By LOUIE STOUT
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Looking for an inexpensive break from this winter’s cabin fever?
Stop by the Century Center and the Michiana Boat and Sport Travel Show next weekend.
That’s where you will find an assortment of fishing boats, pontoons, pleasure boats and other outdoor related exhibits. You can book a trip to a Canadian Lodge or a Lake Erie/Lake Michigan fishin’ trip; learn a little something about your favorite pastime and more.
And there’s a bonus for the kids. The show now includes a trout fishing pond in which youngsters can fish for free.
The event kicks off Friday at noon ‘til 9 p.m., then resumes Saturday from 9-9 and Sunday 9-3, the latter of which gets you home in time for the Super Bowl.
Admission is $3 – all of which goes to the Michiana Walleye Association for river stocking and other projects. The club will help set-up and tear down and conduct other chores during the show.
You can park in the $5 Century Center lot or for less money park in nearby city lots.
The Boat and Sport Travel Show is hosted by the newly-formed Michiana Boats and Sports Dealers Association that hopes to revive an outdoor sports show in South Bend.
Dale Brindley, show director for the association, said some 40 booths have been assigned for this year’s show.
“It’s shaping up really well and we think it gives us something to build upon for the future,” said Brindley. “Our hope is to bring this back to where it was years ago.”
Late entries since we last announced the show include boat and pontoon restoration exhibits, kayaks and scuba gear, the South Bend Power Squadron and the Hoosier Record Buck Program (measuring antlers at the show), to name a few.
Also, tackle retailers Trailhead Mercantile of Niles will join Clear H20 tackle of Edwardsburg offering tackle bargains.
Brindley says he can still add some last minute exhibits; booths are only about 100 bucks. You can call him at 574-286-6311.
Ice derby postponed
Saturday’s ice fishing derby on Lake of the Woods in Bremen was postponed due to poor ice conditions in some areas of the lake.
It has been rescheduled for Feb. 9. For more information, call Lowell Michaels of the Bremen Conservation Club, 574-546-5802.
Hunter safety course
The Dowagiac Conservation Club will conduct a hunter safety course Jan. 31-Feb. 2.
There is no charge for the course but attendees must present a birth certificate. The classes will be held 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Feb. 2. You must attend all classes to receive a hunter safety card.
Last minute signups will be accepted, but students are urged to call Furmer, 269-646-9839, for details.
Hunting fatalities fall
The 2012 Michigan hunting season saw only one fatality in the 15 incidents reported, making it the safest season in the last five years.
While there were three fewer incidents reported in 2011, there were five fatalities in that year.
The incident involving a fatality in 2012 occurred in St. Clair County on September 20 when a coyote hunter reportedly shot and killed another hunter in an apparent accident. There were no hunting incidents reported in the Upper Peninsula in 2012, compared to three in 2011, including one fatality.
A total of three hunting incidents involved minors as the shooter, with the youngest being six years old. The six-year-old was unloading his firearm when it discharged and unintentionally struck his father causing a leg wound.
Master Angler changes
Michigan has announced multiple changes to its Master Angler program that recognizes large fish caught by recreational anglers.
To determine whether changes were necessary for the Master Angler program, the DNR’s Fisheries Division reviewed entries from the past five years and recognized that the minimum entry weight and length needed to be updated for several species, including: Atlantic salmon, brook trout, brown trout, bullhead, channel catfish, Chinook salmon, coho salmon, crappie, freshwater drum, muskellunge, rainbow trout, rock bass and smallmouth bass.
As a result, the entry criteria for some fish have been increased while others were decreased.
“The last five years have proven that catching certain species of fish of larger size in Michigan has become more of an everyday occurrence,” said DNR fisheries biologist Tom Goniea, in a press release.
“Updating the Master Angler criteria ensures that recognition goes to those who catch fish that truly are notable.”
In addition to the minimum entry criteria, multiple changes were made to the submission procedures for both “Catch-and-Immediate-Release” and “Catch-and-Keep” categories. Also, black and white photos will no longer be accepted; all photos must be in color.
All changes are highlighted in yellow on the new 2013 Master Angler entry application, available online at www.michigan.gov/masterangler.
Contact Goshen News outdoor writer Louie Stout at email@example.com.