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Will Elliott’s Outdoors column: Winter shows provide a cure for cabin fever

Outdoors shows are on the winter road, starting with the Third Annual Greater Niagara Fishing and Outdoor Expo starting Friday in the Conference & Event Center in Niagara Falls.

The Falls Expo expands each year, but area anglers knew the first year this Niagara Falls show was staged that this would be big for fisher folk. It is. From its first year the show drew crowds on a storm weekend, and the quantity and quality of its exhibits, seminars and classes drew even more visitors to enjoy last year’s presentations.

This year, some clinics and a salmon school may be at capacity by now, but a series of experts’ daily seminars and an ongoing Ice Fishing Jam during the three days of the show offer hands-on tips and tricks from ice-angling experts such as Dave Genz and a team of Ice Team Professionals.

Walleye anglers Friday and Saturday can sit in on pro angler Mark Romanack’s talks or pick up some 'eye-opening info from other area and regional experts such as Jim Steel, Roy Hryckowian, Don Ruppert, Jim Dolly, Tom Marks, Joe Fonzi, John Forbes, Gary Kata and Matthew Swairie.

Trout and salmon seekers can sit in on talks from Frank Campbell, Matt Yablonsky, Danny Colville, Larry Fiori, Mark Sabia, and Ron Biersteine. Bass experts Scott Callen, Scott Gauld, Jim Lamb, Joe Kugel and others share valuable secrets about the area’s smallmouth and largemouth populations. Experienced and successful Lake Erie yellow perch anglers such as Jim Dolly, Joe Fonzi and Scott Brauer will share tips on using live bait and artificial lures on ringbacks. Marc Arena and Scott McKee offer a slate of presentations for new and seasoned musky anglers.

A series of youth, fly fishing and ice fishing seminars round out the angling-oriented offerings. Outdoor photography and how-to sessions abound. Staffers from Paths, Peaks and Paddles will have a series on many aspects of kayaking and an exhibit area welcomes novice and prospective kayakers for hands-on help getting into paddle sports and improving techniques.

While this show has emerged as the largest fishing-focused foray, celebrity and expert hunting instruction abounds each day. Charlie Alsheiner, expert whitetail deer hunter and photographer, presents seminars at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday. Roy Hryckowian explains how to get started in bow hunting. Gary Rightmyer, Craig Robbins, and Steve Schicker add to hunting insights during their seminars.

With all the seminars, special classes, exhibits and vendors present each day, this show will take part if not all of day to see and enjoy. For a listing of seminar topics, presenters, exhibits and expo admission details, visit

Great American show

The National Rifle Association’s Great American Outdoor Show goes from Feb. 6-14 in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, a 650,000-square-foot building in Harrisburg.

With more than 1,100 exhibitors booked and a list of outdoors celebrities appearing and speaking at this show, the Great American is the largest consumer sports show in the world open to the general public. This nine-day show is immense and worthy of an overnight or two to take in all its features. For more details, visit

Allegheny show

The 31st Allegany Sport Travel & Outdoor Show in the Monroeville Convention Center in the Pittsburgh area is on from Feb. 17-21 and features fishing, hunting and other outdoors pursuits with an emphasis on camping gear and trips.

Free parking and special admissions for families, children, and scouting groups make this an enjoyable show option. For complete details, visit

Hamburg show

The WNY Sport & Travel Expo, “The Hamburg Show”, is set for March 10-13 at the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg. Featured national celebrities this year include Tom Miranda, big-game bowhunter, and Tim Herald, host of Magnum TV.

Gun shows

Gun shows bring together skilled and competent firearms sales and handling personnel who can appraise items for sale or purchase. Most shows have county registry officials who can provide the proper background checks for selling or buying items.

Niagara Frontier Gun Shows stages a show at Newstead Fire Hall in Akron this weekend, with 85 display tables to view. The next Niagara Frontier show will be in the Alexander Firemen’s Rec Hall at 10708 Alexander Road (Route 98) on Feb. 7. For all show details, visit

Iroquois Arms Collectors holds its Annual Gun Show Jan. 30-31 at the Frontier Fire Hall in Wheatfield, with a stunning variety of shooting accessories as well as firearms for hunters and target shooters. For more details, call 694-7443.

Winter’s fever can be boring and bland. A trade or sport show might brighten a day or two this chilling season and possibly help put together enjoyable outings during coming seasons.