This past weekend was a “whirlwind weekend” for me! I was the M.C. for the Madison Fishing Expo at Madison’s Alliant Energy Center and busy beyond belief for the three days of the show. I was up every morning before 5:00 am to get some work done on my website (www.garyengbergoutdoors.com), fill the bird feeders, and take my Labrador, Katie, for a walk before leaving for Madison. Plus, Katie had to be dropped off at her “sitters” on my way into town for the show. Then, I was swamped every day making sure that the speakers were constantly announced, their seminar rooms in order, and all the electronic equipment ready for the seminars. I walked over 12 miles everyday (I wore a pedometer) on hard concrete and my “old knees” were and are aching!
For those of you attended the Expo, you know what a informative and interesting event this was with the latest in anything related to fishing and seminars on every facet of fishing and any species of fish. The Expo Committee does a great job in picking speakers that cover the gambit of fishing from panfish, walleyes, bass, muskies, northern pike, whitefish, and even kayak fishing and electronics’ that are so important these day’s to anglers. The seminar speakers were informative, interesting, and covered about anything an angler wanted to know about their favorite fish. I’m not going to mention all the diverse speakers because there were too many to mention without giving justice to all of them. I saw many people at the seminars taking notes and asking questions which all the speakers gladly answered. Many attendees came to see the new equipment for angling, check out the new boats and motors, and walk around the spacious Alliant Center jammed packed with “something” related to fishing. I’ll mention another highlight of the show and that was the many activities related and geared to the children and young anglers. National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA) professional, Greg Karch, gave some great hands-on talks on getting the young involved in fishing with free rods and reels and t-shirts for the children. Getting children involved in fishing at a young age is of utmost importance and Karch does a wonderful job at this with some help from the NPAA and a few generous people. Karch gave his presentation to over 5,000 children last year and this year he said he will be even busier. Thanks to Greg and the NPAA.
The Madison Fishing Expo again showed that it is one of the best fishing shows in the Midwest and those involved from the Expo Committee, the numerous exhibitors, and the excellent speakers made this another successful event for the 20,000 plus people who attended the Expo. You, should also know that all funds made at the show go directly into worthy fishing related projects in southern Wisconsin like handicapped piers, children’s fishing events, habitat improvements, fish stocking, and much more. Congratulations and thank you to the people from the Madison Fishing Expo and all those you helped make this the great show that it is! I’m privileged to be a tiny part of this great event.
This coming Saturday, March 2nd, there is another fishing event with great speakers, free admission, free parking, and sale prices on an expanded fishing department at the Wilderness Fish and Game store in Sauk City, Wisconsin. The Wilderness Fish and Game store is now owned by Tom Lochner, a nephew of the previous owner, Bob Lochner. Tom is an avid fisherman and the expanded fishing department is one of the first things the thirty years old Lochner has done. The store has always been one of the state’s top independent stores and Tom is making it even better. One of the best things about the Wilderness store is that all the employees are all fishermen who know fishing and the fishing gear that they sell. Wally, Wayne, Larry, Chuck, and Dan are all good anglers in their own right and know what they sell in and out. When making a purchase it’s nice to know that you’re dealing with people who really know and understand what they are selling. Plus for the soon coming river walleye fishing on the Wisconsin River, they have the best live bait an angler can find.
The year’s clinic will be the Wilderness Fish and Game store’s 30th Annual Free Fishing Clinic and Sale from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm at the store on Water Street in Sauk City. This show has a great line-up of speakers and thousands of new products at good prices for the consumer. If it’s for muskie, bass, or walleye the store has it!
One of the highlight’s at the Wilderness Fish and Game store this weekend is the line-up of seminar speakers with talks being given on the different species of fish most local anglers pursue. The speaker line-up includes; James Lindner of the famous Lindner family and the driving force behind their TV show, Lindner’s Angling Edge and Lindner Media Productions. James does much of the television show work and on camera work. He will speak at 9:30 a.m. on “Seasonal Bass Movements” and at 12:30 p.m. on “River Muskies.” Madison’s own Adam Oberfoell, a local guide and professional, will speak at 11:00 a.m. on “Change Your Tactics for Bigger Muskies.” Adam guides the local waters, fishes some muskie tournaments, and is an expert on electronics. Tony Roach, the nephew of Mr. Walleye, Gary Roach, will speak on “Catch Walleyes Anywhere: Plastics, Crankbaits, Livebait and More.” Tony is one of Minnesota’s top guides on open water and ice fishing. Roach is one of the walleye world’s top young anglers who really knows his fishing! Finally, an added attraction is recently inducted Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame angler, Dan Sura. Dan is one of the fishing industry’s “good guys” who for decades was one of the driving forces behind In-Fisherman and then at Lindner’s Angling Edge and Lindner Media Productions. Dan recently retired and was inducted this past year into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Dan will be around the store to talk fishing and meet attendees. Sura is one of the fishing world’s most talented anglers and knows how to fish for any species that swims. Make sure to talk to Dan when at the clinic.
This is one of the best shows at an independent store in Wisconsin. Where else can you have speakers like these with informative information about your sport for free? I hope to see and talk to many of you at this great show.
One last thing in closing this week’s column, I stopped by the location where I’ve counted eagles for the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council this winter. The location where over 120 eagles were counted two weeks ago, had seen only two eagles counted before dark. Either most of the eagles have headed north for their nesting locations or they are now spread over a larger area as we get closer to spring and their nesting. Few eagles nest in the Wisconsin River Valley and it will be late November or December before we are blessed with their presence again. The joy and wonder that the bald eagle gives so many of us is beyond words!
I look forward to seeing many of you this weekend.