Trail to The Dalles

The Dalles, Oregon, is situated in the north-central part of the state on the Columbia River, the nation’s second largest river, and is bordered by the Cascade Mountains to the West.

So with spring just around the corner and our conference looming big, I am again asking you to clean out that closet, garage, shop, etc. Those treasures you no longer need could be of interest to someone else. NOWA’s raffle and silent auction are always so much fun at the annual conference.  Fun because of these treasures you no longer want. Filling up the truck and bringing us those items you can donate will help us create a “fantastic collection.” (And, since you are bringing so many things, please make us a list–thanks.)

This is our major fundraiser, so come prepared to buy lots of tickets! (Cash or check only.)

Contact Jo Wilson, 503-390-4557 or

Texas Panhandle Pig Hunting



PANHANDLE PIGS by Bernard Brown

“You never know what lays over the next hill” may be a saying, but in hunting, it is a command to be obeyed.

Any rise, large or small, requires a get-off-and-probe-the-ground-ahead approach.

The Texas Panhandle, Mid-January, each  mesquite a skeleton of its summer self, a gentle breeze easing down from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River; we had everything in our favor, and wanted to keep it that way!

KK and I eased over the crest, and there, 125 yards, grunting, pushing-just being pigs-were ten or so, sized from brown-black weaners to a two-hundred-pound white sow, milling undisturbed.

Being the guest shooter, and a meat hunter, I picked out a shoat and squeezed off a shot.  Bingo!

Free range, organic Meat!

A quick cleaning, up on the rack of the Polaris, and, thirty minutes after daylight, the 80 pound gilt was hanging on the gambrel.

With the liver on ice, carcass cooling in perfect weather, a celebratory Louisiana strong black coffee, (KK is a coon-ass Cajun) we were headed back out, hoping for more action!

More offensive action was slow coming! Though we had 10,000 acres to hunt, decent dirt roads to travel around and through the copper-red canyons, ambush spots aplenty, the pigs were winning this round, on defense.

We spotted more whitetail does and “el chaparral” (Wiley Coyotes’ nemesis) than pigs the rest of the day and next.

But, as in most ventures, patience, careful scouting, picking a good location and timing are synonymous with luck!


Patience, we are told, is a virtue: though not terribly virtuous, I had patiently planned to resume pig hunting for years.  Renewing a wonderful relationship born in West Texas some 20 years earlier, KK and I had managed to put together a mutually agreeable time to meet.

Timing is everything, we are told.

Our inaugural reunion, timed in early May last year, followed a winter of near record precipitation.  Tall, abundant and waving in the breeze, the wild array of “Only-In-Texas” spring flowers made pigs beyond hard to spot.   So hard to find in the brilliant blazes of dancing flowers, the soft green of freshly-leaved mesquite and fanning shadows that we killed one pig in five days of effort!  Timing is everything!

But the hunt is paramount to the kill, right?

KK, a practicing petroleum engineer, with a wall full of patents, approaches cooking as robustly as designing oil field tools, and hunting.

Hunting was good, killing was bad, but eating was great!   An epicure cook in camp means superb food!


Following two sunny, cool, pleasant but fruitless days, this afternoon’s sky of high windswept cirrus and cirrocumulus portended rain, and a much colder temperature!

Assuming the sounders of swine would be feeding ahead of the cold front, we bird-dogged likely spots for evidence.  One broad, brushy arroyo showed fresh tracks.  Setting up on an overlooking hill, we prepared to stand till dark.

We didn’t have to.  Within an hour, a passel of pigs came to the closest-thing-to-water and tender green grass that we, or they, could find.

The Nosler 28, on a Browning X Bolt Frame, barked again; another gilt down, headed for the camp gambrel.

Dark, boring in with the now-angry sky, herded us to the harbor of camp, KK’S simmering elk chili, and a cold Shiner.

The saying in Texas is “drought is busted by flood”.  Rain raged and the thermometer plunged.

We awoke to 20 degrees with the hanging pigs, and everything else, thoroughly iced!

After a lengthy session of tenderly ragging the windscreen of Mr. Ranger, – Ice, Plexiglas, and scrapers don’t mix-we were back at it.

Another day riding, hiking, and hunting produced a single sighting of one more roadrunner, and one wily coyote.

Setting up on a high spot in late afternoon, this time in a protective shelter, rewarded us with a fat whitetail doe to round out the larder of liver and meat!

The following, and final, morning had us scrambling to get the deer hided, quartered and into the ice chests with the hogs.

With camp policed and squared, we drove our separate ways; KK to a bit warmer part of Texas, me to the snow and cold I had escaped a week hence in Idaho.

A great reunion, productive and with a planned encore.  Meanwhile, good eating!

January 2020 NOWA Member News

From Randy Bonner: Birthday buck! Here’s a few numbers… today I’m 38 years old. I traveled over 3,500 miles to visit the area I grew up and relive some childhood memories for my birthday. On the way from the airport in Montgomery to the camp house in Coy, I saw 37 whitetail (my age that night). Over the course of the past 5 days, I’ve seen over 150 deer. I’ve passed up 8 bucks in the stand looking for a wall hanger, but couldn’t pass up this cull buck after seeing him for the 4th time. I’ve still got 2 spots left for bucks on a 10 day license, and have had the opportunity to take a doe each of those 10 days, not that I need that much venison, but I might take one more of either sex before I head back to Oregon to stock up on summer sausage. Last but not least, it’s also my blue heeler Wrangler’s birthday, who is now a teenager.

From Randy Bonner: Spent some time in the studio  with the legendary James “Big Daddy” Lawler recording an episode of Gettin’ Outdoors With BDL in the Grampian Hills just outside Camden, Alabama. (at 25:00) I talk about my Alabama roots, family, moving to Oregon, being a youth fishing and wilderness skills instructor, my writing career, NOWA , and a comparison of fish and wildlife species as well as fishing and hunting opportunities in the two regions. I really enjoyed speaking with BDL and I’m excited to share this interview with my followers.

From John Kruse: SHOT SHOW 2020; Several NOWA members were seen at the range and in the halls of the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada between January 20th and the 24th.  The reason?  They were all attending SHOT Show, the abbreviation for the Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show put on every year by our supporting member, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF).  This is a huge event open only to members of the industry and the media that covers it.  SHOT Show this year included some 2600 exhibitors and 55,000 attendees from all over the world who were checking out what’s new for 2020 from the manufacturers and exhibitors present.  NOWA members present included Dennis Clay, Garnet Wilson, Gary Lewis, Troy Rodakowski, John Kruse, George Krumm and Bill Brassard, the Senior Communications Director for NSSF who we get to see at many of our annual conferences.   To find out more about SHOT Show go to

From Peter Schroeder: Risa & I just completed a great ski week in New Mexico—Santa Fe Ski Basin, Angel Fire, Sandia Peak. & Taos.

From Bob Schmidt of Macks Lures: Please keep in mind our monthly magazine the Mack Attack, there is lots of information in it each month which you can piggyback off of so to share with your angle.

Your contact for doing that would be Britton:

Sign up for the Mack Attack newsletter:

The Sports Shows: Many NOWA members are working the Pacific NW Sportsmen’s Shows. These shows are a great opportunity to network, catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Spring Trout Fishing – Explore The Dalles

By Gary Lewis

We have been looking forward to this for a long time. The Dalles is a great location for a NOWA conference and not the least of the reasons is fishing.

The Columbia River is the obvious fishery. Walleye action can be good in April and May, and the smallmouth bass are beginning to feed, stacking in the eddies and along the rocky points to ambush baitfish. But wait, there’s more to fishing at The Dalles.

There are a number of still water trout fishing destinations close by. Here are four trout hotspots that should be fishing well at the end of April and in early May.

Taylor Lake

This one is in city limits! Expect the water to be muddy. Fly-fishing can work here, but bait is probably a better bet. If you plan to fly-fish, bring a float tube or a small boat.

Don’t look at what the locals are using. When I was there last, they were using everything from crappie jigs to salmon gear, while fishing for trout. Really, people, this is why there is such a thing as outdoor writers. These people need our help!

Take exit 82 off of Interstate 84 and head in the direction of the Port. Turn left on River Trail Way and look for the sign to Taylor Lake. The gravel road ends at the lake in 6/10 of a mile.

 Bikini Pond

A 3-acre pond, about 10 feet at its deepest with rainbow trout and carp. Easy fishing from the bank. A bonus – carp can be stalked in the Columbia River nearby. April, May and June are the best months.

From The Dalles, drive west on I-84 and take the exit marked Mayer State Park. Follow the road west past the Rowena Boat Launch and look for a pair of boulders that frame the road approach to the water. Recommend you stop here and walk in. In your bikini.

Rock Creek Reservoir

Plan a few hours for this excursion. Built to hold irrigation water, Rock Creek Reservoir draws down in the summer, but April and May are prime time for this trout fishery. At 90 acres, the lake supports rainbow trout, bass, bluegill and catfish.

From The Dalles, drive to Tygh Valley, head six miles west on Tygh Valley and Wamic Market roads. From Wamic head west on Rock Creek Dam Road. Turn west on Forest Road 4820 and turn right on Forest Road 120.

Pine Hollow Reservoir

The biggest trout – brood stock fish to 10 pounds – and lots of 8- to 12-inch legals are planted here, beginning in early April. Pine Hollow covers 240 acres and can provide good fishing year-round, but check it out – Pine Hollow Reservoir really shines in April and May. Depth is 15 feet on average and fishes well with fly gear, bait and trolling methods. If bank fishing is planned, bait fishing is the best bet. The fly rodder can do well with a float tube or pontoon boat.

To get there, take Highway 216 and head west on Tygh Valley Road. Proceed to Wamic and turn left on Wamic Market Road. Drive for 4 miles then turn right on Ross Road. Drive for 3.5 miles and turn left at the intersection.

For more fishing ideas, pick up a copy of Fishing Mount Hood Country by NOWA members Robert H. Campbell and Gary Lewis


Longtime NOWA Member Gary Christenson Passes

From Gary’s daughter Christie: It is with a sad heart that I announce the passing of NOWA active retired member Gary Daniel Christenson on 1/12/2020 at the age of 78. If anyone would like to be contacted regarding his memorial service, that is yet to be planned, please send a note with your name and email to his daughter Christie Wright at

Gary gave generously of his time and abilities to NOWA. He was a frequent contributor to the NOWA newsletter and wrote “the 37th Frame” for many years. He was also a past President and Enos Bradner award winner. He will be missed!


EIC Contest Deadline Extended

NOWA has extended the contest deadline to February 1, 2020.

Here is the contest entry form and rules:  2019 NOWA EIC Contest.  It’s understood the contest submission guidelines can be a little confusing; this is for the blind judging process.

New this year, NOWA will prepare your contest entry for a fee of $3 for members and $5 for non-members.  This preparation service is for categories 1-6 only & all proceeds will go to NOWA. If you’re interested in this service please mail your entry to NOWA, PO Box 888, Tualatin, OR 97062 or email to

QUESTIONS? Call Matt Liere at 509-202-7790 or email: and/or call Dave Kilhefner at 503-692-1520 or email:

Good luck everyone!


2019 December NOWA Member News

Peter Schroeder and Risa Wyatt welcomed the new year in style with a “podium finish” at Whistler Ski Resort.

From Michelle Peters: Idaho Fish and Game Commission reopened steelhead fishing in the Clearwater River and lower Snake River downstream of Couse Creek Boat Ramp, beginning on Jan. 1. Daily bag limit in those sections is limited to one adipose-clipped steelhead per day, none over 28 inches in length.

Full news release:

Gary Lewis took advantage of the Clearwater opener with guide Toby Wyatt and they caught 12 steelhead!

From Arnold J. Theisen: I have been retired for many years now and I don’t get out much with my camera anymore, but I was recently reminded of a lesson that many new members may not yet fully appreciate: Try to assemble as many “evergreen” articles and photos as possible in your library of work. That is to say photos of scenes that will not be altered significantly by passage of time. Likewise, articles that will be timely whether they are read today or years from now. I offer this tip because I recently sold two 20+ year old photos from my old 35mm library to one of our members who needed them for her new book.

From GI Wilson: My plunking buddy Doug, a young guy, (only 50) also a logger, talked me into buying a second season spike bull elk tag. “You have a handicapped license; I have a key to where we have logged 10 years. You get a bull down, I’ll go get him. We will get you a bull.”

Opening morning we sit in heavy fog five hours drinking tea. Decide to give it up, come back tomorrow. He gets out of the truck to move a log, fog lifts and a herd has fed out of the timber at 225 yards across a canyon.

Two shots and I have a big spike. He bails off into the canyon, does all the work. We come back the next morning with another fishing buddy, trailer and ATV. They drive right to the bull, load it up–two trips–head home for a cold one. My toughest task was to very carefully use my walking cane to get 20 yards for a shooting rest.

Doug even took it to his cousins walk-in cooler for a few days.; can’t find friends any better than that!

I’m probably going to do an article for Oregon Hunter about the hunt.

From Dennis Dauble: NOWA members Bradley Trumbo, Gary Lewis and Dennis Dauble were recently asked to contribute a monthly article for the East Oregonian’s Saturday “Outdoor” page. This development suggests opportunity for NOWA members to contribute articles to their local and regional newspaper as full-time outdoor staff retire or are laid off.

From Dave Kilhefner: The latest edition of Fishing in Oregon just came out. Many of the photographs in this book were contributed by NOWA members.



Help Needed at Tri-City Sportsman Show

Shuyler Productions has graciously offered NOWA a free booth at the Tri-City Sportsman Show, January 17-19.

There is a need for individuals who live within driving distance to help staff the booth. Times are available from 1-7 pm on Friday, 10-6 Saturday, 10-5 on Sunday. You do not need to be present for the entire shift.

Please contact Dennis Dauble ( or text 509-392-3229) if you can help out. This event provides opportunity to interact with hundreds of sportsman over the weekend. Wayne Heinz and Dennis Dauble hope to sell a few books, you could do the same.

2019 NOWA Excellence in Craft Contest

It’s time to submit your entries for the 2019 NOWA Excellence in Craft Contest!

Here is the contest entry form and rules:  2019 NOWA EIC Contest. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2020.

It’s understood the contest submission guidelines can be a little confusing; this is for the blind judging process. New this year, NOWA will offer to prepare your contest entry for a fee of $3 for members and $5 for non-members. This preparation service is for categories 1-6 only & all proceeds will go to NOWA. If you’re interested in this service please mail your entry to NOWA, PO Box 888, Tualatin, OR 97062 or email to

QUESTIONS? Call Matt Liere at 509-202-7790 or email: and/or call Dave Kilhefner at 503-692-1520 or email:

Good luck everyone!


2019 November NOWA Member News

In addition to Bert Gildart’s great cycling adventure story, NOWA members got out last month and enjoyed the great outdoors. Here’s their stories:

From Joe Warren:  November is one of my favorite months of the year.  Though I would prefer to mostly fly fish, big game hunting is also on the menu.  This year’s November was epic starting off with some fabulous lake trout fishing in central OR where I caught the largest trout ever on a fly, a 37 inch lake trout using a fast sink line from a boat.  My deer hunt soon followed with a special draw on Washington’s quality buck in Eastern WA near Omak where I bag a nice 3×4.  With plans to possibly hunt two weeks, it was too soon to go home after only four days of hunting, so with fly rod in hand I wandered over to the Columbia River on Rufus Woods Reservoir and caught a handful of nice rainbows but one particularly nice 28 incher!  Needless to say, my Lunar S-Glass 5 wt. fly rod was bent to the handle for quite some time!  All in all it was truly a blessing and this fall is definitely one for the memory book.

Quality buck hunt, Pogue unit, WA, mule deer buck

Central Oregon lake trout on the fly!

From Randy Bonner: I’ve started writing for the Visit Corvallis tourism office. Great news, congratulations Randy!

From Dave Kilhefner: Fished the Deschutes on the Warm Springs Reservation side with guide Elke Littleleaf. While heavy rains pelted Portland this day, it was dry in eastern Oregon; a bonus for sure! Fishing partner was NOWA member Robert Campbell who caught 2 steelhead on spinners and I caught a couple nice redsides on beads.

From Tom Knight: I keep plugging away on my book. Right now I’m into two chapters on wild turkey hunting in “ancient times,” like 50 years ago, when the turkey population mushroomed in Klickitat/Skamania counties after their introduction. The first chapter got kind of long (10 pages), so I am working on a second. I am having fun reliving old times!

If anyone would like to a copy, email me at I’m still laid up awaiting hip transplant, so I am glued to my tablet all waking hours with tons of time to write + answer emails.