From The Shack - Ice Fishing In Alberta

It’s that wonderful time of year where the sidewalks are slippery, pipes are freezing, and everyone is looking forward to the next Chinook in a vain hopeing that the 6 inches of ice on the neighbors sidewalk may actually disappear. BUT, some of us, will be outside, slipping and sliding like goofs to get in a little bit of ice fishing.

My first attempt ice fishing with my father was a bit of a gong show. Neither of us had been ice fishing in years,  I had a vague idea of what was needed. Some form of hook and line (possibly bait if permitted), a rod or tip up (though at the time the only tip– up I remembered using was two pieces of a hockey stick nailed into a cross that fit over the hole) and uneven chairs sitting on the ice, in snow pants, getting cold quite quickly. My dad pulled out a 40 year old hand auger, that he swore drilled through the ice like butter– then again anything is faster than hacking away with an axe right? Well maybe anything with the exception of that old ice auger.  If you’re ever in Bass Pro Shops, Rocky View you can see that auger in our antique display (sometimes they don't make them like they used to for a reason.).

With much trial and error, sometimes forgetting half the gear at home, and after coming away skunked more times then I’d like to admit, we managed to get the hang of it and pulled out a few really nice sized fish.

Things I’ve learned:

· Have a sharp auger– a hand auger will do as long as the blade is sharp. To be fair the 40 year old hand auger drilled through a little over 5 feet of ice in about 5 minutes...Although after the first hole, someone with a gas auger felt sorry for us and came and drilled us a couple holes in mere seconds.

· Research where you’re going– the internet is a plethora of information. If your going somewhere you have never been, a topographic map and hints of where people are catching will always help.

· Look for ice reports!!! I cannot stress this one enough, I always do a little poking around to try and find out ice thickness before I go out. If someone had to belly crawl to get off the ice because it was so thin, you wont catch me anywhere near that lake. 6-12” is usually when I will walk out onto the lake, no amount of fishing is worth falling into the freezing water; keeping a pair of ice picks in your pocket just in case is also highly advisable.

· Test the ice– when you walk out, drill a test hole to see for yourself how thick the ice is. Never drive out unless you’re sure the ice is thick enough: Insurance will not cover your vehicle if it goes through the ice, and you have to pay to get it out (not cheap) and you can be fined just to add monetary injury to your  already insulted ego.  Remember just because you see a small car on the ice does not mean it is thick enough for your truck.

This year the ice froze funny, lots of snow too soon. In a lot of places there’s a good foot of slush on top on the ice,  In some cases flood water, it’s really easy to get stuck and even if you’re walking, falling into the slush means cold ice water in the boots.  To put it into perspective, we got an Argo stuck in the slush (full story upon request)  If that can get stuck, so can your vehicle.


 · Know  The species in the lake, and what you want to target– For perch, small jigs with maggots or meal worms are always the ticket, if you think the hook is small, it’s probably not small enough. Pike– rattle baits, or smelts/minnows. Walleye-jigs with worms/ minnows/small smelt,bucktail jigs. Burbot– jigs with smelts/raw meat/Anything stinky, jigging lures, and my personal preference buzz bombs with a bit of bait. White fish– Wire worms with a couple maggots on hook.. Trout-Small jigging lures or jigs with or without bait.

· Extra clothes– if you fall in, at least you’ll have something dry to change into.

· People food– even if you’re planning to fry up some fish on the ice bring something anyways, just in case you don't catch anything.

· And the last, and my favorite part, take good company. My favorite thing about ice fishing is going out and spending time with my dad.  So go outside, and enjoy winter, because we live in Canada and have plenty of it!!!!!


4 Must Have Baits For Winter Fishing

During the winter months the majority of angler’s trade in their bass boats for a tree stand and their fishing rod's for a rifle! For some reason hunting in the cold months of the year just seems to make more sense than placing yourself in the open elements out on a boat. While it can be cold and nasty at times, with the proper 100 MPH Bass Pro Shops rain gear and the right selection of fishing lures you can have some of the most successful fishing days in your entire life. Not only do fish bite in the winter time, but big fish bite. With odds of catching a big fish increasing, no matter what the weather, if I have a free day in the winter I'm going to be on the water. Here are 4 key baits that will help build some mid winter memories on the water!

1) The umbrella rig is one of my primary winter time baits. Actually it's 5 baits on one rig consisting of a head and 5 wires with swivels on the end of each wire. The original model was produced 2 years ago by Manns Bait Company and is called the Alabama Rig, since then many other companies have come out with their own rigs. My personal favorite is the new Bass Pro Shops Deadly 5 Flashy Times, not only does it have the 5 baits when fully rigged but it is also built with a blade on each of the 4 outside wires. The blades add extra flash and vibration that is deadly for bass that are lurking in deep stained water. There are a few different baits I like to use when on my rig. The first is the new Strike King Swim-N-Shiner. The Swim-N-Shiner is a flat sided slender swim bait with a perfect paddle tail that gives the bait incredible action. It comes in two different sizes, a 4" and a 5" and is offered in 6 different colors. I like to choose my size of bait and color based on water clarity, size of the baitfish, and species of bass I am targeting. For example if I'm fishing Lake Guntersville I use the 5 inch, if I'm fishing Logan Martin Lake I prefer the 4 inch baits. I rig my baits on Gamakatsu Darter jig heads and I select my size based on the depth I am going to be targeting. My rule of thumb is 1/8oz for 15ft or less and 3/8oz or 1/4oz for anything deeper than that. Often the key to catching fish on the rig is letting it hit and drag on the bottom, so make sure you use jig heads that allow you to do that. Another bait option that is a little simpler is the Bass Pro Shops Boss Shad, they come pre rigged on a jig head and are ready to be fished straight out of the pack. They are a perfect option for a beginning angler that doesn't want to mess with rigging the baits themselves. When I'm fishing my rig I look for three main ingredients. One is bait fish, two is the wind, and three is an area of the lake that I know has a good population of bass such as a specific creek, deep pocket, or main river point. If you find those three things and work your bait properly through the school of fish you will be amazed at the success you can have while fishing with an umbrella rig.

2) An awesome way to catch winter time fish is with suspending jerk bait. When the water temperature drops below 50 degrees the jerk bait is possibly the very best option you can turn to. The neutrally buoyant suspending nature of many of the jerk baits on the market today is the real key in why it is so deadly on cold water bass. I love to throw the Spro McStick 110 Jerk bait in cold water using a slow twitch and pause teqnique. The colder the water the longer I let my bait pause which gives the slow moving bass time to swim up to the bait. 9 times out of 10 the bass will eat the jerk bait when it is sitting still so always be sure to watch your line. A good quality rod is very important such as a 7'3" TFO Tactical Series bait caster spooled with 10lb Fluorocarbon Line. A quality sensitive rod with the low stretching flouro carbon will allow you to feel and see even the most gentle bites whether your hands are frozen or not! The ingredients I look for when searching for an area to throw my jerk bait are identical to where I use my umbrella rig. One bait fish, two wind, and three fish that you know live in the area. Very your retrieve and try to learn something from every fish that bites. Once you have triggered a strike you can often repeat the exact same cast and retrieve and catch fish after fish in the same area.

3) The Rapala Shad Rap has been fooling winter time bass for as long as I've been alive! It is made out of balsa wood and has an absolutely deadly action. The reason it works so good on cold water bass is because of two things. First is the fact that the Shad Rap has no rattles, second is the subtle tight wobble of the bait when retrieved in a slow and steady manner. These two factors combined make a subtle bait that has proven to be hard for a bass to resist, especially when the water is cold! The bait comes in multiple different sizes from an SR4 to an SR9. I generally use the SR7 for the reason that it is easier to cast and is really a perfect size to attract fish across the country. There are also a wide variety of colors to choose from yet I still only rotate between three different choices. The original crawdad, shad, and silver black back colors, are all you will ever need to load the boat with fish. I like to throw my Shad Rap on shallow clay and gravel points where the bass will be sunning and feeding throughout the winter months.

4) A good old fashion jig and pig will rarely let you down if you work it properly in the winter months. While the previous 3 go to baits are considered reaction baits, fishing the jig and pig is a slow methodical presentation will slowly entice a slow moving fish to bite. On difficult cold fishing days it can at times seem like there are absolutely no fish left in the lake, but the truth is they are there and they have to eat at some point. Always remember that fish are cold blooded, so if the water is cold then their bodies will be cold. A bass in water that is 45 degrees or is going to be extremely opportunistic, meaning a food opportunity must be worth the effort. A jig is a bulky slow presentation that imitates a hearty worth while meal. If I'm fishing relatively clear water I like to use a natural green or brown color Stanley Finesse Jig with a Zoom Super Chunk Junior trailer. In the clear water the natural color slightly smaller jig with no rattles will definitely fool fish into eating. When fishing stained or muddy water I like to use a darker color such as black and blue, and having rattles definitely won't hurt your fish catching cause. When fishing a jig in cold water I like to move the bait as slow as possible, just simply shaking the jig on the bottom, giving the fish plenty of time to swim up to the bait. One thing I do often is change the skirts on my jigs. PPMB Skirts is a company that makes awesome jig, spinner bait, and chatter bait skirts in more colors than you can imagine. Definitely check there website out so you can start customizing your jigs.

Braving the elements and heading out on the lake could be a decision that will lead you to the catch of a lifetime! Pick up these four simple baits at your local Bass Pro Shops and go give it a shot I have a feeling you will be glad you did. If you are interested in learning these tactics first hand you can find my guide service e-mail address at  I'll see you on the water!

Joey Nania



Spring Cleaning ..... Getting Ready to Fly


Fish that is. It's time. Yes, I know that the thermometer still hovers somewhere in the vicinity of the Arctic Circle and you may need to call in an ice breaker to get on your favorite trout stream, BUT the return of outstanding fly fishing is getting so close we can almost taste it. To ensure you're prepared for that first miracle day when the temperature rises, the water flows, and you have the day off, you need to get things ready now.

If you have been lusting after a new fly rod, now is the time to acquire it. A new rod is a great way to start the season and the perfect excuse to go fishing, as in “I have this new rod I really need to go try out” The same “excuse” works for that rod you got as a gift that has been sitting in the corner taunting you all winter.

If your “old favorite” rod and reel have been waiting patiently since you put them away last fall, they probably could use a little attention. A bit of candle wax rubbed on the male ends of the rod segments will refresh the joints and help that rod fit together snugly.

Having spent the past couple of months wrapped around the reel the line has likely acquired a bit of memory. Find yourself a smooth pole (like a basketball pole, not a tree… too rough). Spool off your line around the pole, grab both ends and walk back to the point where you’re stretching the line; not too taut, just enough to straighten it out. This works best on a reasonably warm day with the line at room temperature.

This is also a good time to inspect and clean that line. If your line is more than a couple of three years old it may be ready to be replaced. Look closely for cracks or breaks in the plastic. Damage such as this will let water into the core and the line will not float very well, if at all it deserves to be retired (I usually relegate my old lines to the rod I use for pond fishing for bluegill and bass). Assuming the line looks to be in decent shape, a good cleaning will ensure it’s ready to go.

I have heard many different perspectives on how to clean and treat a fly line. For some (like me) a simple cleaning with a damp rag and dishwashing soap (a gentle detergent) seems to work just fine. Others, afraid the soap will remove the secret-sauce line coating, wipe off the line with clean water and then treat it with one of the many line conditioners available. Should you have any questions about how to clean and treat your particular line; most line manufacturers have recommendations for their products on their websites. Backing, unless it’s about 100 years old, rarely requires any attention or maintenance (as long as you didn’t put that reel away soaking wet which will cause the backing to acquire a nice coating of mold and mildew).

It is likely that your leader needs refreshed. By the end of the season the last one I used looks pretty sad; short broken sections with wind knots, abrasions, and long pieces of tippet tied on the end (hey, the fish were rising, no time to tie on a new leader!). A fresh new tapered leader will get you started right this year.

Now is also a great time to review your outfit. No, I’m not suggesting you reassess your sense of style, but rather the great load of tools, supplies, and implements of destruction we carry forth each time we head for the water. By the end of the season I seem to have added enough stuff to my kit that when fully outfitted in my waders and chest pack I look like a haz-mat team from the waist down and hardware store from the waist up.

Clearly we need a few things. Extra leaders, some spools of tippet, and the basic tools- nippers, forceps, and a zinger to hang them on- are of course required. Dull nippers are nothing more than a frustration. Some nippers may be sharpened, others should simply be replaced. Forceps last forever. Zingers, however, do tend to wear out and will break at the least convenient and most overlooked times. I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve looked down only to discover my favorite and most needed tools have disappeared on the end of a broken zinger. Give them a good look to see if they are frayed and worn.

Rummage through all the pockets of your vest or pack to see what treasures may be lurking there unnoticed. That granola bar you stashed last July may need refreshing; if you find a Twinkie it’s probably still good to go. Strike indicators, split shot, floatant, and other miscellaneous supplies may need refreshed or discarded depending upon how often you actually used them. A lighter load makes you a more nimble angler.aquaseal

Waders and wading boots usually require a bit of attention. That annoying little leak was probably tolerable last September, but will feel pretty uncomfortable in April’s 50 degree water. Small leaks, either punctures or in the seams, may be repaired with products such as Aquaseal. Simply clean the areas with rubbing alcohol, let it dry, and apply a small amount of AquaSeal. Rubbing in the sealant with a q-tip works well on leaky seams. Larger rips or tears are harder to repair and may necessitate replacement.

Wading boots can take quite a beating. Check-out your laces and replace as necessary. Synthetic laces, not the cotton ones designed for hiking boots, work best and will not deteriorate in the water. If you notice any seams that have separated on your boots, there are still a few cobblers about who can repair them at a reasonable cost (there is a great old-time shoe repair place in Fountain City-they do great work). If the uppers of your boots are in good shape but you’ve worn off the felt soles, these may be refreshed by grinding off the remaining felt and installing felt sole replacements. I’ve done this a couple of times and, if you follow the instructions provided with the repair kit, it works really, really well. For those with studded soles, check to see if the studs are worn or missing. Replacement packs of the screw-in studs are readily available. Then again, it may be time for new boots.

Last but not least, you need to take stock of your supply of flies. Remember what worked best last year?? Do you have enough?? If not...get busy tying. If you don’t tie your own, get to the store sooner verses later...once the fishing turns-on the fly shops tend to run out, at least temporarily, of the most popular flies fairly quickly. You don’t want to hit the water for the first time this spring without your favorite flies.

And there you have it, from rod to reel and head to toe, the things we all should be doing to get ready for the best fishing of the year that’s lurking somewhere just over the horizon. If you have any questions about the state of your equipment or what flies to acquire, just stop by the shop...we’ll be glad to look things over and offer suggestions. While I wouldn't go sit by the stream fully wadered with your fly rod in hand just yet - we do need to live through the rest of February - its close enough we need to READY!

Local fishing continues to be challenging, although tail water fishing has improved of late. The Clinch River has seen some favorable generation schedules on the weekends and we’ve talked with quite a few anglers who planned to take advantage of the opportunities. The Holston has also been fishing well with wader-friendly schedules. Remember you can check the tail water schedules, updated around 6:00PM every evening, by looking at the TVA Website.

The national park waters were bone-numbing cold, but the rains over the past weekend have warmed the streams a bit. Unfortunately, we got a little too much rain and the streams were pretty blown-out. Little River rose from about 200 cubic feet per second to near 4,000 this past Monday (it’s down to 904 right now-still too high to fish). Unable to fish the park waters I headed to one of the stocked catch-and-release streams and managed to catch a few big dumb rainbows...not exactly the same as catching a wild trout, but in February sometimes “ya just gotta catch a fish”, if for no other reason than to keep your spirits up.



Bass Pro Outdoor World

White River Fly Shop

3629 Outdoor Sportsmans Place

Kodak, TN 37764







Satisfy Those Winter Cravings

Satisfy Those Winter Cravings


Every year right around this time, the urge to feel a tug on my line becomes too much to ignore. Even though the temperature has been exceedingly cold and the conditions are tough for fisherman, there are still some exciting and fun fishing opportunities for anglers thru the ice. The first and most important thing is to research the ice that you plan on fishing as thoroughly as you can, most importantly, ice safety. Check with other fisherman, or even your local police or fire station may have information on ice thickness. Once you determine that the ice is safe, you’ll need to make sure you have all your gear ready to roll before you head out so you don't get stuck out there with non functioning gear.

I like to head over to Bass Pro shops in Foxboro. They have everything I need from hand warmers to ice augers, jigging spoons to ice fishing tip ups. They have it all and that makes it super easy to grab what I need and go. After our pit stop at BPS we head out for a great day of fishing. Last week before our latest bout with snow, a few friends and I tried our luck at a small pond in Natick, MA.

The pond is known for its clarity and depth so we brought a combination of tip ups and shiners as well as jigging rods. Armed with Swedish pimples and little Cleo's (all of which are available at BPS I believe) we spent a good portion of the day jigging over deep holes. Of course we set a few tip ups just to increase our odds of hooking up with something and to feel the excitement of racing over to the trap not knowing what is on the other end.

The first hit of the day came from a nice yellow perch. Man was it fun to feel the fight on my light tackle jigging rod for first time in a long time. After that, we hit some crappie and pickerel. Nothing too big but we did see some really nice yellow perch a little later in the day right before we left. We spent about 6 hours out on the ice that day and caught more pan fish then we could count. We caught and released everything of course, back to their icy winter world in hopes of seeing them again in the warmer months ahead. 

If you haven't had a chance to get out on the ice this season or ever have never tried ice fishing before, there is still time for you to get out and experience the excitement. There are so many people and places with information that are happy to share and help get you in the best position possible to catch some fish and have a safe and fun time doing it. 


Greg Miner

Charles River Charters


“Life is better on the river"



American Shad Season 2014 On The St. Johns River

Shad Fishing the St. Johns RiverShad season is hitting its stride right about now and fishermen are doing pretty well when they can find the fish.  I've caught a few very nice ones but the season seems to have taken a strange turn by having peaked a bit earlier than expected and while the fishing quality is still there, the quantities aren't what we've come to expect after the last few seasons.  There are some that call shad "Florida's Salmon" which means anyone who likes to catch strong, migratory species needs to give it a try at the very least. 

On the brighter side, we've had the opportunity to introduce some new folks to the joys of fishing the St. Johns River at this time of year and the wonderful variety that's possible.  I had a chance to share with a customer and now friend a couple days ago and he's surely to venture back on his own given the success he found along this wonderful waterway.  John and I meandered along the straights and bends of the river for a few hours this past week and learned a few things about the waterway and each other, which makes time on the water that much more enjoyable.  We chatted about all things fishy, from flies and rods to the places we have been fortunate enough to visit.  He's a budding "big water" fly fisherman, so casting at a distance is still somewhat of a challenge, but he stuck with it and landed some wonderful fish, including a beautiful hybbrid striped bass (albeit on a spinning rod), and an enormous american shad.  Beginner's luck must have had something to do with it.  Either way, we had a great time and I expect to spend more time together on the fresh and salt water.

John's Big American ShadMy favorite thing about shad season is the variety of fish species available if you just take some time away from casting for the main target.  Bluegill, warmouth, crappie, bass, hybrids, catfish, and many others are possible if you just take a little time to get out of the main channel and explore the out of the way spots.  Scott absolutely blasted a reed line full of crappie just to prove he could catch fish better than me a couple weeks ago.  I didn't stick around to watch the fun, but I could hear him yelling "FISH ONNNN!" from quite a ways away.

Kayaking across this section of river is a very enjoyable way to venture around, especially if you want to take your time and fish as you go.  Every sand bar and channel potentially holds fish, so stopping regularly to ply the water is recommended if you expect success and are willing to take whatever happens your way.  With so many types of cover and water structure available a kayak allows you the luxury of stealth and being able to get close.  You also get a chance at some exercise.

This season has been a little tougher than the last couple but it has proven to be a succesfull one anyway.  We've all caught some nice fish, making the effort well worth the rewards and I can gaurantee we'll all be back next year for another go during shad season 2015   

Brian "Beastman" Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando 



First Aid and Survival

We have some long winters here in Central New York.  Who knows when it will all end?  Here are a few things you may just want to consider in a emergency situation for your home or car.


Consider the Bass Pro Shop First Aid Kit-Backpack KitThis pack is not just for backpacking, put it in the glove compartment of your car or in a drawer in your kitchen.  This includes everything you need and nothing you dont need.











Something that every home or car should not be without is the LifeStrawThis easy to carry water filter is great for home, outdoor enthusiasts or in your glove compartment.  The lifestraw captures dangerous bacteria and protozoa in any water.  Designed to provide clean water in the harshest of conditions, it will provide instant access to safe drinking water anywhere.`



























Everyone usually has a flashlight, but do you have one in your car?  Check out the ACR Firefly Plus-Strobe/Flashlight ComboThis flashlight is perfect for the car its waterproof with good distance at night and only requires 2 AA batteries. Perfect for a emergency situation.















Not that anyone wants to think this could happen, but consider being stranded during one of our storms.  A great item to have in your car is the  Adventure Medical Kit-HeatsheetsThis quiet compact and durable blanket is good for one or two people.  Bright orange exterior,  this small blanket will reflect 90% of your bodyheat.  Very easy to fold and store away, tear resistant and easy to spot.  Everyone should have one in their trunk!













Last but not least look at the Chums Smokey Fire Starter Paracord BraceletNot only are these great for camping, but how many times have you had too much in your truck and need extra rope.  This small bracelet has 16' of paracord and can handle 550 pounds.  It adjusts to most wrists,  why not throw it into the glove compartment with everything else in case of a emergency.  Best thing about the Chum is the buckle is a fire starter.  It has a steel washer and firestone rod.
















These are just a few things to have for that "just in case" scenerio that you hope to never be in.  Living in Upstate, NY you just never know.


Robin Piedmonte - Events Coordinator












"Extreme Ice Fishing!"

Extreme Ice Fishing!

By: Jerry Costabile

I have been ice fishing the Midwest for around forty years and I have never experienced conditions like there have been this winter.

I was excited that by Christmas, we had cold enough temperatures here in SE Wisconsin to have ice to safely fish most lakes. Than by the New Year, there was fishable ice on all of the lakes I usually have to wait until later in January to get on. It was looking like a great start to the season for all! The local bait shops were getting good sales, the bigger stores had good ice fishing sales, and the interest in the Arctic Cat ATV’s and UTV’s here at TRACKER Boat Center was increasing. All this action and it was early in the season!

Then while watching the weather one night, I hear a new weather term, the polar vortex, also known as a polar cyclone, polar low, or a circumpolar whirl. I will leave it to you to look up the scientific definition for what I call just plain cold! We were getting temps in the negative teens with wind chills in the negative 30’s and 40’s, even had reports of wind chills on -50 degrees! Wow, you talk about ice making weather!

Most ice fishermen would have stayed home in the warmth and comfort of their living rooms, but I am not most ice fishermen. I had a day off and I was going fishing. Wind, cold, snow, I didn’t care, I was going. I am lucky enough to own an insulated Clam shelter and a Buddy Heater, I would be fine right?

The trip started with pre-rigging rods and tying knots in the warmth of home the night before. This was probably the smartest thing I did during this trip. I got up early the next morning with my youngest son Kyle, who always is a challenge to get going at a pace faster than a snail in the morning. The coffee was brewing while we got dressed and got all of the equipment outside. My fishing partner and his grandson were to arrive at 4:15am and it was now about 4 and I was still checking that we had everything to battle the elements and I also had the lunch that I was going to grill, fresh venison steaks with onions on a toasted Kiser bun. There is nothing better than a grilled venison steak sandwich out ice fishing!

I was confident that my Frabil Icearmor suit would keep me warm, after all I hunted the last day of the bow season last year in -25 degree wind chills and it kept me warm. Kyle had his cold weather gear together,  so I think we were ready for whatever mother nature would throw at us. Little did we know how hard she could throw!

We loaded everything into the Dodge and headed north for the 2 hour drive to Lake Winnebago to fish for big perch, whitebass, and walleye. The ride up was quite with the two teenagers both asleep in the back seat . Because of the long ride, we were going to stop at a gas station near the lake to get dressed in our cold weather cloths and head to the lake ready for the day.

When we arrived at the access point to drive onto the lake, we noticed the wind was blowing the snow pretty good. This was going to make setting up interesting! The plowed road out to the fishing area that we wanted to fish, was in good shape so ice travel wasn’t going to be a problem. There were Christmas trees marking the road so even with the blowing snow, we could navigate if my GPS I had in my hand failed. After crossing a steel bridge (these are put over pressure cracks for safe travel) we arrived at our fishing spot about a mile and a half off shore. Now at this point it still looked like a cold, windy day that we have fished in a thousand times before. But when I opened the truck door, I was hit by a blast of cold air that was being pushed by 30 to 40 mile an hour winds that got my attention, it was going to be a one set up day. If the fish didn’t bite here, there was no moving to another spot, this was it!

Setting up my Clam Voyager shelter wasn’t too bad to set up, we used the truck as a wind break  and once the support bars were in place, we were up. The other shelter that was to be occupied by my partner and his grandson, was a hub style shelter. These are very light and tall, so it took a lot to get the shelter up and tied to the truck. The wind and blowing snow had now built up to blizzard like conditions, complete white out! You couldn’t see anything, the shoreline, or the other trucks that were less than a hundred yards away. We finally got settled into our heated shelters and fishing. We fished for an hour without anything to show for our efforts and I decided to step outside. What I saw as I walked around the truck, looking in all directions I still couldn’t see anything. There was a 3 foot snow drift building on the up wind side of my truck, this was not good. I voted to break down the shelters and get off of the lake, but I was over ruled by the grilled venison steak sandwiches I promised to cook. Now, the wind is hurricane force, and the blowing snow put us in less than perfect grilling conditions, but I was expected to have lunch ready for everyone! I went into my shelter put away the fishing equipment and turned it into the camp cook tent. The portable grill was set up and in ten minutes the steaks were sizzling in butter with onions grilling next to them. It took about another ten minute and I had two hungry teenagers looking into the vented door opening saying how good it smells, I have to say that the smell of our lunch was getting to me too! After a quick but hot sandwich, we broke down our gear and headed off of the lake. It was a wise choice because we both agreed that this was the worst weather that we ever fished in and it was getting dangerous out there. Thank god nothing happened to the truck, it could have been bad.

We stopped at the same gas station and undressed out of our heavy clothes, found the hot chili and ate until we were full and warm! The ride home was interesting to say the least. There were cars being blown off of the road and it was all we could do to stay on the road when the wind would gust.

I would like to say that we were successful on our fishing trip, but we didn’t catch a fish. What we did get is a lesson learned that sometimes you just have to stay home and pick a better day.



Colorado Hardwater Panfish

Living in Colorado we don't have a lot of opportunity to chase panfish through the ice as most folks in the eastern states have and while I love to catch trout and most other species through the ice there's something to be said about having a huge crappie or a giant bluegill on the end of of an ultra lite ice rod and fighting it all the way up to the hole.

There are a lot of places to catch crappie and bluegill in Colorado and there are several ponds loaded with them that some have an opportunity to fish but for the most part it is tough to find a good spot where the ice is safe enough to provide some good action through the ice. I would say we have a very short window around the metro area for chasing slabs through the ice. One month the ice is good and a few days of warm weather and it all goes back to mush and becomes very bad in a hurry.

I will never say there is safe ice here in Colorado and I always carry a throw cushion with a fifty foot rope attached to it just in case. I have had some close calls in the past and this year I have heard about way too many anglers going through due to poor conditions. Always go with a few friends and use caution when venturing out on metro lakes. Don't risk it if you are unsure. If others are out on the ice there's a good chance it will hold you too. Wear your ice cleats. One bad slip and your day could be ruined this is from experience.

When you have the opportunity to get out and chase panfish through the ice you can do it very easily. A hand auger, A few ultra light rods with a spring bobber with two to four pound fluorocarbon spooled up on an ultra lite spinning reel. Pick up a few tungsten tear drop jigs in various colors and a few wax worms and your set. A Vexilar is nice to have but not necessary.

Look for structure like rock piles off points that have a deep channel close to a flat and cover like trees and weeds and you will be well on your way to finding the crappies and bluegills that live in the area. The best way to know where all this is at is to find it in the summer and mark it on a map or GPS and come back to it during the winter.

I like to drop my jig down to the bottom and work my way up from there if I hit weeds I keep it just above them. I like to use a very short jigging action and never move my bait too fast. The spring bobber is a must when the bite is light which is most of the time with panfish. Tip the jig with a wax worm and pinch off the head to allow the juices to flow into the water for more attractant. There will be pressure on the spring bobber when one sucks it in. Set the hook lightly because they have very soft mouths. Usually when you find one there are more with him. If the bite slows down move to similar spots and look for the school. They move around a lot so you need to be mobile.

Take advantage of this recent cold weather snap and chase some panfish around if you know a spot where they are try catching them thru the ice it is a lot of fun and the action can be constant. Be safe and I will see you on the ice.

                                                                                                                                   Best of Luck,

                                                                                                                                                         Sam Heckman / Pro StaffForrest with BluegillsChris and Sam with CrappiesSam and Bubba dogBubba dog



A Trip to the Bahamas...

Maurice from our Tracker Department recently took a vacation to the Bahamas with a close friend of his with the intention of catching Mahi-Mahi and a 100lb Wahoo. He left the first week of January and was gone for a total of 15 days.
                                                      Two of the custom built rods w/Penn 80 Internationals adorning an Offshore Angler cap!
They outfitted his friends 64ft Hatteras with custom built rods that were fitted with Penn 80 International Wides. Their journey started out at Ft. Myers where they made their way to the Keys, through Cat Cay, then to Nassau to fuel up before heading for the Exumas. The entire time they were battling rough waves caused by the same cold fronts we were dealing with here in the states.
                                                                  The Hatteras was outfitted nicely!
Finally they were at their fishing destination at a place called Hawks Nest that's in the Cat Islands. Maurice spent 5 days exclusively trolling and experimenting with a variety of artificial lures, such as the Islander Lures we carry in our fishing department. They caught everything from Yellowfin Tuna, to Blackfin Tuna, a 36lb Mahi, a 65lb Sailfish--which was released, and even a 400lb Brown Shark! His goal of a 100lb Wahoo? The biggest one reeled in was 48lbs, however they hooked an even bigger one that they fought to the boat, but not before sharks went on a feeding frenzy, and all Maurice ended up with was the head. He took measurements of the beast in hopes that some day someone will be able to tell him an estimated weight of it.
                         Maurice (right) with his Mahi-MahiMaurice with his Wahoo
All in all, it was a successful fishing trip and Maurice came back all smiles. If you wish to speak to Maurice about our boats or maybe bend his ear about his fishing exploits, he works in our Tracker Department located in the rear of our store.
                                              Maurice's sailfish being hauled in by one of our Islander Lures!
Pictures and information provided by Maurice Gibson
Article writted by Kevin Ballantine

2014 Spring Fishing Classic at Cincinnati Bass Pro Shops

2014 Spring Fishing Classic

The 2014 Spring Fishing Classic is full of great FREE activities for the whole family, and it will kick off this year on Friday February 28th with our reel trade-in. Bring in a used reel and trade it in for a discount on a new reel from the 28th until March 5th. We will, in turn, donate these trade-ins to local organizations in need of fishing equipment. From March 7th to 11th we will have the same offer for your used rods.

We will also have a sweepstakes that will start on Friday that will give you the chance to win a 2104 Nitro Z7 and a chance to fish with Elite Series Angler Edwin Evers, and this sweepstakes will run from the 28th through March 16th.

We will also have our National Pro Staff members in on Friday night giving FREE seminars and meeting and greeting our customers. At 7pm, Mark Brumbaugh, National Walleye Tour Angler/9-Time Professional Walleye Trail (PWT) Champion will be here to talk about Lake Erie Walleye Fishing. At 8pm, we will welcome Dave Mercer, Host of “Facts of Fishing” TY Show, and Bassmaster Elite Series Emcee who will be giving you the “Facts of Fishing”

The weekend of March 7-9 will bring members of our Pro Staff and local professionals and experts to give a host of FREE workshops. The first 25 people to attend each seminar Saturday and Sunday will receive a Free Fishing Classic Mug (must be 18 or older). Here is the weekend schedule:

Friday March 7

7pm – Flipping and Pitching For Bass

Saturday March 8

11am – Locating Bass In New Waters

1pm – Topwater Techniques for Bass

2pm – Spinning Reel Tactics For Bass

3pm – Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?

4pm – Become a Smallmouth Specialist

5pm – Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass

Sunday March 9

11am – Locating Bass In New Waters

1pm – Topwater Techniques for Bass

2pm – Spinning Reel Tactics for Bass

3pm – Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?

4pm – Become a Smallmouth Specialist

5pm – Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass

The last weekend March 15/16 will be our Next Generation Weekend for the kids, with an added twist of a Women’s Fishing Workshop as well. Here are the Next Generation events we have on tap:

Noon to 5pm: Catch and Release Pond and Free Photo Opportunity – Both Saturday and Sunday

1pm to 4:30pm – Free Wood Fish Craft Magnet – Both Saturday and Sunday

2:30 & 4:30 pm – “Thinking Like a Fish” Kids Workshops – both Saturday and Sunday

3pm – Women’s Beginning Fishing Workshop – Saturday only 

The first 150 kids each day to participate in our activities will receive a free Bass Pro Shops Tackle Box. The first 50 women to attend our Women’s Workshop will receive a FREE Bass Pro Shops Mug



Spring Fishing Classic 2014 Line Up

The world's greatest fishing event is back!

February 28-March 16, 2014

Spring Fishing Classic - Bass Pro Shops Altoona


  • Great savings on the equipment you need!
  • Free seminars from the pros
  • Next Generation Weekend with Catch and Release Pond
  • Free Kids' Fishing Workshop
  • Daily Specials
  • Reel and Rod Trade-Ins
  • Bonus Bucks


First weekend - March 1

Join us to welcome our national pros during Bassmaster University!

1 p.m. - Win Stevens - Missouri B.A.S.S. Federation Nation Angler - Using Your Humminbird Electronics

2. p.m. - Chase Parsons - Host "the Next Bite" TV show and Walleye Tournament Champion - Walleyes 2014

3 p.m. - Casey Scanlon - Bassmaster Elite Series Pro - Jig Fishing

Bassmaster University - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Second Weekend - March 7, 8 and 9

Local Pro Fishing Tips and Seminars!Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff - Kary Ray and Lance Baker

March 7 - 7 p.m. - Flipping and Pitching for Bass

March 8 and 9th - (Featuring our Pro Staff Kary Ray and Lance Baker)

11:00 a.m. - Locating Bass in New Waters -  Pro Staff Seminar
1:00 p.m. - Topwater Techniques for Bass
2:00 p.m. - Spinning Reel Tactics for Bass  - Pro Staff Seminar
3:00 p.m. - Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?
4:00 p.m. - Become a Smallmouth Specialist - Pro Staff Seminar
5:00 p.m. - Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass


Third Weekend - March 15 & 16

Free Kids' Fishing Workshop - Bass Pro Shops Altoona

Next Generation Weekend!

  • Noon-5 p.m. Free Catch and Release Pond in our new, larger indoor pond stocked with live fish!
  • Free 4x6 photo with a Keep America Fishing Certificate.
  • 2:30 and 4:30 - Free Kids' Fishing workshops
  • Free Kids' Craft - 1-4:30 p.m. both days - Keepsake magnet fish craft (while supplies last).


Watch for details on specific events and specials in future blogs!


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Streamer Fishing for Big Brown Trout

Streamer Fishing for Big Brown Trout

By Lesley Allen

            I love brown trout. They are a beautiful fish and they fight with an intensity that is hard to describe. On a recent trip to the White River, I had the opportunity to “hunt” for big browns with my fly rod. I actually had a guide to take me out in a drift boat which made it a lot easier.

            Now let me clarify “easier”. I had some instructions before going out with the guide. You can’t just run out into the water and expect to catch a big brown. The easiest way to catch them is on higher flowing water out of a boat. Two generators or more is ideal. Also, this endeavor is best done with a sink tip or full sinking line and an 8 weight fly rod. The flies are larger as well.

            If you have never cast a sink tip, intermediate, or full sinking fly line, it does take a bit of practice. It can be dangerous too, because if you mess up, you can stick yourself or your boat mates with a pretty big fly. You have to slow your cast down a bit and allow the rod to load so that you can shoot the line out. Rio, Scientific Angler, and Orvis all make some great weighted fly lines that are ideal for high water fishing.   

            The flies that you use on high water take a bit of getting used to. Dungeons, Zoo Cougars, and Bottom’s Up flies are just some of the streamers that will work. These flies all have 2-2/0 hooks and are very sharp and some are articulated with multiple hooks. You cast them out and work them back by stripping them and popping the rod tip up and down. The action on them is very lifelike.

            I pounded the banks with my streamers and then stripped the fly back to boat at a medium pace. Sometimes you could see the fish come up and hit the fly and other times you could see a flash. The hits were strong and almost violent. The rod would almost jerk out of my hands as the fish hit. I didn’t hook many but they were all 18 inches or better. It was heart-pounding fun!

            If you would like to learn more about stripping big streamers on high water, please come by the fly shop. We have a good selection of streamers. We also have a variety of weighted fly lines and 8 weight fly rods to turn over those big flies. Make sure you enjoy the great outdoors and all that it has to offer. See you soon at the White River Fly Shop at Bass Pro-Memphis.


Tight lines,



Weighted Fly Lines:


Articulated Streamer Fly:

*notice the size comparison


Various Streamer Flies:



Fly with the Best!

White River Fly Sign.JPG


Rods and Basics

Those who have been fly fishing for several years probably have several rods for different purposes. Each rod is designed for a purpose - to cast a particular weight line. Why? Let's start with how rods are defined. The size number of the fly rod is directly tied to the size or number of the fly line intended to be cast. The numbers and sizes work like shoe sizes.

A 3-weight rod will ideally cast a 3-weight line. An 8-weight rod will ideally cast an 8-weight line. The bigger the number, the larger the rod and the heavier the line the rod will cast.

Rod and Line Weight.JPG

Keep in mind, you do not cast the fly rod. You cast the fly line. A fly rod is simply a lever or extension of your arm. It is possible to cast a fly line without any rod at all, but not for very long. Fly rods are actually machines or tools that allow you to cast the fly line very comfortably even when casting big rods on saltwater for extended periods of time.

White River Fly Shop® Dogwood Canyon® Pre-assembled Fly Outfits

WRF Dogwood Canyon Pole.JPG





When fly fishing, light, breathable waders are the way to go. There are numerous styles as well as the boots that accompany the waders. Be aware of your state’s regulations for felt bottom boots as they partake in a little disease known as “Whirling’s” disease.

White River Fly Shop® Classic Chest-High Stocking-Foot Breathable Waders for Men and Women

White River Fly Waders.JPG

White River Fly Shop® ECO-CLEAR™ Wading Boots for Men

WRF Boots for men.JPG

White River Fly Shop® Extreme Wading Shoes for Ladies

WRF boots for women.JPG



Puttin’ this gear to WORK!


Tying Flies

Fly tying sign.JPG

The first flies were produced after man discovered, much to his surprise, that covering the hook with feathers fooled the fish into thinking that what was really a piece of sharpened bone, was a nice tasty fly. The technique used by these early fishermen was to simply 'lay' the artificial fly on the water's surface. A method similar to “dapping” is much used on Scottish lochs today.

Obviously from this stemmed the intricate and skilled art of tying flies. Talk to anyone who ties flies and they will tell you how passionate they are about creating their own bait and the accomplishment of a big catch from start to finish.


White River Fly Shop® WR-Emerger Fly Tying Bench with Vise, Tools and Material Kit

This fine piece of work will eventually be in the budget for my future purchases. This is a great starter kit, and easy to use.

Fly tying kit.JPG

White River Fly Shop® 20-Piece Streamer Assortment

20 piece streamer assortment.JPG

Here is a basic sample of flies to start you off. Not too complicated but just enough variety for your needs. If you prefer to have one of our master tiers make your flies or even take a gander through our selection. You can also talk to our fine gentlemen and ladies and ask them for a personalized fly….they created one for me and named it the “Katiebird”.


Books and DVDs

Stop on in to grab one of these books or a DVD to give your skills an extra boost.

Arizona Fly Fishing Book.JPGAZ trout steams and their hatches book.JPGCharlies fly box book.JPG

fly tying  book.JPGTrout DVD.JPG


Here is our very own Christian Wolff in northern California catching a fine brown trout.



If you are interested in how to become an avid fly fisherman/woman, stop in the store and get ahold of our fine folks. We are having fly tying nights on Tuesdays. These dates and times will be posted on the store website as well as in store. This is a great way to get in touch with others and swap stories and events.

Catch ya later!




Tournament Talk - North American Ice Fishing Circuit Championships

Rod WotenBy Rod Woten, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff Ice Fisherman

On the morning of December 21, 2013, 78 of the best ice fishing teams in North America launched from Johnson’s Portside in Wahkon, Minnesota, to begin competition in the 2013 version of the two-day North American Ice Fishing Circuit’s National Championships on legendary Mille Lacs Lake. For the 5th year in a row, my partner, Mike Riley, and I were fortunate enough to be among those 78 teams. To effectively tell this story, though, I have to back up a couple of days.

War of Attrition

Ice fishing season got off to a good start on Mille Lacs this year.  Favorable conditions meant that the lake had fishable ice well ahead of last year. Things were looking very positive with two weeks to go until the championships. The only thing that might screw up the whole deal was to get a significant amount of snow on the relatively young ice. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what they got. The problem with snow on ice is that it effectively slows down the growth rate of the ice to a near standstill. If there is a relatively thin layer of ice, as there was in this case, the added weight of the snow will actually cause the ice sheet to sink and force lake water up through every available crack and hole in the ice. These are exactly the conditions that greeted us Thursday morning as we arrived to pre-fish. This water forced between the layer of ice below and the layer of snow above created slush pockets that were stopping ATVs in their tracks and even causing snowmobiles to bog down or gets stuck in a few instances. These were certainly the most brutal conditions I had ever seen. To complicate matters, some areas of the ice had frozen into very jagged pack ice, which was hidden below the layer of snow, but very evident once you tried to drive a snowmobile or ATV over it. All of these factors conspired to render useless the ATVs that most of the teams brought.  Machines were constantly getting stuck, and the ones that weren’t getting stuck were suffering breakages of one sort or another due to the rough ice.  I have never seen such a desolate scene of broken, stuck or iced up machines, broken equipment, and exhausted bodies staggering through the snow. As pre-fishing and the tournament commenced, conditions did improve, but only marginally. We were definitely not immune to the carnage either. Luckily, with my snowmobile, I was never stuck; but, the number of times we had to tow Mike’s ATV out of the slush with it sure made up for that fact. Once the slush was caked into the frame of the ATVs, it was there to stay! Overnight the slush would freeze hard on the machines, which rendered as many machines useless as breakages on the ice did. We actually had to forego a half-day of pre fishing on Friday, so that we could get Mike’s ATV into a local car wash and spend $20 to power wash the iceberg that had been forming within its frame.

Insult to Injury

To add insult to injury, the monster panfish that had ruled last year’s championships just were not to be found within tournament boundaries this year. To put it all in perspective for you, the winning weight for 2012 was near 25 pounds! Sadly, the winning weight for the 2013 version wouldn’t even crack the 10 pound mark.  We did manage to weigh three fish of our 16 fish limit (eight crappies and eight bluegills) the first day for a whopping weight of 0.55 pounds. While this weight seems pretty pathetic (which it is, in all reality), it’s still better than 35 teams in the field that failed to weigh a single fish on day one! It was also enough weight to bump us from or 52nd place starting position to 32nd.

For day two, we would be trying to catch a limit of eight crappies and eight perch. During pre-fishing, we had managed to pattern some decent perch outside of the tournament boundaries. These perch were definitely not your typical Mille Lacs jumbos, but were considerably larger than any of the perch we had caught last year during the championships.  I was pretty confident that I could pinpoint some structure WITHIN tournament boundaries and apply the same pattern when it was needed. Crappies were going to be a different story, as we were already well aware of their scarcity from pre-fishing.  We spent a couple of hours at the start of day two fishing for our crappies, but not seeing any, Mike and I decided to talk things over and re-strategize. So many teams were bound-and-determined that they needed some of those two-pound crappies to win it, so that’s where they focused ALL of their attention. Many didn’t even get a chance to go after their perch, since they were so hung up on visions of a bucket of giant crappies. Knowing what we knew about the improved perch populations, it didn’t take Mike and me long to decide that it was time to go perch fishing.  We went to a spot similar to our pre-fishing spot and immediately began catching good perch…some of them approaching a half pound. We ended up catching so many perch that we finally decided that we had caught the biggest perch we were going to and that we should use our remaining time to go back and see if we could add a crappie or two to our buckets. 

We didn’t end up catching any crappies that day, but our limit of perch weighed 2.51 pounds which was good enough for 10th place on day two, and bumped us up another 14 places to land in 18th overall. We had hoped to improve on last year’s 11th place, but, based on the conditions and the fact that we didn’t catch a single crappie on day two, we actually felt pretty good with 18th place. There were many really good teams that finished well behind us, including last year’s champions. A lot of that, I feel, is due to us making a good decision at the right time to go after our perch.  Many of the top teams from last year that finished well down in the standings this year never even had a chance to perch fish. Truth be told, I doubt that many of them even really took the perch fishing seriously and failed to put any time pre-fishing for them. If they had, I’m pretty sure they would have discovered those bigger perch this year and made sure to reserve some time to catch eight for their bucket.

Next up for Rod - Yellow Bass Bonanza on Clear Lake February 9!


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February Events at Bass Pro Shops Harrisburg

February at BPS

February is More Fish Month. The More Fish Campaign is a five-year initiative launched by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to raise awareness and funding to protect, conserve and enhance the nation's fish populations and their habitats. Make a donation at the register to be entered for chances to win a Bass Pro Shops gift card.

The More Fish Campaign objectives include the following priorities:

  • Restore the nation's fish and other aquatic life to healthy and thriving populations;
  • Increase public awareness, access and stewardship;
  • Protect, conserve and enhance the nation's rivers, lakes, estuaries, bays and coastal waters;
  • Work with conservation nonprofits, federal land and water management agencies and state fish and game agencies to support the conservation of fish and aquatic populations.
  • Work with corporations, foundations, individuals and others to raise additional financial resources to invest in priority fisheries conservation projects.

The need is real and the need is daily!  Take this opportunity to donate! The first of 8 Central PA Blood Bank visits will be held on Sat. Feb. 8 from 12pm – 4pm. Bass Pro gift cards will be available to those that donate. Some rules apply.

Are you interested in obtaining a conceal carry permit for PA or other states? Legal Heat will be in the store on Friday, Feb. 8 to conduct a class. The class is scheduled for 5pm-8:30pm in the Hunt Club at the store. For more details and to register, visit .

Do you possess a CDL? On Saturday, February 8 from 8am-2pm there will be a CDL job fair in the mall at the Bass Pro entrance. Many trucking firms will be on site to discuss hiring possibilities. Access to the job fair prior to 9am will be through the mall entrances only. For more details, contact Ron Walker @ 717-554-8157


Friday Night Fishing Demos are underway! We will continue to have Friday Night Fishing Demos through April. All demos will begin at 7pm and begin at the reel counter. Some demos will moved to the aquarium for further description. Check the website for all of the scheduled dates.

Two dates are scheduled for February. They are Feb. 14 & 28.

Feb. 14, the topic is Basic Trout Fishing: Where to go and What to Use in PA Waters.

Feb. 28, the topic is Fishing Rods: Matching the Power & Action of a Rod to the Technique


Can you fillet your own fish? Want to get better at it? Stop by and see the pros in action! On February 7, 8 and 9 from 11:00am – 1:30pm the folks from Limestone Springs Trout Preserve will be in the store showing off & sharing their filleting skills. They will also be frying those fillets using the Bass Pro Shops Better Breader and Cajun Shake seasoning to create a very tasty morsel! Samples will be available while supplies last.


Finishing off the month of February is the beginning of the Spring Fishing Classic! On Friday, Feb. 28 we will kick things off with the Preferred Rewards event. This event runs from 6pm – 9pm. Snacks will be provided for those Rewards customers invited to the event. Few details are available about the Pro visitors or activities for the classic but this is what we do know…

March 1 & 2 – BPS National Pros will visit the store to greet customers and give workshops

March 8 & 9 – Local Pros will be in the fishing depart to talk about product and to give workshops & demos

March 8 2pm – 4pm – Fish Frying demo and sampling

March15 & 16 – Next Generation Kid’s Event including the Catch & Release Pond

                     – Women’s Beginner Fishing Workshop

There will be workshops, demonstrations and other activities throughout the Spring Fishing Classic!

So as you see, February is a busy month that will lead us into more busy months and activities! Be sure to watch our Facebook page as well as and select the Harrisburg page.



Spring Fishing Classic in Memphis, TN

Spring Fishing Classic

Bass Pro Shops will be holding its annual Spring Fishing Classic this year from February 28th to March 16th! Come out and enjoy great sales, seminars, meet and greets, free food sampling, and family activities throughout this three week event!

The first weekend of the Classic, February 28th through March 2nd,  we will be joined by National Pros holding seminars and meet and greets. Come see Dalton Wilson,  3-Time Bassmaster Junior at Mississippi State Champion and 2013 Bassmaster College National Championship Contender, Friday February 28th at 7PM for a seminar on Straight Worm Fishing Tactics. He will be in the store for a few hours Friday for any tips you may need or questions you may have! Also, join Bill Dance, the legendary bass angler, for a meet and greet on Friday February 28 from 5 to 9PM!

The second weekend of the Classic,  March 7th through March 9th, we will have Mike Whitten and other local pros giving seminars at varying times each day. See chart for seminar times and topics! Come learn new techniques and get great tips from these guys!

Seminar Schedule for March 7th-9th.




7PM Flipping and Pitching   for Bass

11AM   Locating Bass in New Waters

11AM   Locating Bass in New Waters

1PM   Topwater Techniques for Bass

1PM   Topwater Techniques for Bass

2PM   Spinning Reels Tactics for Bass

2PM   Spinning Reels Tactics for Bass

3PM   Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?

3PM   Does the Color of Your Bass Lure Matter?

4PM   Techniques for Fishing Smallmouth

4PM   Techniques for Fishing Smallmouth

5PM   Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass Fishing

5PM   Choosing the Right Soft Plastics for Bass Fishing


The final weekend of the Classic on March 15th and March 16th, we will have our FREE Kids Next Generation Weekend! This event will be full of fun and exciting activities for kids of ALL ages to participate in! Catch your very own fish at our Catch and Release Pond we will have running from Noon to 5PM on Saturday and Sunday! Also, from Noon to 5PM, come get your FREE photo taken and printed with us in the store both days! There will be kids workshops at 2:30PM and 4:30PM and FREE crafts from 1PM to 4:30PM! The first 150 kids to participate in the Kids Next Generation Activities will receive a FREE Tackle Box!

You can also enter our Spring Fishing Classic Sweepstakes, running from February 28th through March 16th, for a chance to win a 2014 Nitro Z7 boat and fishing with Edwin Evers!


Bring in ANY of your old, used, broke, or even new reels between February 28th through March 5th to trade-in for a discount, varying on the price of the reel you wish to purchase! You could also do the same with your old, used, broke, or new rods between March 7th and March 11th to get a coupon for a new rod you’d like to buy!

Come try of FREE Fried Fish Sampling on March 8th  from 2 to 4PM right here in the store!

New this year, there will also be a Women’s Beginning Fishing Workshop for any women who would like to learn more tips or just touch up on their fishing skills at 3PM on March 15th! Demonstrations, tips, and advice for those looking to better their fishing game or start a new hobby.

Come out and join us for all these great activities! It’s definitely something you won’t want to miss!


*Appearance are subject to change


Tips on how to winterize your boat

          Alas, the time has come to secure the rods and reels, stow the tackle, and put away the boat. As fall finally gives way to winter, and the temperatures drop to unbearable lows only braved by the most avid (Crappie) fisherman, most will put the boat in the garage for the winter.

This is called  “Winterization”, and what many do not know, there are many important steps that must be done in order to ensure the boat will be in optimal condition come early spring when it is time to put it back on the water. Take for instance the main plugs that allow water to drain out of vital areas. Or how about the treatment needed for the fuel, so the ethanol in the gas does not turn into jelly, or corrode the inside of fuel assembly lines. Also, there is a need to treat the engine with a fogging spray, so no moisture is left in the cylinders or the block which can cause rust and corrosion costing thousands of dollars to fix! And these are only but a few of the necessary requirements that winterization calls for.

So where does one go to get all the products, and knowledge needed to ensure a correct winterization is done to the boat; why your local Bass Pro Shops in Garland Texas of course! Our knowledgeable associates in our marine department can help you find the right products and our “Power Pros” in the Tracker department can make sure you receive professional service, they can be contacted at (469) 221-2569 . So don’t be too discouraged that the season is at an end, and let us help you end it the right way, here at Bass Pro Shops, where your adventure begins!

winterization of your boat


Daddy's little mini me

Isn’t it cute when you hear your little one wanting to be just like you? To see them mimic you, from how you do little habits, to how you dress. The greatest thing I know, is to hear from you son and daughter that they want to hunt and fish just like you! For you to know that it will be awesome quality time, a special bonding moment you will forever cherish. We have some ideas to help you and your kids to be the best little mini me! (most of these items that are shown are in boy and girl colors/characters)



Bass Pro Shops® Toy Pump Shotgun for Kids- 

Before they are ready to really go out and shoot, this gun is a great way to look just like dad and have them used to how to load and shoot. / 


Bass Pro Shops® NXT Generation® Rapid Riser Toy Compound Bow for Kids-

This is a pefect way to teach the kids about target practice and to have a steady eye. Right for the bulls eye!



Outdoor Hunter Sports Style Walkie Talkie and Binocular Set for Kids-

What is cuter then seeing the kids pretending to be out in the woods hunting, spotting a deer with the binocular and radio each other on if the other is ready to shoot!



Shakespeare® Disney® Princess Purse Rod and Reel Kit for Kids-

A way to daddy's heart is when his little girl wants to spend time out at the coast with him catching fish. This is a way to get her even more excited plus learn the basic release and reel form.



Shakespeare® Little Princess™ Tackle Box for Kids-

Don't forget the tackle box! To store all her little play worms or other items princess need. Great way to start their fishing advertures!


We are here to help you make those memories and easy to teach them at an early age how to hunt and fish. At the same time have fun and excitment with their equipment.


Why Ice Fishing?

Rod Woten - Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro StaffBy Rod Woten, Bass Pro Shops Altoona Pro Staff

As a “professional” ice angler, that’s a question I get asked a lot.  For someone that has never fished through the ice, it’s really hard for me to describe the sensations and emotions I get from ice fishing that are all so different from the sensations and emotions I get from open water fishing. I can tell them all about how the bugs that bother us all summer are now gone, and the absence of personal watercraft, water skiers, wakeboarders, tubers and other pleasure craft roaring through some of the best fishing spots. Most of these folk are SO hung up on the fact that it’s cold out there that my list of positives for ice fishing falls upon deaf ears.

Ice-The Great Equalizer

The lack of bugs and pleasure boats are just the tip of the iceberg. However when it comes to why I love ice fishing so much, probably one of the biggest reasons I love ice fishing is that ice is the great equalizer. Once the lakes freeze over, all of the best fishing spots on the lake are accessible to ANYONE.  No longer is a boat required to get to these spots.  A good pair of boots and the willingness to do a little walking will put you on top of fish, regardless of whether you own a boat or not.  I actually know several people that ONLY fish in the winter for this exact reason. 

Rod Woten
Fish with Surgical Precision

This is somewhat of an extension of the above point.  Because fish-holding spots can be so accessible through the ice, it also means that we are able to dial in our presentation and fish structure, or individual fish, with surgical precision. The vertical nature of most of the fishing done through the ice only adds to this precision. This makes ultra-finesse presentations very do-able, which allows us to even further sharpen our focus on every inch of a piece of structure and the fish it holds. In the winter, boat control also is no longer an issue. Since we are on a solid surface, wind and wave action are really no longer a concern in regard to being able to keep our presentations directly in front of the nose of a fish. All of these things add up to allow us to more effectively target fish through the ice which, in turn, leads to my next point…

Quality AND Quantity

Another reason I love the hard water is that I typically catch the greatest numbers of quality fish through the ice.  Why is that?  I strongly believe it is because of the surgical precision with which I can dissect every piece of structure in the lake.  During the open water season, that precision is just not there.  It goes without saying that fishing so much more effectively can only lead to increased fishing success.  This means we catch MORE fish in the winter, and statistics tells us that the more fish we catch, the greater our chances are that we’ll land a trophy fish.  

Ice Shanties
The Social Sport

Ice fishing has a legacy of being a social sport. Everyone’s favorite ice fishing movie, “Grumpy Old Men,” is a perfect illustration of that. The shanty towns depicted in that movie are very true to real life. Even when we’re out fishing in our highly mobile, portable fish house, it’s not at all uncommon to see groups develop. In these groups, the grills come out at lunchtime and a nice hot bratwurst with all the trimmings as the day’s fishing is discussed is the norm. Ice makes all this social activity possible.

Emotional Responses

Ice fishing also just speaks to the soul of certain individuals. It’s really hard for me toIce Fishingdescribe the feeling I get from walking on water. It invigorates me, just knowing that I’m standing on top of structure that I could only float a boat over a few short months ago.

There is also a certain solitude that comes along with ice fishing. Once the holes are all drilled and the auger turned off, it’s amazing how quiet it can get. It’s not uncommon at all to hear snowflakes as they touchdown on the surface of the lake. Some of my best days on the ice have been on a lake in northern-middle-of-nowhere-Minnesota…listening to the whispers of falling snow as it covers the existing snow pack…eagles circling overhead…wolves howling in the distance as dusk approaches. 

Close your eyes and picture that and you’ll find the answer to the question, “why ice fishing?”


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2014 Greater Cincinnati Fly Fishing Show - February 1, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Greater Cincinnati Fly Fishing Show 

Buckeye United Fly Fishers will host the annual 
Greater Cincinnati Fly Fishing Show 
Saturday, February 1, 2014
9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. 

At our great venue in Northeast Cincinnati 

Oasis Conference Center 
902 Loveland-Miamiville Road 
Loveland, OH


The Greater Cincinnati Fly Fishing Show is sponsored by Buckeye United Fly Fishers and presented annually to promote the sport of fly 
fishing and outdoor recreation. It is a great opportunity for everyone from novice to experienced fly fisher to learn about fly fishing 
techniques, resources, gear, and places to fish. Buckeye United Fly Fishers is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting fly fishing, 
stream and wetlands conservation, and education. Meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday each month at Voice of America Park in West Chester, Ohio. 
Check us out at or at our show booth. 
  • Admission $10 per person at the door
  • Scouts in uniform - FREE
  • Kids 12 and under - FREE
  • Parking at the Conference Center - FREE
  • Over 21,000 sq ft of exhibition, demonstration, and presentation space
  • Something for all fly fishers - from beginner to advanced
  • Over 75 exhibitors - vendors, fly tiers, DNR booths, and others
  • Educational fly fishing speakers
  • Casting Pond - instructions and/or try out a rod from one of the vendors
  • Fly tying demonstrations with a special kids tying area
  • Kids area with fun things to see and do
  • Boy Scouts - work on your Fly Fishing Merit Badge in the Scout Room
  • Fishing guides and fishing lodge representatives
  • Canoes, kayaks, pontoons, and other watercraft
  • Raffles and door prizes
  • Expanded snack bar - sandwiches and drinks

Presentations Schedule


A. K. Best – “Fishing With Too Much Water” (Main
Presentation Room)

Mike Schmidt – Fly Tying Demonstration (Tying
Presentation Room)

BUFF Instructors – Casting Demonstrations and
Instruction (Casting Pond)


Dane Law – “Trout Fishing the Southern
Appalachians and Beyond” (Main Presentation

A. K. Best –Fly Tying Demonstration – New Quill
Body Material, Duns & Spinners (Tying
Presentation Room)

Dave Leonhard – Casting Demos (Casting Pond)

Frank Willetts – “Steelhead vs. Trout” (Main
Presentation Room)

Glenn Weisner – Fly Tying Demonstration (Tying
Presentation Room)

Kevin Howell – Casting Demo (Casting Pond)


A. K. Best – “Fishing With Little Water” (Main
Presentation Room)

Kevin Compton – Fly Tying Demonstration (Tying
Presentation Room)


Jon Ray - “Smallmouth On The Fly” (Main
Presentation Room)

A. K. Best – Fly Tying Demonstration – Tying with
Biots and Caddis Flies (Tying Presentation Room)

Dave Leonhard – Casting Demos (Casting Pond)


Jerry Darkes – “New Fly Fishing Gear For The
Coming Year” (Main Presentation Room)

Exhibits, Presentations, and Demonstrations
Exhibits – Check out the many exhibits, 
including vendors displaying their latest gear, 
guides and outfitters, lodges, and more. 
Fly Tying– observe and talk to some of the 
region’s best fly tiers as they exhibit their tying 
At The Bench – fly tying demonstrations from 
world class tiers in the Tying Presentation Room. 
Symposiums – see presentations by experts 
throughout the day in the Main Presentation 
Kid’s Corner – free fun activities with a fly 
fishing connection: fish prints, trout aquarium, 
coloring pages, fly tying and more. 
Casting Pond – fly casting demonstrations and 
instruction featuring: 
Dave Leonhard, Master Certified Casting 
Instructor and owner of Orvis Streamside in 
Traverse City, MI, and 
Kevin Howell, FFF Certified Casting 
Instructor and owner of Davidson River 
Outfitters, Brevard, NC. 
Plus the opportunity to “try out” rods for sale at 
the show. 
Information Booths – featuring Casting for 
Recovery, Project Healing Waters, 
environmental groups, and more. 
Refreshments – good things to eat and drink at 
the Oasis concession stand. 
Boy Scouts – work on your Fly Fishing Merit 
Badge in our Scout Merit Badge Room. 


A. K. Best is one of the most respected names in fly fishing and tying. His many magazine articles over the years have provided helpful knowledge for both beginner and accomplished tiers and anglers. He’s also known for his excellent fly fishing and tying books. A. K. has a superior tying talent that makes him a master-class tier. 

Dane Law is the owner and a guide with Southeastern Anglers, a drift boat guide service on the TVA tailwaters of North Georgia, Tennessee, and south central Kentucky. He has led mountain trout trips in the 
Cherokee National Forest since 1999. 
Glenn Weisner, owner of Glenn River Fly Co., often can be found fishing for trout on the streams of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan. He enjoys tying most all trout flies, especially Terrestrials. Glenn is a great instructor and enjoys working with all skill levels and age groups. 
Frank Willetts is owner/operator of the Pere Marquette River Lodge in Baldwin, MI, the only Orvis Endorsed Lodging Outfitter Guide Service in the Midwest. Frank has been fishing and guiding on the Pere Marquette and other local rivers since his college days. 
Mike Schmidt, owner of Angler’s Choice Flies, ties standard patterns as well as new and innovative custom patterns. Throughout the year, Mike teaches fly tying and fishing techniques at clubs and retail locations around the Midwest and spends the winter months traveling to present at fly fishing shows around the country. 
Jon Ray, of Hawkins Outfitters, has been guiding anglers in Michigan for 12 years. Jon loves chasing trout, steelhead, smallmouth bass, and musky with streamers, using single or two-handed rods and a variety of techniques. 
Kevin Compton, owner of Performance Flies, Cleveland, is a commercial tier, author, speaker, tying instructor, and fly designer. He specializes in patterns for the steelhead fisheries of Ohio and Michigan and trout in Pennsylvania. He has competed in tyingcompetitions in the U.S. and World Championships in Portugal. Kevin’s flies have been featured in numerous magazines. 
Jerry Darkes is a fly tackle sales rep, instructor/guide and writer based in northern Ohio. He is recognized as an expert on Great Lakes steelhead and warm water fly fishing and has created a series of instructional DVDs on Great Lakes steelhead.