The Dog Days of Summer

"Dog Days bright and clear,
indicate a happy year.
But when accompanied by rain, 
for better times our hopes are vain."

(from The Old Farmer's Almanac)

The Old Farmer's Almanac says the official Dog Days of summer are the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11. This coincides with the rising of the Dog Star, Sirius, at sunrise.


"The rising of Sirius does not actually affect the weather (some of our hottest and most humid days occur after August 11), but for the ancient Egyptians, Sirius appeared just before the season of the Nile's flooding, so they used the star as a "watchdog" for that event. Since its rising also coincided with a time of extreme heat, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made for all time."


Our dogs are much like us, the owners.

  • Marley, a 10-year-old, 86-pound Airedale, loves to be outside, but just can't take the heat and humidity anymore. He needs to come inside and cool his bones more often than not.

Ditto for me - I love to be outside however often reflect on my much younger, foolish years of "laying out" and wonder how in the world I did it. Now, I get things done in the early morning hours before the humidity and heat sucks my breath away. A covered walkout patio, outdoor ceiling fan, and trees, help provide shade and a light breeze when it's really hot. 

  • Marley loves to go on walks, albeit they're a little shorter now that he's older. But his walks are in the morning and not  during the heat of the day...and when he arrives home he tanks up on the water AFTER the walk. Before the walk could cause cramping.

Ditto for us.

  • Marley appreciates a good nap - like eight hours or so.

Ditto for us.  Okay, maybe not eight hours, but I finally convinced my husband that a good nap is highly underrated. Just about 15 minutes for so. It revives and rejuvenates our bodies and brains. Try taking a nap outside in a portable hammock in the shade. I recently discovered that pleasure.

  • Nalla is a 12-year-old Springer who, like us, appreciates the outdoors and a good shade tree. But, she REALLY likes the air conditioning. Our dogs come tell us when it's time to go in. They know their limits.
  • Neither dog feels like eating much when it's hot - ditto for us.

Dogs AND humans need to take care during the Dog Days:

  • Drink plenty of water - Keeps you hydrated and helps reduce leg cramps in really active people and elderly.
  • Know your body limits - Seek coolness from a fan, shade, and ice water. Read your body's reactions: lethargy, inability to cool down, confusion. You may have heat stress.
  • Do your outside activities and heaviest outside work in the morning and not in the heat of the day. This isn't always possible, especially for those who work outside. If you're one of those people, then be prepared with plenty of ice water and cooling towels, like Arctic Ties or Chilly Pads.
  • While you may not feel like eating when it's really hot, keep yourself nourished with healthy foods, like fruit, proteins and healthy carbs. Don't consume a lot of alcohol when it's hot...'nuf said.

But DO have fun - the dog days are a great way to do some low key activities with family, kids, and...well...dogs! Take a dip in Hyper Petwater, take a short walk, throw a toy in the cool a.m. hours like our great Hyper Pet toys, play some family board games or do a jigsaw puzzle in the shade. Don't forget the mosquito coils! 














Staycations Iowa Style - Northeast Iowa

Sorting through the suggestions our Facebook fans have given us for Iowa staycations, a trend appeared for locations along a National Scenic Byway - Iowa's Great River Road. So, let's go the the upper corner of Northeast Iowa and start there!

Andy recommends the Lansing, Iowa, area.Lansing Iowa from

"Amazing camping on the Mighty Miss!!!! Fog, mist, and barge lights in the a.m. are amazingly pretty. Bluffs are where eagles soar!"

This quaint Mississippi River town boasts just over 1000 people. It's located in the very northeast tip of Iowa at the beginning of the Iowa Great River Road National Scenic Byway and in the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge.

From there, head on down the river and enjoy the beautiful scenery!  If you have the time you can pop over to Wisconsin, where Facebook fan Brian recommends House on the Rock, in Spring Green, Wisconsin. From

Motor on down the Great River Road to the Marquette and McGregor area with the Effigy Mounds National Monument. This sacred ground features over 200 American Indian burial mounds and allows visitors the chance to view the unique mounds amid the natural beauty of the Upper Mississippi. 

Jenni and Heather both gave shout out for Dubuque, Iowa.

"Great museum, several wineries, including Stone Cliff Winery, beautiful view of the Mississippi. Historical Bluff Street and Galena (IL) is a 1/2 hr away.

"There is so much to do in Dubuque. The Mississippi Museum and Aquarium, Grand Harbor Hotel and Water Park, lots of parks and lookouts and neat downtown shopping!"

Michael recommended Bellevue Iowa. Bellevue actually means "beautiful view" and that's so true!  The majestic views of the Mississippi up and down the river, and nature in general, helped earn it a top five ranking in the Big River Magazine's list of Best Riverfronts Along the Mississippi.From Iowa DNR

If camping is your pleasure for your overnight stays, visit the DNR's state park guide to explore your camping, hiking, trail, and nature center/educational opportunities in Northeast Iowa, such as Pikes Peak State Park, Bellevue State Park, Yellow River Forest, and Mines of Spain State Recreation Area.
This area of Iowa recently suffered flooding from heavy rainfalls, so be sure to check ahead on any places you might be considering.
Next stop we make - Southern Iowa!





Ready to Ride Across Iowa?

Photo from adventure.nationalgeographic.comIt's almost time for thousands of people to hop on two wheels and ride their bicycles across Iowa. Thousands of brave souls, from literally around the world, will converge on our state from July 21-27 to pedal their way from the Missouri River to the Mississippi over Iowa's highways and byways in RAGBRAI® - The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa™.

If you're one of them, are you ready for the seven-day long haul? Take a look at this list of items we came up with that may help you fight the elements and make it through Iowa's special ride through the no particular order!


  • MSRs Packtowel - this versatile microfiber towel if reusable, wrings out almost completely dry over and over again.
  • Ascend Dry Bags - these heavy duty bags come in different capacities and withstand rough use.  Keep your supplies might actually rain on the ride!
  • PVC Poncho - This inexpensive 100% waterproof poncho will help keep YOU dry, too, during the ride or after.
  • Sunglasses - Make sure they're polarized. 
  • Eyeglass retainer to keep your sunglasses on your head.
  • Ball cap or hat with a brim for added protection...even make sure it has built-in UPF protection!
  • Hat clip to clip your hat to your t-shirt and keep your hat on your head.
  • Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad Cooling Towels or Arctic Ties - Wet one, put it around your neck, stay cool.
  • Technical Apparel with built-in UPF sun protection, like Columbia's Omni-Shade, and Omni-Wick for evaporation.
  • Camelback-style hydration Packs - Sstay hydrated while riding...or even while not riding.
  • Personal first aid kit, including gauze, antiseptic ointment, bandages for blisters, QuikClot Sport.
  • Headlamp - if you're an early morning riser...or if you're navigating by bike around the host town at night.
  • Go Girl Feminine Urination Device or Tissue on the Go - especially handy for those middle of nowhere trips into the cornfield!
  • Heavy duty insect repellent like Sawyer's Permethrin Spray for Clothing.
  • Freeze n' Wrap to keep your beverages frosty during and after the day's ride.
  • GoPro Camera to record your adventures!

Last, but not least - Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen!

Ride safe, ride smart, and have fun. While you're overnight in the Des Moines area stop and see us...and don't forget to have your front team stop to see us if you need supplies!

Watch for features on some of these specific products in upcoming blogs!




Product Spotlight: Thermacell


You know they're out there - the mosquitoes, gnats, black flies...they are just waiting to make their move!  The portable and cordless Thermacell is a great way to stop them in their little tracks!

Using a butane cartridge (included), the unit heats a small mat containing the synthetic repellent allethrin to create an area of invisible, odorless protection.  It protects up to four hours per mat - heats mats up to 12 hours per butane cartridge.

  • Covers up to a 15' diameter
  • Also repels black flies, no-see-ums, and sand flies
  • DEET-free - uses allethrin, the same chemical repellent used in mosquito coils, but 50 times more!
  • U.S. Army tested and approved


Bass Pro Shops Altoona Receiving Manager Dan Stephany is an avid hunter and enjoys the outdoors in general. He says he has won the battle against mosquitoes!

"I have been a bow hunter for 20 years now, and during the early season I have always struggled with mosquitoes and flies. When the Thermacell was first introduced, I was skeptical about the product not because of the mosquito repellency, but because of the smell.  As you know, deer have a fantastic sense of smell, and I was worried that they would smell the unit and I would be busted.  I decided to give it a say I was impressed would be an understatement! 

I have used this product dozens of times during the early season hunting and have yet to be detected from the smell. Granted, I try to hunt with the wind in my favor, but on occasions when deer have gone to the downwind side of my stand, they have not been bothered by it at all."

I have enjoyed using the product while hunting, camping, fishing, and just hanging out in the backyard cooking out.  I have especially enjoyed the holster that you can buy with it, to make it portable and hands free. 


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Don't Miss Out!

Only TWO weekends are left for Family Summer Camp! Make sure your kids don't miss out on this terrific opportunity to have some summer learning fun! Plus, they can learn to shoot a bow in our outdoor archery range, shoot a BB gun in our awesome Daisy BB gun range, ride our free wildlife carousel, and do free crafts!

Activities start at noon, unless otherwise noted.

Family Summer Camp

Saturday, July 6 and Sunday, July 7, Noon-5 p.m.

Daisy BB Gun inflatable shooting range - Outside
FREE wildlife carousel - just inside the front entrance turnstiles.Family Summer Camp Craft
Casting Buckets
Soft Foam Shooting Arcade

12-2 Crafts (while supplies last) - This week make your own lizard door knob hanger!

Saturdays only through July 13  - Homemade Ice Cream! -  5-6 p.m - Stop by for some sweets treats up by the carousel!

Kids' Workshops - Our workshops are designed for children 6-12 years of age. Each child will receive ONE free lanyard (while supplies last) and then earns a FREE pin at the end of each workshop they attend. Workshops on Saturday and Sunday are:Water Safety Workshop

Noon - Fishing
1:00 - Water Safety
2:00 - Hunting & Shooting
3:00 - Outdoor Discovery
4:00 - Bird Watching

Noon - Hunting & Shooting
1:00 - Archery
2:00 - Wildlife Adventure
3:00 - Camping
4:00 - Backyard Adventure

Remember - Family Summer Camp workshops and activities continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays, too, through Sunday, July 14! For a detailed schedule visit



Product Spotlight - The Pool Saddle

This thing that looks like a jig-saw puzzle piece is...hands of THE hottest selling summer season items at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!

In the lake or in the pool, the Pool Saddle Water Chair gives you a break from the usual lounger. The saddle-shaped floating chair is made of soft, flexible foam. It's great for water aerobics, water therapy, water games, or just to relax and hang out on the water.

The BEST thing is, it's on sale from July 1-14 and Bass Pro Shops Altoona has many in stock, even though we've already sold plenty. Even with our late arriving warm temps, folks have been purchasing them right and left for places like water parks, Adventureland, boating on Saylorville, Red Rock, and Rathbun, or just at the home pool!

They are 25% off for two weeks, starting July 1...only $24.97.  Get 'em while we've got 'em!Pool Saddle Water Chair




Fighting the Asian Tiger Mosquito

Asian Tiger MosquitoThere's been a lot of talk in the news about the Asian Tiger Mosquito's expanding territory in the United States. It arrived in Texas about 30 years ago in a tire shipment and has made its way into 27 states, as for north as Iowa.

The black and white striped pest is known for having some distinguishing features -some of which make it an even bigger annoyance and threat:

  • Black and white striped legs and body
  • Feeds during the day - Although, according to entomologist Joseph Conlon, with the American Mosquito Control Association, the Asian Tiger has been known to feed at night only when the moon is full!
  • Transmits many diseases, including West Nile
  • Basically, this mosquito likes to hang out around humans - and seems to shoot for the knees and legs when seeking a place to start drawing blood.
  • Their eggs are tough and have no problem surviving in snow and freezing temps.
  • They only have about a 200-yard flying radius, so they lay their eggs in water puddles, etc., usually located close to where people are being bitten.

So, how do you combat them?  In a recent CBS news segment, Conlon suggested the Three Ds:

1.  Drain - Get rid of all water that could be, or has been sitting for a while. Conlon says even something as small as water sitting in a drink bottle lid that's been left on a patio, could be a harbor for their eggs.  Dump out empty flower pots, tires, etc., change water in bird baths frequently, and clean your gutters!

2. Dress - Conlon says where light-colored clothing and pants, since the Asian Tiger mosquito favors ankles and knees.

3. Defend - Conlon recommends repellents with DEET as the most effective against this biter. Some of the DEET products here at Bass Pro Shops Altoona are:

Repel 100
Sawyer Insect Repellent with 30% DEET


More Information:

Watch the CBS segment on the Asian Tiger Mosquito!






Conservation Connections - A Tree Climbing Canine

Smokey the Grey FoxWe love our dogs at Bass Pro Shops! At the Altoona store, well-socialized dogs are always welcomed, as long as they are on a leash (policy varies by store based on state laws - check with your local Bass Pro Shops before visiting).

Recently we had a very special dog visit. The Pella Wildlife Company, as part of their Conservation Connections visits at Bass Pro shops Altoona, brought Smokey, the Grey Fox.

Grey foxes are native to Iowa. Smokey and his grey fox family have one very distinguishing feature - they're tree climbers.  That's how they can avoide predators...scramble up a tree like a raccoon!

Here's Ron DeArmond from the Pella Wildlife Company to introduce you to Smokey and tell you more!

The Pella Wildlife Company, in Pella, Iowa, works to educate the public on this type of situation. The non-governmental organizations's founder and CEO Ron DeArmond has worked with mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds for many years. PWC works with such groups as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, wildlife education centers, zoos and through its own Academy of Wildlife Education, to focus on three areas of animal welfare – education, sustainability, and conservation.


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Outdoor Cooking Primer - Smart Cookies

Smart Cookies RecipeOkay, so this recipe doesn't EXACTLY meet my not-so-official definition of outdoor cooking for this series. It's not cooked outdoors...unless maybe you have one of those cool Coleman Outdoor Camp Ovens...and it's not made from outdoor ingredients, unless you count flaxseed. 

However, it is a GREAT power treat for outdoor activities for adults and kids....camping, hiking, boating, whatever!  Additionally, these Smart Cookies are flour-free and they're easy to make with kids. 

Smart Cookies

3/4 brown sugar
1 C creamy or chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

Mix all ingredients. Place by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Makes 16 cookies.

Better double the batch.


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Celebrate!

Family Summer Camp is a great way to kick off your holiday week!

Activities start at noon, unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, June 29 and Sunday, June 30, Noon-5 p.m.

Daisy BB Gun inflatable shooting range - Outside
FREE wildlife carousel - just inside the front entrance turnstiles.
Casting Buckets
Soft Foam Shooting Arcade

Family Summer Camp craft12-2 Crafts (while supplies last)- This week make your own lizard door knob hanger!

Saturdays only through July 13  - Homemade Ice Cream! -  5-6 p.m - Stop by for some sweets treats up by the carousel!


Kids' Workshops - Our workshops are designed for children 6-12 years of age. Each child will receive ONE free lanyard (while supplies last) and then earns a FREE pin at the end of each workshop they attend. Workshops on Saturday and Sunday are:

Noon - Fishing
1:00 - Water Safety
2:00 - Hunting & Shooting
3:00 - Outdoor Discovery
4:00 - Bird Watching

Noon - Hunting & Shooting
1:00 - Archery
2:00 - Wildlife Adventure
3:00 - Camping
4:00 - Backyard Adventure

Remember - Family Summer Camp workshops and activities continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays, too! For a detailed schedule visit








Taking the Plunge into Kayaking

Kim in KayakBeing a first time kayaker, I was naturally scared to death, but it was a goal I set for myself to at least try it. So, as a family we bought three Ascend kayaks, jumped in full force and got wet!

To my surprise I had an amazing experience and can say that we are hooked! Not only do we go kayaking as a family, but have convinced our friends into buying them, as well. So, I now have a new-found love for outdoors on the water.

I take a little cooler full of beverages, my iPod, and sunscreen. Not only is it relaxing, you get a nice workout as well. Yes, you get tired, but that’s when you just kickback, enjoy the view and soak up the sun’s warmth.

There were many questions we had at first - how do we haul them? Where do we go? What do we need for accessories? We soon figured out how to travel with them, and you can never have too many gadgets for your little boat! The waterproof bags we sell at Bass Pro Shops are great. We store a lot of things in there that we need to keep dry. My friends and family even made an umbrella and stand to use on theirs to help provide extra protection from the hot sun whKayaking Crewen needed.

My favorite place to go is Easter Lake in Polk County, Iowa. Okay, so it’s the ONLY place I’ve been, but “baby steps.” My husband and son love to go on the Des Moines River and just chill, fish, and have a little guy time. This year I would like to venture to new places; my goal is to explore a different area every summer now.

Deciding to buy was easy. Once we found out there were fishing kayaks that was it! My son and husband love that aspect of it…they go off fishing, I go floating!  

The best advice I can give is to just talk to your Bass Pro Shops Associates and trust that you will have the time of your life. Being in the middle of the lake puts the world around you into a completely different perspective.

Kim Templeton
Bass Pro Shops Altoona Operator/Events


Product Spotlight: Chilly Pad Cooling Towel

Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad TowelAre you cool? I mean, are you REALLY cool!

One of our MOST popular items this time of year is the Chilly Pad Cooling Towel made by Frogg Toggs.  This is THE coolest item...  With all of the sporting events we have in our area during the summer, this chilly relief is hot, hot, hot!

The Chilly Pad Cooling Towel retains water but stays dry to the touch. Just run it under tap water, wring it out and get ready for constant cooling relief. When wet, the towels evaporates and cools and absorbs your own sweat, too.

The Chilly Pad towels come in blue, brown, yellow, and the ALWAYS popular pink, plus they are machine washable.

Personal testimonial - My 9-year-old grandson recently bought one of these. We were all sitting in the living room visiting and I knocked over my Tervis glass of water on the coffee table.  I grabbed the Chilly Pad towel that was sitting there and it quickly absorbed the 20 ounces of water while others were scrambling for paper towels, etc.

I also just bought one for my husband, who always seems to be mowing this time of year!

So, for only $14.99, if you don't have one, you're not cool!Pink Chilly Pad


This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona: Hot Temps & Cool Fun!

Welcome to all the visitors in our area this weekend! The USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Drake University, Iowa Corn Indy 250 IZOD Indycar Series Weekend at Newton, US Youth Soccer Region II much going on!  Stop by while you're's going to be hot and we're a COOL place to be!

Conservation Connections with the Pella Wildlife Company!

Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.:  Stop by and visit with the Pella Wildlife Company about the importance of taking care of our wildlife and habitat. This week they are bringing a gray fox! They'll be located indoors by the main aquarium.

Family Summer Camp Continues!

Activities start at noon, unless otherwise noted.

Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23, Noon-5 p.m.

Daisy BB Gun inflatable shooting range - Outside
FREE wildlife carousel - just inside the front entrance turnstiles.
Casting Buckets
Soft Foam Shooting Arcade

Fanmily Summer Camp craft

12-2 Crafts (while supplies last)- This week color your own slap bracelet! 


Saturdays only through July 13  - Homemade Ice Cream! -  5-6 p.m - Stop by for some red, white, and blue sweets treats!




Kids' Workshops - Our workshops are designed for children 6-12 years of age. Each child will receive ONE free lanyard (while supplies last) and then earns a FREE pin at the end of each workshop they attend. Workshops on Saturday and Sunday are:

Noon - Fishing
1:00 - Water Safety
2:00 - Hunting & Shooting
3:00 - Outdoor Discovery
4:00 - Bird Watching

Noon - Hunting & Shooting
1:00 - Archery
2:00 - Wildlife Adventure
3:00 - Camping
4:00 - Backyard Adventure


Remember - Family Summer Camp workshops and activities continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays, too! For a detailed schedule visit


Product Spotlight - Pink and Powerful

Every day we see more pink products coming in to the Hunting Department. When it comes to shooting and archery, pink is hot.  Check out these two hot items in our gun case!


SIG SAUER Mosquito

  • .22LR
  • 3.9" barrel
  • 10 round mag

From - "Chambered in .22LR, the Mosquito is the ideal choice for hours of shooting fun. The slide features adjustable sights, and along with the rugged blowback system, fixed barrel and superior ergonomic grip, the SIG SAUER Mosquito delivers traditional SIG SAUER accuracy."DPMS package


DPMS Package

This DPMS MSR was spiced up a bit by our hunting team. The package includes:

  • Tapco 4-piece kit
  • Blackhawk! Storm Sling
  • Ambi Sling mount
  • EoTec Holographic Site




Outdoor Cooking Primer - Seasoning Salt

It's always fun to try some of the interesting rubs, shakes, and seasonings we have on our shelves. But, many people also have a go-to general seasoning, like seasoning salt, at the ready. I like to have something I've thrown together always on hand and with all "natural" ingredients. This is going to have to be my next ammo in my cooking arsenal. 

Thanks, once again, to Chef Kevin from our friends at Hy-Vee in Altoona, Iowa, for another quick, easy recipe - his not-so-secret Seasoning Salt!

Chef Kevin’s Seasoning Salt

2 tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons white sugar

½ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon corn starch

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients, mix well.

Chef Kevin says the corn starch is to help keep the rub from clumping together...and the seasoning will work great for any type of meat!

Make a batch up and store it in a sealed container in a cool location and season away!


Like us @  Bass Pro Shops Altoona or Tracker Marine Center

Tweet us @bassproaltoona

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This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Have Fun with Dad!

Outdoor Rewards NightFriday, June 14 - 6-9 p.m. - Outdoor Rewards Night!

The first 100 people get a Tony Stewart Mug!
(Mugs are only for Outdoor Rewards Customers and will be given out after 6 p.m.)



Family Summer Camp Continues

Activities start at noon, unless otherwise noted.

The Catch and Release Bluegill pond is here Saturday and Sunday only, noon-5 p.m.! We supply the poles, you supply the kids who want to try to catch a fish in our indoor pond by the main aquarium. PLUS - they can get a free photo taken with their catch, with dad, grandpa, or just themselves!

Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16, Noon-5 p.m.

Daisy BB Gun inflatable shooting range - Outside
FREE wildlife carousel - just inside the front entrance turnstiles.
Casting Buckets
Soft Foam Shooting Arcade

Saturdays only through July 13  - Homemade Ice Cream! -  5-6 p.m.

Bobber keychain craft12-2 Crafts - This week make dad a bobber key chain!  A different craft each week.


Kids' Workshops - Our workshops are designed for children 6-12 years of age. Each child will receive ONE free lanyard (while supplies last) and then earns a FREE pin at the end of each workshop they attend. Workshops on Saturday and Sunday are:

Noon - Fishing
1:00 - Water Safety
2:00 - Hunting & Shooting
3:00 - Outdoor Discovery
4:00 - Bird Watching


Noon - Hunting & Shooting
1:00 - Archery
2:00 - Wildlife Adventure
3:00 - Camping
4:00 - Backyard Adventure


DON'T FORGET!!! - The workshops and ctivities continue on Tuesdays and Thursdays, too! For a detailed schedule visit


Tournament Talk - Brushy Creek Battles

By: Lance Baker, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

Brushy Creek has been one of my favorite lakes in Iowa over the past five years. Any time I get a chance, I try and fish a few opens a year up there with a few of my good buddies. The weather this year has been up and down with the water levels and conditions taking a toll on the lakes, just like it has on the Mississippi River where Kary and I fish, so Brushy has seen a lot of crazy things this year!

My friend Keith Kulow gave me a call back in May and asked if I would like to fish with him in an Iowa Bass Stalkers event on Brushy Creek. Keith has made a name for himself on that lake over the past years and I always enjoy getting to jump in the boat with him and have an awesome day of fishing. 

15.14 lb at Brushy CreekTournament day came on May 18 and we were once again faced with changing conditions. We found fish that were in the pre-spawn and spawning stages and tried to focus on pre-spawners to try and sack a little bit more weight with them.  What was very interesting about that day was the water was actually really stained compared to what we are normally faced with on that lake and it had fish holding very tight to cover. We found an area that the fish were staging in and began to have a blast of a day! 

The fish in the 2.5 to 3 lb range are really plentiful this year at Brushy. The hardest part seems that right now 4+ lbrs are hiding somewhere!  Keith and I managed to catch a really nice limit of five for 15.14 to take 7th place. It was great to see a 19+ & 17+ lb. bag to take 1st and 2nd and four more bags between 15 and 16!  Congrats to the guys who won that one for an awesome bag!

Lance Baker, Keith Kulow, Tony Steverson, and Bill Heverly

On June 2,, Keith and I went back to Brushy to fish the Second Annual Big Bass Bash, along with a lot of my good friends that I haven’t seen in a while and let me tell ya'…IT IS AN ABSOLUTE BLAST!  The format is different than most regular tournaments - you can weigh one fish an hour to win the big fish of the hour and then they crown the largest of the day Big Bass of the tournament!  What is nice about this is if you win an hour you get paid very well, and if you are on them good then you can possibly win each hour and really winning a nice pay day! The strategy of fishing this tournament is very different and planning really revolves around your best chances to weigh in at a good time and possibly weigh one an hour if you're lucky!  Keith and I ended up winning the first hour with a small 2.66, but it still paid great!  My buddies Tony Steverson and Bill Heverly ended up winning the third and fourth hour with a 2.70 and a 3.40.  It is really cool to play that game and hope you can succeed!  Big Bass for the day was a nice 4.28 female that earned the team a nice check and HUGE TROPHY!  It pulled really good numbers with around 40 guys competing this year.  I would recommend everyone take a look at this tournament for next year, it is one that if you have a friend wanting to experience the thrill of tournament fishing, this is the perfect start! Entry fees are very affordable and they even feed you after as well!


Kary and I are back up at the river on June30 and hoping the water levels finally come back down and we can finally see some normal conditions.  We are currently sitting in third  for Anglers of the Year behind a few of the best guys in that pool, so we have our work cut out for us!  I will be down to Bass Pro Shops on June 14 to help anyone with any Lowrance questions you may have!  I really would like to show you hands on how the new technology can put more fish in your boat and make it more enjoyable!  Hope everyone is enjoying the early summer and hope to see you on the water soon!


Lance Baker

BPS Pro Staff


Tournament Talk - Lessons of Tanks and Thanks

Lance Baker and Kary RayBy: Lance Baker, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

It has been a little while, with Kary's and my busy schedule, since I've had time to sit down and update everyone on our season! The summer is starting off normal with a lot of driving and adapting to different areas...the high water and endless rain has shown us that preparation and studying is the only way to survive this game we all play.

Kary and I set off for our second Bass World Sports tournament of the year on May 23 for what would end up as one of our toughest tournaments to date. We had three solid days to put our game plan together and knew that every minute had to count due to the stiff competition and absolutely terrible water conditions.  We spent time on two different pools and probably put in an easy 100+ boat miles searching for what we thought it would take to put us towards the top of the leader board on Sunday the 26. We managed to find a very small area with a good number of quality fish that were guarding fry and seemed aggressive enough to give us five bites to succeed.  The only problem was...these fish were a LONG ways from take off and we had a difficult decision to make. If we made the decision to go after them we would have to dedicate our entire day to this one area and make a risky move of making it in AND out of the lock on time. 

Sunday 5:30 a.m., 27 teams took off in an effort to conquer the tough conditions. It was raining and absolutely miserable! We headed towards the lock with everything my boat had and just about a mile before the doors we passed an early morning barge heading that way as well.  I pulled in and thought, "Man we made it." But, I was very wrong. 

The lockmaster informed us that the barge was on its final approach and we would have to wait until they were done locking before any of us could go through. MY HEART SANK & PANIC SET IN. We turned around and headed out watching a big group of the field coming to the same problem.  I had made a huge mistake of not scanning the river the night before to see where barges were located before we trailered.  I honestly was in a panic………this is where FAITH AND TRUST in your partner comes in. Kary looked at me and said, “Lance, I promise, buddy, if you will just stay focused, we will catch 'em.”  We knew we had at least two hours of delay before we could get to where we needed to be. It seemed like an eternity, until we finally got back in and through the lock and made our LONG run to our fish. We finally arrived and had just a few hours time to put five in the boat, head back to the lock, make it through, and get back to weigh in. 

Now here is where the fun begins. :) In the process of preparing the night before, I had filled my boat with ¾ of a tank and did the approximate math on mileage to make it there and back and not be too heavy; to make sure we could succeed in outrunning what part of the field we needed to.

BIG MISTAKE! What I didn’t plan for was the extra running around waiting on the barge to get through and the gas that was burned at that time. On our way back with about 20 minutes to spare it happened. 

One mile from the ramp the boat said she didn’t wanna let her horses sing anymore! OMG, I JUST RAN OUT OF GAS!  In shear disbelief, we quickly went to work. Kary jumped on the trolling motor and I started flagging down any of our competitors to PLEASE help us in any way possible. We ended up having a team stop, sacrifice their last few fishing minutes of the day, load our limit in their spare side of the livewell and high-tail me back in to weigh our five fish on time and try and save any points that we could.  (Yes, you can do that if it happens to you...just make sure you check the rules and with the tournament director.)

Because of that team, Kary and I managed to weigh in just shy of 11lbs and finish 13th to save points for the Angler of the Year race. Folks, there are a few lessons to be learned from this..,here are my thoughts:Keith Kulow and Glen Sunken

1. Always fill up your boat no matter what…speed doesn’t catch fish, trust me on that one.

2. Your fishing partner is your backbone for everything from catching fish to helping you stay calm and focused in all situations….take time to make sure they know how much you appreciate them. 

3. Never, and I mean NEVER, count on making it through the locks without ALWAYS having a backup plan. 

And last, but certainly not least,

If you ever have the chance to stop and help a fellow angler/competitor out, or have one help you, remember the sacrifice they made that day. 

TRUE SPORTSMANSHIP is something that is earned not given.

Kary and I would like to say "Thank You" again to Team 19 DAVID GIESE & SCOTT ANDERSON and Glen Sunken and Keith Kulow.  You, my friends, are what we all strive to be - True Sportsmen.  Thank you so much and we will always be in debt to ya’ll!  

Lance Baker and DadOn a final note, I want to take a minute and wish ALL fathers out there a Happy Father’s Day! We are truly blessed to have the opportunity to pass on our traditions.

Thank you, Dad, for always letting me tag along - my little girl is learning what you took time to teach me!



Flag Week - Long May She Wave

flagThis is Flag Week and June 14 is forever celebrated as Flag Day in the United States.  Our Nation's symbol of freedom and strength...the Stars and Stripes...was adopted as our flag by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation officially establishing June 14 as Flag Day. An ACT of Congress in 1949 established June 14 as National Flag Day. It is not an official federal holiday...however, the President typically proclaims the week containing Flag Day as Flag Week and encourages everyone to fly the flag during the whole week.

Take a minute to review your flag etiquette - here are basic rules for displaying Old Glory outside from the web site

  • When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.
  • When it is displayed from the same flagpole with another flag - of a state, community, society or Scout unit - the flag of the United States must always be at the top except that the church pennant may be flown above the flag during church services for Navy personnel when conducted by a Naval chaplain on a ship at sea.
  • When the flag is displayed over a street, it should be hung vertically, with the union to the north or east. If the flag is suspended over a sidewalk, the flag's union should be farthest from the building.
  • When flown with flags of states, communities, or societies on separate flag poles which are of the same height and in a straight line, the flag of the United States is always placed in the position of honor - to its own right.

The other flags may be smaller but none may be larger.
No other flag ever should be placed above it.
The flag of the United States is always the first flag raised and the last to be lowered.

  • When flown with the national banner of other countries, each flag must be displayed from a separate pole of the same height. Each flag should be the same size. They should be raised and lowered simultaneously. The flag of one nation may not be displayed above that of another nation.
  • The flag should be raised briskly and lowered slowly and ceremoniously. Ordinarily it should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset. It should be illuminated if displayed at night.
  • The flag of the United States of America is saluted as it is hoisted and lowered. The salute is held until the flag is unsnapped from the halyard or through the last note of music, whichever is the longest.

Whether on your house, boat, pontoon or business, display your flag correctly and proudly...and while you're at it thank a member of the United States Army. Congress adopted the "American continental army" on June 14, 1775, so it's celebrated as the birthday of the Army, too!






Vacation Staycations - Iowa Style

Sometimes the resources aren't always there...time and money...for a lengthy vacation. I love to travel and have had the opportunity to see a lot of our great country. However, I also know that there are many sights to experience right in our own backyard. 

More and more couples and families are experiencing staycations...checking out the highways and byways of their own state and area. As a born and raised Iowan, and someone who also lived outside the state for a few years, I also know that there can be many misconceptions and just general lack of knowledge about what Iowa has to offer...even from those who live within its boundaries!

So, let us introduce you to some pretty incredible outdoor places that you might like to Iowa, of all places! Let's start with our next door neighbor.

Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge

Much to the surprise of many, Iowa is blessed to have six national wildlife refuges. One lies just a short 20 miles to the east of Bass Pro Shops Altoona.  Ladies' Apparel Lead Jen Ladehoff highly recommends the Refuge, as a great place to take kids, especially because of its Prairie Learning and Visitor Center.

BisonAccording to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the over 8,600 acres of land, authorized by legislation signed by President George H. Bush in 1990, were "designated to be preserved and restored to pre-Euro-American settlement conditions, to the greatest extent possible." This took land previously targeted in the 1970s to be a nuclear power plant and turned it into what is believe to be the largest restoration and reconstruction effort ever attempted in world history.

The refuge is a major environmental education, volunteer and outdoor recreation hub for everyone to enjoy. The learning center has an exhibit area, bookstore, classrooms, and movie theater. There's a five-mile auto tour that takes you through the bison and elk area, plus four trails (1/2 to 2 miles) for those who'd like a brief hike.  Portions of the land are open to hunting - special regulations apply so you need to check with the refuge. 

From bison to wildflowers to birds to the song of the prairie winds, experience the beautiful Iowa prairie the way it used to be.


“Worth the drive, anytime of year”
4 of 5 starsReviewed May 7, 2013

Don't miss this if you are anywhere near Des Moines. The interpretive exhibits and visitor center are well designed, information packed and very accessible for all levels of visitors - makes learning about this interesting project easy and fun. Prairie restoration is clearly a backbreaking activity - but once you've been to the refuge, you'll understand why the effort is worth it. We've been in two different seasons, and it's a different world of plan, animal and bird life each time. Wonderful.