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Fishing advocacy group shares their angling expertise during weekend retreat

Thanks to a well-stocked pond along the Sandy River, families attending a fishing camp are likely to land a couple of rainbow trout at the end of an upcoming weekend excursion.

Camp attendees will learn all needed skills to snag those fish on the pond — and on any waterway — during the Association of Northwest Steelheaders' fourth-annual Family Fish Camp from March 8-10 at Camp Angelos, 32149 S.E. Stevens Road, Corbett.

No prior experience or equipment is required to attend, said Molly Shea, education and outreach coordinator for the steelheaders group. COURTESY PHOTO: NORTHWEST ASSOCIATION OF STEELHEADERS - Association of Northwest Steelheaders volunteer Huck Grimwood teaches Shannon Milliman and her son Phineas how to tie knots during last years fish camp.

"This year we're trying to improve this event to be as welcoming as possible," Shea said. "We want to make it comfortable for folks of all different backgrounds, whether you've gone fishing before — or have never even touched a fishing pole."

Participants will arrive Friday, March 8, and start the weekend with dinner and a movie. Lessons throughout the day on Saturday, March 9, include knot tying, fish anatomy, introduction to gear and casting practice.

"Family fish camp is a really great event where families can find an opportunity to not only bond for the weekend, but also learn really important skills for fishing in the outdoors," Shea said. "All of the skills are taught by experts from the association."

In addition to the fishing-skill workshops, children will participate in a print art station, raffle, and a salmon-lifecycle obstacle course called, "So, You Want to be a Salmon."

For the obstacle course, each group starts by smelling a scented cotton ball, which simulates the scent of a salmon's hatching point. The fish use river scents to navigate their way back home where they spawn, so

obstacle-course participants must then navigate a large jump-rope section that represents the dangers salmon face while traversing rivers. Those dangers include river turbines and fish dam ladders. Once the kids pass through the river-hazard section they make it to the ocean. There, participants gain nutrients by running back and forth.

If children can overcome all the obstacles and not get caught by predators (adult volunteers trying to catch them), the participants return to the course's starting point. The last task is to identify the scented cotton balls — but all the balls are mixed around so the children truly have to use their noses to find the correct one.

"It's a fun game that we've taken into a lot of classrooms," Shea said. "Kids don't realize how hard it is to migrate. Lots of the time, salmon don't make it back." COURTESY PHOTO: NORTHWEST ASSOCIATION OF STEELHEADERS - Father and son Tony and Orin Olander pose with a rainbow trout at Camp Angelos during the third annual Northwest Association of Steelheaders Family Fishing Camp.

The camp concludes Sunday morning, March 10, with attendees utilizing all their new fishing skills to fish in the camp's pond.

Once families are happy after pulling a couple of rainbow trout out of the small lake, instructors will help camp attendees plan their next fishing adventure.

If you go

What: The Association of Northwest Steelheaders' fourth-annual Family Fish Camp

When: Saturday, March 8-Sunday, March 10.

Where: Camp Angelo, 32149 S.E. Stevens Road, Corbett

Cost: $200 for an adult and child pair, and $75 for additional attendees. Admission includes five meals, two nights lodging, and access to all activities.


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