A harbinger of spring salmon fishing is coming to town March 5-7.
“The last time I gave a seminar on fishing for spring chinook was 2001, the year of the last phenomenal run,” said Northwest salmon and steelheading icon Buzz Ramsey of Klickitat, Wash. “The room was packed and people were lined up out the door and down the hall trying to hear. So I know Spokane is interested in spring chinook.”
Especially this year, with official forecasts tentatively predicting the biggest run into the Columbia since 1938.
Ramsey, currently representing Yakima Bait Co., is a headliner among the seminar speakers at the Great Western Sportfishing Show, which runs Friday through Sunday at the Spokane Convention Center.
His program is set for Saturday at 1 p.m.
Seminars on all types of fishing will be presented simultaneously at several stages throughout the show. The seminar stages will be scattered among the 110 fishing industry exhibitors. Prize drawings are scheduled.
A Fly Tying Theater and fly tying workshop are being featured as well as a casting pool for clinics.
New at this third annual show is the Giant Demonstration Tank full of fish with different speakers demonstrating techniques that can be seen in the water as the fish interact with presentations.
Other seminar speakers include fly fishing professional Skip Morris, Junior Bassmaster champion Joey Nania and 2010 Bassmaster Classic qualifier Don Hogue.
Pro walleye fishermen John Carruth and Robert Ploof will join in the hour-long seminars, as well as Spokane TV fishing show host Seth Burrill and pro bass fisherman Bobby Forster.
While Ramsey will focus on spring chinook coming up the Columbia and Snake rivers, Idaho guide Jeff Smith will talk about fishing techniques for chinook in Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Area fishing guides Ray Bailey, Bruce Hewitt, Anton Jones, Shane Magnuson and Dave Murphy as well as Spokane area fish biologist Chris Donley will focus on fishing for salmon, trout or steelhead on Lake Roosevelt, the Snake and Columbia Rivers, Rufus Woods, Lake Chelan and Spokane area trout lakes.
Fly-fishing speakers include G.L. Britton, Jack Mitchell, Joe Rotter, Charles Cooper and Joe Roope, covering angling techniques and regional destinations.
Ramsey’s seminar has the highest news value, as roughly a half million spring chinook may be heading to the Columbia.
“There have been some problems with the forecasting in the past two years, but there’s good news,” he said. “The lower Columbia fishery has been prescribed with a 40 percent buffer. That means upstream anglers are guaranteed to get a fishery even if the run doesn’t fulfill the forecast.”
Ramsey said he will discuss a range of proven fishing tactics, from bait to lures. Yakima Bait Co. is touting a plug that’s ideally suited to backtrolling for spring chinook.
Formerly called Worden’s M-2 SP FlatFish, the newly named Mag Lip dives up to 20 feet without need for weights or divers.
“It’s especially good in current,” Ramsey said. “If fishing in slow water, I’d probably go with a Kwikfish, but in current up to 4.5 mph, the Mag Lip is better. You’re not hoping you’re near the bottom with the fish, you are.”