L.V. Sportsman's Show brought fellowship

Area stream trout stockings have begun.

Between people talking trout and turkeys last weekend, the Agri-Plex at the Allentown Fairgrounds was the place to be to get excited about the upcoming fishing and hunting seasons.

From seminars on using flintlock and inline rifles for hunting, wild turkey calling and on to outfitters offering salmon fishing trips and international hunting excursions, the Lehigh Valley Sportsman's Show offered something for everyone without the crowds and hassles of the Great American Outdoor Show in Harrisburg.

Approaching the vendors, like Clymer's Long Range Rifles and Weaknecht Archery, was simple and informative, with short lines to get face-to-face interaction. Sunday's no-show snowstorm that so many meteorologists called for kept that day's patron traffic to a minimum, but the show seemed well received by the children fishing in the pond and the ones shooting arrows in a special area in the secondary room in the old Ag Hall building.

Show promoter Dennis Brozey said that, after meeting with the vendors and outfitters, he'll stay with the same three-day format in 2015, but shorten the hours of operation somewhat.

What the show did provide for many was a lot of outreach. Booths set up by local sportsman's clubs helped non-members understand the mission and camaraderie possible in joining something like a local Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited or local National Wild Turkey Federation chapter, and hammered home the importance of the Lehigh River Stocking Association, which is the only organization that stocks legal-sized trout in the Lehigh River.

The Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission both had booths set up and staffed with local and regional representatives. It provided a great opportunity for hunters, anglers and children to meet, in a friendly setting, some of the wildlife conservation officers and Waterways Conservation Officers who patrol our area.

Most of all, it got the hunting and fishing community together for some fellowship and pumped up the enthusiasm level for the start of trout season in the Southeast Region on March 29.

Trout time: Speaking of trout, even though snow and ice are blanketing the region, trout stocking has commenced, according to Lehigh County WCO Lee Creyer, who helped stock part of the Bushkill Creek last week. More stockings are scheduled for this week, so if you want to help out, go online to http://www.fishandboat.com, click on the 2014 Trout Stocking link and check out when and where.

The 2014 PAflyfish.com Fishing Instructional Jamboree will take place 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 15 at Wildlands Conservancy, 3701 Orchard Place, Emmaus. The free program features seminars from 8:30 a.m.-noon, and then on-stream instruction on the Little Lehigh 2-4 p.m.

The Lehigh County Fish & Game Protective Association Spring Booster Meeting/Fishermen's' Night takes place 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 21 at the Fearless Fire Company, third floor of 1221 S. Front St., Allentown. Refreshments will be served, and memberships will be available. The guest speaker hasn't been announced yet.

The 12th annual Trout Unlimited Spring Event will take place 9 a.m. -noon Saturday, March 21 at East Bath Rod & Gun Club, 7905 Township Line Road, Bath, with Joe Baylog presenting "Do It Yourself Alaska: Fly Fishing Alaska's Road System and the Kenai Peninsula."

The ninth annual Great Swamp Preseason Trout Derby will take place 8 a.m.-4 p.m. March 22-23 at the club in Quakertown, with more than 1,500 trout in the 13- to 18-inch range stocked for the occasion. Current Pennsylvania fishing license and trout stamps are required. An entry fee is required.

Blue Mountain Fish & Game Association will hold its annual Fishermen's Night 6-10 p.m. Friday, March 28, the night before the Southeast Region trout opener. The club is located at 4190 Wood Drive, Lehigh Township.

Spring gobbler time: Cabela's is hosting a pair of nationally known turkey hunters and callers in the next two weeks.

Matt Morrett, a Harrisburg native and host of Avian-X TV on the Sportman's Channel, who is a five-time World Friction Calling Champion and vice president of sales and marketing with the turkey Division for Zink Calls, is leading Cabela's Turkey Hunting University 6 p.m. this Wednesday.

Morrett will give expert advice on how to locate birds through the entire season, all-day hunting tactics, turkey calling tips and decoy and blind placement strategies.

Cabela's is partnering with the National Wild Turkey Federation to host the Conservation and Outfitter Expo March 14-16, with Nate Hosie, co-host of headhunters TV on the Outdoor Channel, doing the lead seminar on Eastern Turkey Hunting Tactics 10 a.m. Saturday, March 15.

During the three-day expo, outfitters from across the country will showcase hunting and fishing adventures of a lifetime.

That Saturday night, NWTF and Cabela's will host the first-ever Hunt Auction and Banquet, with outfitters putting up trips for auction. Proceeds benefit the NWTF. The banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. in the second-floor restaurant, followed by the hunt auction. Attendance is limited to 165 people. Tickets for the Hunt Auction and Banquet are $40 for NWTF Members Card (membership number required), and $75 for non-members, which includes NWTF membership.

gary.blockus@mcall.com

610-820-6782

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