FOR THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
With snow in the hills, bare-limbed trees lining stream banks and Thanksgiving 2012 a memory, thoughts of winter steelhead fishing now pop into many a river angler's mind.
Early returns of winter-run steelhead sustained by state hatchery and volunteer group production provide a more limited opportunity these days for the cadre of hardcore anglers willing to endure the travails of winter to hook up with these stunningly strong sea-run fish.
The Nooksack River is one of four northern inland waters freshwater feeders that can be plied for fin-clipped steelies from about now to the end of February.
GRANTS AID CITIZEN VOLUNTEERS
The 2013 cycle has begun that will lead to the bestowing by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife of another round of grant monies from the state's Aquatic Lands Endowment.
This is an opportunity for citizen groups to gain some funding for project work that benefits fish, wildlife and habitat in keeping with the goals of the agency.
Sweat equity (volunteer labor) can be used as a match to gain dollars for the purchase of tangibles ranging from equipment rental and building materials to mileage and fish feed.
For more information about Nooksack and Skagit steelheading, how to apply for an ALEA grant and several items of local club news plus additional fishing and hunting news, read the Outdoors Column in the Sunday Herald.
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983, has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that now appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http//pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoor.