Fish, Fur, Fowl: Fill your plate in 2008

By Ed Oldham

When things slow down in the outdoor world, I have to admit I spend a lot of time thinking about what the next year is going to be like.

Last year was a good one for me and I hope it was for you. I tried a few new things in 2007 and had a blast doing it.

I tried shrimping for the very first time and I will say that I am hooked. I learned a lot from friends and just the experience of doing it taught me even more. The reward for the hard labor pays off once you eat your first catch.

I also learned how to fish for ling cod with swim baits from D.J. Stevenson, a great angler and friend. It took some time to step out of my comfort zone, but fighting the fish and not a pound of lead made the experience well worth the effort. I can’t thank D.J. enough for all his advice.

With firsts like that, I can’t wait to see what new items I will add to my list this year. What new activity will be on your list to try?

I can say that this year is going to be a halibut intensive year for me. I managed to get out a few times in 2007, but this year it is going to be different. I want to learn all I can and maybe even reel in a couple of big ones.

Maybe a new hobby is on your list. Hobbies like fly tying, rod making, reloading or trap shooting are wonderful ways to keep you busy in the sports you love all year long. I mentioned last year that I started to make my own fishing rods and although my first fish on my first rod was a dogfish, it was without a doubt the most memorable fish I have ever caught.

Whatever you do, try something new — it can only expand your experiences. I always give a plug to taking a child fishing. Pass on your knowledge and I can guarantee they will appreciate it for the rest of their life.

With a new year, there are still a few things to get out and do. Waterfowl have been moving in from the north and hunters have been doing quite well. The weather has been moving ducks all over the place and the snow geese are also moving.

Local anglers are having success catching winter Chinook just outside of Oak Harbor near the first green buoy you come to. Trolling plugs or hootchies near the bottom have been producing fish weighing in the teens. Further south near Hat Island has also been doing quite well.

Pass Lake has had quite a few anglers trying their luck. Although it is a catch and release, fly fishing only lake, it is well worth the time to hook into a nice-sized trout and feel the tug at the end of your line. A dark wooly booger in either green or black has been the top-producing fly in the lake for a long time.

Campbell Lake has heated up a bit the last month. Anglers trolling a worm-tipped wedding ring lure have landed some trout in the four- to five-pound range. One advantage the lakes have is they are better protected from the inclement weather.

Most of us take it easy this time of year, so give 2008 some serious thought as to what you want to do. What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t like your new activity. At least you won’t be wondering what might have been.

Until next time, be safe and be happy. I look forward to hearing from you at

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