MATT SCHUBERT’S OUTDOORS COLUMN: Winter sports fundraiser Winterfest this weekend

HAVE I GOT a movie event for you.

It’s quite the gala affair, one that might even inspire a long line.

Yet unlike that other showing in town, there’s no need to ward off teenagers in emo gear or middle-aged women with unrequited vampire crushes.

Go ahead and cast aside the mushroom ravioli as well.

There’s no need for such nonsense when you’ve got prime rib, oysters and a little bit of booze to wash it down with.

Yes, it’s time for Winterfest, the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Club’s annual fundraiser at Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E 4th St., in Port Angeles.

The two-day event kicks off tonight at 5 p.m. with the “Dinner and a movie” celebration.

Guests get to dine on prime rib dinner, view the latest Warren Miller film “Dynasty” and listen to the Port Angeles High School Jazz Band pipe out a few tunes.

A no-host happy hour also will be available to those looking to get their drink on.

All money raised goes toward equipment upgrades for the club and ski scholarships for families.

Going back to the early 1990s, the event has raised more than half a million dollars for winter sports, according to club member Joe Gladfelter.

“It’s not a suit-and-tie event, it’s a fun thing,” Gladfelter said. “Last year we raised $38,000, so this year we hope to raise $40,000.

“If people want to do something in Port Angeles, they tend to help each other out.”

More than 150 items will be up for bid in a silent auction tonight, with several other big-ticket items entered into a live auction as well.

Among the articles up for bid are a helicopter ski trip to the North Cascades, two-week time shares for a condo in Hawaii and a Mount Baker ski package.

A ski swap will be held on Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. Those looking to participate can drop off gear between 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Whatever goes unsold can be picked up afterward. Admission is $3 per person or $7 for the entire family.

Things come to a close later in the day with an encore presentation of “Dynasty” at 7 p.m.

Tickets for “Dinner and a movie” cost $45 at the door, while the Saturday night movie presentation costs $10 to enter.

The event is sponsored by the Hurricane Ridge Winter Sports Education Foundation.

For more information, visit www.hurricaneridge.com.

River wild

Anyone looking to hit the rivers this weekend might consider a second option.

May I suggest something a little less agonizing? Perhaps waterboarding, or Chinese tickle torture?

Anglers can expect to accomplish two things, and two things only, if they go fishing this weekend: 1) Get wet, 2) Not get a fish.

Rivers throughout the Peninsula are blown out, making fishing an exercise in futility for the near future.

About the only thing one is going to catch is a cold, or maybe a buzz (depending upon if they are plunking or not).

“Everything is just chocolate brown,” said Randy Lato of All-Ways Fishing (360-374-2052) in Forks. “They are talking like five more storms are coming, so it’s going to be a while [until rivers get back into shape].

“I would imagine by the end of next week [that could happen] . . . maybe.”

Once the rivers do drop, there should be loads of fish around.

The Bogachiel Hatchery received its first run of winter steelhead this past week.

There’s also scads of silvers throughout the Sol Duc, with the hatchery well above the 10,000-fish mark already.

“I’m not sure what our numbers are but we got 10,000 in the pond,” hatchery technician Brian Russell said. “Not many of [the returning fish] are food quality, though.

“As it happens every time this time of year they are just too dark and ready to spawn.”

Those looking for a nice saltwater salmon can always fish Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

While it is not exactly a popular fishery for obvious reasons (i.e. winter winds), it can be a productive one.

“[An out-of-town charter fisherman] told me this time of year a lot of people don’t go out fishing for salmon, but it’s a great place to fish for blackmouth,” said Brian Menkal of Swain’s Outdoor (360-385-1313) in Port Townsend.

“Normally once the winter hits up here a lot of people don’t go fishing because of the winds. But this guy said, ‘Man, I love fishing out here.’ “

Hunting news

It’s now or never for big buck hunters.

The late modern firearm season for deer, which got off to a soggy start Thursday, will have hunters on the move through Sunday.

And things are shaping up to be quite productive given the cold and wet weather we’ve experienced the last few days. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the bucks are in the rut as well.

“Right now the bucks are in the rut big time, so it’s a great opportunity,” Menkal said. “If you’re going to pick four other days other than opening weekend [to hunt deer], this is the time.”

Yes, hunters should expect the bucks to be jumping around like a bunch of college students on a spring-break bender.

They are looking for love, and they won’t let anything stand in their way, even a guy with a gun.

“Usually the colder weather gets them moving,” Menkal said. “Sometimes people say that the snow triggers things a little faster, but they are in the rut anyway.”

A number of late seasons will begin next week in select GMUs (Game Management Units).

Archery deer will go from Nov. 25 to Dec. 15 in the Hoko, Sol Duc, Goodman, Matheny and Clearwater GMUs. There also will be a late season in Coyle and Pysht from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31.

Muzzleloader deer is open from Nov. 26 to Dec. 15 in the Dickey GMU only. Archery elk is set for the Pysht, Goodman and Clearwater from Nov. 25 to Dec. 15. Muzzleloader elk goes from Nov. 25 to Dec. 15 in the Hoko and Matheny.

Forest grouse season lasts through Dec. 31, while ducks and Canada geese are fair game through Jan. 31.

Clam cohort

Mother Nature sided with the razor clams during Monday’s opener at Kalaloch.

Inclement weather drove diggers into hiding during the one-day harvest, with many electing to stay home rather than bear the brunt of 16-foot swells and high winds.

“We had a very poor turnout,” Olympic National Park coastal ecologist Steve Fradkin said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of beach out there.

“The last time we had something like this, there were only three people that attempted to dig.”

The hapless harvest stood in stark contrast to the other four beaches, which came out to an average of 13.3 clams per digger.

Of course, that was because those areas were open on Saturday and Sunday, which offered much better conditions for clammers.

All told, 18,600 digger trips were counted at state beaches during the four-day affair.

That was about half the number expected, according to state coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres.

Two more sets of digs are scheduled for the coast in the next six weeks, pending marine toxin testing. That includes harvest dates on Dec. 2-5 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 1.

For more information on razor clams, visit http://tinyurl.com/oyekj.

Also . . .

• The Olympic Peninsula Paddlers Club holds a Friday morning paddle at Lake Aldwell each week from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

• Crabbing remains open in Marine Areas 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu) and 9 (Admiralty Inlet) seven days a week.

All sport crabbers must submit catch reports for the winter season regardless of whether they participated or not. Those who do not comply will be fined $10 when they apply for a 2010 Puget Sound crab endorsement.

Catch record cards may be mailed to WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. The online reporting system will be available Jan. 3-15 at http://tinyurl.com/yhjxf79.

• Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society will lead a field trip to Port Townsend on Saturday.

Judy Mullally and Mary Robson will lead a group through the best birding sites around the Quimper Peninsula. For more information, including meeting times, contact the Dungeness River Audubon Center at 360-681-4076.

• Admiralty Audubon’s Bob Whitney will lead a birding trip to Point Wilson next Saturday, Nov. 28.

A group will meet in the parking lot next to the lighthouse in Fort Worden at 9 a.m. Come prepared for cold and wind.

• Washington Trails Association will host its annual volunteer appreciation party at the Quilcene Community Center, 294952 U.S. Highway 101, on Dec. 5.

The party will run from 1-4 p.m., with food and refreshments to be provided. There also will be door prizes awarded.

• Public comment on Fish and Wildlife’s draft conservation plan for Puget Sound rockfish will be taken through Jan. 4.

There will be a public meeting to discuss the plan at Bremerton City Hall, 345 6th St., from 7-9 p.m. on Nov. 30. The DEIS and draft conservation plan are available on Fish and Wildlife’s Web site at http://tinyurl.com/yjs8d7o.

Those who would like a copy of the plan in print can call 360-902-2844.

Comments can be submitted by e-mail to SEPAdesk2@dfw.wa.gov, by FAX to 360-902-2946, or by U.S. Mail to: WDFW SEPA Desk, 600 Capitol Way N. Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

• Flotilla 42, Coast Guard Auxiliary will hold boater education courses at the Coast Guard Station on Ediz Hook today through Saturday.

The class will meet today from 6-9 p.m., and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Students are eligible to receive a boater’s education card — required for anyone 30 years old or younger as of Jan. 1, 2010 — upon completion of the course.

Pre-registration is required and can be done by contacting Richard Fleck at 360-809-3393.

Stories welcome

Want your event listed in the outdoors column?

Have a fishing or hunting report, an anecdote about an outdoors experience or a tip on gear or technique, why not share it with our readers?

Send it to me, Matt Schubert, Sports Department, Peninsula Daily News, P.O. Box 1330, Port Angeles, WA 98362; phone, 360-417-3526; fax, 360-417-3521; e-mail matt.schubert@peninsuladailynews.com.

__________

Matt Schubert is the outdoors columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column appears on Thursdays and Fridays.

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