Top Unique Products of 2013 - Marine

We continue to reflect on some of the unique products of  the top "unique" products of 2013...unique in technology, usage, and features.

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Marine Lead Shawn Everson says there are so many cool gadgets and electronics to choose from it's hard to trim down, these two items are specifically his favorites.Hunting Maps from Garmin

Hunting Maps from Garmin - Preloaded maps come on SD cards for hand-held GPSs that designate private, public, and game management land. Our store only carries the regional one for Iowa and the premium map for Wisconsin. the Midwest Regional Map encompasses Iowa, Minnesota, South and North Dakota, and Wisconsin.

What's the difference - The Regional Maps do not have landowner names or property boundaries. The Premium maps do contain the landowner names and boundaries.

Lowrance® Elite-7 Hybrid Dual Imaging™ Fishfinder/Chartplotter Combo - An affordable fishfinder with GPS and Lowrance® Elite-7 Hybrid Dual Imaging™ Fishfinder/Chartplotter ComboDownScan Imaging (DSI) on a 7" screen analog display. It is easy to use and read in bright sunlight. With this unit you can do chartplotting and it can take the Navionics and Lowrance Lake Insight cards. This was also one of our top sellers as soon as it hit the market in early summer.


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Top Unique Products of 2013 - Camping

Once again we're taking a look at the Top Cool Products that 2013 brought us.  This time I asked the Camping Department for their favorites and they had no problem rounding up some very unique and functional items...a great mixture of fun, functional, and eco-friendly items!

Can Cooker Jr.Can Cooker Jr. - This two-gallon version of the popular, larger, Seth McGinn's Can Cooker is perfect for the smaller household. Camping Associate Peter Maley says it's great for two-person homes, camping, and tailgating because of the smaller portions, but also for transport...less space needed for packing! Slow-cooks a meal in 60 minutes!  In the store at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!


GSI Outdoors® Commuter Java Press  - This is truly a dream for GSI Outdoors Java Pressthe on-the-go person! Commuters, campers, backpackers...enjoy your french press coffee anywhere you go with this press/travel mug, your course ground coffee and some boiling water! The inner mug press makes it a compact travel mug for use in the car or on the trail!


Streamlight SiegeStreamlight Siege Lantern - A rugged LED lantern that floats and is waterproof. The Siege provides 360 degree lighting from 130 hours on low up to 30 hours on high with its three brightness settings, plus it has a flash SOS setting.


Katadyn® Optimus Crux Canister Stove - This unique item has a folding burner head and is only 2.9 oz! But, don't let its petite size fool puts out 10,200 BTUs and can boil a liter of water in about three minutes depending on conditions.

Optimus CruxOptimus CruxOptimus Crux in Hand





UCO Arka Lantern and Flashlight - The Arka extends from a flashlight to a lantern, and has five lighting modes - including three red LED -  tactical, strobe, or SOS. What's REALLY great about this product is it can also be used as a USB charger for your phone, camera, and GPS. It comes with a USB cable and wall charger. Great for power outages at home, travel, and in your car!  Peter from our Camping Department gives a demo in this YouTube video:


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Trout Stocking at Lake Petocka

Sharpen your hooks and load up the ice shack!  The City of Bondurant, Iowa, is hosting a Family Trout Fishing Day at Lake Petocka in Bondurant! 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will be stocking the lake with 1500 catchable trout between 11 a.m. and Urban Trout Stockingnoon on Saturday, January 25, 2014. Local sponsors will provide food and drinks for the first 225 people. There will also be a drawing for a limited number of Bass Pro Shops gift cards!

The stocking is part of the annual urban trout stocking program by the DNR.  Usually between October and April, the DNR introduces trout to selected lakes around the state, allowing more people to be introduced to trout fishing.

According to Mike Mason, Fish Culture Section Supervisor with the DNR,  the trout  going into Petocka could have come all the way from Montana!

"The 1,500 Rainbow Trout  going into Lake Petocka started off as eggs taken in 2012 from adult Rainbow Trout held in raceways at either the Ennis National Fish Hatchery in Montana or the Manchester Hatchery in Iowa.  Approximately 100,000 eggs are shipped each year from Ennis to Iowa’s  Manchester Hatchery for the urban trout program.  The eggs arrive in early October and are grown to about 6 inches, at which time Manchester ships most of these fish out  to grow larger at the rearing stations at Decorah and Elkader (Big Spring).  The fish for Lake Petocka will be coming  coming from Decorah."  

DNR Fisheries Management Biologist Ben Dodd says the trout tend to bite small jigs tipped with wax worms or live minnows on a hook the best.  He adds that this event couldn't happen without a group effort!

"I would like to thank the City of Bondurant and all of the sponsors who have contributed to this event.  We (IDNR) are very lucky to have such great local partners here in central Iowa. They value our natural resources and support the sport of fishing.  We look forward to seeing you out on the ice!


Trout Regulations

TROUT FEE: Iowa residents and nonresidents who are required to have a fishing license must pay the Trout Fee ($12.50 for residents or $15 for non-residents) to fish for or possess trout. Exception: Iowa residents and nonresidents under 16 years old may possess or fish for trout without having paid the Trout Fee if they fish with a properly licensed adult who has paid the Trout Fee and together they limit their catch to the one person daily limit of five trout. Children under 16 have the option to purchase their own trout privilege, which allows them to fish without a properly licensed adult and keep their own daily limit (5).

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Seasons End, Maintenance Begins

Rod Slings Guest Blog by Rod Slings, Retired Iowa DNR Hunter Education Administrator


As the hunting seasons come to an end, it’s time again to store all your equipment. As always, safety is number one for every hunter and gun owner. Make sure your firearm is pointed in a safe direction, check to make sure it’s unloaded, then it’s ready to be cleaned. Even if you haven’t fired it, it’s important to give it a quick cleaning. Moisture, dirt, and salt from your hands can all have a long-term impact on the condition of your firearms. 

Each year, somewhere, someone forgets to unload his or her muzzleloader. Incidents can happen when you think the muzzleloader is empty and place another “load” on top of the load that was left…last hunting season. It’s never good when you’re expecting a bang and BOOM happens instead. It can cause severe injury or even death by not making sure your muzzleloader is empty before you load it up again. Powder residue will cause corrosion and have a major effect, so make sure you follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on proper cleaning.

Gun storage is very much a huge responsibility for all hunters. Make sure you use trigger locks or cable locks, and lock them in a gun cabinet or gun safe. This keeps your firearms from the curious, young and old, or even the burglar that may break into your house. There are all kinds of gun storage products available to help you be a responsible gun owner.

Opinions differ on storing “muzzle up or muzzle down” in your gun safe or locker. After cleaning oil is used in the barrel, with muzzle up the excess could run down into the end of your wood stock and cause the wood fibers to expand.  This is due to the oil saturating and working its way down where the metal meets the stock. This is not an issue with the newer composite stocks or other non-porous stocks. Muzzle down will eliminate this from occurring. No matter what, always make sure you keep the firearms pointed in a safe direction when placing them in or removing them from locked storage. Remember:  Treat every firearm as if it were loaded ALWAYS!

Ammunition should be stored in a locked container separate from the firearms. This safety practice adds another layer to your firearm storage safety protocol.

Don’t forget to remove batteries from trail cameras, range finders, GPS units and other battery-powered hunting equipment. Storage of arrows and archery equipment requires an edge of safety, too!

Until you’re ready to go target practice, shoot some trap or skeet, or are preparing for spring turkey season, these steps will keep you, your family, and others stay safe!

It’s always great to break out your equipment in the fall and have everything ready to be inspected for another Rod Slingsyear…not to have rust, corrosion, or other issues from not practicing due-diligence now. 

Always focus on safe gun handling and, please, hunt SAFE!


Rod Slings is a partner with Hunting and Shooting Related Consultants. He was with the Iowa DNR for 35 years as a supervisor in the DNR's Law Enforcement Bureau. He is an active proponent of hunter safety and education through international leadership, instructional, and speaking opportunities for organizations such as the International Hunter Education Association, the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the United Nations.


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Headed North? Alaska Travel Tips

The past month or so, Bass Pro Shops Altoona has had former associate Jake Fergesen, a northeast Iowa native, helping us out.  Jake was with us when we opened, progressing to hunting lead and camping lead positions, then transferred to the East Peoria store where he became Hunting Manager. Now Jake will be the new Fishing Manager at the Anchorage store, which opens in 2014.

Jake is familiar with Alaska, having worked there a few years back. Since so many people travel to Alaska, we asked him to share some basic tips.


Helpful Tips for Travelling to Alaska

by Guest Blogger Jake Fergesen, BPS Anchorage Fishing ManagerJake Fergesen

*  Bug Spray - The beautiful vistas of Alaska are known around the world. But, one thing you don't always see are the bugs. You will need bug deterrent pretty much anytime you're outside in the summer.

As soon as I got settled into my new Alaska location, I was anxious to do some fishing. I had only been there a few days and was ready to attack the fish. On my first fishing outing, after about a minute into it, I realized I was the one under attack.. Even with all my excitement, the fishing only lasted about 5-10 minutes. 

Now, bug spray is with me wherever I go in Alaska. 100% DEET is the best bet, but if you're wearing Gortex and/or fishing, you need to remember a couple of things. DEET can eat away at the fishing line and the Gortex membrane on waders and rain gear. So, a DEET-free product - like Sawyer® Premium Insect Repellent 20% Picaridin - might be a preferable choice, as Picaridin doesn't harm your equipment and gear. Wherever you go in Alaska, always have it with you. I leave my spray in the fishing tackle, kayak, and in the car.

*  Binoculars - Make sure you have binoculars that are compact and easy to carry. You want the most magnification that you can hold steady...a 10 power is recommended. Again, binoculars should always be with you. I've been driving down the Seward Highway and spotted a grizzly and her two cubs on a river bank far away and could enjoy them with my binoculars from a safe distance. You never know when that moose or bear is going to give you a view to appreciate and remember.Alaskan Bear Fishing  

*  Bear Spray – The chance of having a close encounter with a bear are slim, but you always want to have your head on a swivel and be mindful. I was wading and fishing the Russian River for sockeye salmon and had a few encounters with a bear that was also fishing for its food. The bear was within probably 20 yards. You stay calm – talk to it in a loud non-aggressive tone. Unless they are with cubs, surprised, or have been conditioned to people giving them fish, bears are mostly curious. The last thing you want to do is throw a fish. Keep all your gear within arms length. On the river I was at, and many other rivers, you can actually get fined if you have a pack or tackle box and it’s not within 10 feet or so or within reach.

*  Rain gear - Are you going to be in and out of rain? Then lightweight and packable rain gear, like Frogg 
Toggs, would probably work. But, if you know and are planning on spending all day in the rain, go with a heavy duty rain set, like Helly Hanson – real rubberized stuff. Helly Hansen makes rainwear that the fishermen and oil workers use with 100% waterproof protection.

*  Sun Protection - Visitors to Alaska often overlook sun protection due to the cooler temperatures, but coming from someone who's learned the hard way, it is an item you need to remember to take. I was enjoying t-shirt weather, around 80 degrees, on a raft fishing all day Riverside Camping in Alaskalong...warm, but not scorchingly hot. I was having fun and not feelilng the heat...until later that night when a serious sunburn appeared.

*  Camera/Memory Cards - The camera is an obvious one, but you'll take so many pictures you might need to bring an extra memory along with you so you don't run out. Most cell phones have a pretty good camera, but if you have a good digital camera with a zoom, you'll want to bring it. On a trip to Denali I saw pretty much everything – caribou, moose, etc. I took decent pictures of Dall rams up on a mountainside because I had a camera with a good zoom. 

But, keep in mind:  Try not to get so caught up in taking pictures that you miss actually seeing what's around you. Put down the camera, once in a while, and enjoy the beauty without the lens.

Alaska Glacier

*  Layers - In the summer, the mornings can be in the 40s and the middle of the day can get up close to 80. You'll want layers you can shed as the day goes on. Go with synthetic fibers and avoid cotton because there's a good chance it will rain some and you'll get wet.

Alaska in the summer is amazing. It's light out almost 24 hours a day, which allows you to get more out of each day.  As large as Alaska is, you won't be able to see everything in one trip. Identify the area you most want to see and plan your trip for that. Make a list...the next area on your list that you want to see will give you that reason to take another trip north to Alaska!

Seward Highway




This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Save a Life!

LifeServe Blood mobile at Bass Pro Shops AltoonaDid you know...

  • Only 38 percent of the U.S. population is eligible to donate blood but less than 10 percent donate annually.
  • There is no substitute for human blood.
  • You cannot get AIDS or any other infectious disease by donating blood.
  • About 1 in 7 people entering a hospital need blood.
  • Females receive 53 percent of blood transfusions; males receive 47 percent.

Picture your child, grandchild, spouse, best friend or other loved one in a hospital in dire need of blood...but the resources weren't there.

The LifeServe Blood Mobile will be at Bass Pro Shops Altoona on Saturday, January 18, 2014, from 9 - noon. This is YOUR chance to help save a life...your own or someone else's. The LifeServe Blood Center in Des Moines has a critical and urgent need for blood:

  • Critical Needs:
  • Less Than 2 Day Supply
  • O Positive
  • O Negative
  • A Negative
  • AB Negative








  • Urgent Needs:
  • 2-3 Day Supply
  • A Positive
  • B Positive
  • B Negative







  • General Needs:
  • 4-5 Day Supply
  • AB Positive


Don't know your blood type? That doesn't matter. Every two seconds, someone, somewhere needs blood.

The rarest type is the one not on the shelf when a patient needs it.

Please join us and help the cause.




Product Spotlight -UCO® Arka USB Charger/Lantern/Flashlight

UCO® Arka USB Charger/Lantern/Flashlight

This is an emergency preparedness dream! A mighty like flashlight, lantern and charger all in one! The Arka is one of the highlights of our Camping Departments cool products of 2013, and here's why:

  • Collapsible, so very compact and easy to transport - great for backpackers, travelers, and emergency access like power outages.
  • While you're using it as a light you can also be charging your phone, camera, or GPS! Rechargeable battery/ recharging station, plus comes with wall charger and USB cord.
  • Five lighting modes - Including three red LED for night vision, strobe and SOS.

Check out this video demo of the Arka!


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Pot Roast Soup

Photo from Beef It's What's For DinnerNot everyone likes venison, which I constantly need to remember. However, it also important to remember that any recipe with beef, can be made with venison, although you may have to adjust cooking times.

So, I'm borrowing this recipe from the Beef It's What's for Dinner web site via the Iowa Farmer Today magazine. Personally, I'd use a venison roast instead and would cut it into more than 12 pieces. It is a really interesting compilation of food...I think I just talked myself into trying it...but with venison.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Soup

1- 2 ½ pound beef boneless shoulder roast
2 C chopped onion
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions, undrained
1 C frozen hash browns, cubed
1 C beef broth
1 T minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 C broccoli slaw
1/2 C frozen peas

Cut roast into 12 equal pieces. Place in 4.5 to 5.5 quart slow cooker.

Add onions, tomatoes, potatoes, broth, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. (Instead of store-bought, why not use those tomatoes and peppers you canned or froze from the garden last year!)

Cover and cook on high 5-6 hours, or on low 8-9 hours., or until roast is fork-tender. Note: no stirring is necessary during cooking.

Stir in broccoli slaw. Continue cooking, covered 30 minutes or until broccoli slaw is crisp-tender.

Turn off slow cooker.

Stir in peas.

Let stand, covered, 5 minutes.


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Top Unique Products of 2013 - Ladies' Apparel

A new year typically means taking time to reflect on the previous year. With that thought in mind, I asked the various departments what their top "unique" products were in 2013...unique in technology, usage, and features.

Ladies' ApparelColumbia Tech gloves

  • Touch Tip gloves - With smartphones and other electronics these days, touch tip gloves are one of theTouch Tip gloves best accessories to have. How many times have you gone to use your smartphone but had to take your gloves off first? With a touch tip thumb and index on both hands, these gloves allow you to use any touch screen device without removing your gloves. The technology is also available in men's and hunting apparel. 
  • Thumbholes on cuffs -  These have become very popular in Ladies' apparel and many vendors are on the Ladies Ascend with Thumbholesbandwagon, including Columbia, The North Face and Ascend.  In most cases, it is on an interior cuff, allowing you to have additional built-in protection in your coat.  If you are wearing gloves, the thumbholes help stop wind and/or snow from going up your sleeve.
  • Omni-Heat Gloves-  Columbia brought their lightweight, yet warm technology, to more gloves this year. The Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining uses your own body heat, trapping and retaining it to keep you warm.
  • Infinity Scarves - These scarves have been extremely popular for our cold weather blasts this season! Natural Reflections Infinity ScarfAre you all about function or do you lean more toward fashion? There are some designed for all tastes!  


Next up - Camping!


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Banded Together

The banding of birds for identification has occurred for over 100 years in the U.S. The first records of bird banding in North America come from naturalist John James Audubon. The numbered bands help scientists at the United States Geologic Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service study the flight patterns, habitat, and more about birds, from the smallest hummingbird up to the trumpeter swan. For waterfowl hunters, harvesting a banded bird can be a milepost in their hunting career. Each band collected is a band of honor…not only for having taken the bird, but also as respect for the life of the bird it has graced. True sportsmen will know the story of any band they collect and the bird that carried it. Bass Pro Shops Altoona Hunting Associate Frank Lake tells his:


Being a relatively new resident of Iowa, I have come to enjoy the new hunting and fishing that this great state has given me. I’m originally from Southern California and had done some duck and goose hunting in that area, but it was mostly open water hunting.

After persuasion from some friends a couple of years ago, I was introduced to waterfowl hunting Midwest-style, particularly goose hunting. On various hunting excursions, I couldn’t stop noticing the displays of silver leg bands on fellow hunters’ call lanyards. Some would have a few and a couple of hunters…well, it seemed their lanyards were nothing but pieced together leg bands.

However, the bands weren’t just for bravado. Every hunter had a story about his or her bands. One friend explained that on his first ever hunt he shot two of the three bands that he held in highest regard. Another friend, a few weeks later, showed me his collection, which looked like a massive ball of recycled soda cans. Silver, black, some stained brown… each one had its own individual story. I looked forward to the time I would harvest a banded bird to begin my own collection of stories and remembrances.
That moment finally came.

Lanyard band of calls

A couple of weeks ago, the day started out in Iowa, and many other locations across this country, as it has so often this season:  Snow on the ground, freezing temperatures, and the wind pushing the cold right down to the skin. For our hunting group it didn’t seem to matter, as we continued the centuries old tradition of hunting and set up our spread that morning.

It wasn’t long and the geese started to move. With the weather being so cold, they had to fly out of the city to the farm fields to eat, and that’s where we waited. The first group pushed north right into our spread and, with an excited “get ‘em,” we sat up from the dugout frozen ditches that we laid in and surprised our prey. Pops from the guns erupted, and the birds flew everywhere…startled by us hunters appearing from nowhere. There where birds falling from the flock. We quickly reloaded, retrieved the birds we had shot, and returned to our blinds.

About an hour passed, with some flocks passing by, but none could be coaxed in with our decoys and calls. After a little while, a small group worked their way toward us fighting the brutal north wind. It seemed like an eternity, while we watched them from afar, moving their wings with such effort just to come to the field. Like any other hunter out there, the anticipation grew with every passing second. The flock now was a couple hundred yards away and we could really start to hear them call back to us. The only thing going through my head was “here we go.” The group started their final approach, cupping their wings and cackling at us as they drew closer. As they were about to set down, one of their calls didn’t sound the same as the rest and they broke away from us. Seeing this, and knowing that they were still within range, I called out to take them. I lifted my old shotgun, added a little lead into the shot, and squeezed the trigger. With a thunderous clap, that 12-gauge, 3.5-inch black cloud round went off, and the bird that I aimed for started to fall like a maple leaf to the ground.  

Frank Lake Bass Pro Shops Altoona

The other guys in the group looked over and said, “Yeah, yeah, lucky shot,” and the usual phrases we all give each other. I reloaded the gun and walked out to my bird. As I got closer, I saw something that didn’t look natural and was clearly out of place.

It was a band.

The rush of excitement flushed over me and I forgot the cold that day.

“Hey, we got jewelry!” I yelled.

Of course, my fellow hunters were doubtful. I walked over to the blinds to show them the bird. One of the hunters, who has many bands himself, looked at the number printed into the steel and said, “That’s going to be an old bird.”

Another hunter, grinning from ear to ear like a child raiding the cookie jar, good-naturedly ribbed, "Hey, I shot that one!"

We finished the day with our limit. Since it was a weekend, I had to wait until the following day to call in the band and find out the history of that bird. That night seemed like it would never end.

Morning arrived and I dialed the number on the band. At a call center somewhere in Missouri, a very nice receptionist picked up the phone and collected my information - number on the band, when did I recover the bird, did I shoot or find the bird, my name, address, email, phone number - and a list of questions that seemingly went on forever.

“You shot an old bird,” she said, and my interest peaked.

The bird was banded August 4, 2006, in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. I went to a map and explored the distance that the bird had flown from the Southwest area of the Hudson Bay to Iowa.

How many miles had that bird flown for the past seven years?

Where had it been?

Where was the bird’s nesting area during the summer? Had it been further south for the winter than just Iowa?

I thought about the odds of how, over the vastness of the Mississippi flyway, this bird and I met in that field, on that day, in the middle of Iowa, in the middle of the country.

While there are many questions that will remain unanswered, this fact is true:  I'm permanently hooked on waterfowl hunting by this first of many bands to come and many more stories behind every bird.  


For more information on bird banding, visit

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Product Spotlight - BaitBall by LiveTarget - NEW!

Hot off the truck at Bass Pro Shops Altoona...LiveTarget's BaitBall...ICAST 2013's Best Hard Lure of the Year!

Multiple profiles in one body gives the impression of a small cluster of shad that has split away from it's bigger group. Another step in re-creating the real underwater world and nature's survival of the fittest!


Threadfin Shad Baitball Crankbait Crankbait

This diver has a maximum depth of 10 feet and at the store we have it in Pearl Blue Chartreuse and Pearl Gray. Details and additional colors are available at


LiveTarget SquarefishThreadfin Shad Baitball Squarebill

Depth of 3-4 feet and comes in Pearl Blue Chartreuse, Metallic Green, and Pearl Green. Details and additional colors are available at


Check out the LiveTarget story of how the BaitBall concept came to be and a demo!


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Slow Cooker Easy Venison Stew

Venison StewWith temps below freezing, it was a stew week at our house. My husband makes a GREAT venison stew that's super simple. We featured a venison stew last year at this time, but this one is our own concoction. (Secret - Spicy V-8 is a go-to ingredient for many of our chilis, soups, and stews.)


Chili-flavored olive oil
1 - 3-lb venison roast 
8 - medium potatoes (or more if you like)
1 - 8 oz bag of baby carrots
3 - stalks of celery cut into 1 1/2-2 inch pieces
1 medium onion - cut in chunks
1 box of beef stock
2 cups of Spicy V-8 vegetable juice
Garlic powder
Smoked paprika
Fresh ground black pepper or pepper seasoning blend
1 small can tomato paste - optional
3 Tbsp corn starch - optional
3 Tbsp cold water - optional


Cut the roast into small chunks. (It may be easier to do this when it's still a bit frozen.) Quarter the potatoes. Use more or less potatoes to your liking. Drizzle the olive oil in the bottom of cooker. Throw everything together in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Use the tomato paste and/or a corn starch & water mixture to thicken the stew, if desired. 


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Clearance, clearance, clearance - we have great buys on items in all departments, including holiday and apparel! While you're here, check out a couple of our sweepstakes we have going on!

Lone Survivor SweepstakesLone Survivor Sweepstakes - Sponsored by Under Armour

Can you picture yourself sitting in a private screening with 249 of your closest friends watching Mark Wahlberg on the big screen? Then get into the drawing for the Lone Survivor movie sweepstakes! Lone Survivor is a true tale of courage, recounting Navy SEAL Team 10 Team's mission in 2005 to capture or kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shahd.

The sweepstakes ends January 24, 2014. Limit one entry per person per method and you must be 18 years old at time of entry!

Everyone who enters will be eligible to win the grand prize:
Grand Prize: a private screening of "Lone Survivor" for winner and up to 249 guests. Universal will determine the theater location as well as the date and time of screening.

Enter in-store or online and be eligible to win: Hoody, Antler Cap, Wounded Warrior Cap, Classic Stretch Fit Cap, and Women's Beanie.

You may also enter online at!


Monster Fish SweepstakesMonster Fish Sweepstakes

It's Bass Pro's eighth year for this Monster Fish Sweepstakes! Stop in and register to win a 2014 Nitro Z-6 with a 115 ELPT OptiMax and Trailer!

Good Luck!


Hot Tips for Ice Fishing in Northern Iowa

Want to know a secret? Kevan Paul, of Kevan Paul's Guide Service has some tips for you ice fisherman on fishing Clear Lake and Crystal Lake in northern Iowa. He's an accomplished tournament fisherman and a member of Clam's Ice Team pro staff. He KNOWS north Iowa lakes! 

In this YouTube video, Kevan gives you the latest secret for the north...and you'll ONLY get it from him on this video!

For more information on Kevan's guide service, visit


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Iowa 2014 Ice Fishing Tournaments

Iowa Ice Fishing TournamentsHere are some ice fishing tournaments that we are aware of in Iowa.  Click the links, where supplied, for more information or visit!  Have fun, be safe, and share your photos with us at!





Jan 11, 2014
Panfish Bonanza (Registration deadline passed)
Dumcombe, IA
Brushy Creek Lake

Jan 12, 2014
Team Extreme Ice Fishing Tournaments
Spirit Lake, IA
West Okoboji Lake

Jan 18, 2014
Guttenberg Ice Fishing Tournament
Harper's Ferry, IA
Mississippi River Pool 10

Jan 25, 2014
Diamond Lake Ice Fishing Derby
Montezuma, IA
Diamond Lake

Jan 25, 2014
Fargin Icehole Competition
Davenport, IA
Lost Grove Lake

Jan 25, 2014
Frozen Fins Ice Fishing Tournament
Grinnell, IA
Jacob Krumm Nature Preserver Lake (west)

Jan 25, 2014
Stauss Realty Winter Games Ice Fishing Tournament
Okoboji, IA
West Okoboji Lake

Jan 26, 2014
Cedar Rapids Bassmasters Ice Fishery
Palo, IA
Pleasant Creek Lake

Feb 1, 2014
Lehigh Fire Dept Annual Ice Fishing Tournament
Lehigh, IA
Brushy Creek Lake

Feb 1, 2014
Storm Lake Ice Fishing Tournament
Storm Lake, IA
Frank Starr Park
Storm Lake

Feb 2, 2014
Team Extreme Ice Fishing Tournaments
DesMoines, IA
Big Creek Lake

Feb 8, 2014
Clear Lake Yellow Bass Bonanza
Clear Lake, IA
Macintosh State Park
Clear Lake

Feb 8, 2014
Frostbite Olympics Ice Fishing Tournament
Algona, IA
Lake Smith

Feb 8, 2014
Lake Meyer Ice Fishing Derby
Calmar, IA
Lake Meyers

Feb 9, 2014
Des Moines Winter Games Ice Derby
Des Moines, IA
Easter Lake

Feb 16, 2014
Team Extreme Ice Fishing Tournaments
Afton, IA
Three Mile Lake

Feb 23, 2014
Team Extreme Ice Fishing Tournaments
Grinnell, IA
Rock Creek Lake

Mar 16, 2014
Fort Dodge, IA
Brushy Creek Lake

Ice Fishing a Cold Front

Ouch! It's cold! But, that doesn't stop an ice fisherman! Clam's Ice Team Pro Staff member Kevan Paul is an accomplished tournament fisherman from northern Iowa. He joined us at Bass Pro Shops Altoona for our Ice Fishing Event on Saturday, January 4, 2014.

Kevan says when it's this cold, the ice fisherman needs to change his or her tactics. Check out this YouTube video for more information from Kevan Paul of Ice Team!




New Year - New Chapters

A new year is a book with 365 blank pages on which you can write. The outdoors is full of opportunities to create change...maybe take on a new adventure. For some, it may be as simple as spending more time outside...for others, it might perceived to be more complicated - climbing a mountain, for example. Maybe it's physically stimulating...or a mental challenge. Set a goal, give it a try, and you may find a new mindset.

Here some ideas to get you started on those new chapters:

1. Learn an outdoor skill - Open water fishing, ice fishing, bow fishing, hunting, shooting, archery, basic boating skills, using a metal detector, bird watching, animal identification, geocaching, backpacking, nature photography...and that's just some of the ideas. If you know someone who participates in these activities, ask to tag along and learn more. Attend outdoors events sponsored by Bass Pro Shops stores or your local organizations. For example, in the Des Moines area we have the Iowa Outdoors Expo event where you can experience the sport hands-on and learn from experts. Becoming an Outdoors Woman is a program sponsored by the Iowa DNR, which offers women a chance to learn new outdoor skills in a relaxed environment over a long weekend. Your local county conservation office may also offer workshops on various outdoor skill topics throughout the year.

Lake Red Rock

2. Take a hike - Literally, get off your rear and go for a walk. Progress to taking day hikes. Iowa has some fantastic trails to enjoy. Lake Red Rock has a nice trail system to begin with. Take your time, start short distances, but get your heart pumping. You could do it at a gym, but wouldn't you rather enjoy the smell of fresh air and watching wildlife while you work your legs? Take a camera!

3. Garden/Feed the Birds- Again, start small...don't get in over your head. Start with flowers and learn about birds. Plant something simple like tomatoes or peppers. Hummingbirds LOVE flower gardens and help keep the bugs away, so don't forget the hummingbird feeder...put it out May 1, weather permitting.

4. Outdoor cooking - Now, take what you grew in #3 and throw it on a smoker, grill, or other form of outdoor cooking. Smoking, grilling, dutch oven, campfire cooking...anything you make IN the house, can also be made outside the house through one or all of these methods. There are terrific books and online information with recipes, tips and techniques. Explore the many rubs and sauces Bass Pro Shops has, or grab a book and make your own! Take those peppers you just grew in the garden, stuff them with rice and cheese and throw them on the grill! Check out our many Outdoor Cooking blog posts for great recipes!

Kayaking5. Paddle through life - Kayaking and canoeing have reached new heights of popularity in Iowa. Don't have a kayak or canoe? Again, check with your local county conservation office, state DNRs, and resorts. For example, Honey Creek Resort in the Lake Rathbun area offers free workshops on kayaking and other activities to the public, as well as their guests. Iowa not only has a great land trail system for walking and biking, but we have almost 20,000 miles of water trails for kayaking and canoeing. Make sure you learn proper safety, too!

Last, but not least...teach someone else something you already know about the outdoors. Pull a child away from the Xbox or DS and put a GPS, geocaching, or metal detector in their hand and teach them to find treasurers!  Turn off your electronics for a day and invite a friend to fish or hunt. You never may find SEVERAL pages that you'll be able to complete in your Book of 2014.


Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.
Ralph Waldo Emerson


Five Cold Weather Comforts

Twelve below true temp and 27 below wind chill on Christmas Eve morning. I'm pretty sure we'll have a few more of these over the next couple of months. We try to save on heating bills by keeping our thermostat set at a balmy 65-67 degrees and we have one of those "made by the Amish" electric fireplaces to cut the chill in the basement, where we spend most of our time.

We often talk about ways to beat the heat, but what about beating the cold? Here's my personal five cold weather comforts on any given -12 and -27 wind chill day at the house!

RedHead Socks

1. RedHead Lifetime socks - When I crawl out of bed, they are my slippers and my first defense for cold and comfort. If I'm not leaving the house, I wear them all day. If I DO leave the house, I throw on a pair of the new medium-weight lifetime guarantee socks.

2. Natural Reflections Lounge sets - I have the red/black plaid bottoms with the matching black waffle weave top with a red moose on it. This is THE most comfortable set of "lazy" clothes I have, other than the pink/green camo set, which is better for spring and summer.

3. Tervis Tumbler (Made in the USA!) - My Tervis 24 oz. double-insulated tumbler is designed to keep drinks cold OR hot. So, I throw in some of the Uncle Buck's Country Day Premium Dark Chocolate Cocoa Mix and keep my insides Uncle Buck's® Country Day Premium Dark Chocolate Cocoa Mixwarm, too. I like it because it's made in Vancouver, Washington, and they're committed to using domestic products whenever possible.

4. Since it's a day off, I'm probably keeping warm by cooking and running around doing laundry, etc. However, if I settle down to do some work on the computer in my office, I wrap myself up in one of the many fleece wraps we have from Bass Pro!

5. At the end of the day, when it's time to watch the Iowa State University mens' basketball team, or some pro football on the television (if we haven't already been!), I crawl into another set of Natural Reflections lounge wear. Yes, I love these lounge sets. Flannel, warm, and toasty. Throw a blanket over me and I'm ready to cheer on a team and relax for the evening!

Whatever it takes, keep warm this and snug...and don't look at the thermometer!



Ice Fishing Event @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Cold temps have made great conditions for ice anglers! On Saturday, January 4, 2014, Bass Pro Shops Altoona celebrates the art of ice fishing! Join us to learn ice fishing basics and more starting with an ON-ICE DEMO at 11:30, then seminars at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., plus the chance to win drawings!


11:30 a.m. - On Ice Demo -   UNDERSTANDING FLASHERS AND OTHER TIPS/TRICKS (Weather and ice thickness permitting) Meet at the reel counter in the Bass Pro Shops Altoona Fishing Department and we will head outside for a demo. You MUST come to the reel counter first.  Space is limited to 10 people, however, if demand warrants it a 12:15 session will be added and we will take another group on the ice. PARTICIPANTS SHOULD BRING ICE CLEATS, if possible.  All participants will wear a store-provided PFD.

1 p.m. - "NORTH IOWA PANFISH TACTICS" with Ice Team Pro Kevan Paul, featuring Clear Lake and other northern Iowa waters, like Crystal Lake. Kevan is a fishing guide (Kevan Pauls Guide Service) and an accomplished tournament fisherman on these bodies of water.

3 p.m. - "FISHING THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BACKWATERS" - Learn more about fishing this northeast part of Iowa from Bass Pro Shops Altoona Fishing Lead Chris Grocholski, a native of the area.

At 4 p.m. we'll be drawing the names of two lucky winners and give away a Clam Vista Shelter and a Bass Pro Shops 6" Hand Ice Auger!

Kevan Paul


Seasoning Your New or Old Cast Iron

Seasoning your cast ironThere might be a few people who will receive or give cast iron cookware for Christmas presents. Plus, aside from those who cook year-round with cast iron, many people are putting their Dutch Ovens, etc., away for the winter.  We thought it would be a good time to revisit how to maintain your cast iron, so we asked our Camping Department experts for some tips.

Prepare cast iron for use is called seasoning. Most manufacturers sell pre-seasoned cast iron, but not all. The package should tell you. By the way, Lodge, a very popular brand, is the only non-enamel "Made in the USA" manufacturer.

The best practice is to have designated pans for different cooking and to circulate use.

There are some tell-tale signs that it's time to reseason your cast iron:

  • Food sticking on bottom
  • Food not moving freely
  • There should have a shine to the pan
  • Rust

To season a new pan:

  • First, heat the pan in an oven at 400 for about five minutes. The warmth loosens up the pores of the skillet.
  • Using a liquid vegetable oil  – no olive oils or solid shortening - wipe the cast iron piece, inside and out, including the handle.
  • When you think you’ve got all the oil out of the paper towel...take another paper towel and do it all over again.
  • Bake the oil-coated skillet in the oven upside down, so there’s no pooling in the bottom of the skillet – 400 degrees for  one hour.
  • Cool in oven


What about rust?

Surface rust

  • Make a 50/50 vinegar water solution.
  • Spray on the rust area and then rub off with paper towel.
  • Dry completely.
  • Apply oil like when seasoning.
  • Bake again.  Even if it’s just one little spot, do this complete process.

If the cast iron is pitted, you will need to use steel wool and go deeper.


Remember - Cast iron is only as good as the care it receives. Always put it away dry and it’s okay to season once a year, even if you don’t think it needs it. Just adds to the protection factor even more.

Enjoy and happy cooking!