With the days getting longer and Old Man Winter beginning to loosen his grip, it's time to trade your snow shoes and parka for your favorite graphite rod and Cast Master. By all accounts it should be another excellent fishing season across Colorado, and with more than 300 lakes and countless river and stream miles to explore, rod-bending possibilities are limitless.
March & April
As the waters warm, you can't help but scratch a few days out on the calendar for Colorado's Arkansas River. With over 150 fishable river miles and perhaps one of the best spring hatch the entire Rocky Mountain West has to offer, the Arkansas River should be on any angler's spring short list. Although typically starting weeks before its name sake, the famed Mother's Day caddis hatch draws scores of wading anglers to her warming spring waters, and if you hit it right, your line will be tested, as well as your composer as you witness huge numbers of brown trout smashing the river's surface. Twenty-plus trout days are not uncommon on this freestone river, and with countless public opportunities stretching from Canon City to Granite, you won't have a problem finding your own stretch of paradise.
Large #14 to #16 floating caddis flies are the norm, but it never hurts to also have an assortment of nymphs from which to choose.
April & May
As the action heats up on the Arkansas River, so does the main body of water the Arkansas River feeds down river. Offering anglers approximately 4,000 surface acres to roam, Pueblo Reservoir is quickly becoming one of Colorado's top walleye destinations. When April and May arrives, Pueblo's burgeoning walleye population migrate towards the backs of creeks and coves looking to spawn. Along the way, they aggressively feed, providing anglers high rod-bending catch rates.
The highest angler catch rates usually occur from May to early June on Pueblo; but for anglers seeking larger slabs, April and May tend to yield the best results. Larger walleye tend to migrate first so anglers should concentrate their efforts along creek channels in the middle and backs of coves, and on rocky points leading back to them. 1/4 to 1/2 ounce chartreuse and black grubs seem to get a look, as well as shad imitating crankbaits. Fishing for walleye at night can also be productive as they move even shallower.
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Anglers like their tools close by. And it's even better if it's connected to you so it doesn't go in the drink. T-Reign retractable gear tethers hold onto your pliers, hemostats or landing net. Several size options. Carabiner connects to D-ring, belt loop or strap, or use the stainless steel clip on belt or pack.
Suzuki DF15A/20A EFI
Suzuki's two new four-stroke, two-cylinder portable outboards have a compression reduction system for easier starting. The 20hp tiller model weighs 97 pounds the eletric-start model weighs 106 pounds. Single overhead cam, four-valve engine with Suzuki's Lean Burn Control and bat-tery-less electronic fuel injection. Built for running in skinny water, both motors come with five tilt pin positions and 15- or 20-inch shaft.
Rapala is hoping the new Scatter Rap Series lures and their 'evasive action ' will be as popular as the original 'wounded minnow ' style action that the company is famous for. The new lure has a 'Scatter Lip ' that creates an evasive, erratic, aggressive sweep-ing action. Ideal for multispecies gamefish, the Scatter Rap Series is available in 14-16 classic and new color patterns. Baits 5- to 9-feet deep.
MSRP, $18.95 per pair.
The original Gear Grabbar is a unique way to hold lures and tools at the ready in boats. But the new Lure Hangar is a step beyond. This is a 12- by 16 1/2-inch plate,m ade to mount on your gunwhale, that holds 16 or more lures. There's enough room for a selection of jig, plugs, topwaters or whatever other baits you want to hang.
Honda Marine's BF250 outboard is a 24-valve 3.6-liter V6 that uses varia-ble valve timing and lift electronic control (VTEC). Programmed fuel injection delivers the precise amount of fuel and air to each cylinder for easy starts and instant throttle re-sponse. 20-, 25- and 30-inch shaft models.
TACKLE TOTE VEST
If you wade when you fish, Fish-N-Hunt Pro Gear designed a Tackle Tote Vest that to keep gear accessible but dry when you're standing in deeper waters. It's adjustable, sturdy, has lots of pockets and a modest pricetag.
FLEX 'N GO TACKLE SATCHEL
On-the-go anglers will find a lot to like in Plano's new Flex 'N Go Tack-le Satchel. It features adjustable built-in storage with a deep bin on one side and framework for the pair of swap-pable Plano 3600 StowAway boxes on the other, each Stowaway held with a flexible strap.
www.cabelas.com Jackets MSRP, $249.99-$269;
Cabela's Guidewear raingear now comes in four distinct series. Bass Angler (pictured) jackets and bibs are built with the tournament bass angler in mind. Xtreme parkas and bibs will help anglers fishing Northern lakes and rivers. Tidal jackets and pants offer lightweight, waterproof and breathable protection. River Runner jackets are perfect for wading anglers.
BERKLEY JAR BAIT FOLDER
Anglers who use jar baits know it's a pain to carry more than a few. Berk-ley now has two Jar Bait Folders to keep the baits at hand and make them easy to transport. Model 1170 holds 10 jars. Model 1490 holds 16. Both have various pockets and a D-ring for pliers.
BERKLEY TRILENE XL
Berkley says they've improved a classic. New Trilene XL lines are now 10 percent stronger 20 percent more flexibility then they had been. Knot strength has also improved, said the company. Trilene XL has been around since 1972.
The new AV Micro is a complete underwater camera system that is the same size as a smart phone. On the boat or off the dock, use it to see where fish are hanging out. 3 1/2-inch diagonal display. Built-in rechargea-ble lithium ion batteries.
Smithwick Rogue's has been a stand-ard in bass-anglers' tackle boxes for years. Now they've got a new twist on the famous jerkbait. The
Perfect 10 Rogue has a new lip de-sign, to get deeper, quicker than other jerkbaits.
SIMMS WEATHER GEAR
MSRP, jacket $349, bibs $299.
Simms designed its Contender Gore-Tex jacket and bibs for anglers who need reliability when they are motor-ing on the water at 70 mph in rain and wind. Waterproof and breathable. Cuffs are water tight and adjustable.