Fred Hall Show is March 4-8 at Long Beach Convention Center


By JIM MATTHEWS

www.OutdoorNewsService.com

The Fred Hall Show, the West Coast’s premier fishing, boating, and outdoor show, will be held March 4-8 at the Long Beach Convention Center. The 69-year-old event has become the de facto beginning of fishing season for Southern California anglers. It is a big, one-stop shopping mall with incredible sales and the most innovative new fishing gear and boats for fresh and saltwater anglers. It’s a five-day college campus with everything from beginning to graduate level classes on where and how to fish across the region and around the world. It’s the Food Channel gone fishing. It’s a slice of every exotic fishing destination in the world put into one pie. It’s everything when, where, how, and why for the fishing enthusiast.

It’s a pretty good bet that if you’re a fisherman in the southern half of California that you’ve been to this event. Probably more than once. So all this is blah, blah, blah to most of you, a long-winded reminder to put the dates on your planner. But don’t skip ahead, there are couple of Hall-related events that take place before the show opens on Thursday, March 5, and Friday, March 6, you may not know about and want to attend:

First, there is a light tackle surf fishing seminar from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 5. The two-hour event features Bill Varney, Patrick Sebile, and Ruben Ortiz spilling their secrets on Southern California incredible – and largely neglected – surf fishing. The seminar is limited to the first 125 who register on-line advance. More information at: http://www.fredhall.com/pages/long_beach/surffishing.php.

Second, there is a comprehensive seminar designed for beginning or mid-level anglers who are looking to learn about fishing in Southern California. The 2 ½-hour seminar will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, March 6, and will feature Steve Carson, Capt. Larry Moore, Danny Jackson, and the DFW’s Carrie Wilson. It will be hosted by Sergio Fainsztein of Angler Chronicles TV . This seminar is limits to the first 100 who register on-line in advance. More information at http://www.fredhall.com/pages/long_beach/socalfishing.php.

Either seminar will cost $25 per person and includes admission to the Hall Show for the day. Both also have gear giveaways and drawings.

For complete information on all the exhibitors, the hundreds of seminars and exhibitions, and activities, go to www.FredHall.com.

Volunteers needed for annual bighorn

sheep survey in San Gabriel Mountains

Almost annually since 1979, there have been surveys of bighorn sheep in the eastern end of San Gabriel Mountains. The comprehensive survey requires a large number of volunteers to spot, classify, and log the locations of the wild sheep.

The survey is coordinated by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep (SCBS), and the data is scientifically analyzed to help the state agency track the size, productivity, and health of the herd.

These surveys have recorded the population swings of the most urban bighorn sheep herd in the nation. The mountain range once held an estimated 740 sheep, which made the San Gabriel population the largest herd of desert bighorn sheep in California. But then the bighorn population crashed in the 1980s, and estimates placed the herd at fewer than 100 animals. That was the lowest ebb of the San Gabriel sheep population, and the herd has since grown to around 400 sheep living in the rocky crags overlooking the vast Los Angeles basin.

Volunteers are needed for this year’s March 1 census.

No survey experience is necessary to participate in the bighorn sheep survey, but volunteers must attend an orientation 6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 28 at the Angeles National Forest Supervisor's Office in Arcadia.

But this survey is no stroll in the park. Participants must be capable of hiking at least a mile in rugged terrain, and most survey routes are longer, with some stretching six miles or a little more. The hiking is mostly not along regular hiking trails, with most routes following game trails or ridgelines. Reaching many of the observation points involves scrambling over boulders, climbing up steep slopes, or bush-whacking through chaparral.

Volunteer groups will hike to designated observation sites in the San Gabriel Mountains early Sunday morning to count and record bighorn sheep. Each small groups of volunteers will be led by a representative from CDFW, USFS or SCBS, and participants must be at least 16 years old.

Volunteers should have their own binoculars or spotting scopes, in addition to hiking gear, and they should be prepared to spend several hours hiking and additional time making observations in cold and windy weather, and rain gear may be needed.

For volunteers who wish to camp, complimentary campsites will be available to volunteers on a first come, first served basis at the Applewhite Campground in Lytle Creek on the nights of Feb. 27 and Feb. 28.

You can sign up online at www.sangabrielbighorn.org. If you do not have access to the Internet, volunteers can call 909-627-1613 or 909-584-9012 to receive a volunteer packet.

Deer hunting clinic scheduled for

April 11 at Apple Valley Gun Club

A comprehensive all-day deer hunting clinic will be held Saturday, April 11 at the Apple Valley Gun Club in Victorville. The event is jointly sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Advanced Hunter Education Program, the Hunter Education Instructor Association of Southern California, and the California Deer Association.

The clinic is designed for Southern California deer hunters of all skill levels. It will cover deer biology, hunting techniques and regulations, methods for locating deer, locations to hunt, field dressing, and care of game.

The clinic is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $45. Youths 17 years and younger are free, but must be accompanied by adult.

Space is limited and participants must register in advance on the DFW’s website at this address: http://www.dfg.ca.gov/huntered/advanced/index.aspx.

After registering, participants will receive an email with a map to the facility and a list of items to bring. CDFW’s Advanced Hunter Education Program will provide all necessary class equipment.

Lake Skinner trout update:

Plants Tuesday and Friday

The Department of Fish and Wildlife restarted its trout stocking program at Skinner this past week (see last Sunday’s column) with a 1,200-pound plant -- which included 100 pounds of trophy fish -- on Tuesday. The plant was split between the two launch ramps.

Riverside County was also able to come up with fish and the lake was also stocked on Friday with 1,500 pounds of rainbows from a private hatchery contracted by the county. The DFW plants will be made every two weeks, and the county plans to add trout on Feb. 27, March 13, and March 27 this season.

As a final note, there was a 26-pound striper caught at Skinner on Friday that had five of those trout in its gut. That brings up a question: If the angler discovered the freshly-eaten trout in the striper’s gut and kept them to eat, too, would they count against his limit? I’m asking the DFW’s Carrie Wilson.

END

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