HIGH ROLLERS: The Congressional Sportsman's Caucus, about 70 senators and representatives who have banded together to protect the rights and traditions of hunters and fishermen, hold their first Hunting and Fishing Day Dinner Oct. 9 at the Hyatt Regency. Tickets are $250 for dinner, $500 for dinner and VIP reception; menu includes venison, pheasant and blackened walleye.

Proceeds will help start up the Sportsman's Foundation, a nonprofit think tank whose mission is to gather data on hunting and fishing and to hire a spokesman for hunting and fishing causes, said caucus chairman Rep. Dick Schulze (R-Pa.)

For information, call Dave Henderson, 452-8811.

STRIPERS WITH STRIPS:

Some rockfish caught in the Chesapeake Bay when fishing season reopens next month may carry three-inch orange "spaghetti tags." Information on the tags is important to assess the future role of rockfish hatcheries.

If you catch one, record tag number and date, location and type of capture or carefully cut off the tag and call in the information to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at 1-800-448-8322. A reward of $5 or a fishing cap is offered.

CUPDATE:

America's Cup organizers have accepted a Soviet challenge from the Leningrad Yacht Club, bringing to 12 the number of challengers for the regatta that starts in January 1992 off San Diego. Challengers represent 10 nations, the most ever.

Meantime, Italian billionaire Raul Gardini's Il Moro de Venezia campaign withdrew from a scheduled European America's Cup Class regatta in November. The Italians are refusing to race against France I there because it has been sold to the Beach Boys Syndicate, a U.S. defense group, and information gathered from racing could help the defenders. An Il Moro spokesman said the sale "compromised the spirit of collaboration of the America's Cup challengers."

Finally, Dennis Conner bolstered his defense team by signing on designer Bruce Nelson, a veteran of Conner's 1987 and '88 Cup victories who had defected to rival Peter Isler's camp. Isler recently dropped his defense effort for lack of funds. Nelson joins Dave Pedrick and Alberto Calderon as designers of Conner's three-boat, 1992 effort.

BUGS:

Renowned Pennsylvania fly fisherman Joe Humphreys speaks on dry fly fishing at Tuesday's meeting of National Capital Chapter, Trout Unlimited. The session, which is free and open to the public, starts at 7 p.m. in the Ramada Renaissance Hotel, 1143 New Hampshire Ave. NW.

Also, the Entomological Society of America offers a half-day session on trout flies Sept. 30 at the Radisson Plaza Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore. Speakers include author Ernest Schwiebert, who will discuss immature aquatic insects, and Charles Meck, who will talk on mayfly hatches. The 1-5 p.m. session costs $15. Call Greg Hoover at (814) 865-3256.

TRYOUTS:

If you always wanted to try rock climbing but lacked the gear, Hudson Trail Outfitters is offering free tryouts of top-brand climbing shoes and will set up ropes to climb on at Carderock from 2 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 30. All climbers are invited. Carderock is on the Maryland side of the Potomac off Cabin John Parkway a mile outside the Beltway. Call 301-840-0650 for information.

RAPTORS:

The Raptor Society of Metropolitan Washington plans a session on raptor identification at 8 p.m. Monday at the National Wildlife Federation, 8925 Leesburg Pike, Vienna. Society members Paul Fritz and Paul Engman will provide tips on identifying different species in anticipation of fall migrations.

Also, the Agriculture Department's graduate school offers a course on birds of prey Thursdays through Oct. 18 at Hidden Oaks Nature Center in Annandale. Call 447-5885.

FEATHERED FRIENDS:

Washington's Audubon Naturalist Society has begun its fall series of family, children's and adult environmental education programs at the Society's 40-acre wildlife sanctuary on Jones Mill Road in Chevy Chase. For a brochure, call (301) 652-9188.