Product Spotlight: Tactical 5.11 for Ladies

One year ago, we introduced the 5.11 Tactical line at Bass Pro Shops Altoona.  We're excited to let you know we now have women's products in, too!  tactical for Ladies

PUSH bagWhether shooting on a range, out on patrol, in an office, or climbing a mountain...the 5.11 apparel is durable, comfortable and has the discreet protection needed for concealed carry.

Bass Pro Shops Altoona has polos, pants, and tactical sleeveless holster shirts for ladies.

Tactical Polo - They stay neat, clean and professional in almost any duty assignment and have been selected for casual uniform wear throughout the country. 

Sleeveless Holster Shirt - Allows you to comfortably and confidentially carry a sidearm beneath a dress shirt or other professional garment when holster carry isn't appropriate or practical.

TacLite™ Pro Long Sleeve Shirt - Ideal for warmer climates or active applications where staying cool is important, but arm protection is also necessary

TacLite™ Pro Pants - Pants sit on natural waist - lightweight and durable poly-cotton ripstop fabric.

Tactical boots

From the material they're made of, to concealment pockets, magazine/cell/knife pockets, hidden document compartments...all of the products have their own unique features.Shoulder Bag

Don't forget accessories, such as the Crosswind cap with the CoolMax sweatband, belts, boots, gloves, rechargeable flashlights, pen knives, and the PUSH™ Pack (Practical Utility Shoulder Hold) shoulder bag.


Check with your local Bass Pro Shop for their assortment and also visit online


It Ain't Over 'til it's Over!

By Rod Woten - Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

Even though the hardwater season is a distant memory in central Iowa, there are still great ice conditions to be found within a few hours’ drive. For those willing to put in some windshield time, they can extend their season well into April, AND possibly experience some of the best fishing of the season. Being a tournament and professional ice angler, traveling to fish is a way of life for me. It’s fairly rare, however, for me to travel to do some “fun” fishing. I had the chance to do that exact thing this past weekend, however, and highly recommend you do the same if you still have that hardwater “bug.”

My favorite fish to chase when the lakes ice up is the yellow perch. There are a few places in Iowa where a hardwater junky can go to get their perch fix, but for a shot at a bucketful of true trophies, or “jumbos,” there’s a few places out of state that are sure bets. Fortunately, for those of us in central Iowa, one of those areas is as close as a six-hour drive. That’s the Glacial Lakes region of northeast South Dakota, well known for its prairie potholes, abundance of waterfowl, and JUMBO yellow perch. Since I hadn’t really had the chance to scratch my jumbo perch itch yet this year, and because there wasn’t a single yellow perch fillet left in our freezer, I decided it was time to revisit this great area of South Dakota.

I called the usual suspects, and soon we were putting our trip together. Our base was to be the town of Webster, SD, near one of the more popular lakes in the area, Waubay Lake. I called The Galley Steakhouse Lounge and Motel and was relieved to hear we could book the last remaining vacancies they had for that weekend. Friday seemed like the longest day ever at work, but as soon as the buzzer rang, we were out the door and headed to Webster. We rolled into town shortly after 11 p.m. that evening. The Galley has a very sportsman-like feel to it with mounted fish, geese, pheasants and ducks adorning the knotty pine paneled walls in the lobby. The rooms are simple, but very comfortable and quite affordable. The Galley also has heated kennels available for the upland and waterfowl hunters, as well as heated game and fish cleaning facilities. The attached restaurant and lounge boasts a menu of hearty offerings at very reasonable prices. We really appreciated the close proximity of the restaurant, as well as the hot hearty meals when we returned from our first day of fishing, famished and nearly exhausted from drilling holes and trudging through slush all day.

ice fishingSaturday morning we decided to attack the north end of Waubay Lake in search of its famous jumbos and walleyes. We divided into two groups: One group would try to fish several likely walleye spots with Arctic Warrior tip-ups, while my crew would fish the mud flats and edges of sharp breaks in search of rapidly moving schools of jumbo perch. Fishing was very slow for the first half of the morning. The tip-up crew only had one walleye to show for their efforts and most in my group hadn’t even marked a fish.  I pulled up my lake map and was able to identify an inside corner in the mud basin adjacent to a sharp break. I was just sure that corner would concentrate fish, so I set off on my own with an auger, my Vexilar, and jigging rod to find out. I drilled about a half-dozen holes over the area I had marked on my GPS and sat down to fish the first hole. No sooner had I dropped my Chubby Darter down to within six feet of the bottom than a red mark rose up to meet it. Within seconds, it felt like something was trying to rip my rod out of my hands. I fought it for several minutes before bringing a nice chunky smallmouth to the surface.

I signaled to the rest of the crew that I had at least found some fish, and soon we were all punching additional holes over the new spot. Before long, just about everyone had caught a smallmouth or two, but we had yet to see any of those elusive jumbos. By continuing to drill holes and move around, we did start to catch a few smaller perch, and a few that were just big enough to keep. Even a few smaller walleyes were caught. We continued to drill holes, working our way south towards the main basin of the lake. I had just finished drilling a string when I saw one of the others in my group pulling a nice perch from the center-most holes. He excitedly told us that the whole bottom of his flasher was lit up like a Christmas tree, and the whole group was instantly drilling more holes around him or fishing holes already near him. Every time a fish was pulled up, someone else would drop down the same hole and try their luck. Not only did this increase our catch rate, but it also helped to ensure that the perch always had something hanging in their faces to keep their interest and keep them under us. This went on for what seemed like a long time, but was probably more like ten minutes. Even despite our best efforts, the perch finally got wise to us, and moved off. At the end of the flurry, about 20 perch in the 11 to 13 inch range were laying on the ice.

For those that have never ice fished for perch on big water, this is a classic perch pattern. Sometimes it takes MANY holes before you happen to land on a nice pod of perch. All that work is well worth it, though, because once you land on that pod, the fish will be stacked 6, 8, sometimes even as high as 12 feet off the bottom, and they’ll be HUNGRY. It often doesn’t matter what you drop down to them when they’re schooled up like this because they are aggressively feeding and will eat anything you throw down there. It’s one of the reasons I LOVE perch fishing so much…..drilling holes across vast amounts of water looking for that BONANZA…and when you find it, the feeling is indescribable!

Drilling holes throughout the early afternoon yielded us only a few smaller single perch, so we decided to head back to the access, load up, and head to the South end of the lake. Reports had indicated that the south end had actually been better fishing than the north end, so we were anxious for what the afternoon might bring. On our way back to the access, we were a little surprised at how often our snowmobiles would punch through the crust that had been frozen and slick that morning. The warmth of the day was definitely taking a toll on the crust-slush-ice sandwich we’d been traveling and the access was definitely beginning to show it.

Arriving at the Kanago access only offered more of the same. In fact, the south end of the lake was actually worse than the north end had been. We had to keep our speed up on the snowmobiles and use our momentum to get us through several of the larger slush pockets, and walking through it was a chore. We fished several likely looking contours on the south end, but didn’t even see a mark. Fortunately, our tip-up crew that had also migrated to the south end was having much better luck than we were, with a couple of guys in that crew actually catching their daily limit of four walleyes.walleye

Before long the light began to fade and we decided to get off the lake while there was still enough light to see the deteriorating conditions at the access. We managed to get off the lake safely, returned to The Galley, cleaned our fish, met in the lounge for a nice hot meal, and then collapsed into bed.  

The next morning we headed south out of Webster to Swan Lake. We had heard decent reports from Swan for prior weeks, but all indications were that it had slowed down recently and there was lots of sorting through small fish to get any keeper jumbos. Regardless, we wanted to try it. We arrived at the north-most access and were disappointed to find a fair amount of open water. There was a very muddy, sloppy detour to the side that ATVs had obviously been using, but that was a definite no-go for our snowmobiles. We continued south to the other access and found it to be in much better shape, so we wasted no time in getting on the lake.

Since contours are not available for Swan, we didn’t have the luxury of using the GPS like we did the previous day. Luckily, a friend that had been out there last week told us about two areas he had seen fish in, so those were our starting points. Upon arriving at our first spot, we drilled a dozen or so holes over the area and immediately got to work. Several minutes without marking a fish meant the augers were soon going again, expanding our field of holes in a northeasterly direction. Finally, on the leading edge of that northeasterly push, we began to mark fish. I settled in on a hole and within a few minutes of aggressively jigging my Chubby Darter, my Vexilar lit up with five distinct marks. I teased and finessed those marks for what seemed like an eternity in an effort to entice a bite, but to no avail. Finally, I shouted out to see if anyone had something smaller tied on that they could drop down the hole and catch one of these marks. I was pretty sure it was a small pod of perch, but until we landed one that was just speculation. No sooner had those words left my mouth than WHAM! One of the marks had inhaled my Darter. Sure enough, the school that had moved in underneath me was jumbo perch. Unfortunately, they were on the move, too. In the time it took me to unhook the fish I had just caught…and before anyone else could make it over to drop down and keep the perch interested…they had moved on. After picking up a nice walleye at another hole, things started to die down on that first area. We decided that since we were only fishing until noon, that we should pack up and move to the second area we had received the hot tip on. 

Rod WotenUpon arriving at our second spot, it was obvious that this had at one time been a community spot. In fact, it had been warm enough recently that we didn’t even need to drill holes; we just kicked open the thin layer of ice over the existing holes. As we dropped our Vexilars down and started to check holes, we were very surprised to see that almost every hole had marks in them. Obviously, we wasted no time in getting right down to fishing. We then realized why all the reports had mentioned all the sorting required to catch jumbos. Nearly every fish we pulled up was between six and nine inches. While it was nice to feel the tug on the other end of the line, these fish were definitely not what we were looking for. We responded by switching holes regularly. It wasn’t long before we caught our first jumbos by doing this. It was nice to see that there were at least a few jumbos still left in this community spot. We continued to sort through smaller perch picking up a jumbo here and a jumbo there. 

Before we even realized it, noon had come and gone, and it was time for us to load up and head back to Iowa. We had caught enough jumbos that each of us could have a nice supper if we wanted to. Most were in the 10 to 12 inch range, but we did manage one very nice 14” piggy off that spot. As we were driving across the lake towards the access to leave, I was pleasantly surprised at how good the ice conditions were on Swan compared to Waubay. We discussed afterwards how we wished we had fished Swan on Saturday, too. Slush was almost non-existent on Swan and the south access was holding up surprisingly well.

The moral of the story is that just because there’s no ice here, that doesn’t mean your hardwater season has to be over. There is still a lot of ice in places like South Dakota and northern Minnesota. Because of the massive amounts of snow they received this winter, the ice has been well preserved. As conditions warm, that snow pack will compact and slush pockets will become less and less of an issue. The ice will eventually get to a point where it will only support foot traffic, but that point is still several weeks away. The fishing will only improve from here on out, too. We had marginal success while we were there, but it was enough that I’m satisfied with the trip, and feel it was a great way to end my season. I am a little sad that I might be missing some of the best fishing of the season up there yet. Trust me, I’d be right back out there in a heartbeat if my schedule allowed. I have fly fishing clients to tend to already, but there’s no reason some of the rest of you can’t put a trip together and enjoy some of this late season ice while it’s still there. There are great accommodations right in the heart of the glacial lakes region of South Dakota in towns like Webster, Watertown, and Grenville. These places cater to sportsmen and are usually very affordable. Get a group together and give one of them a call today to book a room. It’s hard to beat the feeling you get when you’re able to say that you were ice fishing in APRIL! Good luck!



This Weekend at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!

Saturday, April 13

Twin Rivers Timber GhostsTwo Rivers Timber Ghosts Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will be in the store from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.,
with chapter information and collecting donations for the NWTF.



11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Try Before you Buy!Flossies Corn Dog Mix

We'll be serving up samples of corn dogs made with our Flossies Corn Dog batter mix.


2:30 - Tank Demo  - Jig Fishing - Join us at the Main Aquarium to see the latest and greatest fishing products and techniques demonstrated.


3:00 - It's our regular Saturday fish feeding at the Main Aquarium!


3:15 - Jay and Scout - Scout the therapy and K-9 German Shepard goes through his paces following the fish feeding.Salsa


Sunday, April 14

11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Try Before you Buy!

We'll be serving up samples of select varieties of Uncle Buck's Salsa!  


Coming next weekend - Grab your chaps and hats - the PBR is in town and it's PBR Day at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!  Watch our Facebook page for details!

You can also stay up-to-date on all our events by checking out our store page at!



Turkey Hunting Lessons Learned - the One that Got Away

By Dan Stephany - Bass Pro Shops Altoona Receiving Manager

Tom Walk-AwayThis past weekend, I had the privilege of taking my nine-year old son Micah out on his second spring turkey hunt. Last year, he had a tremendous experience, harvesting his first turkey on opening morning just two hours into the hunt. That’s a tall order to fill coming into this year, but we were going to give it our best shot.

Opening morning found us in a ground blind at a gate between a bottom field and a pasture hillside that the birds use regularly. I had set up a trail camera earlier in the week and had over 240 pictures of turkeys and deer just 10 yards away from our blind, so we were confident we’d see something that morning!

We had an eventful morning watching over 30 birds and 10 different toms use the bottom field and pasture. Everything stayed well out of range except three curious jakes that came in to about 20 yards on the wrong side of the blind. We tried desperately to get repositioned for a shot and just as Micah had the gun in position, they stepped behind the gate post and never offered another shot. Great encounter…frustrating outcome! 

Lesson Learned

If you hunt in a highly-pressured area, you may consider not using decoys. Keep curiosity in your favor, and make the birds come looking for you.

We’ve hunted this farm now for a couple years; it gets significant pressure on all sides during the turkey season with many different hunters using decoys all season long. This has educated the birds and they’re much more reluctant to commit to a decoy, especially in the open fields where they can see the non-moving bird(s) for hours at a time. We had a group of hen decoys and a single jake decoy with a real fan set up in front of the gate. Apart from the jakes, every tom we saw skirted our corner of the field and would not come any closer than about 60 yards. My guess is they didn’t like the decoys. 

Our second morning was even more exciting. We relocated the blind to the top of the hill in the pasture right where all the birds the previous morning seemed to hang out. Our strategy today was to take what we learned on Saturday and apply it. We left all the decoys in the bag this time, and simply used the terrain and calling to our advantage.

Once again, at first light, we had multiple birds fly down and begin using the field in front of us. The fog was thick and the birds were more vocal this morning. We had numerous toms respond to our box call. Around 7:30 a.m. a tom crossed the river, covering over 400 yards strutting and gobbling, and headed straight up the pasture hill to our blind. He was looking intently for that bird he couldn’t see – our strategy was paying off!

He kept gobbling and strutting his way up to about 35-40 yards. Micah actually had a clear shot at this point, but because we had only patterned the gun (Micah was shooting a youth 20-gauge Remington Model 870) out to 25 yards, we opted to let the big gobbler keep coming closer. As he closed the distance, he started walking from in front of the blind to our right side.  This created the dilemma – Micah had to follow the bird with his gun back and forth around the hub of the blind. The bird came in to 20 yards, all the while blocked by the hub. We were just waiting for him to step to his left or his right.

But, he didn’t.

Not seeing the bird he expected to see, he turned around and began to walk away. Trying to get him to turn around again, I gave a soft yelp. But, he didn’t like it and ran off. Two days in a row we had a bird within shooting range and never got a shot.

Lessons Learned

First, our strategy about the decoys was right on the mark. We kept curiosity in our favor, and made the bird come looking for us. 

Second, as this bird was coming in, Micah had a clear shot about 35-40 yards. I opted to let the bird keep coming in (with hopes of a more accurate shot for Micah’s 20 gauge). We could have shot sooner at a longer range, but I believe that’s asking a lot for a young hunter like Micah, who doesn’t have a lot of experience shooting. Letting the bird come in closer was the right call.

Third, I messed up. When the bird turned to walk away, I should have realized that he was walking away because he didn’t see the bird he came looking for -- to call at that close range when it was obvious to the bird that there wasn’t a hen that close was simply not a good idea. I should have been quiet and helped Micah reposition for a shot.

In conclusion, we had a fantastic weekend in the turkey woods together. We saw over 50 turkeys, including over 15 toms. We had two different encounters with birds that came within shooting range. We both learned a lot about how to become better turkey hunters and this alone made the hunt successful. 

 As you prepare to head to the turkey woods this spring, keep some of these simple ideas in mind:

  • Listen to what the turkeys are telling/showing you. If they don’t appear receptive to calls or decoys, change your strategy. The best turkey hunters I know are the ones who can adapt on the fly and stay one step ahead of those wary gobblers.
  • Consider hunting pressure and the effect this may have on your birds.
  • Notice weather changes, such as the fog in our hunt. When the turkeys couldn’t see each other as well, calling became more effective. Wind or rain may also change where the turkeys want to spend more of their time during shooting hours. 

Last, and most importantly, do your best to learn from every hunt and view it as a positive experience. Micah and I were devastated when that tom ran off after being within 20 yards. However, we are now more determined than ever to get back on that old tom and catch up with him again this weekend. We can’t wait to bring you an update with a picture of a very excited nine-year old and a great big old Iowa longbeard!

Micah shares his thoughts on the hunt:


Watch the actual video below of this tom walk-away, plus more father and son on our YouTube channel at!


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Step Out & Step IN to Iowa State Parks

If you’re anything like most avid outdoors people, you’ve probably got a go-to list of local spots that you repeatedly visit for your favorite activities. Whether it’s fishing, camping, hunting or water sports, folks most often choose the same locations either as a result of familiarity or tradition. But why not step outside your comfort zone…even if it means going out of state?

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Camping Lead Steve Leverett shares some of his favorite Iowa state parks in the hope that Iowans and non-Iowans will be inspired to try something new…Iowans may even find that some favorite spots were actually state parks all along and non-Iowans may learn that we're far more than cornfields!

Walnut Woods and Raccoon RiverA frequently overlooked area (and the closest to Bass Pro Shops Altoona) is Walnut Woods State Park in West Des Moines (east of I-35 and north of Hwy 5). My wife and I have hiked the park on a number of occasions when not in the mood to drive a long distance or just short on time.  This park is geographically situated along the Raccoon River and offers picnicking, hiking, fishing (walleye, catfish, and smallmouth bass), camping and bird watching.  Walnut Woods is certainly what I would define as a more casual outdoor experience as the hiking is leisurely and there were no areas that were difficult to navigate.  Do keep in mind that the river has been hit particularly hard by erosion and decreasing water levels, therefore the riprap (rock formations used to protect shorelines) is excessive on both sides of the shoreline and can make fishing interesting. Stay on your toes!


In south central Iowa, just to the west of Moravia, is the man-made Lake Rathbun complex. Originally built Honey Creek @ Sunset - Iowa DNRas flood protection for the hundreds of acres of surrounding farm land, it has since become a very popular camping spot. Although the dam, reservoir, and six of the eight parks are operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, two parks are state-managed…Honey Creek State Park and the relatively new Honey Creek Resort. Both locations offer a wealth of activities not limited to kayaking, canoeing, fishing, golfing, hiking, and a plethora of water sports. Due to the nature of the state park, it’s easier to just drop in if you’re looking for a particular activity, whereas the resort will require advance booking. I can’t say enough about this area as my family has spent a smattering of weekends at Rathbun and I was genuinely surprised at the area’s beauty. This is definitely a hidden jewel in southern Iowa.


Ledges State Park BridgeLocated just northwest of Des Moines, near Boone, Iowa, is Ledges State Park, an extremely popular state park due to its signature sandstone cliffs and the fact that it's one of our oldest parks. Featuring a modern campground and abundant hiking, the star attraction at Ledges is the stunning descent into the park valley. It certainly isn’t the Grand Canyon, but for a land-locked Iowa boy I’ve always been awe struck by the contrast it presents to the surrounding corn fields. Not to mention, it’s a bit of a workout heading in and back out so be prepared! The creek at the bottom of the valley is a blast for kids and adults alike (my beagle, too!) as it’s usually only ankle to knee deep and winds back and forth underneath the cliff walls. As previously mentioned, the number of trails to choose from is just excellent and they all offer a worthwhile payoff at some point in your hike (i.e. breathtaking views of the Des Moines River valley).


Lake MacbrideI have an old college roommate whose parents are kind enough to, every so often, loan out their lake house on beautiful Lake Macbride. I’ve spent numerous weekends enjoying this unique location in eastern Iowa. It’s really easy to get to this area and its affiliated state parks, as it’s situated between I-380, I-80 and Hwy 1 about four miles west of Solon, north of Iowa City. All the usual activities are available (fishing, picnicking, swimming, hiking, camping, and boating), in addition to being simply a gorgeous location filled with 2,180 acres of rolling hills and valleys. Named after the distinguished botanist and former president of the University of Iowa, Thomas Macbride, the lake has also been noted as one of the only in Iowa to feature the Kentucky spotted bass.


These are some of Steve's favorites. However, Iowa is BLESSED with 72 state parks, most with camping, and each with its own unique feature. Whether it’s thePikes Peak State Park equestrian trails of Rock Creek, the majestic views of the mighty Mississippi from our own Pikes Peak, the shores of Clear Lake, or the historical treasures of the Lewis and Clark State Park area, there is something for everyone who decides to step Out of the box and step IN to Iowa’s state parks!

For more information on Iowa's state parks, park events, and the reservation system, visit


The Why of Fly Fishing

"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories

Mention fly fishing and many think of mountain streams and scenic vistas.  Movies like The River Runs Through It perpetuate the imagery. In a series of posts, we are going to explore the art of fly fishing and several things to consider if you'd like to get started in it.

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Fly Fishing expert Scott Sickau has been fly fishing for years. 

"I got started in fly fishing 15 years ago when a neighbor was telling me how fun it was to catch panfish on a fly rod. After searching through the attic of my parents' garage, I found an old Eagle Claw fiberglass fly rod and reel. I asked my dad if I could have it. Well, he told me that he didn't have a fly rod that he knew of...and after much persuasion, he told me if I could find, I could have it.

I found out what was needed for fly line and proceeded to teach myself how to cast.  It was an old school method of casting, and I later attended my first state fly fishing convention, picking up some tips. As time went by I learned more about how not to cast. The rest is history.

Fly fishing has been very rewarding for me. I've spent parts of two summers working as a fly fishing guide for Legend Lodge in Illiamna, Alaska. I've had the opportunity to serve in numerous fly fishing and conservation-related organizations, such as the Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association, North Bear Trout Unlimited, State Leadership Council Representative for Trout Unlimited, National Leadership Representative for Scott SickauIowa for Trout Unlimited."

But WHY fly fish?

"It is one of the oldest forms of fishing known to man. There have been items found in ancient tombs indicating man wrapped different materials onto hooks to imitate some of the aquatic creatures he saw in the water.

It's a very pure form of fishing. You create flies or patterns, then fish them to see how well a job you have done. Most of the time you are casting to a specific fish that may be located behind a log, rock, or obstruction where it is lying in wait to ambush its prey.

But, most importantly to me, is that I can fly fish in places where you have the serenity of the sounds of nature...and nature only. I've spent much time in places like the Alaskan bush and the Rocky Mountains, where you hear nothing but the peace and quiet of nature in its purest form. Some parks, like Yellowstone, only allow fly fishing because of its non-invasive impact on the environment."

Rod Woten Bear CreekBass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff member Rod Woten is not only a serious ice fisherman, but also a long time fly fisherman. He adds:

"Fly fishing has a rhythm that’s much slower than almost every other type of fishing.  From the cadence of the cast to achieving the perfect dead drift with your fly, it forces you to slow down and work through each step thoroughly and methodically. To those unaccustomed to fly fishing it seems like slow motion, but for those who practice the art, it’s therapy."

In fact, fly fishing is used as therapy for cancer victims and veterans suffering form PTSD through organizations such as Project Healing Waters and Rivers of Recovery

Think you might like to try it?  Every Saturday now through September 2013, you can find out how to fly cast or just learn more in general, on the front lawn of the Bass Pro Shops Altoona location.  Scott will be on the front lawn, weather permitting, demonstrating fly casting, answering questions, and Fly Casting providing hands-on opportunities for anyone interested in finding out more about fly fishing.

Interested in a free private appointment?  Call 515-957-5500 and ask for Scott in the Fly Fishing or e-mail








This weekend at Bass Pro Shops Altoona!


11-2:00 p.m. - We're demonstrating the Butterball Oil-Less Turkey Fryer!  Stop by and see this healthy, efficient way to cook turkeys! Camping Associates will be located in front of the aquarium, demonstrating the fryer. We'll be using the Cajun Injector Bacon Honey Barbeque Marinade!  YUM!

Noon – 3pm – Youth Archery Workshop - Indoor Archery Range - A great way for youth to learn the basics of archery hands-on!

1:00pm – Geocaching Seminar - What is Geocaching? Our Marine Dept will be hosting a free workshop...come find out how to hold a "treasure hunt" for your family or friends using a GPS!


Saturday and Sunday, April 6 & 7 - 10:30 - 3 p.m. 

Primos Pro Staffer Rick Adams will be in the Hunting Department to answer your questions one-on-one.


PBR Day Once Again!

April 20, 2013

Meet the Riders of the PBR

PBR Day returns to Bass Pro Shops Altoona!



Once again, friends and fans have their chance to get autographs from some of their favorite
Professional Bull Riders!

Noon - PBR® Rider autograph signing
1 p.m. - Fishing seminar by PBR® announcer and experienced angler– Clint Adkins
1:30 p.m. - Hunting seminar by PBR® announcer and Host of
The Outdoor Channel® “Elk Chronicles®” TV Show – Brandon Bates


A new event this year - 1:30-3:00 p.m. 
Bowl for Rider Relief!

Find out how you can Bowl with the PBR Buller Riders and help the Rider Relief Fund!

$50 per bowler, LIMITED SPOTS available!

Bowling fundraiser and its registrations are organized through Rider Relief.

Register Here to bowl with the riders.

All registrations must be e-mailed, faxed or mailed by April 20 to the Rider Relief offices.) No registrations will be taken at the Altoona store.




Opening Doors with the Wheelin' Sportsmen

A young boy recently visited Bass Pro Shops Altoona during the Spring Fishing Classic. Six-year-old Adam is a talkative, intelligent young boy, who wants nothing more than to fish and also hunt a turkey. He also happens to have Spina Bifida and is in a wheelchair.

Because of organizations like the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Adam and people of all ages who face physical challenges, can learn about and actively enjoy the outdoors. According to the NWTF, the Wheelin' Sportsmen events around the country "help participants gain a sense of independence by learning to stay active in the outdoors on their own in between Wheelin' Sportsmen Wheelin' Sportsmenevents."

It's not just turkeys, though. Wheelin' Sportsmen hosts events that help men, women, and children enjoying hunting, fishing and shooting.  Events sponsored around the country include:

  • Does for Does - Pairing women with disabilities and women who are experienced guides for a weekend of hunting and educational activities.
  • Ultimate Team-Ups - Pairing people with disabilities and non-disabled people for a weekend of hunting and educational activities.
  • Ultimate Duos - Providing youth with disabilities and their families a chance to experience a variety of outdoor activities.
  • Fishing Round-Ups provide participants with disabilities opportunities to enjoy a day of fishing.
  • Fun & Learn Days - Introducing people with disabilities to a variety of outdoor activities in fun and easy ways.
  • Special Events - These other events provide opportunities for groups of disabled and non-disabled participants to enjoy deep sea fishing, shooting, archery, photography, hunting and more.

The Iowa Wheelin' Sportsmen is hosting its Third Annual Wheelin' Sportsmen Turkey Hunt on April 20 at Saylorville Lake.  Rod Slings, with the local chapter, says it takes about 75-80 volunteers to organize this event. Volunteers and hunters will start with a breakfast and safety meeting around 4 a.m. and top things off with a lunch at 11 a.m. when hunters are back. Slings adds:

"For many of us, this is the most gratifying and satisfying thing we do all year. We will have 12 hunters that have some type of mobility challenge in their lives as this event opens the door to Iowa's Great Outdoors...These are very special hunters that have a great opportunity to share in watching the woods wake up and experience the awesome sounds and displays of the wild turkey. Something that many people never get the chance to see and hear in this adrenaline-pumping event in nature!"

Iowa Wheelin' Sportsmen Event 2012

In April, Bass Pro Shops is collecting donations for the National Wild Turkey Federation, which is our partner in conservation. Your donations can help continue the great conservation and education efforts offered by NWTF, so our friends like Adam can learn there are no limits.

For more information about the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Wheelin' Sportsmen programs in your area, visit


Bowfishing - Sport of Removal

It's a great way for bow hunters to "extend" their season. Bowfishing has been around for hundreds of years and its popularity continues to grow in Iowa and other states.

Members of the Bowfishing Association of Iowa (BAI) were at Bass Pro Shops Altoona recently to share information about this unique method of fishing.

Billie Summers of BAI has some important regulations and safety tips you need to know before beginning bow fishing.



Bowfishing can be done from the bank or in a boat.  Avid bowfishers often have boats with raised platforms to improve their visual of their targets.

Why bow fish?  From the BAI website:

Many people do not realize just how destructive some rough fish can be to a body of water. Common carp, for example, will roll and root around in the mud on the bottom looking for food. This causes the water to cloud up, in turn not allowing needed sunlight to penetrate to the bottom helping vegetation to grow. Game fish fry rely on the vegetation for survival from predators. Grass carp will eat all the needed vegetation resulting in poor game fish survival rates.  Long and Shortnose Gar are a lighting fast ferocious predator that will eat game fish. A gar can grow up to 16” in its first year of life, and is in direct competition with more desirable fish for food in that first year.

Most recently introduced into Iowa are the Asian breeds of carp. Bighead and Silver carp have only been in Iowa’s waters for around 15 years. Their population has exploded at a very alarming rate. Both the Bighead and Silver carp are filter feeders that can eat their body weight of zooplankton per day, this also takes away from the more desired game fish. Not to mention, the Silver carp will jump out of the water as high as 9 feet at the slightest disturbance, which can result in personal injury to boaters and personal watercraft operators. Many of these accidents happen every year. The largest ever recorded bighead removed from Iowa waters at the time of this writing was over 80lbs. 

As you can see, since bowfishing is a removal only sport, it can play a huge role in the balance of fish in a body of water.


Summers stresses that you need to be aware of city, county and state ordinances and regulations when it comes to bowfishing.

For more information visit these sites:






Product Spotlight - Sperry Shoes for Ladies

Sperry for LadiesThe buzz in new footwear at Bass Pro Shops Altoona is Sperry for ladies!  Sperry Top-Siders have been around for years...and now we're also carrying Sperry shoes for ladies.

Bass Pro Shops Altoona currently carries the following Sperry styles for ladies:  Bahama 2-Eye Boat Shoe, Angelfish Slip-On Boat Shoe
Bluefish 2-Eye Boat Shoe, and the Seafish Flip-Flop.

  • Hand-sewn
  • Long-lasting
  • Flexible
  • Non-marking rubber outersole
  • Wave-siping provides good footing on wet or dry surfaces
  • Rustproof eyelets

Check your local Bass Pro Shop for their selections or visit for more styles!

Questions? Ask here or find us on Facebook at or on Twitter @bpsaltoona.Angelfish



Product Spotlight - Western Premium BBQ Chunks and Chips

If you're like me, you're always looking for some new smoke flavors for those ribs, salmon, and other assorted smoked goods! Western Premium

Bass Pro Shops Altoona now has orange and peach wood chips or chunks from Western Premium BBQ products!

  • 100% natural
  • Kiln dried for consistent performance
  • Used with charcoal, the chips or chunks add real wood smoke flavor to your dishes. Used alone, the chunks provide you with a fire ready to cook over in 18-20 minutes and burns cleaner than charcoal with much less ash left when you are finished.
  • Pick up a Char-Broil® Cast Iron Smoker Box, soak the chips and place the box in the back corner of your gas grill, too!

Our regular Western flavors are still available, too! Apple, mesquite, hickory, cherry, oak, many flavors to choose from!  Better get the ribs ready now!


Outdoor Essentials - Making your Own Jigs

There are hundreds of jigs to choose from in a store like Bass Pro Shops.  But, in this world of do-it-yourself thinking, many anglers like to make their own.

Bass Pro Shops Altoona Marine Lead Chris Grocholski, an avid fisherman, has been making his own jigs for about two years.The main reason he likes to make his own jigs? Experiment with new color a personal sense of accomplishment. With a few simple tools that you can purchase individually or  in a jig kit, you can easily make your own jigs at home or even on the water!


Check out this video to see how easy it is!


Questions? Ask here or find us on Facebook at or tweet us @bpsaltoona.














Outdoor Essentials - Five Tips for Buying Shoes

It's beginnings, new adventures, and...NEW SHOES!  Who doesn't like to kick off the socks and wiggle your toes in the fresh air of spring and Shoe Wallsummer?  Now is a good time to evaluate the condition of your summer shoes...check the treads, seams, etc., and determine if it's time for replacements.

Bass Pro Shops Footwear Lead Miranda Atchison is a shoe fanatic!  She has assisted thousands of customers, through many years of working in the footwear industry, to find just the right shoe, boot, wader, flip-flop, hiker, boat shoe and more.

Before you shop for shoes, take a look at this list of what Atchison says are the top five mistakes people make when buying shoes:

  1. Choosing style over comfort - Be good to your feet.  There are plenty of shoes available that are comfortable AND stylish. Besides, styles these days fluctuate so quickly.
  2. Trying shoes on in the morning - When you try shoes on in the morning, your feet have probably not had a "work out" yet. They haven't had time to swell. If you try them on in the morning, they may fit fine, but after a day on your feet they may be tight and uncomfortable. Try shoes on later in the day when your feet will be at their biggest.
  3. Buying shoes made of non-breathable material  - Especially in the summer, it's important to buy breathable materials. Allowing circulation of air around the feet reduces bacteria and, well, let's be honest, the chance of stinky feet!
  4. Buying based on price - Many times, you do get what you pay for.
  5. Not trying on shoes - While it can be easy to buy shoes online, it's helpful if it's a pair you have owned before and know will fit.  Yes, you can return them, if necessary, but that's just another step to make, when you could be "stepping" into new comfortable shoes!  Buy in person.


Questions? Ask here or find us on Facebook at or tweet us @bpsaltoona.



Snow Goose Hunting - Follow the Leaders

(image courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service)The spring snow goose hunting season is drawing to a close for some states and just getting in to full-throttle for others.  The season in Iowa runs from January 11 to April 15. In Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska the daily bag limit is 20 birds a day. There is no limit in Missouri. You can use electronic calls in this season and unplugged shotguns.

Here are some quick tips and facts about snow goose hunting from our Altoona hunting experts.

1. Why the liberal limits? Snow geese have grown so large that they are destroying the Arctic tundra, where they raise their young. Millions of snow geese turn once lush green tundra ground into miles of dirt and mud. This has a negative effect on the other wildlife that relies on these areas to survive. Also, snow geese travel in such big flocks that they are prone to carrying diseases into new areas and passing them to the resident waterfowl. This season also helps out our economy with the large amount of money spent on licenses, hotels, restaurants, guides, decoys, guns, ammunition, etc.

2. In the spring, adult snow geese are very anxious to reach their nesting grounds in the north. They will constantly push north until they cannot go any further due to the lack of water or food. Usually, the snow line will determine where the geese are in their migration. They will also follow the melting snow line instead of waiting for large lakes to open up. If you do not have a large amount of decoys, small ponds or slack water in open fields can be a great place to set up for migrating geese.

3.  The geese that lead the migration are referred to as the “adults.” These geese are usually the most educated geese in the migration and the hardest to hunt. Some snow geese have bands on their legs or on their necks. The oldest snow goose ever shot and recorded was in 1999 and was 27 years old! That is 27 times migrating south and back north being hunted both ways. They have seen every trick in the book…fooling these geese is very difficult!

4.  So, let the adults pass. You'll be most successful in the mid to later stages of migration. Juvenile birds - or "juvies" - are the prime target for hunters. Those first year snow geese are just following the group. They are "along for the ride." They are more prone to decoying than the adults. Additionally, there are many different types of snow geese. Some are smaller than the average size snow goose and some are brown with a white head called blue geese. Knowing what geese are legal is very important, because speckle belly geese and other waterfowl tend to travel with the flocks of snow geese and are not in season in the spring.

5.  Quality decoys seem to be the trend over large numbers of less realistic decoys. When these geese were first hunted, people would throw out garbage bags and paper plates for decoys. They shot geese doing this because the geese had not been hunted very hard. These days the geese are hunted so hard that they require more realistic decoys. It would be wise to go with a guide your first time before you make the investment in this sport. You can also see firsthand how they get these educated birds to decoy. 

6.  If you have hunted Canada geese, you know that most of the time they fly semi-low to the ground when they go out to feed and migrate. This is usually the opposite with snow geese. Compared to Canadians, snow geese like to fly higher and usually circle down on top of you when they are coming in to your decoy spread. One of the best times to shoot the geese is when they are belly up, right on top of your hunters. Their vitals are the most exposed and you have more time to harvest them before they get out of range.

8.  One thing that really is amazing is the sure numbers of geese you can see in just one day. We have witnessed tornadoes of geese filling up a large field in minutes, hardly able to hear a friend talking just two steps away over the roar of all the geese. It is also fun to watch when they are feeding as they leapfrog to get to the front of the pack and the most food, over and over, until they cover the whole field! If you like waterfowl hunting at all, give it a try one season. 

Be prepared, be safe...and follow the leaders.




Catch the Easter Bunny...and get ready to hunt turkeys!

Get Ready for Spring Turkey Hunting...With these FREE workshops!

Quaker Boy Representatives
March 30, 2013 - 11 a.m.

Mike Brodell & Tom Ballard from Quaker Boy will in the store to talk about their products and answer questions


Turkey Hunting Accessories - Blinds, Seats, and More
March 30, 2013 - 1 p.m.

Our experts demonstrate the newest equipment to help you have a successful turkey hunt!


Beginning Turkey Hunting
March 30, 2013 - 2 p.m.

Learn the basics of how to get started in turkey hunting - for all ages!  By the Optics Counter at 2 p.m.


Easter Event

The Easter Bunny hops on in at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, along with crafts and an Easter egg hunt!Easter Bunny

Free Photos with the Easter Bunny
March 30-31 - 1-4 p.m.
March 29 - 6-8 p.m.

Easter Egg Hunt - Ages 2-10 ONLY
March 30-31, 1-2 p.m.
Egg hunt starts promptly at 1 p.m. and lasts for one hour only.

Free Crafts for Kids
March 30-31, 1-4 p.m., while supplies last
Friday, March 29, 6-8 p.m., while supplies last.



Product Spotlight: DogBones Retrieving System

New at Bass Pro Shops Altoona from Jeremy Moore and the gang at Dog Bone!DogBone

DogBone Shed Antler Retrieving System

A proven three step process to train your dog to find shed antlers.

Cross-train previously trained retrievers and sporting dogs or young pups to hunt for and retrieve shed antlers.

DogBone Dummies are made of the same material as other familiar training dummies, enabling an easy transition in training to an object of a new shape with a familiar feel.

The antler dummies provide a safe, positive and pleasant introduction to the antler shape for pups and young dogs with sensitive smaller muzzles, eyes and noses.

With the use of a few basic training methods and the proper tools, most dogs can be effectively trained to find sheds, increasing your odds of success exponentially.


Also available -  2 oz. bottles of the Shed Antler Scent - the only manufactured antler scent on the market, made from 100% naturally shed antlers. Designed to be used in conjunction with the Shed Antler Retrieving System.


Bass Pro Shops Altoona has the Shed Antler Retrieving System in stock and the 2 oz. Shed Antler Scent.  Check with your local Bass Pro Shop for stock and also available online at




Iowa Severe Weather Awareness Week-March 25-29, 2013

Natural Disasters Image Gallery- science.howstuffworks.comIt's Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa, with a statewide tornado drill on Wednesday, March 27, 2013. 

We may have been easily pushed into complacency with our delayed spring weather.  But, as a born and raised Iowan, I realize that severe weather and tornadoes can sneak up on us at any time year-round

Gone are the days of my youth when I would sit with my dad on the front steps looking for funnel clouds while turbulent skies rolled overhead. I may go outside and watch for a bit and snap a couple of photos, but when the warnings sound, we head for the basement...and our Airedale Terrier is usually a half hour ahead of us Parkersburg Tornadoand squeezed into the laundry room corner.

After witnessing firsthand the incredible devastation of the Parkersburg F-5 tornado in 2008 and our own personal dealings, albeit on a much smaller scale, with the extremely severe localized storms and flooding of summer 2010, I don't take weather warnings lightly. Our Midland weather radio is on and ready to give warning both at home and at our camper. We have fresh batteries, flashlights stashed in convenient places, candles and more. At our camper in the country, we are prepared with where to go and what to do.

As a Midwesterner, I'm also well aware of the many false beliefs about tornadoes and where they will or won't go. Refine your tornado knowledge...lose the old thoughts and learn the new facts about tornadoes from the National Weather Service.

Tornado Fiction and Fact

FICTION:  Lakes, rivers, and mountains protect areas from tornadoes.
FACT:  No geographic location is safe from tornadoes. A tornado near Yellowstone National Park left a path of destruction up and down a 10,000 foot mountain.

FICTION:  A tornado causes buildings to “explode” as the tornado passes overhead.
FACT:  Violent winds and debris slamming into buildings cause the most structural damage.

FICTION:  Open windows before a tornado approaches to equalize pressure and minimize damage.
FACT:  Virtually all buildings leak. Leave the windows closed. Take shelter immediately. An underground shelter, basement or safe room are the safest places. If none of those options are available, go to a windowless interior room or hallway.

FICTION:  Highway overpasses provide safe shelter from tornadoes.
FACT:  The area under a highway overpass is very dangerous in a tornado. If you are in a vehicle, you should immediately seek shelter in a sturdy building. As a last resort, you can either:

1.  Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows, and cover with your hands and a blanket if possible.


2.  If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway, exit your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Your choice should be driven by your specific circumstances.

FICTION:  It is safe to take shelter in the bathroom, hallway, or closet of a mobile home.
FACTMobile homes are not safe during tornadoes! Abandon your mobile home to seek shelter in a sturdy building immediately. If you live in a mobile home, ensure you have a plan in place that identifies the closest sturdy buildings.


Does your household have a PLAN?  Does everyone, young and old, know the plan? Don't forget your you have a plan for them, too?

Make a plan. Preach the plan. Use the plan.










Fishing a Drought - Adapt and Overcome

We've had a good amount of snow lately in Iowa...above average for the month.  But weather experts continue to caution us that it's probably not enough to pull us out of critical and severe drought conditions throughout the state.

Our local Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro anglers have had a lot of questions lately about how the drought may affect fishing this spring and summer. We sat down with Kary Ray and Lance Baker to hear their thoughts and advice for Iowans, or people visiting Iowa, on fishing in these drought conditions, whether on lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Both agree that there is certainly a positive that can come out of it.  It will make you a better fisherman.

Fish and wildlife have adapted and overcome weather conditions for years. Will you? 


Kary Ray and Lance BakerKary Ray and Lance Baker are the 2012 Bass World Sports Anglers of the Year.

Questions for our pros? Ask here or find us on Facebook at or tweet us @bpsaltoona.




Product Spotlight: AcuRite Weather Alert Radio

AcuRite® Weather Alert NOAA Radio/LED Flashlight With Hand Crank

AcuRite Weather Alert Radio

  • NOAA National Weather Service alerts for your location
  • A loud alert siren when emergency conditions are at hand
  • Also an LED flashlight
  • Hand crank recharges the batteries in the case of emergency power
  • Listen button plays local weather report at any time
  • Has a 50-mile signal scan
  • Battery operated or AC adapter powered (not included)


For more information on AcuRite weather safety products, watch this video!

Sever weather can come up quickly in Iowa...receive fair warning!

Available at Bass Pro Shops Altoona or online at!