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International Sportsmen’s Expo still growing

Scheduled from Jan. 19-22 at Cal Expo
By: George deVilbiss/Special to Gold Country News Service
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It’s mid cold season time, when cabin fever has set in and we’re tired of sitting around and dreaming of things to do in the great out-of-doors.

Regular-season football is over with just the playoffs looming, and the Sacramento Kings are having trouble putting wins on the table. So, a highly welcomed break this time of year is the International Sportsmen’s Exposition at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

The event seemingly grows every year, and the parking lots fill early with eager outdoors enthusiasts who want to roam the aisles shoulder to shoulder with others, all dreaming of getting back to the outdoors and seeing other fishing and hunting opportunities near and far.

There is virtually something for everybody — hunting, fishing, camping. There are numerous seminars to learn more about your favored sport.

Want to add more equipment to your arsenal? Numerous dealers and manufacturers will be on hand with great prices.

Added this year will be a Great Elk Tour by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, a turkey-calling contest sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Foundation, predator hunting seminars and seminars on fly fishing within one hour of Sacramento.

The old stand-bys will be there, too, such as the Adventure Theater, California Sportsmen Theater, Dutch oven demonstrations, the Lowrance Sonar Theater & Clinics, the fly fishing theater, accuracy-casting contest and much more.

Always a big crowd draw is the Ultimate Bass Demonstration Tank, where there are endless seminars by some of California’s top bass pros and guides. This one is hosted, again, by Roseville’s own son, Kent Brown, and he’ll introduce you to special guests such as Mike Folkestad, Chris Zaldane and Bobby Barrack.

Sep Hendrickson, the founder and original owner of Sep’s fishing products, again will host the California Sportsmen Theater. If you haven’t attended his fishing seminars, you’ve missed a wonderful, powerful presentation with tips that can make you much more successful.

And don’t forget the kids. While they may be bored to tears with many exhibitors you’re fascinated with, there will be, as usual, an area that can keep them occupied for hours.

Be sure to take your camera, as you capture them hauling in what might be their first catch from the trout pond.

There are more than six pages of exhibitors listed. If you stroll and gawk and occasionally stop to talk to an exhibitor or pick up a brochure, you’re pretty much in for an all-day outing.

While the ISE isn’t a boat or RV show, there will be some of both on hand.
The show opens Thursday, Jan. 19, and ends Sunday, Jan. 22.

Show hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 21, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 22.

Parking costs $10, and entry to the show is $15 for adults. Entry is free for kids 15 and under and active military with an ID.

If you want to beat standing in line at the ticket counter, you can purchase tickets online. Go to www.SportsExpos.Com, click on “Purchase Tickets Now ONLINE,” and print the purchased ticket(s).

Current fishing

Still no rain or snow in the immediate forecast. If the trend continues, you can expect to dress in fairly light gear to attend the ISE. Dress in layers, including short-sleeve shirts, to do most fishing. Some fishing is tough, while others are in winter success mode.

Lake Amador: Great rod-bending action is being found at this pay-to-play lake out of Ione. They plant home-grown Donaldson trout, a half breed of rainbow and cutthroat. As you drive up the hill to the lake, you’ll see large tanks on the left. That’s where most of these fish are raised before they’re planted in the lake. Management plants large, trophy-size, bragging-size trout, some in the 10-pound class. Leave the boat at home. No need to pay the additional boat fee when the shore fishing is outstanding. For the best success, get there by the crack of dawn. The cove around the boat ramp, the rocky area of the dam and the dirt bank from the rocky area to the spillway are the top areas for shore casters. Power Bait and salmon eggs will be some of the best attractors, but keep it shallow with a bobber or cast-a-bubble. Cast-retrieve a lure or white crappie jig with your second rod. You can easily limit if you don’t fish too deeply.

Folsom Lake: Bass are in their winter ho-hum mode. You have to literally bump them on the nose to get bit. You’ll spend more time putting around watching your scope for concentrations of bait, and most of what you’ll find will be around rock piles. When you find that bait ball, drop-shot plastics. When a bass bites, just realize it’s really a soft bite.

Camp Far West: Launching is no problem, and the lake level actually rose slightly. There isn’t much fishing pressure right now, and jigs being worked as much as 30 feet down are accounting for a bass now and then.

Port of Sacramento: Access can always be a problem since the south side of the port has been effectively closed off to vehicle traffic. I’m told you can park and walk in, however. Those who can get to the shoreline or a boat into the turning basin or channel are being rewarded with a decent striper bite. Cut bait or a jumbo minnow hung under a bobber has been working for those on shore while boaters are drifting the big minnows, trolling a variety of Rebels, Bombers or even Hair Raiser jigs. Most of the bass are small schoolies.

Contact George deVilbiss at GeorgesColumn@aol.com.