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Outdoorsmen brave elements to attend expo

Northwest Guardian

Published: 05:14PM July 3rd, 2014
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Veronica Sandate Craker/Northwest Guardian

Bruce Warren, right, talks to Michelle Bloomstrom, left, and Sgt. Jim Attaway, middle, about Salmon fishing. Warren represented his company Fishing For Fun during the Outdoor Expo Saturday at the Army and Air Force Exchange on JBLM.

Typical Pacific-Northwest weather didn’t stop the Outdoor Expo from taking place Saturday at the Exchange on Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Lewis Main.

Half a dozen hunting-and fishing-guide venders attended the annual event to give service members information about outdoor activities available in the area.

During the expo, Sgt. Jim Attaway found himself talking salmon fishing on the Cowlitz River with Bruce Warren, owner of “Fishing for Fun.”

“We’re talking about the different salmon techniques, sturgeon techniques and sturgeon fishing in general,” Warren said. “We come down here and do the show every year. We want the military people to go out and go fishing.”

Warren’s guide service takes customers fishing on local lakes and rivers.

“We concentrate on two hours from this particular military base so that these guys know they don’t have to travel too far, and they can have ultimate experiences in hunting and fishing,” Warren said.

Project Healing Waters Northwest Regional director, Chuck Tye, and volunteer Jerry Doaschofsky spent time at the expo talking to people about the types of trips the group coordinates. Tye said the rainy weather kept many people away, but he was still able to talk to a number of people about the organization.

Project Healing Waters has more than 160 programs in 13 regions. They concentrate on taking service members fly-fishing on rivers, streams and lakes.

The program is open to veterans, active duty, National Guard and the Reserve, Tye said.

“Anytime that you’re on the water — out in nature with fresh air — it just makes you feel better,” Tye said. “And if you have been wounded, or are recovering or spend a lot of time in the hospital it’s good to get away from that and get outside.”

The expo not only hosted information booths, but also offered live seminars with hunting and fishing experts. Some of the seminar topics included salmon and sturgeon angling and Washington’s warm-water fishery.

Bruce Bolding, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife program manager, and Ryan Lothrop, Salmon Fishery manager, talked to visitors about the types of fishing popular in the Pacific Northwest.

Visitors said the abundance of centralized information was helpful, even for fishing veterans like Attaway.

“It’s been a lot of great knowledge,” Attaway said. “Even for me, you know someone who’s from here. Learning the different techniques and learning about the different opportunities that are available for people who live here — it’s great.”