Rustic Recipes: Poultry Balls

Now I try to keep it to only one “food-blog” a month but what I am about to share with you is so good, it has earned a second one for this month. So a little while back there was that little thing called Easter. As usual at Bass Pro we had our Easter Event going, with tons of families having a great time getting free pictures with the Easter Bunny. We also had our awesome Easter Egg Hunt, which was egg-celent. Every-bunny was happy. After work though I headed to my family’s to catch the last hour or so of their get-together. What shortly made its way onto my plate and into my stomach changed my life.

My stepdad is no stranger to making delicious food. Especially on his Traeger Smoker. I mean all of those pictures from my blog about Traeger Smokers came from him! He got his hands on some pheasant meat and below will be by far the best way I have ever eaten that bird. Now it will work with any kind of poultry and below it is put out for chicken, as that is the most common kind of poultry consumed. Don’t be afraid to try it on duck, goose, quail or what-have-you! Enjoy! As a hidden bonus, this recipe gives you a great excuse to actually use that meat-hammer! And I do apologize for no pictures of the end result, but I wasn't going to waste any time "snappin' photos for Pinstagram!"

Poultry Balls

2- 4oz Chicken Breast (any kind of poultry would work)

12 pieces of thin-cut Bacon

Cheese Mixture

16oz cream cheese

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons onion powder

3 jalapenos, seeded and diced small

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

Dipping Sauce

½ cup Reduced Balsamic Vinegar

¼ cup Olive Oil

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon Onion Powder


Cover chicken breast with plastic wrap and pound it out into ¼ inch thin piece. Cut lengthwise into three pieces.

Place 1 teaspoon of the cheese mixture in each strip and roll up. Wrap each ball with one strip of bacon and refrigerate for one hour.

Cook at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until bacon is fully cooked.

Serve hot with dipping sauce.

Uh-Oh. My flock at home heard about this recipe and tried to hide in the bushes! Poor little Mesquite, she looks so scared. Just keep layin’ and you’ll be fine…. For now…


Other Nibbles

Squirrel Rabbit Quail Goose Grouse Crappie Buffalo Chicken Chile Verde Venison Stew

Hunter’s Delight Chicken Fried Bacon Tipsy Little Birds Wait, What? Burgers Catfish

Summer Sausages Deer Moose 2nd Helping of Squirrel Bacon Cornbread

From Our Restaurant

Grouper Sandwich Appetizers Clam strips Mussels Trout Gator Wahoo Wrap Shore Lunch


Outdoor Cooking Primer - Dutch Oven Bacon Cheddar Corn Pudding

Anything you make in an oven can be made in Dutch Oven cooking. With the right number of coals on top and underneath, your Dutch Oven can produce casserole, desserts, bread and other delights! Here's a recipe compliments of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources program Becoming an Outdoors-Woman retreat weekend! Many have made variations on this in the try it in a Dutch Oven! Enjoy!

Bacon Cheddar Corn Pudding

2 eggs, beaten
1 - 15 oz. can cream-style corn
1 - 11 oz can corn with red and green bell peppers, drained
1 - 8.5 ox package corn muffin mix (Jiffy sized)
1/2 C ranch dressing
1 - 8 oz. package shredded cheddar cheese, divided
4 green onions, sliced
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

Lightly oil or spray dutch oven. Mix first 5 ingredients until well blended; stir in 1/2 cup cheese. Pour into prepared dutch oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center is firm to the touch. Meanwhile, combine remaining cheese, onions and bacon. Top casserole with cheese mixture, bake 10 minutes more or until lightly browned.


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This Weekend @ BPS Altoona - "How-To's" for Family Fun!

Cooking, camping,'s time for the FAMILY to have some fun! It's the second weekend of our Go Outdoors Event - Join us for free seminars on how YOU can get started enjoying the great outdoors!

The grill shack will be open both days, too, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.!

Saturday, May 23

11 a.m. - Capable Kayaking - The basics of family kayaking fun
2 p.m. - Local Trails & Treasures - Where to go for Family Outings - Parks, water trails, hiking trails, and more with Melissa Schmeling, Polk County Conservation!


Sunday, May 24

11 a.m. - Conquering Campfire Cooking - Best practices, procedures, and cookware
2 p.m. - Kids and Camping - Make camping fun, comfortable, and exciting for kids.

Plus, find out how easy it is to have some cooking with these demos and sampling:

Saturday: Flossie's Funnel Cake Samples - 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Fish samples with Uncle Buck's Fish Batter, 2-5 p.m.
Sunday: Dutch Oven Cooking, 1-4 p.m.
- Find out how easy it is!

Also on Saturday, May 23

ARL Adoption Day! 10-4 p.m.







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Product Spotlight - Fold-Up Utility Wagon

Tis the season! Farmers' markets, soccer, baseball and softball games, flea markets, beach time, garage sales, and just good old being outside and needing to tote stuff!

Here is the little red wagon that's going to make your life easier!

Mac Sports™ Fold-Up Utility Wagon

This handy-dandy, collapsible wagon will make your life easier by allowing to load all those treasures up at the flea market, farmers' market, or to haul everything to the beach or to your seat at the soccer game.

It has a strong, steel fold-up frame, is easy to set up and can hold up to 150 pounds...that's a LOT of treasures!

Recently we were at the What Cheer Flea Market in What Cheer, Iowa. This massive flea market is held three times per year and there were more vendors than ever before. My poor husband made multiple trips out to the car to tote items we had purchased...they weren't big items, but we could only carry so much between the two of us and a backpack. I noticed many people pulling similar little wagons, any maybe some were actually this exact style, with their items. I was wishing I had one.

Now, I'm garden! Yard work! What a great way to tote leaves, sticks, and veggies!

How can YOU use the Mac Sports Fold-Up Utility Wagon? I bet you can come up with something. I have!


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Why it Matters: Leave No Trace

So back in March I told the story of when a group of us Bass Pro Shops associates went out to a local trail and picked up trash along the hike. We had a lot of fun, got a great workout in and did some good for our beloved outdoors. Before we all took off on the adventure one of our managers explained the basics of Leave No Trace. I listed out the basics of this concept but did not give a break down or better explain what they meant. Now for this month’s Why it Matters blog I can think of no better subject than Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace started to form during the 1960’s. Over the decades it grew and transformed but always taught the basics of leaving a minimal impact on the land. Many people never thought about how their recreational habits could have such strong impacts on nature. Leaving trash, discarded food and not controlling campfires could potentially change entire ecosystems. Think back to the old footage of people feeding bears from their vehicles in the National Parks. At the time it was considered fun, cute and even kind to the animals. Now we know that this changes their habits and brings them into closer contact with humans more often.

Federal agencies have had a long history of educational tools to teach people how to safely enjoy the outdoors, and preserve them for generations to come. Such characters as Smokey the Bear gave a face and slogan to the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. It wasn’t until 1987 though that a pamphlet on Leave No Trace was created by the majority of federal agencies who run our land services. And it wasn’t until 1994 that the organization was “formed” as a non-profit.

Leave No Trace has seven principles for “outdoor recreation decision making”. These principles were first created for the “backcountry”. Years later a version for the “frontcountry” was created. They both have a majority of the same principles with slight variations.

For the backcountry:

  1. Plan Ahead and Prepare: Poorly prepared people, when presented with unexpected situations, often resort to high-impact solutions that degrade the outdoors or put themselves at risk. Proper planning leads to less impact.
  2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces: Damage to land occurs when surface vegetation or communities of organisms are trampled beyond repair. The resulting barren area leads to unusable trails, campsites and soil erosion.
  3. Dispose of Waste Properly: Though most trash and litter in the backcountry is not significant in terms of the long term ecological health of an area, it does rank high as a problem in the minds of many backcountry visitors. Trash and litter are primarily social impacts which can greatly detract from the naturalness of an area. Further, backcountry users create body waste and waste water which requires proper disposal according to Leave No Trace.
  4. Leave What You Find: Leave No Trace directs people to minimize site alterations, such as digging tent trenches, hammering nails into trees, permanently clearing an area of rocks or twigs, and removing items.
  5. Minimize Campfire Impacts: Because the naturalness of many areas has been degraded by overuse of fires, Leave No Trace teaches to seek alternatives to fires or use low-impact fires.
  6. Respect Wildlife: Minimizing impact on wildlife and ecosystems.
  7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors: Following hiking etiquette and maintaining quiet allows visitors to go through the wilderness with minimal impact on other users.

For the frontcountry:

  1. Know Before You Go
  2. Stick to Trails and Camp Overnight Right
  3. Trash your Trash and Pick Up Poop
  4. Leave It as You Find It
  5. Be Careful with Fire
  6. Keep Wildlife Mild
  7. Share Our Trails and Manage Your Pet

Leave No Trace has done a good job at staying at the forefront of outdoor ethics for years. Many schools and groups teach this program almost exclusively. Leave No Trace has also kept up with the times by embracing new technologies. Going to their website you can look into taking an online awareness course. They also have organized hot-spots where one can get involved with a large group and even receive training. One of my favorite things they are doing is the Bigfoot Challenge. Just look into it.

Of course no organization can go unchallenged. During the 2000’s a few wrote articles speaking against Leave No Trace. The issues pointed out about Leave No Trace ranged from it having its own branding of products or not being nearly effective enough. One must keep in mind that this is also the time when global impact was being heavily spotlighted. Films like “An Inconvenient Truth” brought forth this topic to a whole new generation of audiences. This was also the time when people who drove a Prius thought they were better than you because of their fuel efficiency. (Too bad those “awesome” batteries have a radioactive decay life of about a century.) A big outcry was that Leave No Trace did not do enough to target the real issues with what was going wrong with nature. Because of this a “Beyond Leave No Trace” was created. Their seven principles are:

  • Educate yourself and others about the places you visit
  • Purchase only the equipment and clothing you need
  • Take care of the equipment and clothing you have
  • Make conscientious food, equipment, and clothing consumption choices
  • Minimize waste production
  • Reduce energy consumption
  • Get involved by conserving and restoring the places you visit

Clearly they have a much stronger “affirmative” position. While doing all that you can to protect nature and the outdoors is important, you also have to look at the big picture. The core concepts of Leave No Trace are something that many can process and get behind. Looking at some of the principles in Beyond Leave No Trace can be overwhelming and even be off-putting. Throwing those seven principles might scare kids away from getting involved in any way whatsoever. So perhaps the best would be to introduce someone to Leave No Trace and if they truly feel compelled to get more involved I am sure they will get into going “Beyond”. No matter what though, pick up your trash and anyone else’s and be mindful about preserving the great outdoors for our next generation.



Getting Outdoors Picking Up Hunting Fishing Hiking Camping Rangefinders

Physical Preparation Slowing Down Passing it Down


Spring Means Chacos!!

SPRING HAS SPRUNG, so of course that means it is time for some outdoor adventures. But, don’t forget the most important thing…. You guessed it, a good pair of outdoor sandals. Here at your Independence Bass Pro Shops we have MANY wonderful choices to say the least. Although, there is one brand that will be sure to be a hit this year, CHACOS! They have many great features that will meet your needs for your family’s spring and summer adventures.  We carry a wide selection of Men’s, Woman’s, and Kid’s in a variety of colors and style choices.

Now, to highlight a couple of ladies styles; The Z Volv2 Orbit is a great choice featuring fully adjustable straps to achieve a “custom” fit, 25% recycled rubber outsole, and “LUVSEAT PU” heel cups for superior comfort.


$99.99 Z Volv2 Orbits

Another great ladies option is the Z Volv X2 pink diamonds, this sandal sports a stylish toe ring design as well as all the before mentioned features which are sure to please.

            To point out some the Men’s Styles; we have the Z/Volv, this sandal design will deliver superior performance for all of your outdoor activities, Giving your feet and body comfort all day. The men’s chacos also provide the LUVSEAT PU heel cups, and great arch support. 


$99.99 Z/Volv

            We can’t forget those little kiddos! For the girls we have the ZX/1. This features the double strapped webbed uppers making for a truly customized fit. There is also a durable foot beds specialized for those young feet, making sure that the alignment and support is just right.

Having sandals for youth that are just as supportive and durable as adult styles is very important, and something that Chaco does well. In the Boys we have the Z/1, they have a diamond pattern surface to help prevent slipping. The outsoles are made of 25% recycled rubber featuring 2mm lugs to help with walking on land and in water.


As you can see, Chacos have out done themselves and are definitely a top of the line sandal. Stop by your Independence Bass Pro Shops to see our full selection of not only Chacos but many other great brands. We hope to see you soon!!


Looking for other footwear for fishing activities?  Check out this blog below!!

Fishing Footwear Guide


How to Choose the Correct Insole!


When hiking, backpacking or running your feet hurt, you get blisters or hotspots that

might mean it is time for new insoles.

Types of Insole


Comfort Insoles


These can be flat or shaped and can be made of gel or foam.

There are different size choices for insoles. Full length, 3/4 length or

arch or heel inserts.


Support Insoles


These are made of a harder material for structural support and stability.

Comfort is from the stability rather than the cushioning.

They are not customized to an individual foot, support insoles come in

different styles to suit most foot shapes.


Tips for Fitting Insoles


First stand on the insole outside of the shoe.

Check to see how stable you feel, and how much

pressure you feel.

Then try it in your shoe. Always remember to remove the insole that

comes with your shoe. Be sure to check stability of the shoe with new

insole make sure it takes up the right amount of space: not to much

or to little. Your shoe should feel comfortable not to loose or to tight.


Insole Care Tips


Most insoles will last up to 12 months if used daily or on a regular basis.

They may last a few years in footwear that is used on an occasional or seasonal



Air them out:  Remove your insoles regularly to dry out moisture

trapped between insole and foot bed.


Wash them:  Use a mild detergent and air dry.


Inspect them:  Periodically remove and inspect for signs of deterioration.

Check out some of Bass Pro Shops Shoe & Boot Accessories in the link above!


Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

I wish every month was May, good weather, good fishing, that’s about as good as things get. The biggest problem with May is deciding what to fish for and how to fish for it! So here are some options if you are planning, and you should be, a trip to Lanier.

The stripers are pretty angler friendly right now, but you have to find them first. The fish remain scattered and they are still moving around quite a bit so be versatile and keep looking. Be prepared to use a variety of methods, Freelines, downlines, and weighted downlines are all productive techniques right now, be prepared to use all three or a combination of all three to maximize your opportunities.  Watch to sonar to determine the best depth to place the baits.

The umbrella rig is also a good option and if the wind starts howling the rig can be a lifesaver. Pull the rig 15 to 20 feet deep over 20 to 30 foots humps, over points, or simply down the bank. For the most part, if you see the fish on the sonar, they will take the rig! Because trolling is such a high saturation technique, it is also a great way to locate fish.

Topwaters are taking a few fish and hopefully this bite will get a little stronger in the coming days. Cast Redfins, Zara Spooks, or Chug Bugs over humps and long tapering points for the best results. Keep your boat in 40 feet and retrieve the plugs over a 10 to 25 foot bottom. This technique will yield some big Spotted Bass a bonus!

Bass fishing is also very good and there are several techniques that will get your string stretched! One structure that has been consistently holding fish are the many stump flats in Lanier. In addition to holding plenty of fish they are located throughout the lake in abundance and fairly easy to find. Almost any bait can be effective over the stumps, but I really like to slow roll a spinnerbait over these areas. Cast the spinnerbait (1/4 oz. light color skirt with nickel blades) to the bank and then slowly retrieve the bait allowing it to continually gain depth all the way back to the boat. Many of the fish on these flats are in 7 to 18 feet, and allowing the bait to follow the contours of the bottom will often take the deeper fish that are too reluctant to come up and take the bait if is on or near the surface.  Jerkbaits (McStiks and Pointers) are also good choices to work over the stumps and if the bass do not respond to either of those baits show them the go to bait, Roboworms on a shaky head or a Texas Rig.

Crappie fishing is also pretty good, docks are the primary structure, but free standing brush is also holding some nice groups of fish. The fish are starting to bunch up nicely and are easy to see on the sonar. The Bobby Garland baits in Pearl and key lime have been effective, as have the Crappie Country Chenille jigs in the #3 and #10 color patterns. Many anglers stow away the Crappie gear after April but that is a mistake. The Crappie will often do the same thing in the post spawn, even use some of the same places, that they we doing in the prespawn, and the fishing pressure is decreased. May and early June often can be very prolific months so keep the Crappie gear handy for a few more weeks!

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

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Fast - Easy - Family Fun Dinner


Busy day?  You say you don't have any idea what to serve for dinner?  It's such a beautiful evening and all you can think of is having a beer or glass of wine.  But.... the kids are hungry.  How about having a easy fun family dinner over the fire pit or grill?  It does not take much, and the memories from it will last forever.  Plus - you get your wine or beer!

At Bass Pro Shops, we get it!  Here are a few ideas to help you take life down a notch and enjoy your family as well as have fun during dinner.

The Landmann USA Northwoods Outdoor Fireplace is perfect for a family roast.  Large, sturdy, and it has a cooking grill.  Once you get that fired up here as some ideas.





Start off with a Hotdog Bar

Roast Hotdogs over the fire pit or grill.  Put out mustard, ketchup, relish, salsa, cucumber, onion, cheese, maybe some hot peppers.  So much for dinner, the kids cook their own dinner and have fun doing it.  The Firebuggz Fire Fishing Pole is perfect for hotdogs.  It's fun durable and it flips food with a flick of the wrist.  Another fun idea is the Hand Crank Marshmallow & Hotdog Camo Reel Roaster.  It has a crank handle with a telescopic steel skewer that can be removed for easy clean up.
















The Rome Dog 'N Brat Cooker has a long handle made of cast iron and will hold 3 dogs or bratz at once.





The best part is dessert and what is better than roasting marshmallows.  Smores are always popular, but perhaps its time to vary it a little.  Instead of a Hershey bar try a peanut butter cup, or a York peppermint patty.  Why you can even put a rolo mini in the middle of your marshmallow before you cook it for something extra special.  Need a lot of marshmallows done at one time?  Check out the Rome Marshmallow Tree.  With a rosewood handle and non stick coated steel wire construction this will do the trick.













A special for the adults.  Roast a marshmallow and then dip it into Bailey's Irish Cream.  Addictive!  Something a little different but oh so good is to take a roll of Cinnamon Rolls you buy in the can.  The dough is usually spiral (if not just slice).  Twist the dough around the top of your stick and pinch the ends to prevent falling off during roasting.  Once the dough is brown slide it off and drizzle with the frosting they give you.


On the healthier side, Campfire cones are great!  Use a waffle or sugar cone.  Fill them right up with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, bananas, strawberries.  Roll them up with foil and put them on the grill for 5 minutes.  Need I say more but unbelievable when you spoon them out!



















After you have relaxed and full finish off the night with a book perfect for fire pits and fires.  Ronald Dahl's book of Ghost Stories.  Cute and not too scary!  So stop on by the Camping Department to make that family night a great one or order it  on line at

R. Piedmonte



Community Conservation Series - Don't Just Landscape...Rainscape!

Community Conservation Seminar Series

A series of seminars featuring Iowa partners in conservation featuring topics on conservation, wildlife, and habitat.

Don’t Just Landscape...Rainscape!

John Swanson
Watershed Outreach Coordinator

Polk County Soil and Conservation District

Wednesday, May 27
6:00 PM
Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Rainscaping creates beautiful landscapes that manage water sustainably. Rain gardens, native landscaping, rainwater harvesting, permeable paving, and native turf are a few features  you can incorporate on your own property to improve water quality and pollinator habitat. Do it yourself or hire a certified rainscaper trained in the design and installation of rainscaping practices. Either way, this seminar will give you the knowledge you need to not just landscape, but rainscape!

No reservations required. Simply join us!


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Roasted Radishes

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending the Becoming an Outdoors-Women weekend in Iowa at the beautiful Honey Creek State Park Resort in southern Iowa. One of the sessions I attended was Preparing Your Harvest, with Executive Chef Bob Newell. During the four hour workshop, we stood in the kitchen with Chef Bob as he prepared a variety of wild game in easy to follow steps that we could all apply at home. Additionally, he prepared some side dishes.

The first dish Chef Bob made was extremely easy and included an ingredient we don't have cook with...the lowly radish. I grew up with radishes always on our table in the summer and what relish tray DOESN'T include radishes. However, Chef Bob notes that the radish is the most under-used and misunderstood vegetable and it needs to be given a chance. So, he made roasted radishes...and here's the catch - you use the greens, too! Chef Bob You can jut as easily do these in a foil pouch on the grill, too. We decided to make them recently and they were great!

Roasted Radishes

Wash the radishes and the greens.

Cut the root tips and greens off the radishes. (Chef Bob suggests throwing the root tips in the garden, so you can grow radishes all year - do this with green onions, too!)

Chunk cut the radishes (quarters) and put them, and the greens, on a cookie sheet.

Drizzle with olive oil, scatter about a tablespoon of minced garlic, season with salt and pepper, and, using tongs, toss it all on the sheet.

Chef Bob roasted his about 15 minutes at 350 however, that was a commercial, and probably gas, oven. I ended up roasting ours for at 350 for 15 minutes but then cranked the oven up to 450 for another 10 or so, until the greens were crispy and radishes browning and carmelizing. Next time I will probably do 450 for 15-20 minutes.


I was skeptical but these are so good and the crispy green were the consistency of onion straws (without the onion taste) and if you don’t tend to like radishes because of the “after effect” (i.e. they make you burp!) then try this recipe. It mellows them out.

I'll be sharing all of Chef Bob's recipes, (already have his permission!) and encourage you to come visit Honey Creek Resort and experience their incredible restaurant first-hand!


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Summer with Sanuks

With summer starting up, and all kinds of outdoor adventures on your mind, it’s time to gear up! Starting with your footwear!


Sanuk Sandals are the shoes to get for your summer! It’s made out of comfortable yoga mat material, and fits the summer time feel! Too many people are venturing out without comfy foot attire! Give your feet a rest this year; come in and get yourself some Sanuk Sandals today!  

We have a very unique collection of sandals for men and women both!

For women, the hot item this year is the “Yoga Sling”. A flip-flop like footwear, without the inconvenience of a flip flop! They have the luxurious yoga mat feel with sturdy fabric straps that comfortably wrap around your foot. Not to mention the multiple colors and patterns available!

The popular Sidewalk Surfers, “These are not shoes, their sandals!”, are available in women and men styles! How many times have you wished you had a more comfortable slip-on without the stiffness of a regular shoe? This Sneaker-inspired shoe is easy to slip on and lightweight for an everyday wear. Sanuk uses an antimicrobial insole, which helps with odor control. The insole is also rubber for easy cleaning. For all the men and women that want to have fun in the sun without the hassle, these sandals are for you!

And of course, we can’t forget about the men and women’s classic Flip-Flop. Like every sandal from Sanuk, you are guaranteed to have the best quality! This sandal provides their signature comfy yoga mat feel with the easy slip-on feature, along with the various colors and patterns available!

All of these Sanuk brand selections and more are available at your Bass Pro Shops in Independence, MO! If you stick with them for your footwear this summer, you are bound to enjoy the summer a little more this year!


Check out these other amazing blogs on Footwear!

Looking For A Comfortable Sandal

Sanuks and Reefs


Archery In Motion

Come on into the store and see our inside archery range! Not only does Archery In Motion allows recurve bows, but they also allow compound bows up to 60 lbs! Yes, 60 lbs! Let some arrows fly down the range and become better than you even thought possible in this comfortable, enclosed area without enduring the elements of the rain and sun!


Sundays: 12 -4 PM Introduction to Archery for Bass Pro Shops Customers

Mondays: 4 - 8 PM Open Range - $15 per archer, $25 for family per session

Tuesdays: 5 - 8 PM League Night - see calender at for details

Wednesdays: 5:30-8:30 PM Basic Lessons

  • $60 for four weeks beginning of every month
  • See Coach Dan for more details

Thursday: 6-8 PM Bass Pro Associates and Family Night

Friday: 4-8 PM Combination of Semi-Private Lessons and Open Range

  • See Coach Siobhan for more details

Saturday: 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM - JOAD Training Session - Beginner Group

                   12:30 AM - 2:30 PM - JOAD Training Session - Advance

                   3:00 - 5:00 PM - AAAP Training Session


Blogging in Niagara

An Introduction


Welcome to our blog, the internet storytelling outlet which we plan to fill with interesting stories which will target all that is the outdoors!
You can expect to read interesting stories told by our very own Bass Pro Niagara team of outdoor experts, learn tips and tricks, and explore techniques within the areas of Hunting, Camping, Fishing, Outdoor Cooking, Foraging, Preserving, Hiking, Canoeing and Kayaking, Backpacking.. and everything in between! We hope to deliver on excitement here just as we deliver an exciting experience in store! (That's our store below, the third Canadian locaiton!)

Some of the posts we will share in this blog will include in store event updates and information on local community locations and venues in our Niagara area which are just calling to our outdoor fans this summer. Located in the heart of Niagara, we are central to a number of communities, in addition to the beautiful Niagara-on-the-Lake where we call home. In this community, as well as each of those that neighbor us, there is a whole world to explore! And we plan to provide with the know-how, the tools and the excitement to get you outdoors this summer to enjoy all that Niagara has to offer!

We have included photos of parks and outdoor venues from our local communities to kick start some ideas for enjoying the outdoors this weekend! A picnic or a walk through a local park is a great and easy way to enjoy the beautiful weather we have coming up. Of course, this is only one activity to enjoy outdoors, but there are numerous locations and options to choose from, including hiking, camping and fishing!  Remember to wear sunscreen, hats and sunglasses, and stay hydrated while outdoors!

Royal Botannical Gardnes - Niagara Falls, ON    (Great place for a walk!)

Dufferin Islands Park - Niagara Falls, ON     (Great place for a picnic!)


Stay tuned for next weeks post..

To further showcase the outdoor recreation activities our communities offer beyond picnics and strolls, we will host an event in store on the dates of Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24 which will feature local community representatives showcasing the outdoor activity venues and options within their communities. Options covered will include: Camping grounds, hiking locations, bike trails, waterways for canoeing and kayaking, and more! Visit our webpage at or our Facebook page at for more information!


Captain Mack's Weekly Fishing Report

Striper fishing has been good. The fish are biting well, but typically for this time of year the fish become scattered and are not grouped up very well. Water temps and O2 levels are such that the fish have an abundance of good water to use, and they are taking advantage of that.  You may locate Stripers almost anywhere and they will move often, so fish fast and use high saturation techniques for the best results. Many patterns are producing so be prepared to use multiple techniques. Live Herring fished on free lines, weighted freelines and downlines are all productive right now. Stagger the depth of your baits until you define the bite, and remember that the variable of death may change often over the course of the day. Load the well with Herring, the Spotted Bass are going to eat them up so you’ll be burning through plenty of bait.

The umbrella bite has been pretty good and will account for good numbers with a few nice fish mixed in. Pull the rig over humps and points over a 25 foot bottom. The nine bait rigs are most productive and both the Capt. Mack’s shad and bucktail rigs will get the bite. On Mono, pull the rig about 100 feet behind the boat, if you are using braid in the 80 lb. range, 70 feet behind the boat will should keep you in the strike zone.

Bass fishing is good and while there are still good numbers of fish shallow, some still on the banks, there are plenty of fish moving onto the points and offshore structures in 15 to 25 feet. This transitional period will last a few more weeks, but the open water structures will become stronger as the water temps push towards the 80 degree mark.  Topwaters are accounting for some nice fish, the usual suspects are working well, Zara Spooks and Sammies are among several good choices.  Cast them over brush and stumps fields for the best results. Jerkbaits and spinnerbaits are also viable choices, and slow rolling a 3/8 spinnerbait (the Mini-Me bait is a good choice right now) over stump flats has been producing very well. I prefer light colors on the spinnerbaits, white and chartreuse combos with nickel blades seem to be really strong in recent days.

Keep a small, heavy bait tied on ffor the schoolers, they are popping up frequently, especially in the early am.  Flex-it spoons and game changers are good choices here, their compact size and weight unable you to make long cast to reach those fish that seem to be just out of casting distance. If you can show the fish one of the baits before they sound you are almost certain to get the bite!

I’ll give Crappie fish a good rating. I think dock shooting is the best pattern here, although blowdown trees and brush piles may also produce. Look for these structures in the 8 to 20 range in the middle and back parts of the creek, as always stained water is an asset if you can find it. The Bobby Garland bait has been the bait of choice, light colors on the bright days, darker colors with cloud cover or dusk/dawn. The Crappie are in transition as well so they are moving frequently, so don’t limit your search to where they were the last time you went fishing. Using your side imaging sonar to find the schools can be a big plus.

Good Fishing!

Capt. Mack

Email any inquiries to Capt. Mack @ or Visit Capt. Mack online @


Catfish Event



What’s your favorite game fish?

If you answered Mr. Whiskers (aka the catfish) this weekend is for you!!

Our first ever Catfish Event is headed your way May 16 & 17. Everyone can catch a cat- young, old, skilled or novice fisherman. Find out all you need to know here from our Bass Pro Shops Pro-Staff Anglers and Associates.

  • May 16, 2015

11 am & 3 pm

  • May 17, 2015

2 & 4 pm


Be sure to stop by the front stairs on Saturday from 2-5 pm and try a sample of fried catfish dredged in our very own Uncle Buck’s Fish Batter.


Hope to see you soon!!!

~ BPS Sevierville Events Team



What is a waypoint and how do I save it to an SD Card on my Lowrance units…

Waypoints are saved positions inside of your GPS or in your Fishfinder/GPS unit. They allow you to return to that position with any GPS, which means no more wet pieces of paper, forgotten landmarks or a big oak tree that fell over in a storm. I have found many uses of waypoints besides getting back to my big fish spot, or the boat launch and even my favorite deer stand.

Your waypoints are the most important functions of a fish finder or handheld GPS unit.  If you have never saved a waypoint or track from your GPS onto an SD card, now is the time to learn. We will go through the steps of saving a file from your Lowrance units to a SD Card for future usage or storage.

How to Export Waypoints, Routes & Trails HDS Gen 1 or Gen 2 Keypad


1.            Insert your SD card into the HDS Chartplotter

2.            Press the Pages key on the keypad

3.            Select the Utilities Page

4.            Select Files

5.            In the Files screen Select Waypoints, Routes & Trails.

6.            Press Enter on the keypad

7.            Select Export

8.            Under File Format, select User data file version 4

9.            Highlight Export, then press Enter on the keypad

10.         The Select Destination Folder screen will pop up

11.         Highlight memory card and press Enter on the keypad

How to Export Waypoints, Routes & Trails Elite HDI/CHIRP

1.            Put a Micro SD card into the front of the Elite unit

2.            From a Chart screen, press the Menu key

3.            Select Waypoints, Routes & Trails (WRT), press Enter

4.            In the WRT screen, press Menu key

5.            On the pop up screen select Save to Card, press the Enter key

6.            Create a file name if desired

7.            Select Version 3.0

8.            Select Save


How to Export Waypoints, Routes & Trails Lowrance HDS Gen2 Touch/Gen3

Step 1- Make sure your SD card is inserted into your HDS chartplotter and press PAGES

Step 2- Tap Files

Step 3 - Tap Waypoints, Routes, and Trails database

Step 4 - Tap Export...

Step 5 - From Export Waypoints, Routes, and Trails set File formats to User data file version 4

Step 6 - Tap Export

Step 7- Select Memory card and tap OK

Step 8 - Assign a name (i.e. – waypointsandtrails) and tap Enter

Step 9 - The file is now created.


About the author:

Tom Branch, Jr. is a freelance outdoor writer, a retired Lieutenant/Paramedic/Firefighter with Gwinnett County Fire, GA after 29 years of service in 2013 and a Prostaffer for Bass Pro Shops in Lawrenceville, GA. He is currently a contracted employee with NAVICO/Lowrance working as the College Fishing Recruiter. He has been working in the Outdoor Industry for over 20 years. He and his beautiful wife, Kim live north of Atlanta near Braselton, GA with their lab Jake. They volunteer with Operation One Voice (501c3) (




The Big Short Takeover is Happening Now at Bass Pro Shops in Bossier City, Louisiana

It's beautiful weather this Spring in the Ark-La-Tex (Bossier City, LA).  Most of the heavy spring rains are behind us and it's time for shorts,flip-flops and sunglasses.  May is filled with blue skies and sunny days in which to celebrate the following holidays and events:

  • Cinco de Mayo,Tuesday, May 5th,
  • Mother's Day-Sunday, May 10th,
  • Memorial Day, Monday May 25, and ...
  • don't forget those Graduates.

 With all that in mind, Bass Pro Shops has included in their latest Spring Warm-UP Sale-The BIG Short Takeover.  With all Natural Reflections Shorts and Capris and RedHead Brand Shorts-Buy 1 Get 1 50% off (of equal or lesser value).  Sale Dates are April 27-May 10, 2015.

Look for the Bear wearing shorts.  #BEARYOURLEGS

Receive a free sample of sunscreen with purchase while supplies last.


Camo Summer Wear

What do you get for that guy that loves camo year round and the temperature outside is close to ninety?

You get them camo shorts or the perfect camo sleeveless top.  We have the perfect pair of shorts.  They are cargo shorts with all the pockets that can hold just about anything and everything. These shorts are great for just hanging around the house or out for a night of partying.  These shorts are also comfortable for any of those long days at the ball park.  And boy will your guy be styling with the camo that he loves to wear.

Now there are two different shirts that bass pro shops have for the camo lover for the summer.  They are both sleeveless for those guys that love to show off their guns. One of the shirts is a button up while the other is a pull over. I know my guy really likes the style and fit of these shirts. 


We also have the perfect outfit already put together for those who have a hard time trying to decide what goes well together.  This outfit even has the sunglasses, hat and cooler to complete your all day adventure in camo.


Water Safety


"In the summertime when the weather is hot
You can stretch right up and touch the sky
When the weather's fine"* you can go for a ride...


In a Sun Tracker.

In aTahoe.

In a Nitro.

In a Mako.

In a Tracker boat.

In any of the above boats that we make. 

In a boat from Bass Pro Shops in Katy, Texas.

Come on in and ask any of our very knowledgeable associates: we can help you find one. While you're at it, we can also help you get ready to have your fun while being safe, we can help you keep your family safe:

Our Bass Pro Shops Adult Universal Life Jacket 4 Pack includes 4 USCG-approved Type III adult-universal-fit life vests in a convenient storage bag. Each life jacket has a durable shell made from 100% nylon, buoyant foam filling, and 3 belts with quick-release buckles. One size fits most.

Come into our Marine Department here at Bass Pro in Katy, Texas and ask a sales associate to help you pick out the right life jackets for all you and your family's boating needs.

We wish you happy, fun-filled boating.

*Mungo Jerry, "In the Summertime" written by Ray Dorset