Flood, mud and melted ice putting the kibosh on your fishing this weekend? Perhaps an Outdoor Show will suffice.
The second annual Fish On! show is at Portage High School this weekend. Last year, Fish On! became the first event of its kind in the region since 2012, and was met with mixed reviews.
"We heard they (attendees) wanted more merchandise for sale, so that was our focus," Jessica Bailey of the host Portage Chamber of Commerce, said. "We added a bunch of area tackle vendors this year. Plus, we have free seminars, again, and parking is free."
Fish On! hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m on Saturday and 9 a.m to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $6 per adult, $5 seniors, $4 kids (under 6 free).
If a larger venue is your thing, the Indianapolis Boat, Sport & Travel Show wraps up its nine-day run at the State Fairgrounds on Sunday. Complete information is at https://indianapolisboatsportandtravelshow.com/.
As for the Portage event, the "more vendors" include local lure makers like ITO Flies (salmon flies, meat rigs and lake trout lures), SeaQuest (trolling and casting spoons), Arctic Spinners (steelhead, salmon and pike spins), Musselhead Tackle (trolling rigs), Magnum Metalz (downriggers, rod holders), Midwest Custom Baits (bass, walleye), Wackem and Stackem Custom Baits (crappie, panfish, bass), Bass Pro Shops (everything outdoors) and more.
Besides talking fishing with the folks who make the baits, there will be plenty of angling groups to swap stories with including the Northwest Indiana Steelheaders, Hoosier Coho Club, Griffith Ikes, Indiana DNR, Ind.-Ill. Sea Grant, Schelfish salmon charters and Mister Twister walleye guides.
The free-with-admission seminar schedule (same both days) is; 10 a.m. Kayak Fishing (Steve Hrynewyck and Jackson Kayak Fishing Team), 11 a.m. Lake Michigan Perch (Rich Holm), 12 p.m. Sauger/Walleye on the Illinois River (Guy Lopez), 1:30 p.m. Pier & Shore Fishing (Mary Ryba), 2 p.m. Lure Color Above and Below the Surface (Rich Holm).
Outdoors Shows were a big deal back in the late 1980s and early '90s. There was a show within an easy drive of Michigan City every weekend in January, February and March. The Northwest Indiana Steelheader's enjoyed a successful 23-year run in Valparaiso, ending in 2011.
Chief culprit for the demise was the advent of the electronic/information age. Seemingly over night, every business had a website, facebook page and assorted virtual-reality media. Nowadays, folks hardly need to leave home, or their smart phone, to "kick the tires" of new products.
The establishment of outdoor mega-stores like Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas took the shine off shows, too. They are like walking into fish and wildlife museums while also housing a staggering inventory of just about everything sporting. And they're open seven days a week.
Still, there is something appealing about a local show. Mostly, its about being around and talking fish with many of the folks who fish the same water that you do.
For more information on the Portage show, see www.portageindianachamber.com or call (219) 762-3300.
Lake Michigan Contests
Mostly for calendar marks, as most event details are yet to be published, but here are some dates and the place to check for more information. All are Michigan City events, unless noted.
• March 31: Friends of Fishing Shore Contest (Mark: (219)-476-5860).
• April 7: Coho Cabin Fever out of Marina Shores in Portage (thesouthend.org or Jeff at (219)-682-5575)
• April 21: Buffalo Bill Memorial (www.michianasteelheaders.com or Shannon at Rockshopshop@aol.com or (574)-387-8135)
• April 27-May 4 Coho Capital Derby, (www.michigancitylaporte.com or www;hoosiercohoclub.org
• April 28: Hoosier Coho Club Pro/Am, (www.hoosiercohoclub.org)
• May 4: Carl A. Hartman Memorial, (www.hoosiercohoclub.org), May 5-6 Hoosier Coho Club Classic (www.hoosiercohoclub.org)
• June 30-July 1: Skamania Mania (www.nwisteelheaders.org or (219)-221-1340)
• July 21: Hoosier Coho Club Powder Puff (www.hoosiercohoclub.org)