Saturday Fish Feeding Frenzy

Join us on the weekends for an up close view of fish at feeding time. At St Charles, MO Bass Pro Shop we do a fish feeding every Saturday and Sunday at 2:00p.m. This weekend Jim and Paul from our fishing department gave the crowd a nice show feeding live minnows, crawfish, baby carp, night crawlers, pellet food and protein based gel food.

Species of fish in our tank include:

Jim and Paul

Largemouth Bass

Smallmouth Bass

Spotted Bass

Hybrid Striped Bass

White Bass


Short nosed Spotted Gar

Channel Catfish

Black Crappie

Common Carp









The Kids enjoy it......



The Adults enjoy it.........


And the fish always enjoy it!

catfishsmallmouth feeding


Local Fishing Report 7/28 to 8/3 2013

The River was at 4.5ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 3.8ft with 12,100CF of flow and 75 degrees.

Trip #1 was on Monday and we fished from 4:30 to 7:00PM and we caught 12 smallmouth.  The largest was 15" and we caught them all on spinnerbaits, stickbaits, crankbaits, and jigs.  We had 4.0ft-steady-15,600CF-clear and 83 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and steady.

Trip #2 was on Tuesday and we fished from 9:00AM to 4:00PM and we caught 30 smallmouth.  The largest was 19" and we caught them on stickbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs.  We had 3.9ft-steady-14,000CF-clear and 80 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.10 and falling

Trip #3 was on Tuesday and we fished from 2:45 to 4:30PM and we caught 50+ sunfish.  We caught them all on jig/worm combo.  We had 3.9ft-steady-14,000CF-clear and 80 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.10 and falling.

Trip #4 was on tuesday and we fished from 2:30 to 5:30PM andn we caught 20+ bass and the largest was 18".  We caught them on stickbaits, spinnerbaits, and jigs.  We had the same conditions as noted in #2.

Trip #5 was a half day combo catfish trip on Wednesday and we caught 14 channel cats and 3 flatheads.  The largest Channel cat was 22" and the largest flathead was 7lbs.  We caught the channel cats on Sudden Impact and we caught the flatheads on live bait.  We had 3.9ft-steady-clear-and 79 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and falling.

Trip #6 was a full day combo cat trip and we caught 15 channel cats and 6 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 22.5" and the largest flathead was 14lbs.  We caught the channel cats on Sudden Impact and the flatheads on live bait.

Trip #7 was a half day bass trip and we caught 20+ smallmouth and the largest was 17.75".  We caught them on crankbaits and wacky rigged dingers.  We had 3.8ft-12,100CF-falling-clear and 75 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.80 and steady with rain.

Please let us know how you are making out with the Sudden Impact bait from Team Catfish.  The Harrisburg Bass Pro is now carrying Team Catfish bait and gear.  Just ask one of our associates in the fishing department if we do not have what you are looking for.



It's National Catfish Month!

Did you know President Reagan designated August as National Catfish Month?  It's true!  Catfish are found across the globe in every continent except Antartica. The freshwater fish have been caught and farmed for food for hundreds of years. Channel catfish and blue catfish are the two most commonly eaten species here in the United States, and are particularly popular in the South.

Catfish are becoming more and more popular as game fish as well.  One of our fishing pros, Jonathan Herndon, is currently filming his own television show called "Maximum Catfishing." They recently caught this 70 lb. blue catfish, while filming on Lake Guntersville, in Alabama.










As mentioned above, catfish make for some good eatin'. The recipe shown below is considered a "standard" recipe and may be found Best of the Best from the Deep South Cookbook, available at your local Bass Pro Shops.

Mississippi Catfish Fillets

3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

1/4 cup self-rising flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne red pepper

2 pounds catfish fillets

Oil for frying

-Mix meal, flour, salt, pepper, garlic salt and cayenne. roll fish in mixture until well coated. Have oil hot, about 400 degrees. Add fish in single layer. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels or brown bag. Serve hot.


Take a few minutes to celebrate the humble catfish. Visit one at your local aquarium or fry some up with a batch of hush puppies. You are sure to have a good time either way!



Local Fishing Report 7/21 to 7/27/2013

Hello Everyone,

The River was at 4.0ft. at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.5ft with 24,100CF of flow and 80 degrees.

Trip #1 was a half day PM trip on Monday and we caught 15 channel cats and 3 bass.  The largest channel cat was 25" and the largest smallmouth was 16".  We caught the channel cats on Sudden Impact and the bass were on a tube.  We had 3.7ft-Steady-11,500CF-clear and 85 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.60 and steady.

Trip #2 was a half day PM trip on Tuesday and we caught 22 channel cats.  The largest was 25.5" and we caught them all on Sudden Impact.  We had 3.8ft-Steady-11,500CF-muddy and 83.5 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.60 and falling.

Trip #3 was a full day catfish trip and we caught 17 channel cats and 17 flatheads.  The largest channel cat was 21" and the largest flathead was 32lbs.  We caught all but two of the channel cats on Sudden Impact.  We had 5 angler award qualifying flatheads on this trip.  We had 3.7ft-Rising-11,000CF-clear and 80 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.50 and steady.

Trip #4 was on Thursday afternoon and we fished from 4PM to 6:30PM and we did 15+ bass and the largest was 20".  We caught them on stickbaits.  We had same conditions as noted in #3 trip above.

Trip #5 was a 4 hour catfish trip.  We had 2 boats out and we caught 7 channel cats and 5 flatheads.  the largest channel cat was 21.5" and the largest flathead was 12lbs.  We caught the channels on Sudden Impact and the flatheads on live bait.

Please let us know how you are making out with the Sudden Impact Bait from Team Catfish.  The Harrisburg Bass Pro Shops is now carrying Team Catfish bait and gear.  Should we not have what you are looking for then ask one of our associates in the Fishing Department to order it in for you.  The Sudden Impact bait was awesome, we have constant action out on the water when using this bait.


Staycations Iowa Style - The Rathbun Area

So often I hear people gripe about driving across Iowa and, in their opinion, how boring it is. I encourage people need to get off Interstate 80 (after they've stopped at Bass Pro Shops Altoona, of course!) and experience a bit of our state. In our staycations series we asked our Facebook fans for some recommendations - where would you suggest people visit in our state? One area that received several mentions, and that I visit regularly, is the Lake Rathbun area in southern Iowa. 

Rathbun area map

Lake Rathbun is one of the largest lakes in Iowa, located about seven miles north of Centerville in Appanoose County. If you're coming from the north, say down highway 5, the stretch from Knoxville to Centerville is one of the prettiest drives in our state, as is much of the driving headed east or west out of Centerville on Highway 2.Honey Creek State Park

Rathbun is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility with over 700 campsites available at eight parks at the 11,000 acre lake. It's also home to Honey Creek State Park and Honey Creek Resort, both operated by the state.

The state park has 149 campsites, but another unique feature is its "camper cabins."  The rustic pine cabins are great for those who don't want to tent camp, don't have an RV, or simply want more of a roof over their head, while enjoying the great outdoors. I met a woman at our Family Summer Camp this year who has two sons, both with severe medical issues and confined to wheelchairs, and she loves the camper cabins because they have electricity and her sons can better enjoy the camping experience.

For those who want something even more comfortable, Honey Creek Resort is available. This state-operated resort has a hotel, cottages/cabins, an RV Park, and a water park. 

My two favorite things about the resort are things YOU can enjoy, too, without actually staying there:


1. Their naturalist programs and activities are open to the public. It is the resort's goal to connect people to nature and the outdoors, whether they are staying at the resort or just visiting the area for the day. Some activities do have limited spaces available. You can check out their continuously updated list of activities on their web site.

2. The Lakeshore Grille has amazing their bacon-stuffed jalapenos. First-class food in a relaxed atmosphere with a great view!

While you're in the area, here are some other suggestions:

  • Rathbun OHV Park - If you have an ATV, then you might enjoy the Rathbun OHV Park located on the southwest arm of the Lake off Highway 142. It's a 120-acre riding area with a variety of skill-level trails.
  • The Rathbun Fish Hatchery - Open ever day for tours, the fish produced here are use to stock farm ponds, rivers, lakes and reservoirs around the state. According to the DNR web site:

Annually, more than 200,000 large fingerling catfish, 100,000 small fingerling catfish, 50 million walleye fry, 225,000 two-inch walleye fingerlings and 175,000 eight inch walleye fingerlings are produced at Rathbun.

More than 75,000 four- to six-inch catfish are provided for county conservation boards and cities each year for their caged-catfish rearing programs. 

  • Sharon Bluffs State Park is just south and east of Centerville – You can either go south of Centerville or east on Highway 2 and you’ll see signs for it….then it’s about four miles on gravel. Nice little park for picnics and walks.

If you're enjoying the area for more than just a few days, take a drive east to Van Buren County and discover the way life used to be 150 years ago in the Villages of Van Buren. That county has 110 ghost towns!  Scenic highways, hiking trails, gravel, mike, and pedestrian trails, and canoe, kayak and boat accesses provide plenty of ways to enjoy the scenery and history.

Facebook fan Rachel is an avid horse person. She says if you like horse camping head to Stevens State Forest to the west of Appanoose 
River Valley
County. Parts of the 15,000 acres have primitive horse camping available. She also suggests River Valley Horsecamp by the Shimek State Forest. Located south of the Villages of Van Buren, the camp has miles of trails and borders on 40 miles of established horse trails in Shimek State Forest. 


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Kayak Fishing

Fishing is a sport that more people enjoy recreationally each year than golf and tennis combined. From catching catfish and panfish, to fishing for big money in professional bass tournaments, we all have one thing in common, we love the challenge of locating and catching fish. Millions of people are already in to fish, whether they are fishing off the bank or in a beautiful Nitro Bass Boat, they already have a passion for being in nature and spending quality time with their children and family members. Now the question is if I am a beginning angler or maybe even someone that has never fished before in my life how and where do I start? That question can easily be answered if you have a Bass Pro Shops near by. There is no better place to go to get all of the gear and equipment you will ever need, as well as having access to knowledgeable associates that are always willing to assist in any way possible. Getting tips and asking questions from experienced anglers is a great way to jump start your learning into a life long passion for fishing.

Now fishing can be expensive and most beginning anglers don't need to get a big fancy bass boat. While fishing from the bank in small private lakes or ponds can be very rewarding and a fun place to start, at some point you are going wonder what that other side of the lake has to offer. The best way to access those rarely sought after fish is with a fishing Kayak. Bass pro shops offers a wide variety of options from sit in kayaks to the extremely popular and my personal choice, the Ascend FS12T Sit-On-Top Angler Kayak. A sit on top kayak makes a great fishing platform that an angler with good balance can even stand on for improved casting ability. The opportunities with a kayak are endless, not only are they a good way to get on the water, but they are very fun for exploring places that a bass boat can not possibly get too. Areas such as creeks or small ponds with limited shore access are often loaded with fish that rarely see a lure, and are an absolute dream come true to a diehard angler.

Bass Pro Shops offers a wide variety of options you can add on to the kayak as well. Accessories such as Ascend Deluxe Sit-on-Top Kayak Seats, rod holders, and SEA-LECT Designs Zig Zag Cleats can all be found at your local bass pro shops or on our website. I would recommend trying to keep your tackle selection simple, as well as wearing a good pair of Sperry Top-Sider Sea Kite Ultrathong Sandals, which will provide important grip and comfort for stand up fishing. When I fish out of a kayak I will bring two rods, one spinning and one bait caster. With the limited room this will be all you need. When looking for a rod and reel combo that is versatile and can be used with a variety of baits and techniques there are some specifications I will always look for. For the bait caster a 7 foot medium heavy Temple Fork Outfitters Gary Loomis Signature Series rod is a perfect choice. From flipping and pitching in heavy cover, to casting spinnerbaits this rod will do the trick. It has enough strength and power to horse big fish out of thick cover, but not so much that other techniques can't be used. Having a spinning rod with you is also important if you want to throw light weight or even weightless soft plastic lures with light line. One of the very most effective baits for fishing shallow water in ponds, creeks, rivers, or lakes, is with the Bass Pro Shops Stik-O. These baits can be rigged either weedless, also known as texas rigged with no weight, or wacky rigged, which is rigging the bait directly in the center. Either way will catch an incredible number of fish, especially in places where they have never been seen before.

So if you're interested in getting into fishing but just can't quite take the leap, start by coming in to Bass Pro Shops and checking out all of the incredible things they have to offer. Bring the whole family and you will have a blast checking out all of the amazing attractions at the store, as well as learning how to begin to utilize and enjoy what nature has to offer. Don't forget that at your local Leeds Bass Pro Shops we offer fly fishing classes every month. Our tying classes are on the first and third Monday of each month and our casting classes, weather permitting, are on the second and forth Saturday of each month. So take advantage of having a Bass Pro Shops near you. We can't wait to see you here and share our passion for the outdoors. I'll see you on the water!!!

Joey Nania




Top 10 Ways Bass Pro Shops is STILL like the Iowa State Fair

Just five days until the Iowa State Fair! In honor of our great state fair, we once again remind you of how Bass Pro Shops Altoona is ALMOST like the Iowa State Fair...but not quite.

10. The Iowa State Fair is 400 acres of Iowa history. Bass Pro Shops Altoona is 144,000 square feet of Iowa history.

Corn Dog mix9. The Iowa State Fair is renowned for the incredible amounts of good food to be found, including new choices each year! Bass Pro Shops Altoona has good food to offer, too, including cotton candy, pop corn, kettle corn, salt water taffy, funnel cake mix, corn dog mix, and a FUDGE ON A STICK! We have new flavors of fudge all the time...including strawberry margarita and maple bacon walnut fudge!

wild hogs

8. The livestock are always a popular attraction at the Iowa State Fair...I always have to see the big bull and the big boar! Bass Pro Shops Altoona has incredible animals, too, including oxen and pigs. Of course, they're all stuffed, but you get the idea...

7.  The Iowa State Fair has the Department of Natural Resources building with its live fish display and an archery range. Bass Pro Shops Altoona has a very cool 30,000 gallon fish tank with a catfish pushing 90 pounds, state record gar, giant bass, record crappie and more...and we have an archery range.


6.  The Iowa State Fair has a Midway full of rides and games for all thrill levels. Bass Pro Shops Altoona has a beautiful wildlife carousel during Family Summer Camp and Santa's Wonderland, an ATV obstacle course during the Fall Hunting Classic, a shooting arcade, the most unique bowling alley in the state at Uncle Buck's Fishbowl, and shopping carts for young ones to ride in while their parents shop!

Bass Pro Shops Altoona shooting arcade

5.  The Midway also has Bobo the Clown welcoming you at the water tank. Fortunately, we don't have anything to compare to Bobo. Our greeters who welcome you to the store are really nice and won't make you cry.

4.  The State Fair museum is open daily only during the fair and showcases a great collection of historical records, antiques, and other memorabilia. Bass Pro Shops Altoona is part museum, with a LARGE number of antiques and memorabilia, including several photographs on loan from the Iowa State Historical Museum. 

3. The Iowa State Fair has loads of free entertainment on multiple stages and some great grandstand acts. Bass Pro Shops has loads of free entertainment held in multiple areas of the store, inside and outside, at any given time of the year.

2.  The Iowa State Fair is great for kids and families. Bass Pro Shops is all about kids and families.

1. Nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair...and NOTHING compares to Bass Pro Shops. It's an experience, not just a store.



Books to help you reel in the big one

Gone Fishing


We have an extensive assortment of books on fishing.  If you are wanting to learn the basics or some new techniques we have a book for you.  We have books that cover knots, bait, rigs, tackle and so much more.  We have several books on fly fishing for the beginners and for those that are more advanced.  If you want to learn fly tying we have books and we have work shops as well so our experienced staff can help out.  If you enjoy bass, walleye, catfish and crappie fishing we have concept books for each that will cover fundamentals, locations and presentations.  We look forward to helping you catch your next big fish by proviiding the information necessary.  Next time you stop by our store, come visit our book selection.  We look forward to taking care of all of your fishing needs.


Savoring the Moment Forever

There is NOTHING like watching a child catch a fish for the first time...and there's nothing quite like bringing in a monster fish for the first time.First Largemouth Lately, we've had a many Facebook fans posting their fishing photos...young and old...and we LOVE it! 

Did you know you can keep that excitement going with a little recognition through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources? The Iowa DNR has two great programs to encourage new young anglers and recognize the fishermen and women who catch the big ones!

First Fish

The First Fish Program lets kids get a big "hooray" from the DNR for their first fish!  They'll receive a certificate with the fish details and a photo on it (photo provided by you). Check out some of the recent First Fish celebrants at

Lance Queck - Master Angler - 27" Freshwater Drum - Spirit Lake, iowa

Master Angler

The DNR also recognizes the big memorable catches in Iowa through the Master Angler Program. The fish can be released and still qualify, but a witness has to verify the size of the fish. If it looks like it might be a state record, then a DNR official has to verify it. There are some length stipulations for the more than 40 species that are available.

For more information on the two programs and how to enter your little one's first...or your older one's monster...visit the DNR's web page at

Lance Queck - Master Angler - 27" Freshwater Drum - Spirit Lake, Iowa


Where can you find them and how big do they need to be? (Provided from the Iowa DNR web site)

Largemouth Bass (20 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Belva Deer, Keokuk County – use top-water baits close to shore or in shallow water. 
  • Lake Geode, Henry County – use top-water baits in the upper arm and back of coves or crankbaits along the dam and weed lines. 
  • Farm Ponds – about any bass bait will work.   A rubber worm with little weight fished slowly along weed lines are especially effective.  Make sure to get landowner permission before entering. 
  • Lake Sugema, Van Buren County – use crankbaits along jetty, dam and shoreline riprap.  Frog imitation baits fished in and among vegetation is effective. 
  • Diamond Lake, Poweshiek County – use crankbaits or top-waters around brush piles, or rubber worms tossed into structure. 
  • Three Mile Lake, Union County – use a weedless spinner, crawler or jig through the flooded trees. 
  • West Lake Osceola, Clarke County - use a weedless spinner, crawler or jig through the flooded trees.

Channel Catfish (30 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Geode, Henry County – fish in shallow water in the morning or evening using chicken liver under a bobber. Structure also holds fish and drainage areas after a significant rain should be targeted.
  • Lake Belva Deer, Keokuk County – fish the jetties, fish habitat sites and upper end of the lake after a heavy rain.  Use a bobber in the timber and jetties. 
  • Lake of the Hills, Scott County – use shad guts under a bobber to keep the bait above the thermocline.
  • Crawford Pond, Washington County – fish the eastern shoreline and the weed line.
  • Mississippi River Pool 19, Burlington to Keokuk – fish the Burlington Island complex of cuts and side channels, Montrose riprap banks and mouths of small creeks. 
  • Pleasant Creek Lake, Linn County – use cut bait throughout the lake. 
  • Three Mile Lake, Union County – use sunfish or cut bait fished near the bottom during twilight or during the dark, in less than eight feet of water during the hottest of July and August.
  • West Lake Osceola, Clarke County - use sunfish or cut bait fished near the bottom during twilight or during the dark, in less than eight feet of water during the hottest of July and August.
  • Silver Lake, Dickinson County – fish in the evening or after dark with cut bait on the bottom near downed trees.

Sunfish (Bluegills, 10 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Belva Deer, Keokuk County – drift fish with typical bluegill baits above the thermocline.  Target the contour of the creek beds.
  • Lake Geode, Henry County – drift fish and vertical jig the drop-offs. Use dark colored baits when the water is clear or bright colored baits if the water is stained.
  • Farm Ponds – use typical bluegill baits and target weedy or woody habitat. Often a worm and a bobber works best.
  • White Oak and Shagbark ponds, Shimek State Forest, Lee County – use any bluegill baits around structure.
  • Lake Sugema, Van Buren County – move often and target timber areas as well as underwater structure, and drift fishing.
  • Briggs Woods Lake, Hamilton County – use a piece of night crawler on a number 8 hook and fish along the weed line.
  • Yellow Smoke Lake, Crawford County – use a 1/32 ounce to 1/64 ounce black hair jig tipped with a wax worm and fish near submerged trees or just above the thermocline.
  • West Okoboji Lake, Dickinson County – vertical jig with a number 8 hook and split shot over deep rock piles with a leech or crayfish.

Sunfish (Redear, 11 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Anita, Cass County – redear are snail eaters so look for submerged vegetation and use a 1/32 ounce or 1/64 ounce black feather jig.
  • Lake Ahquabi, Warren County - fish near the bottom in open pockets of the dense submerged vegetation, using 1/32 ounce or 1/64 ounce black feather jig. 

Sunfish (Warmouth, 7 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River – fish the backwaters and around wing dams and closing structures, riprap and other rocky habitat.
  • Conklin Fish Farm, Cass County – make sure to check closely because warmouth look similar to green sunfish.

Sunfish (Pumpkinseed, 9 inches to qualify)

Smallmouth Bass (20 inches to qualify)

  • Wapsipinicon River, Linn and Jones County – use crankbaits, spinners, twister tails or live crawfish below low head dams through the fall.
  • Des Moines River, Polk County – fish eddies, woody debris and deep holes from Birdland Marina to Saylorville, with jigs, crankbaits and spinners.
  • West Okoboji Lake, Dickinson County – fish deep rock piles with a live bait rig with either chubs or crayfish.

White Bass (17 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River Pool 19 - in the late summer white bass like open water and Lake Cooper offers excellent fishing.
  • Pleasant Creek Lake, Linn County – use top-water or subsurface lures and look for jumping shad and fishing seagulls.
  • Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County – use shad colored crankbaits trolled or cast along rocky shorelines, from the Mehaffey Bridge to the dam is best.
  • Spirit Lake, Dickinson County – use a top–water lure at inlet areas, like the footbridge, in early morning or at sunset.  Watch the surface for activity.

Hybrid Striped Bass (Palmetto Bass) (24 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River Lock and Dam 15 in Sylvan Slough and below Lock and Dam 19 are the top places to catch wipers, but they can be caught below most of the lock and dams.
  • Lake Macbride, Johnson County – use top-water and subsurface baits or troll shad colored crankbaits.
  • Saylorville Reservoir, Polk County – troll large crankbaits under schools of gizzard shad or fish below the Saylorville spillway.
  • Three Mile Lake, Union County – use a small crankbait or medium sized spinner near rocky or gravel areas at twilight. Any shoreline could hold fish, but the dam and east shore near the dam are the most popular.
  • Lake Manawa, Pottawattamie County – fish the east shore around boat docks near inflow tube using twister tails and crankbaits.

Brook Trout (15 inches to qualify)

  • Trout River and Trout Run, Winneshiek County – use a variety of live bait and artificial lures.

Rainbow Trout (18 inches to qualify)

  • All catchable stocked trout streams receive an equal number of brood stock rainbow trout. A variety of live bait and artificial lures will work.

Brown Trout (18 inches to qualify)

  • Spring Branch Creek, Ensign Hollow and the Upper Maquoketa River – fish the bank hides or large downed trees.
  • The Catch and Release areas on French Creek and the downstream portion of Waterloo Creek are restricted to artificial lures only and fish must be released. A photo and witnessed length are necessary for an award. Midsummer has abundant hatches of aquatic and terrestrial insects and water levels tend to be stable.

Flathead Catfish (35 inches to qualify)

  • Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County – fish with live bullheads, green sunfish or chubs on the flats.
  • Mississippi River Pool 16 and 18 – fish in the area where rivers drain into the Mississippi with a variety of live baits.
  • Des Moines River, Central Iowa – use ditty poles with green sunfish, bullheads or large bait.
  • Larger Southwest Iowa Rivers – fish areas just upstream from log jams or fallen trees with live sunfish or bullheads during the evening and after dark.

Black Crappie and White Crappie (14 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Rathbun, Appanoose County – target submerged timber and other woody structure with a jig and minnow combo fished vertically or with a slow retrieve.
  • Lake Macbride, Johnson County – drift fish with a jig, a minnow or a jig and minnow under a bobber.

Walleye (26 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Rathbun, Appanoose County – fish submerged points and humps, troll crankbaits or drift fish live baits.
  • Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County – troll crankbaits over the artificial weed beds on the north shore.
  • Storm Lake, Buena Vista County – troll crankbaits, Lindy rigs or 1/4 ounce jigs with a twister tail around the dredge cuts or rock piles.
  • North Raccoon River, Sac, Carroll and Green counties – cast 1/4 ounce jigs tipped with a 3-inch fire tiger colored twister in eddies, current seams and scour holes.

Yellow Perch (12 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River Pools 9 to 13 – fish the vegetation in backwaters with a minnow under a bobber or switch to a crawler long the lower portions of wing dams.

Muskellunge (45 inches to qualify)

  • Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County – troll rock reefs or cast docks with muskie sized crankbaits.
  • Brushy Creek Lake, Webster County – cast near any rock piles, weed lines, jetties, dam face with bucktails, crankbaits or top-water lures.
  • Spirit Lake, Dickinson County – cast weed lines with large in-line spinners.

Northern Pike (35 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River - target where tributaries enter the Mississippi River where pike will take refuge in the cooler water. Use medium to heavy weight gear and live bait with a steel leader or daredevil spoons. 

Freshwater Drum (25 inches to qualify)

  • Mississippi River – fish the lock and dam tail waters and immediately below wing dams. Drum prefer quiet water and rocky areas.  Use live crayfish. Drum will hit twice – the first strike kills the crayfish, the second they swallow it.
  • Spirit Lake, Dickinson County – drift fish a life bait rig tipped with a crayfish, minnow or nightcrawler in 20 to 22 feet of water.

Yellow Bass (10 inches to qualify)

  • Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo County – vertical jig or drift with a small jig tipped with a piece of night crawler or cut bait near the reefs, artificial weed beds or dredge cuts.
  • Arrowhead Lake, Sac County – drift the length of the lake with a small, brightly colored jig tipped with a small piece of bait.
  • East Okoboji Lake, Dickinson – cast 1/32 ounce hair jigs tipped with a piece of night crawler at any of the bridges.

Rock Bass (8 inches to qualify)

  • Turkey River, Howard and Fayette County – fish deeper water in rocky areas when the water is clear and stable with live bait or minnow imitating lures.
  • Cedar River, Mitchell and Floyd County – fish deeper water in rocky areas when the water is clear and stable with live bait or minnow imitating lures.

Bullheads (15 inches to qualify)

  • Lake Anita, Cass County – use a nightcrawler on the bottom.
  • Twelve Mile Lake, Union County – use night crawlers or a small chunk of liver on the bottom in three to five feet of water. Avoid areas with a lot of rooted vegetation.

Common Carp (32 inches to qualify)

  • Three Mile Lake, Union County – use nightcrawlers or dough balls on the bottom in two to six feet of water at the upper end of the lake. Carp are most active during the evening and twilight hours.
  • Coralville Reservoir, Johnson County – bow fishing and fishing in the upper ends of the reservoir above I-380
  • Pollmiller Lake, Lee County – fish worms or prepared carp baits.

This Weekend @ Bass Pro Shops Altoona - Last Chance for Summer Camp!

This is it - the last weekend for your kids to experience free educational fun during our Family Summer Camp! Make sure your kids don't miss out on this terrific opportunity! 


Activities start at noon, unless otherwise noted.


Family Summer Camp

Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14, Noon-5 p.m.

Daisy BB Gun inflatable shooting range - Outside
FREE wildlife carousel - just inside the front entrance turnstiles.
Casting BucketsDeer Track Craft

Soft Foam Shooting Arcade


12-2 Crafts (while supplies last) - Kids paint their own deer track! 


Saturday, July 13 - our last night for free Homemade Ice Cream samples  -  5-6 p.m. Stop by for some sweets treats up by the carousel!


Kids' Workshops - Designed for children 6-12 years of age. Each child will receive ONE free lanyard (while supplies last) and a FREE pin for each workshop they attend.


Workshops 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


Other Happenings this Weekend!

2 p.m. - Join our Fishing experts at the Main Aquarium for a Deep Cranking demonstration.

Try Before you Buy!

The Gifts Department will be serving up samples of deep-fried catfish using Uncle Buck's Light 'n Krispy Fish Mix and Uncle Buck's Beer Batter - then liven it up with some Uncle Buck's Camo Ammo Hot Sauce!

Coming Up!  

Bass Pro Shops Tent Sale

  • July 20-28 - Storewide TENT SALE & Clearance Event!

20-50% off regular price on select items! 

  • July 27-28 - FREE PBR Family Event

Free games and activites - Noon - 4 p.m.

  • August 2-18 - The 2013 Fall Hunting Classic



Slam Some Sunfish

I have been very fortunate in the adventures I have gotten to go on. I cherish my memories of: largemouth bass at my uncle’s farm pond in Arkansas, fly-fishing for trout in Lee’s Ferry, tearing into tuna out of San Diego, slaying walleye and northern pike in Canada and even fly-fishing for mako shark! But some of my favorite times fishing have been the absolute simplest. I’m talking about pan-fishing.

Pan-fish are a wide variety of different species. They usually include: bluegill, sunfish (the whole assortment of colors/variations they come in), pumpkinseed, crappie and perch. Other fish are considered pan-fish, but these are the most common.

It doesn’t take much to get into some pan-fish. Really the basics are basic. (Keeping things simple is half the fun of fishing.)

Besides a fishing pole with line you will need:

Hooks & Sinkers

Bobbers &  Bait!

Now a whole slew of baits work for these guys. Worms, mealworms, crickets, corn, bread and more will get them biting. Just like trout, you’ll want to have a few of these baits on hand. And here is another half-the-fun little fact, a number of the baits listed above come in a can!

That’s right! Just pop the top and dig in! Fisher’s Choice™ offers: wax worms, crickets, shrimp and superworms (pictured above). I like that you can reseal the top and keep these around for quick fishing excursions. I have no idea how well shrimp would work, but why not give it a whirl? Trying out new baits is more than likely half the fun of fishing.

Now beyond bait you can get into a whole slew of lures to catch them. Jigs, small crank-baits, spinners, etc. A lot of company sell little kits specifically for pan-fishing and will have a variety of tackle included. This way if you get tired of watching a bobber you can switch it up to something a little more active.

There is usually a local lake where one can catch these frisky fish. Once the bite gets going, it is a blast! It is just pure simple fun. A good friend and I were lucky enough to hit up a little pond before a wedding one day. He pulled out a few respectable bass and one really nice catfish, while I spent my time slamming some sunfish. Roughly twenty-seven fell victim to my angling abilities. Toss ‘em back for the next fisherman or keep a few to fry up at home. Just remember that having fun is half the fun. Great Horny Toads!


New Species New Thrills

In the United States alone 1,154 native fish species can be found. This being said many anglers tend to focus all of there fishing attention on one or two species, often forgetting about what their local lakes and reservoirs have to offer. In the Southern part of the US Bass fishing is definitely king with with Crappie fishing a close second. Crappie and bass definitely take most of the attention. In this article I want to show you some different species that can sometimes be overlooked. What I like about angling for different species is the numerous challenges that they bring along with them. By challenging yourself with different species you will grow as an overall angler and gain a better understanding of how the entire echo system works in your local lake, river, or reservoir.

The catfish is a species that is probably 3rd behind the Crappie and Bass. While they are fairley popular many people consider them to be trash fish, or bottom feeders. In many cases that is not true. In any southern water system you will find a variety of catfish species such as channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish. While they are all in the same family they behave different from one another.

The Channel Catfish is the most abundant in the US. They are extremely tough fish and can survive in extremely low water qualities meaning you can find them in just about any pond, lake, creek, or river you can think of. They are great to eat and will also put up a very strong fight. Channel catfish are generally the species you are eating when you go to a restaurant and are often farm raised for this purpose. They can be caught on anything from earthworms, nightcrawlers, minnows, cut bream, and chicken livers. They also have a great sense of smell making them very vulnerable to stink baits. Channel Catfish spend almost all of their time on or near the bottom making a heavy weighted rig the best. If you are a bass fisherman you probably know about the Carolina Rig, a slightly modified version of this is a perfect rig for channel catfish as well. The rig starts by sliding a Bass Pro Shops Egg Sinker on your line. The weight of you sinker should be determined by 3 factors, the depth you are fishing, the amount of wind you are facing, and also if there is current. For ponds and small lakes a 1/4 to 1/2 oz should be plenty. In bigger rivers or reservoirs it might be necessary to use up to a 4 oz weight in order to keep the bait down on the bottom. Once you have you sinker in place you attach a swivel, followed by a short 12 to 24 inch leader and your hook of choice. 20 lb test Bass Pro Shops Excel Monofilament  will work great for this and a Gamakatsu Octopus Hook in a size 1 to 1/0 is perfect for most situations. Channel catfish are rarely caught over 25 pounds with most from the 1 to 6 pound range making them perfect size for the fryer.

The bigger species in the catfish family are the flathead catfish and the blue catfish. The world record Flathead catfish weighed in at an incredible 123lbs and they are commonly caught from 10 to 30 lbs. The world record blue is 109.25lbs and are normally pretty big when you catch them. Unlike the channel cat flatheads and blues are predators. They eat all sorts of aquatic animals, such as bass, bream, crappie, shad, crawfish and even other catfish. For these catfish I recommend using fresh cut fish as well as live bait, fished on the bottom with the same carolina type rig you would use for channel cats just with heavier weights and bigger hooks. Make sure you use heavy line as well because these fish are extremely strong and have incredible stamina putting up a strong fight for a long period of time. I would suggest a heavy baitcasting combo such as the Bill Dance Catfish Baitcast Rod and Reel Combo in the 9 or 10 foot model. These will give you the strength you need to handle a true fish of a lifetime.

So if you want to search of something new on your local body of water the catfish has a ton to offer. But probably the most overlooked fish is the gar. There are three species of gar. The longnose, the spotted, and the alligator. Gar are generally considered to be trash fish but trust me they are a lot of fun catch. While the longnose are normally 1 to 3 feet long the alligator gar can grow up to 10 feet in length. The smaller species are much more common and can be found in many different lakes and river systems. Some of their main characteristics are their sharp needle like teeth and there extremely bony head and mouth. This poses a slight problem for hooking them with congenial fishing hooks. One of the best ways to catch a gar is with a small 1 to 3 inch piece of frayed rope. While the mouth is almost impossible to penetrate the rope will tangle in the teeth and allow you to bring them to the boat. Gar normally feed off the surface so no weight is the weigh to go. This can be difficult for spinning equipment so what I like to do is fly fish for them. Fly fishing allows you to cast a weightless bait long distances and also creates a great challenge when fighting a strong jumping gar. Give it a try and you will be hooked on what it has to offer. All of your angling needs can be found at Bass Pro Shops, and make sure to ask an associate if you have any questions! I'll see you on the water!

Joey Nania



Local Fishing Report 5/12 through 5/18

The River was at 4.9ft at the beginning of the week and at the end of the week we had 4.6ft with 26,600CF of flow and 65 degrees.

Trip #1 was a Tuesday PM trip and we fished from 3:30PM to 7:00PM and we caught 12 channel cats and 1 flathead.  The largest channel cat was 4.5lbs and the flathead was 26.10lbs.  The channel cats were caught on catfish gold and the flathead was caught on live bait.  This was a scouting location that we never fished before and I was pleased with the results.  I put a few way points in the GPS.  We had 5.4-falling-44,600CF-muddy and 58 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.00 and falling.

Trip #2 was a Tuesday PM trip and we fished from 4:00PM to 7:00PM and we caught 35 white perch and 20 blue gill.  This was at Lake Marburg and we caught them all on jig/bait combo rigs and jig/soft plastics.

Trip #3 was a half day PM trip and we caught 14 channel cats and 2 flatheads.  Our largest channel was an angler award 9.05lbs. and the largest flathead was 5lbs.  We caught the channel cats on catfish gold and the flatheads on live bait.  We had 5.2-falling-39,600CF-stained and 59 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.55 and steady.

Trip #4 was a half day AM trip and we caught 15 bass, 2 walleye, and 1 fallfish.  The largest Bass was 18" and the largest walleye was 15.5".  We caught them on stickbaits and jigs with soft plastics.  We had the same conditions as noted above.

Trip #5 was a Wednesday PM trip at Lake Marburg and we caught 50+ White Perch, 20 Blue Gill, and one 22" walleye.  We caught them all on Jig/bait combo rigs.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.55 and steady.

Trip #6 was a Thursday PM trip and we caught 7 channel cats and 4 flatheads.  The largest flathead was 30.05lbs. and we also had a 16.06 pounder.  The largest channel cat was 24".  We caught the flatheads on live bait and the channel cats on catfish gold.  We had 5.0-falling-34,700CF-stained and 62degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.50 and rising.

Trip #7 was at Lake Marburg.  We caught 25 white perch and 50+ blue gill.  We caught them on a jig and soft plastic.  We were able to anchor over them and jig them.

Trip #8 was a full day trip on Friday and we caught 17 bass.  The largest was 20.25" and we had a 20" as well.  We caught them on Zell Pop, Senko's, and Salty Spider Grubs.  We had 4.8-falling-29,500CF-clear and 63 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 29.90 and rising.

Trip #9 was a full day trip on Saturday and we caught 17 bass.  The largest was 20.75".  This was the 3rd fish in two days that we had 20" or longer.  We caught them on Zell Pop, Senko's, Booyah Jig, and Salty Spider jigs.  We had 4.6-falling-26,600CF-clear and 64 degrees.  We had a barometric pressure of 30.20 and falling.


This Weekend at Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Seminars and sampling this weekend as we ready ourselves for next weekend's BIG Go Outdoors Event! 


Saturday, May 11

1:00 p.m. – Drift Sock Seminar

2:00pm – Catfishing Basics seminar


Saturday and Sunday, there will be jerky sampling at the Jerky Shack from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.



What's coming up NEXT weekend?

The Go Outdoors Event and Sale May 17-27!

Blank Park Zoo

MorelFest 2013 and more!

Stay tuned!


Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry

Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry


I have been frying fish for over twenty years.  Four years ago I discovered Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry.  It is a product that I never want to be without.  No mater what your personal taste, there is a Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry product for you.  It is a delicious, ready to use mix that comes in a variety of flavors – original, mild, hot & spicy, light & krispy and beer batter.  Whether your big catch is perch, crappie, catfish or shrimp, it’s easy and so delicious.  You can also use it to make homemade onion rings. batter2

Some people just coat their fish in meal and seasonings and fry them.  There is nothing wrong with this.  With Uncle Buck’s, you create a batter following the instructions on the container.  There are three different ways you can cook your fish – bake, deep fry and pan fry.  Either way, they are going to come out golden brown and delicious.   It’s perfect.  So bring on your next camping, fishing or outdoor adventure.  The container for Uncle Buck’s Fish Fry is waterproof and reseal able.  It is located inside The General Store.


Melissa Carter

Fudge Lead

Denham Springs


"Hooked" on Catfish!

They say catfish have a face only another catfish could love.  I disagree, even the mother catfish swims off and leaves her young alone as soon as she sees them, but brothers and sisters, they taste so good!

Millions of fishers flock to the waters of Texas to catch catfish, with just about as many different setup and baits to go around, for each one of them.  Today I hope to share a  basic terminal tackle rig with you. Let’s look at the basic slider rig.  It’s called a slider rig because the line slides through the weight when the fish chomps on your bait.  Hopefully the fish does not feel the weight as an ‘unnatural’ item and spit your bait out.  If we tie a knot around the weight the fish may just feel the weight and spit the bait out. Here’s how to rig it!

 Thread your egg sinker, or any weight that is designed to slip up and down the line, onto your fishing line. Make sure the weight is appropriate to cast with your fishing rod, you don’t want to try throwing a boat anchor with a flyswatter.   Then slide a plastic bead up the line right behind the weight.  This little plastic bead keeps the edges of the metal weight from digging against your knot and weakening it.  A little bead may just save that big old Mr. Whiskers you’ve been after so don’t scrimp on them. 

 Next, tie on a barrel swivel to the end of your line.  Make sure the barrel swivel eyes are heavy enough to hold the fish you are after. Also, make sure you get swivels with eyes large enough not to slide over the hole or brass loop in your sinker.

 Once you have the weight, bead and barrel swivel in place tie in a piece of leader.  A leader can be as simple as a piece of the line off your reel, any variation of line. Some folks like fluorocarbon, some monofilament and some still use nylon braids or steel leaders.  The choice is yours, but most freshwater bottom fishers simply use a good strong piece of monofilament about 18 to 24 inches long as a leader.

 So, now we have everything set up except the part that gets the point across (pun intended).  The hook is exactly as critical as the fisherman is serious.  A lot of catfishers are strictly out for a little time outside and if they catch a few well that’s great.  On the other side of the coin there are catfish tournament pros.  These serious-minded souls have put some thought and experimentation into their hook choice.  Here are a few hook ideas and some catfish-brained logic behind them.

 The “J” hook. That’s the hook that looks just like the letter “J”.  It’s been around a long time and everybody already has a few in their tackle box.  Just make sure they are sharp and not rusted, especially around the hook eye.

J Hook

 There is also the “Kahle” hook.  It has a sweeping gooseneck shaft that allows you to use thicker chunks of bait without having to widen the actual “gap” of the hook.  These were the hook of choice for cut bait fisherman before the “circle hook” came on the scene.

Kahle Hook

 Last, and surging to the front in popularity is the “circle hook.”  Don’t ask me the physics of the thing, but these engineering marvels always seem to hit the fish right in the corner of the mouth when the fish starts struggling.  There is an upside and downside to the circle hook. The up side is, as I already said, they catch the fish in the corner of the mouth an astounding percentage of the time. They don’t swallow the hook…ever.  You don’t even have to guess when to set the hook, just start reeling when you know the fish is on.  Therein is the only downside.  If you try to “set” the hook with the typical herculean, wide sweeping power set that some folks love so much, the hook doesn’t do it’s magic and you miss a lot of strikes, but some of us just love that hook set so much we don’t want to let the fish have all the fun.

Circle Hook

 Some cat catchers prefer a treble hook.  These type hooks are usually employed by fishers using different kinds of “stink baits.”  There are dip baits, dough baits, and just about as many homemade concoctions as the fishing public can imagine.  Treble hooks might also be a good choice if you use chicken livers or some other soft tissue bait like beef or pork liver.

Treble Hook

 One more treble hook joins the parade too.  There is the regular treble hook with a spring or wire wrapped around the shaft of the hook.  This added contraption actually gives dough type baits something additional to hold on to when we fling that bad boy out with a lot of gusto.  They sure do help to keep you from unknowingly fishing with a bare hook from slinging your bait off while casting.

Spring Treble Hook

 So, there is your basic catfish rig, a few hook ideas, and even a little “how to” on the rigging.  Now it’s up to you to decide the “when to” and come on into Bass Pro Shops, Garland, TX to get your gear! Oh, and make sure you get that frying pan ready!


Have Fly Rod, Will Travel

Rod WotenBy: Rod Woten, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

Iowa isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind when someone mentions fly fishing. Granted, we don’t have any epic saltwater flats that hold line-stripping bonefish and we don’t have any glacier-fed rivers that hold stunningly beautiful cutthroat trout. There are, however, plenty of fly rod opportunities in Iowa if you know where to look. The opportunities below are just a few of my favorites from around the state.


Farm Pond Panfish

I learned to fly fish on southeast Iowa farm ponds growing up as a kid.  Minnesota may be the land of 10,000 lakes, but Iowa is the land of 10,000 farm ponds and many of them rarely, if ever, get any fishing pressure. That can equate to trophy panfish and the opportunity to be THE ONLY ONE with permission to fish a farm pond or two. Often, all it takes is a knock on a landowner’s door and sharing a bag of fillets with them every once in a while. 

The great thing about panfish on the fly rod is that every fish seems like a monster. One of my favorites tactics for catching farm pond bluegills on the fly rod are foam poppers.  Trust me - if you love the adrenaline of catching bass on top water lures, then catching bluegills on fly rod poppers is definitely right up your alley. Don’t limit yourself to poppers only, though. Almost any dry fly, grasshopper, cricket, or beetle pattern will make an excellent top water presentation for bluegills. If you’re lucky enough to be fishing a pond that also contains crappies, you also stand a very good chance of landing a few of those silver-sided panfish.

For those days when the bluegills just won’t feed on the surface, I’ll tie on a small beadhead nymph of some sort, add a strike indicator above that, and experiment with the depth between the two until I find the exact depth that the bluegills are feeding at.  Another variation on this theme is to tie a foam hopper on and then add a nymph to a short length of line tied to the hook of the hopper. This is often referred to as a “hopper-dropper” rig, and will not only catch those deeper feeding bluegills, but can pick up surface strikes as well.

All of these tactics also work well on any Iowa lake with a good panfish population, so don’t be afraid to give those a whirl either.

Down a Lazy River

Iowa is blessed with a few rivers that have pretty good smallmouth bass fishing. One of my favorites is the stretch of the Raccoon River between Panora and Redfield. On a hot summer day, it feels pretty good to wade a stretch of this river while tossing wooly buggers to likely looking smallmouth haunts and waiting for the strike. Other than an occasional passing flotilla of kayakers, we often have the river to ourselves when we do this. For those that are willing to wade far enough from the access points, you can often forget you’re only minutes away from the nearest highway.

My favorite fly for this is a black wooly bugger with a gold cone head.  Fishing this fly is as simple as casting to a likely looking spot, and stripping line to retrieve the Bugger.  The stripping action causes the Bugger to gently rise and fall through the water with each stroke and looks a lot like a minnow swimming through the current. Smallmouth can’t resist it, but it’s also not uncommon for us to catch walleye, largemouth bass, channel catfish, white bass, yellow bass, crappies, green sunfish, flathead catfish and carp on any given cast. I think that’s one of the things I love the most about wading the Raccoon River; even though we’re specifically targeting smallmouth, you just never know what you’re next fish will be.

The Queen Mother of All Iowa Fly Fishing

WCreek Fly Fishingithout a doubt, the pinnacle for fly fishing in Iowa is chasing brook, brown and rainbow trout in the cold water spring-fed streams of northeast Iowa. Most folks don’t even realize that we have trout in Iowa, but they are there and the fly fishing for them can be EPIC at most times of the year. Iowa’s trout streams are often small, and the close proximity of overgrowth can be a true test of anyone’s fly casting ability. It is often said that if you can successfully fly fish the trout streams of Iowa, you can fly fish anywhere with success.

Whether your goal is to fool a truly wild trout, take home a limit of stockers for the grill, chase a true trophy fish, or simply get away from it all and spend the day casting in the solitude of nature, you can find all of these on a northeast Iowa trout stream. Because of the unique geology of the area, (which, in large part is why these streams are there in the first place) you'll be blessed with rock outcroppings, scenic overlooks and flora and fauna that will take your breath away. In this area of the state it is truthfully hard to tell most of the time that you are still even in Iowa! It’s something you truly have to experience for yourself to fully understand, and what better way to do so than with fly rod in hand.

Give it a Try!

It is said that almost any fish that can be caught with rod and reel can also be caught on the fly rod. Contrary to popular belief, Iowa has some humdinger fly fishing opportunities available to anyone willing to pick up a rod, learn to cast and give it a try.  From farm pond bluegills and largemouth to river smallmouths, and from carp (often referred to as the “poor man’s bonefish”) to spring stream trout, Iowa can offer it all.  Bass Pro Shops can provide you everything you need to get started; not only on the equipment side of things, but also with expert guidance on selecting things like line, rod, reel and flies for whatever fish you decide to chase as well as offering casting workshops and fly tying seminars all done in-store. Be sure to stop in and pick their brains if this whole fly rod thing is something that peaks your interest. I also own and operate Coldwater Guide Service, which specializes in guiding beginner fly anglers. While our forte is Northeast Iowa trout, we also offer trips for all of the scenarios I’ve described above, as well as many others, including ice fishing adventures during the winter. If you’d like to have us take you out and show you what this fly fishing thing is all about, be sure to check us out at

Whatever avenues you might take to learn fly-fishing, I highly encourage you to at least give it a try….even if it only remotely interests you. As a fishing professional, I spend many hours fishing with an array of techniques ranging from pulling planer boards for walleyes and spinnerbait fishing for bass to drifting for crappies and fishing through a 6” hole in the ice with a 20-inch rod in the winter…and everything in between, but some of my most satisfying moments in my life have come with a fly rod in my hand.


Have a question for Rod or other members of our pro staff? Ask here or :

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Lessons in Fishing: Sometimes Simple Works Just Fine

We give out a lot of advanced and technical advice on this blog which we hope has helped you learn how to be more successful in your outdoor adventures. But you know, sometimes the simple approach works, and many times it takes one of our younger folks to remind us of this.

Emily 2Emily 1

Meet Emily Grizzell, who caught this 8 pound catfish in her grandparent’s farm pond. She caught this big fellow by using a Bass Pro Shops Barbie Pole rigged with night crawlers. Not only did she haul it in, but had no qualms about handling it and gave it a big bear hug for the picture !!

Emily 4Emily 4

Young Miss Emily is quite the angler as you can see by some of the other pictures of her in action. So far she hasn’t found a night crawler or a fish that she is afraid of !!

So keep on throwing your baitcasters and your umbrella rigs, but keep in mind that sometimes when you are struggling out there, simple is better.


We want to fish other bodies of water and try different techniques. Since the water is still cold, where would you suggest we try and what bait should we use?

Question - We want to fish other bodies of water and try different techniques. Since the water is still cold, where would you suggest we try and what bait should we use?


Kary Ray and Lance BakerLance Baker

"Right now the best cold bait lures to go with are a blade bait, drop shot, and jig. These cannot be beat in cold water conditions!!! "

Kary Ray -

'If you're fishing from the shore it can make it a challenge but it can definitely be done. I would search for some kind of rock or wood in the water, preferably next to some deep water. The fish at this time of year will likely move up and down the water column due to the changes in the weather. The rocks and wood will help warm the water quicker in that area which will make the fish warm quicker and be a little more aggressive.

For bass I would fish either a jig with some kind of plastic trailer like a zoom chunk or a twin tail grub. Another great choice, and my personal favorite, would be a chatterbait. You can use this particular lure in a variety of ways. You can bounce it off the bottom like a jig, slow roll it along the bottom or, when the fish are a little more aggressive later in the afternoon, you can just cast it out and reel it in.

Catfish right now will start getting real good. Go back into the shallow pockets and throw dead bait (chubs or bluegills) or nightcrawlers on the bottom and just wait. Watch your rod carefully, cause if you get one it is probably gonna be a dandy!

Crappies and bluegills will make a push back into the shallow water but most won't hold there. They will come back into the pockets after a couple warm days then move back out and suspend with a cold front. My suggestion would be to use a 1/16 oz. jig head with a minnow on a slip bobber. This way you can adjust the depth of your presentation until you find the fish. Again, wood and rocks will attract this fish as well.

Anytime you have a place on a lake where a creek is feeding into the lake, this is a prime spot. All species of the lake will migrate there to some extent due to the warm water coming in. Think north when fishing in the spring. The pockets on the north side of the lake will warm quicker which will bring the baitfish and larger fish in right behind them."

Rod Woten

Rod Woten -

"Depends on what species you’re after right now.  Pike will be in shallow water spawning or just finishing up with spawning.  If the pike are done spawning, the perch will be next. Crappies will be staged somewhere between the mid-lake basins where they’ve spent the later part of the winter suspended.  Somewhere between that basin and shallower weedy or dark bottom bays, those crappies can be intercepted.  Bluegills should still be relatively close to where we were catching them prior to ice out.  If there are still green weeds to be found, look for them there.  Otherwise, they are probably still located in those deeper water “sticky bottom” areas. They won’t begin moving shallow to spawn until the water warms up considerably.  Catfish should be concentrated anywhere there is a concentration of winter-kill fish….especially shad.  Cats will pretty much be on a feeding frenzy until those dead fish are gone, so lots of folks lie to target them right now with cut bait. 

Think small bait. The water is still relatively cold, so the metabolism of the fish still isn’t firing at full power. It’s okay to upsize a bit for what we were using prior to ice out, but keep it slow, because these fish aren’t looking for a drag race to catch their food yet. Live bait is good…waxworms for just about everything, small minnows for crappies & walleye. This is also a good time to practice up with those micro plastics that we were using through the ice."





Open Season On Asian Carp

City of Miami asks Fishermen to be aware of Asian Carp

(Miami, OK) – A 60-pound Asian big head carp was caught this week in the Neosho River in Miami, Oklahoma. Asian Carp are an aquatic nuisance species and it is determined that they warrant a mandatory control effort.

Asian carp were introduced to the United States in the early '70s to control algae in catfish farms in the South. Floods washed them into the Mississippi River in the 1980s. They've worked their way upriver ever since. Biologists and ecologists say Asian carp consume massive amounts of phytoplankton and zooplankton — as much as 40-percent of their body weight or more each day. That's the same food source relied upon by many native fish species and other aquatic life.

If you catch an Asian carp, please report it to Curtis Tackett at the Oklahoma Wildlife Department by calling 1-405-521-4623 and then properly dispose of the fish.

For more information regarding fishing at the Neosho River, you may contact Shannon Thomas with the City of Miami’s CVB at 918-533-2014. asian carp