Outdoor activity remains on the slow side and it appears that we are "tween" the pilot run and the main run of smelt. The brief surge of them earlier this month in the Cowlitz is gone. However, commercial netters are again catching them in the Columbia, and those who know, figure the main run will be arriving in the Cowlitz in the next two weeks.

Steelhead fishing has really slowed down with the best fishing happening on the coastal rivers. The Humptulips, lower Queets, Hoh, Bogachiel and Sol Duc rivers are putting out some fair catches. On the Cowlitz, checkers counted 65 bank anglers with 10 winter steelhead and 73 boat anglers with 13 winter steelhead.

We are also "tween" the initial surge of spring Chinook and the main run, which should really start in about two weeks.

Duck season ended Jan. 26 and hunter reports are required by Jan. 31.

All Washington deer, elk, black bear and turkey hunting tag holders, whether they hunted or not and whether they were successful or not, must report their 2002 hunting season activity by Jan. 31.

Dave Ware, WDFW game division manager said, "Hunter reports provide more complete data that allows us to manage future hunting seasons more precisely, and that can mean more liberal seasons for hunters."

Hunters must file harvest reports by calling an automated, toll-free telephone line at (877) 945-3492 or on-line at www.fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.

Hunters are encouraged to call during non-peak hours (before 8 a.m. or after 8 p.m.) to avoid busy telephone lines.

Hunters should have their Washington Interactive Licensing Database (WILD) number, which is printed on license documents, available before attempting to file their report.

Information on the reporting requirement, along with the specific information asked for in the phone and online systems, is provided on page seven of the 2002 WDFW "Big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules" pamphlet. The game management unit map is on pages 54 and 55.

Nautical term: In the 16th and 17th centuries, before commercial fertilizer was invented, large shipments of manure were transported by ship. It was shipped in dry bundles because in dry form, it weighed a lot less than when wet.

But once the water hit it at sea, it not only became heavier, but the process of fermentation began, a by-product of which was methane gas. It didn't take long for methane to build up below decks and the first time someone came below decks at night with a lantern - BOOOOM!

Several ships were destroyed in this manner before someone figured out what was happening.

Once they determined the role manure played in the explosions, everybody began stamping the bundles with the term "ship high in transit." Thus, the sailors would know to stow it high enough off the lower decks so that any water that came into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo and start the production of methane. Thus evolved the term S.H.I.T., which has down through the centuries and is in use to this very day. You probably didn't know the true history of this word. Neither did I.

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