If you believe smoked salmon is to fish what bacon is to meat, this contest is for you.
Smoked Salmon Smackdown III is set for 7 p.m. on Wednesday (Sept.9) at Skwiat American Legion Post, 121 Skwiat Legion Ave., in Michigan City.
Born out of a friendly "my smoked fish is better than yours" challenge a few years ago, the Hoosier Coho Club event is open to the public. There is a $2 admission to sample and judge. Entry into the competition is free.
At stake are swaggering rights as well as $77.77 for first place and $33.33 for second.
If you have a good recipe, bring it. If you enjoy eating succulent smoked salmon, come on out. If you're looking to elevate your own fish to another level, don't miss it.
Complete SSS II rules are at www.hoosiercohoclub.org.
Jim Himes of Michigan City is two-time defending champ. Here is his 2014 SS III winning recipe: In a gallon bag, mix one quart water, one-third cup kosher salt, one cup brown sugar and one-half cup of maple syrup.
Mix thoroughly, add salmon filets and place in refrigerator for 12 hours. Remove fish from bag, rinse and air dry until tacky. Smoke at 100 degrees for two hours, then 140 degrees for two hours and finish at 170 degrees for two hours.Baste every hour with maple syrup.
Youth Hunt Free: This is a free hunting weekend (Sept. 5-6) for youth, age 17 and under. Squirrel, dove, Canada geese and teal are in season. Other free days for youth in Indiana are Sept. 26-27 for deer, Oct. 17-18 for North Zone waterfowl and Nov. 28-29 for all species. For details, see the Indiana Hunting/Trapping Guide at www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild.
Salmon Slam: A $1,200 guaranteed first place pay-out and a low, $100 per team entry are featured in the Salmon Slam, which fishes out of Michigan City and Portage on Sept. 12. Rules and registration forms are at www.hoosiercohoclub.org.
Pheasants Forever: The Northwest Indiana chapter of Pheasants Forever' annual fundraising banquet is Sept. 12 at the VFW on McClung Rd. in La Porte. Tickets are $50 (spouse $20, youth $20) and include dinner, access to raffles of auctions of artwork and guns, annual membership and subscription to PF magazine. For more information, call Roger at 219-362-7620.
Youth at the Range: The annual Youth Day at the Kingsbury Range is Sept. 13. The event is free for youngsters, age 17 and under, and allows them, under strict supervision, to try archery, BB gun, shotgun, air rifle and .22 cal. rifle. All equipment, including mandatory safety gear, is provided. A free lunch is also available. And there will be free seminars on duck and turkey calling, dog training and muzzleloading.
The youth event is sponsored by the Galena chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Northwest Indiana Pheasants Forever and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. For more information, call (219) 393-3612.
Outdoors Report: Dove hunting has been good, but not great, by most accounts, including Kingsbury Fish & Wildlife Area. Canada geese were good opening day (Sept. 1) for the guys who did their scouting, but I continue to see hundreds more of the big birds loafing under shade trees and grazing in open lots inside LaPorte, Michigan City and New Buffalo than there are flying around outside city limits.
Hot weather stymied steelhead action on the creek and pier this week. A fair run of Skamania had perked catches last week on the heels of cool temperatures. A few coho were being caught as well.
There are some Skamania available for trollers in 65 to 80 feet of water. Boats I've been on in the past week have caught five, one and five along with a few salmon and lake trout. The steelhead were hitting Super Slims in chartreuse and orange patterns from 20 to 50 feet down.
Charter boats were doing better for lake trout beyond 100 feet of water.
Labor Day use to be the start of fall Chinook fishing, but with a block of 70-degree water down to 40 feet or more, nobody is trying near shore at Michigan City. Might be some kings and steelies near bottom inside 60 feet. At least one Chinook was caught on the pier last week.
Perch have been hit and miss, with a handful of 30-perch catches reported at both Michigan City and New Buffalo.
Inland, bluegill, crappie and perch catches have been slow and spotty, like they have been for nearly a month.