Andrew is in a wheelchair, and the group he hunts with is the non-profit organization Serve Outdoors.

Andrew's first hunt was a spring turkey hunt, eight years ago, with Serve Outdoors. Andrew's outlook on life as a 13-year-old "little kid" had such a tremendous impact Gene "Corky" Battey, leader of the Des Moines River Valley Chapter of Serve Outdoors, that he wrote an article for the Iowa Sportsman Magazine about it. It was the beginning of Andrew's hunting and life-changing experiences through Serve Outdoors, and the start of a life-long friendship built around enjoying the great outdoors, no matter the challenges.

The “Rooster” Tale

(May 2009, Iowa Sportsman magazine, with permission)

May 3, 2008, dawned rainy and windy. Our threesome headed to the turkey woods late, due to existing conditions. We were on a "special hunt" set up by Serve Outdoors, a group devoted to sharing God's creations with people with disabilities and the mentoring of today's youth.

Andrew and his dad, Rod Tressel of Ankeny, Iowa, were to be my charges this weekend. Rod's comment was, “I had reservations on how the people of Keosauqua would accept a kid in a wheelchair.”

His wonder was quickly diminished. Andrew, on the other hand, said, “It's not just getting one, it's the WHOLE experience.”

I was impressed with this youngster being wiser than his years.

Andrew has an infectious smile and an attitude to go with it. Little did I know what he would teach me this weekend.

As we sat in a midday pocket of timber, the wind howling overhead, conversation turned to turkey hunter habits. I mentioned to Andrew that turkey hunters will sometimes take a nap in the blind and it was okay if he wanted to. The mention of this "habit" was met with a stern, “That ain't gonna happen, Cork!”

Well, then, maybe the guide will get a little snoozin' in.

“If I drop off and a bird comes in, just touch my knee and I'll wake up quietly.”

As the afternoon rays warmed my Matrix, the turkey gods took me elsewhere. Soon, I felt a hand on my knee.

”Do you see one?” I asked quietly, slowly opening my eyes.

Again the response was firm, “No, Cork! You're snoring!”

So much for my new hunter's perception of naps.

The rest of the day passed with an occasional hen showing up and the sharing of tried and true turkey hunting tactics. Later, Andrew removed his head net and I noticed that the hair on top was at attention.

“You look like a little banty rooster. I think that should be your nickname - ”Rooster.” 

Rooster and Cork...what a pair.

I was given this match by Al Smith, Director of Serve Outdoors. I met Al some 10 years ago at a NWTF function. I sat down to share some hunting photos. He didn't know me from Adam, but we hit it off right away. I found Al to have a God-given heart for people with disabilities and today's youth. He has been a true friend and I love him like a brother.

This afternoon, Rooster and I would laugh and converse, while his Dad strained to hear our verbiage from the other blind.

”Ha Ha Ha—psssss...psssss...Dad, hand me a sandwich will ya'...”

Yes, our threesome and equipment took up two blinds—turkey hunting requires a lot of “stuff" these days. But now, we had a date in Keosauqua, Iowa, for the celebration dinner. At each event, the hunters, their families, the farmers we hunt on, and guides get together with the fine folks of Van Buren County to laugh, shed a few tears, break bread and relive the events of the day. Pictures are taken, stories retold, hugs exchanged and a feeling of “this is more like family” fills the inside of the volunteer fire station. It's a true celebration, but tomorrow is another day. The three of us lay a game plan...we'll change farms tomorrow.

3:30 AM comes early and there's prep work to be done. Two double-bulls to set on their ground covers, five decoys to place, chairs to position, a spot for the wheel chair to be decided on and various other sundry details are fixed as I unload the Bad Boy Buggy in the pre-dawn darkness. Did I mention all the decoys have names (idle hours in the blind you know)? Andrew knows each one by "Bob," "Jake," "Henryetta," "Mabel" and "Ileane" (..because she does...sometimes). The star-lit timber was calm and cool this a.m., a 180-degree change from yesterday. There will be gobblin' at dawn. I head back to the farm buildings to retrieve Rod, Rooster and the wheel chair. As we cross the creek, mud oozes from the tires, but the electric buggy carries us silently toward our hide and the rosy fingers of dawn. Rod and I wheel Rooster onto the ground cover and place the blind over top of him.

Rod's comment yesterday was, “Cork, when you dropped that blind over Andrew for the first time, I have never seen a smile like that on his face before...thank you!”

That put a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye to say the least. More of the whole experience, as Andrew would say.

Was there gobblin'? You bet!  But, as the morning glow enveloped us, it became less frequent. A return trip to Ankeny was set for 11 a.m. Time was getting short. I remember praying yesterday, “Lord, is there a turkey for this young man that you have allowed me to spend time with?”

The answer was quick and short, ”Yes! But, you'll have to wait.”

Well, we're down to the last hour of the last day..ever heard that before? I had just about exhausted my callin' bag 'o tricks, when Rooster says “I see one!”

”Over in the trees”
"I don't see him”
"Keep lookin', you'll see him.”

Finally, a hen, a tail fan, and then that beautiful snowball emerged from the timber. He sees the decoys. His demeanor changes 180 degrees again. He leaves the hen with fire in his eyes. He's gonna kick “Bob's” butt...or so he thinks.

The 60 yard fan-dance is quickly eclipsed and he's in “Bob's” face!

“Andrew, get your gun up...take the safety off!” 

His tail has covered our movements. His dance takes another 180. Now, he's looking right at us at seven steps. I quietly say, “Take him whenever you want.”

The silence of the morning is broken by an unnerving “click." Do we have a gun malfunction? Tom gets that look in his eye, like “Oh crap, what was that?" Had he heard our muffled conversation or that click?

Anytime Andrew....shoot him....Shoot Him.....SHOOT HIM!!!!! The little 20 finally barks and Ben Franklin's proposed national symbol flips over backwards...NO!

His head is up...do we shoot him again? A quick survey says no.

”Put the safety on Andrew!” A positive click.

I flip the blind off and head for a bird that is trying to get airborne again. Now comes what Andrew calls the Cork Flop. I've carried wounds from birds in the past. This day would be no exception. A limb-hanger spur enters my palm, but do you think I'll let go? No way! I carry a scar today that proves Rooster's gobbler hangs on his bedroom wall. As stillness arrives to his bird, Andrew arrives, wheeled down by his Dad, to my arm's length. As I look up from my dew-soaked, turkey covering position, there's that infectious smile and I lose it! My emotions are as mixed up as a batch of Keebler Elf cookies. I'm laughing, I'm crying, I'm proud, I'm humbled, and I'm thanking the Good Lord, all at once. I have to get up and head into the decoys to gather my emotions. My part of the whole experience. After a few moments of alone time, I return and place the regal bird on Andrew's lap and step back. It's picture takin' time!

I've heard “the Cuz” say there are four stages in the life of a hunter.
#1) First you have to get one 
#2) You have to get the most 
#3) You have to get the biggest one
#4) You want to enhance wildlife and share it with others.

How soon you advance thru these stages is up to the individual. Some never make it all the way through. But, this day, I witnessed a new hunter (disabled? I think not) enjoy the sunrise of stage #1 and this guide look back from a coming sunset of stage #4.

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Meet the Hunting Pro Staff - Maria Young

Meet Maria Young - one of our two new Hunting Pro Staff members!

Maria is an avid hunter. From whitetail hunter, to turkey every spring, coyote hunting, and even raccoon. Personally, and as a member of the Dressed to Kill TV show, she has hunted in New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri and Iowa, as well as Canada for black bear and, of course, taking some time out for fishing! She's a busy mom to three young women, businesswoman, wife, and hunter, but she took some time out to talk to us about her passion of hunting!

How did you get started hunting?

My father, grandfather and uncles all hunted while I was a child, but I started out competition shooting at the age of 8 in New York state. It wasn't until I met my husband, Tim, that I started to hunt while we were dating in the late 90s. Tim is the one responsible for teaching me all of my hunting skills. His obsession turned into our passion not only as a couple, but now also as a family!

What is your favorite hunting method and why?

My favorite style is archery, by far! I think it's the most challenging and the most rewarding. You have to practice every day and make sure that you are precise with your shots, as you do not want to wound an animal.

Three tips or techniques that you think everyone should practice:

  1. Learn to judge yardage, since you never know when the time will come that you won't be able to grab that rangefinder. Even if you range a few spots from your stand each time you get in there, this will give you a better idea of how far your target is, just in case you can't grab the range finder.
  2.  Always wear, or bring, an additional layer along with you, no matter the temperature. You can always take a layer off, but if you get cold and didn't wear/bring an extra one, this might ruin your sit.
  3. As an archery hunter, have a back up release in your bag at all times! You never know when yours will break, or you might drop one out of the stand after you have been up there a bit!

What are three items you NEVER leave home without when you go hunting?

 My phone, my protein chews and my bow!

Who has been the biggest influence on you when it comes to the outdoors? Tell us about it.

My husband Tim has, by far, been the biggest influence on me when it come to the outdoors. He has taught me how the moon phases work, to watch not only the temperature, but the barometric pressure, the wind direction and its changes throughout the day, thermals, sunrise/sunset, as well as how to hang stands - where and why, how to plant food plots, and so much more! Without Tim, I would not be the huntress I am today!

Maria's passion is hunting and her mission, as a Pro Staff member, is to pass that passion along to others, especially those groups two demographics who may need some extra encouragement - women and children.

"I want to teach more women and children about the outdoors, give them the encouragement that anyone can hunt and enjoy time with friends/family/loved ones in nature and assist as many men, women and children, as possible, to become hunters everywhere, safely and ethically!"

Follow Maria on social media - she is always open to answering questions. Look for her to be at Bass Pro Shops Altoona for seminars, etc!

Twitter/Instagram/Periscope/Pinterest @MariaYoungDTK


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Back in Action at Bass Pro Shops – Mesa

Well it’s a new year, and it’s about time for a new blog! And what better to talk about then all the good stuff that is coming our way? We ended 2015 with a bang (no that wasn’t a fireworks pun) as Santa’s Wonderland reached a new store high! We are so happy to have had so many friends, families and visitors come out and take part of our most festive event.

But what does 2016 have in-store?! Well, it’s a little early to reveal all the secrets but we do start the year off right.

Our world famous Outdoor Kids Night is getting back up and running. We took a hiatus when the jolly man in the red suit came to town. Every Tuesday night we will be holding this weekly event. Never heard of it? Well take a seat and mark your calendars, because here is the dealio…

Every Tuesday we start up Outdoor Kids Night at 5PM. It is completely free and the more the merrier! We have crafts or some kind of activity for the kids to get hands-on with. The Shootin’ Gallery upstairs is turned to FREE so little sharpshooters can try and beat their best score! At 6PM we feed the Big Ol’ Fish Bowl, which is worth the trip in itself. After the Fish Feeding the Archery Range opens up, but archers under the age of 18 years old will need a parent or legal guardian to fill out a waiver. Don’t have any gear? Don’t need to! We have an array of bows to fit archers of all sizes! Everything ends at 8PM and is subject to while available.

We are also starting back up our NITRO Pro Team Fishing seminars. The second Tuesday of every month, we hold these fun and free seminars upstairs in the Fine Gun Room. Our good ol’ boys will cover an array of topics for local waters, so bring a notebook and something to write with! Space is limited so be sure to be there on time!

And lastly, those interested in taking a Concealed Carry Weapons class need not look any further. One of the best teams of instructors I have ever dealt with host this class at our store. (Mine is looking a little rough around the edges..) This firearms safety training program is the Arizona Department of Public Safety approved curriculum. Course fee includes training in an air conditioned classroom environment using a blend of oral instruction, visual aids, demonstrations, multimedia video, and hands-on experience in the Bass Pro Shops on-site shooting range.

Course Fee: $60
Course Fee does not include the Arizona Department of Public Safety application fee of $60
For more information and to book your seat, please contact: 480-262-3087

For anything else coming up and going on you can always keep up to date by checking out our store webpage, Facebook and following the blogs here! You can also call us at 602-606-5600!

Happy New Year everyone and we can’t wait to see you again this year!



DIY Bird Seed Wreaths

Looking for a fun outdoor-related project with the kids that will help feed the birds, too?

I received a new Bundt® pan for Christmas. I needed to replace the one I had, which at least 40 years old. Since it was my mom's, I wanted a way to repurpose it and the very next day I stumbled across a "recipe" for making bird seed wreaths.

The first instructions I read involved using lard, rendering and straining it through cheesecloth. However, the next site I found had simpler ingredients which I had in my cupboard. Don't have a Bundt® pan? Use an angel food cake pan, a Jell-o mold (do people still use those?), a cookie sheet, wax paper, or even just mold it with your hands. You could use a round casserole dish and put an aluminum foil "tower" in the middle to create the hole.

This took 10 minutes to throw together, if even that, and is a GREAT project to do with young kids in the winter, while at the same time making an attractive, garden treat. Simply put a ribbon on it and hang it from a bird feeder yard hanger, bracket, or shepherd's hook for the cardinals, juncos, black-capped chickadees, and the rest of the feathered gang. Also a GREAT gift idea!

Have fun!

Bird Seed Wreath

You will need:

    3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup warm water
    3 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1 package unflavored gelatin
    4 cups wild bird seed  (Bass Pro Shops Altoona carries bird seed in the store - check with your local Bass Pro on availability)
    Bundt pan or other mold
    Non-stick cooking spray
Optional - Cranberries, walnuts

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, dissolve one package of the unflavored gelatin in the warm water. (Stir or whisk it to help it dissolve.) Add in the flour and light corn syrup and stir it all together to create your gooey paste that is going to hold everything together. Pour in the bird seed and mix it all together with a spoon until everything is coated. Spray your pan or mold with the non-stick cooking spray. You can add the cranberries and walnuts to the Bundt® pan first, if you're using them, by placing them in the ridges in a decorative manner. You can also use them in whatever other mold you're using, however, they may move around some. Add the bird seed mixture and press into place, distributed evenly throughout the pan.

Set the pan aside overnight. It will harden on its own. You can press it with your finger to make sure, but I just left mine sitting out overnight and it was solid. Turn it out gently onto a plate or newspaper. Attach some ribbon and hang it for the birds!


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Winter Car Kit

When it comes to severe winter storms with SNOW, we've been pretty lucky so far. However, we know the worst could be yet to come. It's easy to put together a winter survival kit for your car and let's hope the opportunity never arises for the need to use it. But, it's always better to BE PREPARED! As I drive Interstate 80 every day back and forth to work, I'm thankful my husband always reminds me to have these supplies in case I ever went in the ditch.

Snowbrush/ice scraper (common sense on this one - no one who lives in a state that has annual snowfall should be without one of these in their car. Absolutely no reason)

Small shovel - to dig yourself out or to clear the snow away from the tailpipe if you go in the ditch.

Tote with the following:

  • LED Flashlight
  • Stocking cap
  • Thick scarf
  • Face mask
  • Two pairs of gloves
  • Hot Hands
  • Toasti-Toes
  • Hot Hand Body Warmers
  • Two blankets
  • Food - Jerky, some sort of granola or protein bars, candy bars (DON'T sneak into the tote and eat them!)
  • Water
  • Candle/matches
  • Toilet Paper - and I have a Go Girl "feminine urination device."

I think I will a small power bank for my phone, like the Realtree Ultra Slim Power Bank. While I try to make sure my phone is fully charged before heading out, you never say never! Another good addition may be the Eton® Self-Powered Weather Alert Radio, which comes with an LED flashlight and USB charger. It would be handy to have for spring and summer severe weather, too!

Take time to throw together even some basic items before the next snow/ice storm hits. You may be thankful you had the one extra blanket and bag of jerky!


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Venison Stroganoff

This is the second Venison Stroganoff recipe I've tried. The first was not slow cooker, so this is easier to prepare. The original recipe is the Best Beef Stroganoff recipe found in a Hy-Vee Seasons magazine. A couple of changes I made, besides venison instead of beef, were to use a pepper blend seasoning, no salt, SMOKED paprika, beef STOCK (opposed to broth), stone ground Dijon mustard, and to serve them over Tomato Basil noodles.

Colorful and tasty!

Slow Cooker Venison Stroganoff

2 lb. venison roast
1/4 tsp black pepper blend seasoning
2 T all-purpose flour
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 C beef stock
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T smoked paprika
2 T dry white wine (used Chardonnay)
2 C button mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
8 oz. sour cream
2 tsp stone ground Dijon mustard
Shredded Parmesan


Cut the roast into finger-like chunks and put them in a bowl. Season them with the salt and pepper blend seasoning, then add the flour and toss to coat the pieces.

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet and brown the venison pieces on all sides. Put them in your slow cooker.

Add the broth to that same skillet. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom. Stir in garlic, paprika and, wine. Pour over the venison pieces in slow cooker.

Add the mushrooms and onions to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until meat is tender. Using a slotted spoon, transfer meat mixture to a bowl; cover and keep warm.

Add sour cream and mustard to liquid in slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 minutes. Pour sauce over meat mixture. Serve over noodles and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan.


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