I attended most of today's fishing clinic/boat swap near the Budweiser Event Center near Loveland/Fort Collins. Here is a brief summary of the event, which was sponsored by Sportsman's Warehouse. I estimate that 200-300 people attended.
I arrived about 10:45AM, not knowing the schedule of the talks and so, unfortunately, I missed the DOW presentation. I attended all the other talks, though. There were raffles in between each of the talks and they gave away a guided fishing trip, a rod & reel combo, a tackle box and assorted lures during these breaks. The agenda was as follows:
10:15AM-10:40AM: State of the Fisheries, Ken Kehmeier CDOW Biologist
10:45AM-11:40AM: Bass Fishing Tactics, Pro Guide Chad LaChance
11:45AM-12:40PM: Tiger Musky Fishing Pinewood, Terry Wickstrom
12:45PM-1:40PM: Kokanee Salmon & Splake Fishing Carter Lake, Bernie Keefe
1:45PM-2:45PM: Walleye Tactics, PWT Pros Gary Darling & Dan Swanson
As I mentioned, I was not able to attend the State of the Fisheries talk, so I'll start with the Bass Fishing Tactics:
Bass Fishing Tactics, Chad LaChance
Chad is clearly an expert here. He gave a well organized talk about smallmouth fishing, starting at the beginning of the season (now) and working his way through fall. He described a variety of techniques, each of which had its place in the season depending on water temperature and conditions. I learned his thresholds for trying things at various temperatures and he showed some of the good spots to fish on Horsetooth. He described using baitfish lures early in the season while trying to imitate crawdads later on. Chad is a guide for Carter and Horsetooth and I am betting that a trip with him would be well worth the expense.
Tiger Musky Fishing Pinewood, Terry Wickstrom
Terry began by asking how many folks in the audience had ever caught a musky. Several people raised their hand. Later he asked if anyone had caught a tiger musky at Pinewood (only 3 or 4 people responded) and what they caught them on (a spoon and crankbaits were the lures I heard). Terry went on to describe how a person could go one or two seasons and only catch 1 or 2 of these elusive creatures which he described as more like "watchable wildlife" than catchable fish. He did a good job describing that there wasn't much point in harvesting them and it was his opinion that they should be caught, photographed and released. He described the fact that it sometimes makes more sense to use smaller lures rather than larger ones because this way, you at least have a chance of catching a trout and the muskies are usually pretty full from eating stocker trout so you want to offer them a little snack instead.
Kokanee Salmon & Splake Fishing Carter Lake, Bernie Keefe
Bernie is a very knowledgeable fast talker and it was hard to take notes! He has clearly mastered fishing for Kokanees and Lakers and he described a variety of techniques he used. He talked about the threshold temperatures and the act of looking through binoculars to find kokanee tail flips at the surface before you ever head to a spot. On the sonar, he reported that a kokanee school may look like a big ball of "something"". He described using dodgers in front of your tackle to attract the fish, which often attack out of agression. He said it was crucial to use a rubber snubber because of the kokanee's soft mouth. He mentioned coloradofisherman.com as a good place to learn when the bite is on. For splake, he mentioned using tube jigs tipped with a small piece of SCALED sucker meat and the fact that they are often found below the thermocline. After his talk, I went up and introduced myself and was surprised to learn that we had already met on Granby (at the time, I did not know what he looked like or I would have sat and talked a bit -- sorry Bernie, but it was great to meet you the second time!). Many people swamped him immediately afterwards and he did a great job of patiently trying to answer each question.
Walleye Tactics, PWT Pros Gary Darling & Dan Swanson
Two pros gave this talk and they began by describing that Colorado/Wyoming walleye fisherman really need to have a broader arsenal of tactics compared to mid-western walleye fisherman because our walleye are so hard to come by. They described jigging (using 1/2 nightcrawler or minnow), slip weight and slip bobber fishing, trolling crank baits with planer boards and bottom bouncers with a crawler harness (keep the worm straight to avoid twists and turns). Each was a technique that could work under various conditions. As most people know, walleye hooksets are not the bass-style huge jerking actions and the walleye bite is often very subtle (more subtle than the "b" in subtle I like to say
That's it for the talks. In the interest of space, I did not include many other parts of their talks as there was quite a bit to each one. Each of the speakers also began by describing their tackle and setup and that was a paragraph or two in and of itself.
In another area there were various tables set up, perhaps 1-2 dozen or so and a table sponsored by the DOW and Colorado State Parks. Larimer County Parks was also there, of course, and I was glad to learn that the purchase price of this year's annual permit did not go up
. I also learned about some condos you can rent near Horsetooth, bought some tackle, talked with various club members and looked at the fly fishing gear. There was a small area sponsored by B.A.S.S. where kids could practice their target casting.
If I had thought ahead, I would have suggested that any of the coloradofisherman.com members meet at the lunch/snack area at a certain time to introduce ourselves, but I didn't think of that until after I left. I was looking for a certain gray haired guy with a goatee, cowboy hat and sunglasses but there were lots of gray haired fellas and none of them had sunglasses on.
Overall, I was glad I went. It was not as overwhelming as Denver's big Colorado Sportsman's show and there was much less catering to the rich folks looking for Canada/Alaska fly-in trips. I liked the fact that it was concentrated on water I fish often, too. If anything, I would have like to have seen a coloradofisherman.com table
and had a bit more time between talks so I could wander around a bit more.
Thanks for announcing it on this site -- I'm sure I would have never known about it otherwise!