Times Spent Outdoors: Priceless!

Summer Fishing In Full Swing As Hunters Begin To Take The Field

Summer fisheries are now in full swing, providing some of the best fishing opportunities of the year. Washingtonians are reeling in salmon off the coast, pulling up pots full of crab in Puget Sound, and casting for trout in alpine lakes on both sides of the Cascades.

Also this month, hunters will take to the field to hunt for black bear in the first big-game hunt of the season. Many others will also be out scouting hunting areas to prepare for deer and elk seasons beginning in September.

“This is a good time to locate game animals and get the lay of the land, particularly if you’re planning to hunt a new area,” said Mick Cope, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) game manager. “It’s also a time when hunters and non-hunters alike need to be aware of their surroundings and give each other some space.”

Cope said hunters should confirm before heading into the field that they will have access to their preferred locations because of drought- and fire-related restrictions on Washington’s public and private lands. More information is available in a recent news release at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jul2915a/.

Those drought conditions already have put a wrinkle in some fisheries throughout the state. In mid-July, state fishery managers closed dozens of rivers to fishing and issued other new regulations designed to conserve wild fish populations.

“With such extreme drought conditions in several areas of the state, we needed to take these steps to help protect vulnerable fish in waters where we have concerns,” said Craig Burley, fish program manager for WDFW. “We’ll continue monitoring stream conditions throughout Washington this summer and take additional actions if necessary.”

Meanwhile, the pink salmon run is building in Puget Sound. Nearly 7 million pink salmon are expected to return to the Sound this year, many of them during the next few weeks.

The smallest of the five Pacific salmon species, pink salmon run three to 12 pounds and return to Washington’s waters in odd-numbered years. In most marine areas of Puget Sound, anglers are allowed to catch and keep two pink salmon in addition to daily limits for other species.

Rather catch shellfish? Crab fishing is open throughout the month in most areas of Puget Sound, the exception being Sub-Area 7 North which opens for crabbing in mid-August.

See the WDFW Fishing in Washington rule pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ for more information on these and other fisheries open around the state. For hunting seasons, see the Big Game Hunting pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/.

For a region-by-region description of fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing available in August, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide up-to-date information about recreational opportunities around the state.


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