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Out & About: Spokane teen wins world bass fishing championship

Nik Autrey, 19, Bassmaster Junior World Champion, is floating high with his prize – a new boat.
Nik Autrey, 19, Bassmaster Junior World Champion, is floating high with his prize – a new boat.

OUTSTANDING – Nik Autrey of Spokane’s Inland Empire Bass Club won the age 15-18 division of the 2012 Junior Bassmaster World Championship on Oct. 27.

Autrey, 19, won the one-day event with 10 pounds, 3 ounces of bass out of Wilson Lake near Decatur, Ala.

Autrey won a fully-equipped boat package for his efforts.

He qualified for the Bassmaster event by winning the Washington state title and the Western Division at Flaming Gorge.

The World event came down to six division champs, including a junior from South Africa.

Joel Nania of Spokane, who watched his son, Joey, step to the world podium as a teenager a few years ago before going pro, offered this insight:

“Since the Junior Bassmaster inception in 2004, of the 18 available titles (nine in the 11-14 age group and nine in the 15-18 age group) kids from Washington State have won four of them, more than any other state!”

(Joey Nania 11-14 in 2005, Nania again 15-18 in 2008, Jake Cook from the Tri-Cities 15-18 in 2009 and now Autrey in 2012).

Not bad, coming from a state that’s all about salmon and trout.

DNR cites shooters near Newman Lake

OUTGUNNED – Shooters are creating a safety hazard and trashing a section of state land near Newman Lake, Department of Natural Resources officials say.

Complaints from area landowners have prompted more enforcement and citations for littering, using motorized vehicles in closed areas and failure to have a Discover Pass, said Loren Torgerson of the agency’s northeastern Washington staff.

The property – Section 36 off Koth Road just northeast of Newman Lake – has been promoted as a good place to shoot in blogs and brochures left at gun shops, including Cabela’s, Torgerson said.

“Most shooters are responsible, but a subset of that group isn’t being responsible,” he said. Shooters have been using garbage as targets and leaving the trash as well as using semi-automatic weapons to blast and “saw down” cedar trees, he said.

Washington Fish and Wildlife police and Spokane County Sheriff’s Department have been assisting the DNR’s one enforcement officer covering seven counties, he said.

“Citations have been written and we’re starting to see a reduction in the number of bad actors up there,” he said.

Improving barriers to driving off the main road is helping with the problem, he said.

DNR has been working with the county’s shooting area advisory committee to consider a petition that would close the area to shooting, he said.

“We certainly want holistic view of the issue. We know that closing one area to shooting simply moves the problem somewhere else,” he said.