‘Walleye Alley’ A Hit At Puyallup Sportsmen’s Show; Next Stop: Huge Portland Show

As they begin to set up for their next event in Portland, organizers of the Washington’s Sportsmen’s Show are calling last week’s shindig in Puyallup “a complete success.”

Trey Carskadon pointed to new features and good weather that contributed to what his boss Bill O’Loughlin considered to be “one of the best shows he’s ever produced. I’d have to agree — lots to see and do.”

KIRAN WALGAMOTT EYES UP THE DENIZENS OF WALLEYE ALLEY AT THE WASHINGTON SPORTSMEN’S SHOW IN PUYALLUP LAST SATURDAY. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Chief among fresh attractions was Walleye Alley, a huge fish tank holding one of the rising stars of the Columbia Basin’s fishing world.

“The walleye feature went over huge,” reports Carskadon. “Most of the walleye seminars were filled to capacity, which surprised us.”

When Junior #2 and I stopped by the tank on Saturday afternoon, anglers were already taking seats for guide Keith Jensen’s seminar on how to run plugs for bugeyes.

ANGLERS AWAIT THE START OF ANOTHER SEMINAR AT WALLEYE ALLEY. THE GIANT FISH TANK WILL ALSO APPEAR AT NEXT WEEK’S HUGE PACIFIC NORTHWEST SPORTSMEN’S SHOW IN PORTLAND. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

“Most of the fishing and hunting seminars filled to capacity too,” Carskadon noted, adding, “We invited young fishing phenom Sebastian Chik to speak, he’s 14, and his seminar on squid fishing was standing room only!”

FAMED NORTHWEST ANGLER BUZZ RAMSEY LEADS A SEMINAR ON TROUT AND STEELHEAD FISHING. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Also new this year was the Outdoor Cooking Competition, which Carskadon termed “a runaway hit.”

“It ended up being much bigger and better than we expected.  Frankly, all of us were blown away by how friendly the cooks/chefs  — there were honest-to-God trained chefs competing — were and the quality of the food was otherworldly,” he says.

The idea came from Jason Bauer, an award-winning barbecue chef, and his “partner in crime” who pitched the idea to the O’Loughlins last year and were coordinating the competition.

“We’re going to make that a show-within-a-show next year,” says Carskadon.

ALONG WITH CERTIFIED MEASURERS ON HAND TO TAPE HUNTER’S RECENT TROPHIES, AN ENTIRE WALL WAS FILLED WITH THE MOUNTS OF STATE RECORD BUCKS AND BULLS FROM THE NORTHWEST. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Maybe it was the sunny, warm weather and the big crowds that it brought out that day — Carskadon said overall attendance was on par with 2018 — but from my perspective I thought it was a good show with a lot of new things to see and good energy throughout.

The O’Loughlins will hope to keep that flowing as they take things to Portland for the Feb. 6-10 Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show at the Expo Center.

It will also feature Walleye Alley, which, as the press release notes, is more than just a big ol’ aquarium; it’s “a collection of exhibits, exhibitors and seminars all geared to walleye like a huge live walleye tank with local walleye as residents. Seminars are planned along
with lots of tackle, rods and more to buy to get equipped.”

In addition to Columbia River guides such as Jack and Brandon Glass, Willie Ross Shane Magnuson and Austin Moser, among others, Mark Romanack, host of Fishing 411, will be on hand Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the tank.

While Puyallup’s barbecue competition won’t make the road trip south, the show will include a “totally revamped” cooking area for backyard grilling enthusiasts to check out. Speakers will include Deschutes Brewery executive chef Jill Ramseier along with Richie Herrod and others.

Organizers are also touting a new BB range for kids near the trout fishing pond; Garmin’s Tech Center for getting the most out of GPS and fishfinder units; the new Backcountry Hunting Pavilion; as well as tons of expert seminars including from the crew of Team Oppor-Tuna-Ty of Battle Fish fame.

For more details as well as ticket deals and directions, go here.

And for more on other upcoming sportsmen’s shows around the Northwest, check out our report here.

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