Hunting & Fishing

Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show is this week

Kids’ Trout Pond is a staple of outdoor adventure event

By Mark Morical, The Bulletin, @MarkMorical

2014 Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show

What: Resources on hunting, fishing, boating, shooting sports, camping and other outdoor-related activities. Featured events include X-Treme AirDogs, head-and-horns competition, freshwater demo tank, camp cooking demonstrations, boat and RV show, casting pool and fly-tying theater, and dozens of free seminars.

When: Noon to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, Redmond

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-16, and free for ages 5 and younger; $15 for a two-day pass; $2 discount coupons available at Baxter Auto Parts stores, Les Schwab Tire Centers and at


Youngsters are not GUARANTEED to catch a fish at the Kids’ Trout Pond — but they certainly have an excellent chance.

A staple of the annual Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show, now in its 15th year, the pond allows boys and girls to fish for rainbow trout in a portable tank.

The Central Oregon Flyfishers, a nonprofit that seeks to broaden the public’s knowledge of Oregon’s aquatic resources, has been volunteering at the kids’ pond for many years at the show, which runs this Thursday through Sunday at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond.

Kids can see hundreds of fish swimming in the tank as they fish with a willow stick equipped with leader and a beadhead fly with a barbless hook. Over the years, many youngsters have landed their first fish ever at the Kids’ Trout Pond.

“It’s a little bit like the real world, but their odds (of catching a fish) are awful good,” says Dave Dunahay, president of the Central Oregon Flyfishers (COF). “And for even those who may have been with a parent in a boat where they were trolling or something (when they caught their first fish), this time they can see the fish actually take the bait, which is not true in most streams or lakes. They can actually see the fish, and they get pretty fired up about that.”

Most of the rainbow trout in the tank are brought in from nearby hatcheries and range from about 8 to 12 inches in length. But according to Dunahay, a few of the fish are as long as 18 inches. Hooking a fish that big on the simplest of fishing gear can be pretty wild.

“They always have a few trophy fish in there,” Dunahay says. “It’s pretty exciting when, on a little willow switch and some tippet, they nail one of those big guys.”

Dunahay says that the COF volunteers do not strictly enforce the age limit for youth fishing at the Kids’ Trout Pond, but it is intended for ages 12 and younger. Parents are welcome to assist.

“If somebody looks like a freshman, sophomore in high school, we don’t care,” Dunahay says. “But if they look like a grandpa, like me, then we’re going to say, ‘We don’t think so.’”

Kids may keep or release the fish they catch, and the COF volunteers provide bags for them to take their trout home.

During the busier fishing times at the tank when there is a wait, volunteers might have to put a time limit on the fishing. But they try to give each youngster at least 15 to 20 minutes of fishing, according to Dunahay.

Trout that are not caught and taken home during the show are taken to Firemen’s Pond in Redmond, Shevlin Pond in Bend or Haystack Reservoir near Culver, Dunahay said.

“There’s always fish at the end, so we don’t seem to run out,” he said.

O’Loughlin Trade Shows, which runs the Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show, donates to the Central Oregon Flyfishers for helping out at the Kids’ Trout Pond. Dunahay says last year the company gave COF $1,200, which went to support the club’s various youth activities, including the Kokanee Karnival for fourth- and fifth-graders, and Next Cast for middle school and high school students.

Other events

Highlights of the 2014 Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show include:

• Head-and-horns competition: The public can bring in game heads, horns or antlers to vie for records, bragging rights and prizes. Entrants pay a $25 deposit that is refunded to those whose entries do not make the official record book. The “Northwest Tour of Big Game Animals” display features a mountain lion, a bear, a wolf and the biggest mule deer ever harvested in Oregon.

• X-Treme AirDogs: Dogs will show off their amazing jumping skills as they launch into a massive swimming pool at high speeds. Show attendees can register to try the sport with their own dogs.

• Freshwater demo tank: Seasoned experts will share their knowledge of the Northwest’s best freshwater fishing opportunities and the latest techniques alongside the 40-foot-long tank.

• Casting pool and fly-tying theater: Personal instruction from experts in fly-casting and fly-tying.

• Free seminars: Dozens of experts will be at the show offering hundreds of hours of educational seminars on topics such as game calling, many types of fishing, horse and mule packing, and much more.

• Camp cooking demonstrations: Expert camp chefs Herb Good and Tiffany Haugen will lead daily cooking demonstrations for aspiring campfire chefs of all experience levels.

• Boat show: The show includes personal watercraft, ski, wakeboard and fishing boats, kayaks, canoes, fishing gear and more.

• RV show: New and pre-owned RVs, cargo trailers, trucks, ATVs and accessories.

— Reporter: 541-383-0318,