The westside's only outdoors show returns for its 26th year, bringing the popular DockDogs competition, the indoor Steelhead River and the Kids' Free Trout Pond. For the bass and walleye fishermen, there's the Warm Water Demo Tank; for the hunters, the Northwest Tour of Big Game Animals and the Head and Horns Competition; and for most everyone, the "Cook Tent" camp cooking demo area.
There's fly fishing and fly tying and fly casting; archery; boats and RVs; guides and outfitters galore; and all you want to know about the new Lowrance HDS Touchscreen and the latest advances in sonar technology. Plus -- and the major draw for many -- dozens of free how-to seminars presented by top experts in the field.
You can take in presentations by the legends -- Jim Teeny, Ed Iman, Buzz Ramsey and Anton Jones; by local favorite Tom Nelson, host of "The Outdoor Line" on 710 ESPN Radio, and by up-and-coming young warmwater expert Nick Barr, a student at Eastern Washington University who guided bass fishermen at MarDon Resort the past two summers and handled PR chores most ably for Mike Meseberg.
Learn to tie jigs for salmon and steelhead; catch spring chinook on Columbia tribs; fly fish the Yakima; call black bears; cook on a plank; experiment with advanced drop shot techniques, and much, much more.
For a complete list of seminars, days and times, go to my blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.
Show hours are noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for juniors 6-16, and free for children ages 5 and under. Two-day passes, at $18, also are available and discount coupons, worth $2 off adult admission Wednesday through Friday, can be had online at www.thesportshows.com and at participating Baxter Auto Parts and Les Schwab locations.
Show parking at the fairgrounds is free.
New era on the Columbia
History was made and salmonid fisheries management on the Columbia River tilted dramatically in favor of sport fishermen Saturday, as the state Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to join its Oregon counterpart in adopting the "Kitzhaber Plan." The new regulatory regime, named after its early sponsor, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber would, if pending litigation by commercial fishermen doesn't interfere, begin a five-year phaseout of non-tribal gillnets on the mainstem Columbia and a substantial increase in recreational salmon fishing quotas.
Depending on the individual run, the recreational harvest share will increase from the current 50-60 percent of the state half, to a top of 80 percent by 2017.
The immediate impact will be a minor, according to Guy Norman, the state Department of Fish Wildlife's Region 5 director. He said the five-percent increase in the recreational spring chinook quota coming online right now probably means just an additional couple of days on the water for sport fishermen. That's because the run is forecast to be smaller this spring than last, and because the popular fishery is set up to take a bunch of fish in a relatively short time, given optimum conditions.
Modifications to spring chinook regulations will be announced, Norman said, after a Jan. 30 Washington/Oregon Compact meeting.
Stilly seal sighted
Steelhead fishermen on the North Fork Stillaguamish reported sighting a seal in the river last week, at the Oso Loop Bridge. "Probably chasing leftover coho," one said.
Rumor: "Wolf management, including removal of the Wedge Pack, was accomplished at least in part with my hunting-license fees."
Rumor: "Plans are either in place or being considered to introduce wolves to the Olympic Peninsula."
Neither of the above is true, according to state wildlife manager Dave Ware in Olympia.
"So far we've been able to separate management from hunting fees," Ware said, "instead using personalized license plate funds and federal grants. The Olympic Peninsula story is an old, old chestnut which never had any traction and still doesn't."
Rumors like those are why, if you're a hunter and concerned about wolves preying on game species, you should be at a public meeting from 6-8 p.m. on Friday in the Garden Room at Magnuson Park in Seattle (7400 Sand Point Way N.E.)
The lower end of the Cascade River reopened to fishing yesterday, as Marblemount Hatchery personnel finished collecting hatchery winter steelhead broodstock. The river had been closed from its mouth up to the Rockport-Cascade Road.
Good fishing for winter blackmouth continues in the San Juan Islands when the weather cooperates, although perhaps not quite as good as the first couple of weeks of the season. Checks Saturday at the Washington Park public ramp in Anacortes showed 66 fishermen in 33 boats with 18 chinook.
For more outdoor news, read Wayne Kruse's blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.
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