Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Ladies Night Tonight!

Ladies, get ready for Fontana Sports Spring Ladies Night! Enjoy the camaraderie of like-minded outdoor friends, brand representatives and Fontana Sports staff while enjoying free wine, snacks and great deals on the best apparel and gear. Come and get info on upcoming events and lessons, and how to get involved with local organizations.

Event Schedule/Highlights:
5:00-7:00 Birkenstock Trunk Show
5:00-7:00 Hula Hoop Off
5:00-7:00 Meet & Greet with local organizations (Ice Age Trail Alliance, River Alliance of WI, Friends of the Henry Vilas Zoo)
5:30-5:50 Mini Yoga Class with Kristin from Humble Yoga
6:00-6:20 Patagonia Enviro Talk by Tech Rep Sara

* Door prize drawings every 15 minutes
* Gift for every lady in attendance.

We hope you'll join us!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Register with us!

Wedding season is just around the corner.  If you want an alternative to all the household items why not register for the gear you need to get out of the house at Fontana?

Shopping for the happy outdoorsy couple?  Stop by and let our staff show you all the great items a newly married couple will love...double sleeping bags, two person hammocks and more!

Our registry is not just for weddings either, baby carrier backpacks and portable high chairs make staying active in the outdoors with the little one easy. 

And really...what doesn't the new graduate need?  Backpack for the trip to Europe, campus backpack, rain jacket,  new bike to get around campus...the list goes on! Visit Fontana Sports >>

We also have gift cards in any amount.  Let us help you create the perfect registry or find the perfect gift for any occasion.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NEW SmartWool + Charley Harper socks!

We've just got in a beautiful collection of SmartWool Charley Harper socks. His animal artwork is amazing and on our favorite socks even better! The collection was limited and only a few retailers were selected to carry them. We're happy to report we have the collection available at our downtown location as well as online. Right now we also have an awesome Gift with Purchase available with these socks! Buy 3 pairs of Charley Harper socks, get a Charley Harper glass FREE! No limit on how many free glasses you can earn so start shopping! Quantities are limited of both the socks and the free gifts. Another collection will be in our stores this fall and we don't want to give too much away, but we might be carrying SmartWool Charley Harper Christmas stockings... SOOOO excited! 

Fly Fisherman’s March Madness

St. Patrick's Day Baetis
by Craig Amacker
Fontana Sports Store Manager & Fly Fishing Guru

The weather in March can be a crapshoot in the Driftless region of Wisconsin. It can be 65 degrees and sunny with folks wearing shorts and flip flops or we can still be in the icy grip of winter with two feet of snow and a high of 20. For the avid trout fisher, March is a great time to be on the streams because it’s not crowded, the bank grass is trampled flat and there are no gnats. The nymph and streamer fishing is also superb.

One element most folks overlook, however, is the dry fly fishing that can also be good under the right conditions with one fly in particular, the Blue Wing Olive or Baetis in Latin. While the best Baetis hatches occur in April, March is when things get started. According to my logs, the Baetis hatch usually starts on St. Patrick’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day became the magic start date many years ago after running into a couple fly shop guys from Chicago who went fishing to get away from the craziness of the holiday in Chi Town. All three of us had one of the best dry fly days of the year. It’s become a habit ever since to be on the stream that day looking for Baetis hatches and rising trout. There have been some interesting variances in start dates throughout the years. For example, in 2012 when it was freakishly warm, it started the beginning of March, and last year in the grip of the Polar Vortex it started March 20. The fact that last winter and spring were the coldest of the cold, and the hatch started only three days late is a testament to the hardiness of the Baetis. Though you’ll encounter some hatches on sunny days, the best conditions are overcast and drizzly because the adults stay on the water longer-read easier mealand the trout aren't as spooky.

The hatch won’t be heavy, but it will be good enough to get fish looking up and eating on top. You can make a game of it by hunting individual risers and in the early stage of the hatch, just put a fly over the fish after it rises once. More often than not, it will eat right away. Because this isn't “super hatch” fishing, you’ll know when a trout eats your fly rather than a natural, and you’ll experience a higher catch rate-to-cast ratio. This is great sport for folks who've just come back from their early spring Bonefish trip because they're in the right mindset to hunt and sight fish their query.

The gear for pursuing this hatch is pretty straightforward. First and foremost you need warm clothing, merino base layers, fleece, waders, fingerless gloves and a Gore-Tex rain jacket to have the staying power to be out in temperatures from 35-45 degrees. For tackle, an 8 1/2’ to 9’ 3 or 4 weight rod with a dull colored weight-forward fly line, and a 9’ 5X does the trick. Don’t have your leader too long or it won’t turn over properly and good turnover makes it easier for the near-sighted individual to see size 18 to 20 flies and track them on the surface.

My go-to fly for this pursuit is the Sparkle Dun in gray/olive color in sizes 18-20, and my CDC version of the same fly is good for high visibility on mirrored surfaces. I like the Sparkle Dun because it’s a sparsely tied fly with a low profile that does double duty as an adult or emerger, depending on whether you grease the wing or whole body. If you like fishing droppers, you can tie 12 inches of 5X to the hook bend of the Sparkle Dun and attach a Pheasant Tail, Ju Ju Baetis Nymph, or Craig’s Big Green Baetis in sizes 18 to 20 behind it. This allows you to capitalize on fish that are eating the bugs ascending towards the surface and further maximize your catching opportunities.

Despite not being the magic air temperature of 50 degrees to bring everyone on-stream, I've had some really good dry fly days in March. While everyone else is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with lots of Guinness or glued to the NCAA Basketball Championships, I’m experiencing my own form of “March Madness,” the first good dry fly fishing of the season.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In honor of Earth Day join us for the IATA Hike-a-thon!

Great event coming up this June that will get you outdoors and making a difference in our community! Choose between a 6.4 or 21 mile hike and enjoy the beauty we are so lucky to have here in Wisconsin on the Ice Age Trail. All proceeds go to the Ice Age Trail Alliance who's mission is to maintain the trails. For more info click here!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cinco de Fido - Dog Jog - Fiesta - FUNdraiser!

1 Mile or 5K Walk/Run & Fiesta!

Come out and support your Dane County Humane Society by joining in this Dog Jog Fiesta! Bring your Fido (or don’t, we’ll leave that up to you) and join us for a run/walk in beautiful Lake Farm County Park. Your registration includes a $10 Dane County Humane Society donation, a sombrero, drawstring race bag, timing for 5K runners, a taco bar, Fontana Sports mug with 1 beer, and some festive music. Additional beer will be available for a suggested donation with all proceeds going to the DCHS. Cinco de Fido is all about having a great time while engaging in some exercise with other animal lovers and raising funds for a very important organization. Pre-registration is required. Prizes will be awarded to the top overall Male and Female for the 5K. Age group winners will also be recognized (10 year age brackets) for men and women.

Event Details and Schedule:
Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Location: Lake Farm Park - 3113 Libby Road, Madison, WI 53711 - Shelter #2
Cost: $30 Adult/$20 Child (12 yrs & under) - $10 of each registration will go to the DCHS

5:30 - 6:00 PM - On site Packet Pickup
6:00 PM - 5K Start
6:05 PM – 1 Mile Start
6:30 - 8:00PM - Post Race Taco Bar and Music
7:00 PM - Awards

For more information and to register visit Fontana Sports Cinco De Fido Event Page >>

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tenkara Fly Rods

We are now carrying Tenkara fly rods!
Tenkara is the Japanese method of fly-fishing, which uses only a rod, line & fly. Tenkara is the ideal setup for anyone looking for an intuitive & fun way to fly-fish, something to take along on a backpacking fishing trip or teaching kids the art of fly-fishing, without the complexities. It’s the easiest, most fun way we've found to do fly fishing anywhere!

We're offering two Tenkara Clinics this May so please join us to learn more.

Tenkara 101
May 20, 2015 at 6 pm at our Westside Location in Madison

Tenkara 201 
May 27, 2015 at 6 pm at Lakeview Park in Middleton 

Both clinics will be given by our Fly Fishing Guru and Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Fly Casting Instructor, Craig Amacker. Stop into our westside location to learn more!

Interested in more fly fishing events we have coming up – please visit

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Paddling season is almost here!

The weather is warm and the water will soon be too. Get ready now!

Fontana is offering 20% off all paddling accessories with a boat purchase.
This includes paddles, PFDs, cartop racks & carriers, dry bags, safety gear, and more!

Stop by and check out our great selection of Stand Up Paddle Boards and Recreational Kayaks.

Did you know Fontana also offers kayaking classes?
Check out our schedule: http://www.fontanasports.com/misc_content/events

Monday, April 13, 2015

Successful Ice Age Trail Spring Hiking Kickoff Party!

Thanks to all who attended our Ice Age Trail Spring Hiking Kickoff Party last week! Great turnout and a fun group! We left feeling inspired to put in some miles on the Ice Age Trail! 
How lucky are we Wisconsinites that we have this amazing hiking system in our backyard? Pretty sweet!

Thanks to Ice Age Trail Alliance for supporting and attending the event as well as are other speakers. Awesome organization! 60's this week - let's go out and hit the trail!

For more great events coming up at the shops please visit Fontana Sports Events Page.  You definitely do not want to miss the Dane County Ice Age Trail Hike-a-thon coming up in June!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring Outdoor Sports Gear Swap

The Fontana Sports Gear Swap is a yard sale of sorts - for all things outdoor adventure related! Fontana Sports will be selling used but working camping, watersports, bike and other outdoor active gear and clothing. All you have to do is drop off your equipment and let our on-site salespeople sell it for you.

Date: Saturday, May 16th, 2015
Time: 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Location: Fontana Sports Westside Location – 231 Junction Road, Madison, WI 53717

Outdoor clothing and outerwear, footwear, tents, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, stoves, water filters, inline skates, headlamps, backpacks, luggage, bikes, car racks, canoes, kayaks, SUP boards, fishing gear, etc. If you have questions about particular items please contact Crystal - cneely@fontanasports.com.

Skis/Snowboards (there’s a separate swap in the fall for those), firearms, motorized vehicles, used swimwear, items in poor or unclean condition, most used climbing gear, non-outdoor related clothing items, used helmets and anything else we deem unsuitable.

People wishing to sell gear must drop it off between 6:00 pm & 8:00 pm on Friday, May 15th or between 10:00 am & 12:00 am on Saturday, May 16th. Drop off is at Fontana Sports Westside location.

Sellers are limited to 15 items, must determine the price of items they are selling (no “or best offer”) and fill out a sellers slip for each item. Only clean and functioning items will be accepted. Fontana Sports reserves the right to decide not to include items in the sale for any reason. Please call ahead if you plan to sell a large item such as a canoe or kayak so we can plan drop off accordingly.

Sellers receive 85% of the value of the item sold in store credit at Fontana Sports or a check for 70% of the price. Payment will be available at the West Side Fontana Sports starting at 10:00 am Wednesday, May 20th.

If your items do not sell you must pick them up during these hours: 6:00 – 8:00 pm Saturday and 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Sunday, May 17th. If you do not, they become the property of Fontana Sports Specialties. We cannot make exceptions to this rule.

Buyers can only purchase gear during the set swap period. All sales are first come, first serve – no holds. Gear purchased at the sale must be taken home by the end of the day May 16th. Payment must be in the form of cash or credit card. All sales are final and Fontana Sports is not responsible for providing warranty/support for items purchased. All items are sold as is.

The Swap is a great place to pick up gear for everyone. Prepare yourself by bringing a list with their height, weight, and boot/shoe size.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Events & Clinics - April 2015

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Westside Location - 231 Junction Rd, Madison, WI
We’ll have the latest greatest in fly fishing gear, factory reps on hand, snacks & beverages. Get once a year special pricing that day only! Put your casting skills to the test in the Rio Gold Distance Shoot Out. Enter to win cool door prizes. We hope you’ll join us!

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Westside Location - 231 Junction Rd., Madison, WI
Before you head out on the water, be sure to learn the paddling basics. This class offers you an overview of info on Kayaks & Stand-up Paddleboards. Our expert staff will cover Equipment, Apparel, Trip Planning and Transportation. This class is free.

Thursday, April 9th, 2015 at 5:30 pm
Downtown Location - 216 N. Henry St., Madison, WI
Let’s celebrate another spring season full of opportunities to hike the Ice Age Trail we are so fortunate to have here in Wisconsin! More than 12,000 years ago, an immense flow of glacial ice sculpted a landscape of remarkable beauty across Wisconsin. As the glacier retreated, it left behind a variety of unique landscape features. These glacial remnants are now considered among the world’s finest examples of how continental glaciation sculpts our planet. The Ice Age National Scenic Trail is a thousand-mile footpath that highlights these landscape features as it travels through some of the state’s most beautiful natural areas. The Trail is one of only eleven National Scenic Trails. We’ve put together a panel of individuals who’ve gone the entire Ice Age Trail distance and are happy to share their experiences, advice and answer questions. We’ll also have Ice Age Trail Alliance employees on hand as well as some refreshments and snacks. Please join us!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Westside Location - 231 Junction Rd., Madison, WI
Join us for an intro course on how to properly choose, fit and pack your backpack in preparation for your next adventure. Come and learn how to get started – no experience necessary! This is a free event.

Saturday, April 25th, 2015 at 9:00 - 11:00 am
Lakeview Park, Middleton, WI
Teaching basic fly casting fundamentals to beginners and and advanced techniques to experienced anglers. Our classroom at Lakeview Park in Middleton WI provides a unique setting for both dry land and on water casting instruction. Classes are taught by a Federation of Fly Fishers Certified Fly Casting Instructor, and both beginning and distance casting classes are offered. Equipment provided. $55 / 1 Person

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 at 6:30 pm
Westside Location - 231 Junction Rd., Madison, WI
Fontana Sports’ Fly Fishing Buyer and Certified Fly Fishing Guide, Craig Amacker, will be giving an intro course on how to get started fly fishing in Wisconsin. Get a chance to have all your fly fishing questions answered, receive some great tips and even try your hand at casting a rod. This is a free event.

Visit FONTANA SPORTS EVENTS PAGE for additional events information.