By Wayne Kruse Special to The Herald
The Washington Sportsmen’s Show rolls into the Puyallup fairgrounds on Wednesday for a five-day run featuring Dock Dogs, more than 150 hours of free how-to seminars, the Kid’s Free Trout Pond, camp cooking demonstrations, the Indoor Steelhead River and much more.
There’s nothing shockingly new in the O’Loughlin family’s annual production, but then it’s comforting to be able to spend a day wandering through what has become, over the years, a Puget Sound-area icon.
Show hours are noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Jan. 25, 26 and 27); 10 a.m. To 8 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 28); and 10 a.m. To 4 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 29). Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for juniors 6-16, and free for children 5 and under. Two-day passes are $18. Discount coupons are available online at www.otshows.com. Parking is free. For more information, visit www.thesportshows.com/wss.
One of the show’s most popular attractions the past several years has displayed the high-flying athleticism of man’s best friend, and the Dock Dogs are back. As featured on the Outdoor Channel, water-loving dogs participate in “Big Air,” “Extreme Vertical,” and “Speed Retrieve” skill events. The competition is open to both first-time and experienced canine athletes, and owners are invited to bring any dog over the age of six months that loves the water and enjoys playing fetch, regardless of breed, size or ability. All dogs are welcome. For details and registration information, visit www.pugetsounddockdogs.org.
With its realistic depictions of drifts, tailouts and riffles, the Indoor Steelhead River is the scene of tip-sharing on-the-river demonstrations by guides and tackle reps from several Northwest manufacturers. For those who prefer chasing warmwater species, fishing pros such as Ron Hobbs and Marc Marcantonio will share advice at the Warmwater Demo Tank, a fully stocked, glass-walled tank presenting a unique perspective on how fish react to various lures and techniques.
Big names in Northwest fly fishing will staff the Fly Fishing Theater, the show’s Fly Casting Pond and the Fly Tying Theater.
Hunters will want to see the collection of top big-game trophies at the popular “Head and Horns” display and competition. Full-body big game mounts — including a record-setting American bison, a 400-pound black bear and a 200-pound cougar — join a variety of trophy mounts on display. The bison, taken in South Dakota, weighed 2,100 pounds and stood 6-foot-4 at the hump.
Area hunters also are invited to bring heads, horns or horn/antler sheds to be measured and scored for possible inclusion in upcoming Northwest record books.
The popular trio of Herb Good, Tiffany Haugen and Dutch oven guru “Cee Dub” Welch is back in the cook tent, whipping up a variety of recipes — and sharing tasty samples — in hourly presentations all five days of the show.
Catch Cee Dub in his seminar “Dutch oven: getting started.” He takes the mystery out of one-pot cooking, producing a variety of delicious recipes such as chicken corn chowder and catfish stew. His presentations run on through main dishes and culminate with his famous Dutch Oven Dump Cake, a quick and delicious three-ingredient masterpiece using only chocolate cake mix, two cans of cherry pie filling and one can of cherry coke. Delicious.
Always a cheerful place to hang out, the Kid’s Free Trout Pond returns, staffed by local fishing club volunteers and offering youngsters ages 12 and under the opportunity to catch and either keep or release a rainbow. All gear is provided, including rods, bait and take-home bags.
No event in the Northwest beats the Washington Sportsmen’s Show in offering an extensive lineup of truly expert fishing/hunting seminars. New this year are Glen Schmidt and “Duck Calling Basics;” Chris Ferry and “Bass Fishing Techniques and Topwater Swim Baits;” John Brody and “Northwest Predator Hunting 2012;” Gary Miralles and “Kokanee and Trout Techniques;” and Norm Norlander with “Rotary Vise Fly Tying.”
Running down the seminar list and choosing a few of the more interesting-sounding presentations, I came up with:
n Anton Jones on the marquee fisheries of north central Washington. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to fish Rufus Woods Reservoir for multipound triploid rainbow; the upper Columbia for steelhead; Lake Chelan for Mackinaw, or perhaps Omak Lake for big cutthroat, Jones — the owner of a guide service in Chelan — is the man. Catch him in the Blue Theater at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 25; 5:30 p.m. Jan. 26; 6 p.m. Jan. 28; and 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29.
n Lake Stevens’ own Tom Nelson — witty, nimble, articulate and a trained fisheries biologist — presents “Dirty Downrigger Tricks.” He discusses jigs, bait and other lures in an all-seasons approach to “triple threat” local salmon fishing; and extolls the virtues of the beautiful and unique, but challenging, San Juan Islands. He’s in the Blue Theater at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 25; 3:30 p.m. Jan. 26; 1:30 p.m. Jan. 27; 4 p.m. Jan. 28; and 11:30 a.m. Jan. 29.
n Ron Hobbs, one of the top bass pros in the country, presents “Smallmouth Bass Fishing in Washington,” concentrating on inland waters such as Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, and discussing fish jigs, dropshotting and reaction bait. See him at the Warm Water Tank at 5 p.m. Jan. 25; 1 p.m. Jan. 27; 6 p.m. Jan. 28; and 11 a.m. Jan. 29.
n Tiger muskies? You bet. Two different presenters talk about the big hybrid; try Michael Floyd with “Tiger Muskie Basics,” at the Blue Theater, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Jan. 26; and 5 p.m. Jan. 28.
n Jack Mitchell covering “The Yakima: A River for All Seasons” at the Fly Fishing Theater, 6 p.m. Jan. 25; and 2 p.m. Jan. 27. Jennifer Mitchell deals with the Skagit River and Spey casting, 3 p.m. Jan. 26.
n Pick up the basics of duck calling with Glenn Schmidt, in the Green Theater, 3 p.m. Jan. 26; 3 p.m. Jan. 28; and 10:30 a.m. Jan. 29.
n And if it’s walleye you’re about, the name Ed Iman always comes to mind. Ed does “Jigging for Walleye” at the Warm Water Tank, 1 p.m. Jan. 25; and 5 p.m. Jan. 28; plus “Walleye Fishing Techniques” in the Blue Theater, 3:30 p.m. Jan. 25; 1:30 p.m. Jan. 26; and 3:30 p.m. Jan. 27.