Saturday, January 18, 2014

My First Ice Fishing Trip Was A Success!!

     Today we were finally able to go on my first ice fishing trip and our first fishing trip of 2014! One of the best parts of living where we do is, it isn't very far to all sorts of different types of outdoor fun. We have several different options for ice fishing and they are all take only about an hour or two to get to. So, the first thing we did was drive to an area with some snow and colder temperatures and it only took us about 40 minutes to find snow.

There's some snow!!
      The next step was to find a frozen lake which only took about 30 more minutes.

There's a frozen lake!!!
Then we had to find a good spot that wasn't too close to people that were already there fishing. We found a good spot not too far from the shore which was perfect for my first spot. I know and understand the ice was safe to walk on and it was supposed to have the cracks and make the noises, but being close to the shore for my first time put me at ease because if I got too nervous or uneasy, I could get to shore pretty quick.

Our fishing neighbors were way over there.
     Since we have just recently started ice fishing and we weren't sure if I was going to like it or not, we decided a hand powered auger was fine. My husband made it look easy to make a couple of holes for us.

Making some holes.
     It took a little while but my husband caught the first fish. He had several bumps and a couple bites at his bait, but only had the one take his bait. I was amazed that our holes weren't very far apart, but my hole had no activity at all and his hole had quit a bit of activity. He traded me holes and almost right away I started getting some activity. I wasn't prepared for how light the fish were biting at the bait, so I missed several opportunities to catch some fish. But I wasn't upset because I was learning what it felt like when I needed to set the hook.

Fish #1
     I was not cold at first. I had enough layers on that there was no cold air getting to my skin. Putting that many layers on took a lot of energy and doing most of the layers in my warm house made me want to turn the A/C on.

Nice and toasty.
     Three large groups of people all of a sudden were nearby us so we decided to move. I still didn't like the noises the ice was making, but I was ready to go to the middle of the lake. My husband drilled the first new hole and I started the second new hole. Apparently my arms are a little too short to make the auger run smoothly so my husband with his longer arms finished the second hole.

Attempting to drill a hole.
See this nice hole? I didn't drill any part of this one. The one I drilled was at an angle and not straight up and down...not pretty at all.

A nice fishing hole.
      We weren't there for very long and I got some bumps and then A FISH!!! Because of all of my layers and my adrenalin running high, I couldn't get out of my chair so my awesome husband caught my flopping fish on my fish grabber and brought it to me. My Candy Apple ice fishing rod and reel have been broke in!! I knew that cute rod and reel would catch something because it's RED!

My first ice fishing catch!
      My husband caught another fish through the "unique" hole. I tried to explain my diagonal hole helped him reel in his fish easier because it was more like a "fish shoot."  He didn't agree that it was a helpful design so I was officially fired from hole duty.

His 2nd fish for the day.
     We released his 2 fish back into the lake and my fish released itself and took my jig head along with it.
The final release.

     I really liked my first ice fishing trip and can't wait for the next one. I was surprised I didn't get really cold until the last hour. The noises of the ice don't bother me as much as they did at the beginning of the day, but I'm still a little jumpy during some of the loud noises. Eventually a sled and a shelter will be nice to have  and maybe some day we'll get an electric auger, but the set up we had today worked pretty well. I do need to change my monofilament line for some braided line for ice fishing because I kept getting it knotted up. I also need to get some Schadeycreek ice fishing lures for the next trip, too.
     During this trip I also started getting excited about getting out on the boat this spring. I don't know if it was because we were "on the lake" or if it was because we didn't do much fishing last year, but whatever the reason was, I'm excited for the 2014 season!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Our First Interview!

Every month we will have an interview of someone involved in the outdoors. I have made a list of questions for women, men and also for kids. Our first interview is from the man behind Girls In The Outdoors and my husband. My questions are in black and his answers are in red.

What is your name? Kris Westhoff
Where Are You From? Colorado, but I've been lucky to live in many different states in the western US.

         What outdoor activities do you like to participate in?
Fishing, camping, boating, ATVing, hunting, hiking, shooting. In no particular order.

How long have you been participating in these activities and who introduced you?
My family would go to the lake some Saturdays when I was very young and I loved being outdoors. Later, I started doing all the above things on my own and rekindled my outdoor spirit.

       Are you involved in any organizations? 
Girls In The Outdoors  I support and help my wife so she can have a great time in the outdoors and so she can help other girls become interested with all the fun of outdoor activities.
You left out that you are also a cameraman, trip planner, chauffeur, mechanic, teacher, social media assistant, proof reader and an idea generator.

       Have you introduced any girls to the outdoors? If so, who and how?
My wife Hilary, god daughter Brosia, and niece Cori. I take them fishing, boating, ATVing, camping, and shooting.
We all love you for that, too! 

Uncle Kris and Niece Cori

5    How do you encourage your girls in the outdoors?
Make it fun, like give them their own equipment in their favorite color. Introduce them to new things.
He has spent a lot of time looking at red, purple and pink fishing gear.

6     What is your favorite “I've created a monster” moment?
The first one is most memorable. She swore she would never need much fishing tackle and everything she needed would fit into her medium size, two tray, tackle box. Let’s just say she has a lot more fishing gear now!
I wouldn't consider that a "created a monster" moment.......ok, actually that is a good answer.

     Do you have any advice for others that would like to get their wife/girlfriend/sister/daughter/etc. involved in the outdoors?
Keep it fun. For example take her fishing where you know she can catch fish. If you take her shooting start with a .22, don’t scare her with a gun that kicks hard. Take it slow at first. For example when fishing I baited the hook & took the fish off for my wife for the first year we were together because it was “gross”.
I still don't take toothy fish off the hook by myself or bass that need the hook wrestled out of their lips. My fingers are afraid of sharp objects from accidents with knives and razors.

What outdoor activity do you wish your girl(s) would do with you?
Hunting and longer hikes.

 Do you have any frustrations getting your girl(s) involved? If so, what are they and how do you work through them?
Early mornings. Sometimes I let her sleep in when we go camping.
What do you mean early mornings?! How are they frustrating to you? Oh, because I have a hard time getting out of bed early. Never mind. Next question.

What do you enjoy about having your girl(s) join you?
Everything. I love the excitement my wife still gets when she catches a fish, watching her beam with pride when she puts every shot where she wants while target shooting, relaxing with her by the campfire after a fun day on an ATV trail.

       Is there anybody (living or dead) you wish you could hunt or fish with?
Bill Dance would be a fun guy to fish with.

      What are 3 things you always bring with you no matter what outdoor activity you are doing?
Pocket knife, water, CCW.
CCW stands for conceal carry weapon.

Thank you very much Kris for being the first person to be interviewed. You did a great job and I think this is going to be a fun monthly post! If you would like to be interviewed, email and let us know. We will email you the first set of questions and then if we think of more after we receive your questions, we'll email you some more.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 Was A Good Year

     2013 wasn't a very outdoorsy year for us but we still had a lot of fun and had a lot happen. We made a lot of changes that will lead to being able to have a lot more fun with our family and also as a growing outdoor blog & website. Here is a review of our 2013:
     One of the most proud moments was changing from just a blog to a full website with a blog and store! We are still working on improvements to the website and keep adding new items to the store all of the time. Be sure to visit

     Since we didn't do many trips this year, we made the ones we did do count. We made sure we made a few trips with our family so we could make lots of memories together. We had a lot of fun on those trips and will be ready for more memories in 2014.

Father's Day Double Header
      Another exciting even was when I was chosen to be the Colorado Prostaffer for Schadeycreek Fishing Lures. Since we didn't do many trips this year, the only thing I caught on a Schadeycreek Lure was a crawdad, but it was a start and I am very excited about supporting a great company.

Crawdad on a Schadeycreek Lure
      I also took up a few new hobbies this year to expand my outdoor knowledge. The first hobby is fly fishing. In our back yard I can cast with great form and make a fly land close to where I wants it to land. In front of water, I get a little frustrated and tangled up. In 2014 I hope to improve my fly casting and be more comfortable with fly fishing. I am convinced the problem is, there isn't any red on my fly rod or reel so I will be working on getting some red on it this winter.

Practicing Fly Casting

     I also started fishing from a float tube this summer. I love my float tube! I love being on the water and it helped me get back onto the water since we hadn't been able to find a new boat. I will be able to get out on the water in areas that a regular boat can't get into.

Float Tubing

       Another hobby I took up was geocaching. Geocaching is fun and frustrating at the same time. Sometimes I start to get frustrated & grumpy when I can't find a cache and think about giving up, but then when I find that little container I get all giddy and can't wait to see what is inside. Once the container is placed back it it's hiding spot, I'm ready to find the next one. I really need a newer GPS though, maybe with a little more red on it.

Geocaching Find

     I haven't been on an ice fishing trip yet, but I now own an ice fishing rod. It's called Candy Apple and it has the perfect amount of red so I should be really good at ice long as I don't freeze solid.

My Candy Apply Ice Fishing Rod
       We sold our motorhome, the rock crawler and the old truck and bought a bigger, more powerful truck and a 5th wheel camper. We are very excited about going on more adventures with this setup that we could with the motorhome. We've even started to plan some out of state trips. We are also excited about not losing our camping spot when we decide to go for a drive like sometimes happened with our motorhome.

Ready to go camping!
      Three years ago we sold our boat and started looking for "The" boat. We wanted enough room for all of our family, all of our fishing gear and toys and to be comfortable with a full boat or when it is just us. A couple months ago we found "The" boat. We have missed being out on the lake and can't wait to get back on the lake in our Hurricane Deck Boat!

"The" Boat
       We want to make sure all of our followers and customers know how much we appreciate your support. We hope you enjoy the blog posts and our social media posts. We have a lot planned for 2014 and can't wait to get back to our normal fishing, boating, camping, shooting, atving and playing schedule. Be sure to find us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest & Etsy so you don't miss any of our adventures, advice or specials. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Our First Trip To Colorado Springs Bass Pro Shops

     We finally made it to the new Bass Pro Shops store in Colorado Springs last Sunday. As you can see, it was still pretty cold and snowy. The area around the store is still under development so it will be exciting to see who else comes into the area in the next few years. I was very excited to see that my new favorite sandwich shop is going to be opening a store. WOOHOO for Jimmy John's!
View From I-25
      I love the entrance sign. I was kind of disappointed that there wasn't a goodbye message or anything on the back for you to see when you leave.

Entrance to Parking Lot - windshield was a little dirty.

     We showed up a little before opening so the parking lot was pretty empty. We drove the truck up that day so right away we noticed that the parking lot was not designed for large vehicles. The other stores we've been to have areas that are a little tight but there are areas of the parking lot that you can park a large truck, motorhome or truck and trailer pretty easily. It could have been that the snow was covering up the lines and people weren't parked correctly so we'll have to re-review the parking when it's not covered in snow and ice.

Getting Closer!
     The new store has the amazing entrance that all of the other stores we've been to have. This store has a cute bridge and some fountains near the entrance. I can't wait to see the fountains when the weather is warmer and they aren't frozen.

We're Here!!!!
     I LOVE the entrances into every Bass Pro Shops I've been in. There is so much to look at and the Colorado Springs store did not disappoint us. I love how it looks like there's a real balcony up there.

Looking Up
     My most favorite part of the entrances are the fireplaces. We didn't get a very good picture of the fireplace because everybody else was trying to get pictures of the fireplace, too.

Nice Warm Fireplace
       Before you walk into the store, the buffalo have to size you up a little bit.
Above The Turn Styles
     One of the first things we HAVE to go look for in any Bass Pro Shops is the fish tank. Above the fish tank is a great display with some smaller waterfalls. (Sorry for the blurry photo. The camera wasn't liking the lighting that day and there were a lot of people trying to get the same photos we were.)

Above the Aquarium
     There were a lot of fish swimming around. My niece will be very excited to find out that there are 2 large Blue Catfish (she calls them whales). There were brown trout, rainbow trout, bass, wiper, walleye, blue gill and crappie.

The Aquarium!
     In the atv area, there was a great display up high. I think this is my favorite atv display ever!

ATV Area
     Our God son picked out what he wants for Christmas while we were in the atv section going into the Christmas Village.

Silly Boy
    We didn't take any pictures of the Christmas Village because there were so many people in the small area. We did get to go check out the bowling alley and restaurant. We are SO going to have a Girls In The Outdoors bowling party!! Maybe that is what we'll do for our 2nd Anniversary party! When you remember that all of the murals are hand painted, you will be even more amazed. The restaurant is located in the bowling alley and is everything we ordered was really good.
Ball Returns In The Fish Bowl Bowling Alley
     We were sitting in front of the aquarium while we were waiting for our buzzer thingy to go off for our turn in the restaurant and we were able to enjoy the architecture of  the building and look at all of the animal mounts.

Fish Support

Great Architecture
     All of the employees we spoke to were friendly and knew their departments well. It is a small store which makes it hard to get around when they are busy. We will make another trip after the newness wears off and the Christmas rush is over and be able to check out everything we missed during this trip.
     I have also decided on my new dream job during this post. I decided I want Bass Pro Shops to hire me to travel all over and tell them what I think of all of their stores. The would have to hire my husband, too so that he can drive me to all of the stores and help me with photos. I wonder where we can apply for that job?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Santa Came A Little Early!

     I can finally tell our secret!!! After 3 years of searching, we finally found THE boat!! We needed something the entire family can fit on so we originally started looking for a pontoon boat, but then this was listed on Craig's List.
      The 200 horse power engine should be enough to pull a tube or two.

      We really wanted a rear entry for tubing and we got it!

      Kaos did her inspection and said she'd prefer if there was some carpeting on the floor. I told her there is some carpeting that snaps on when we want to put it on and she was happy with that.

     Sasha says there needs to be some cleaning done. I told her once the weather gets warmer I'll get on that.

      Look at all of that seating in the back!!!

      The captain will be very comfy while he's taking us to our fishing spots and pulling the tubes.

     Another photo of the back of the boat:

 The front of the boat has lots of seating, too. We also love that all of the seats have their own covers which will be nice when we get off the lake right before a rain storm and don't have time to get home or to camp to put the main cover on before it rains.

      Under every seat is storage plus there's storage in the floor for skis and probably a few other things we put in there! I LOVE storage!

      The table will be nice for family lunches on the boat.

      The "dressing room" unfolded.

      The dressing room folded up and stored away will make a nice fishing platform or a place for small kids to lay in the sun and warm up.

 A toy ring will come in very handy.

      The captain trying out his seat.

    We are very excited for next spring. We can't wait to get back to fishing from a boat, tubing and enjoying some time on the water.