Report drought related damage
and impacts to fish, wildlife and habitat.

A lack of snowpack from an unusually warm winter has resulted in drought conditions throughout much of Washington.

A healthy snowpack slowly provides water to rivers and streams, helping to sustain fish through the drier summer months. But, with little or no snowpack, flows in many rivers have dropped significantly and water temperatures have increased – conditions that are lethal to fish.

Wildlife populations also are affected by drought conditions, which can diminish habitat for aquatic species and waterfowl and reduce productivity for a variety of animals, including deer and elk.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is working with the Department of Ecology and other state agencies, the federal government, tribes and conservation groups to respond to the drought and help minimize its impact on fish and wildlife.

For more information on how drought can affect fish and wildlife, click here.

More information on the statewide drought is available on Ecology's Washington Drought 2015 webpage.

Latest Drought News

September 18, 2015

September 15, 2015

September 11, 2015

September 2, 2015

September 1, 2015

August 31, 2015

August 28, 2015

August 27, 2015

August 14, 2015

August 11, 2015

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Update on suction dredging, other activities affected by drought

WDFW has begun to rescind emergency restrictions on suction dredging, mechanical removal of aquatic plants, and fishing in rivers and streams affected by the summer drought. The department expects to repeal restrictions on additional waters as stream conditions improve. Rivers and streams where restrictions are still in effect are listed below.

A news release issued Sept. 2 describes the department’s recent action to rescind drought-related restrictions on certain rivers and streams.

 

Thumbnail of poster that says Let 'em Pass! Rock Dams Block FishHow you can help

Information on water conservation is available on the Washington Department of Ecology's webpage.

Precautionary measures for fishing during the drought

  • Always check WDFW’s emergency fishing rules webpage before heading out.
  • Fish in the morning, when water temperatures are cooler.
  • Use barbless hooks to release fish quickly.
  • Use good judgement. If water conditions are unfavorable – hot temperatures, low water flow –fish elsewhere.  
  • Land fish quickly and avoid extensive handling of fish.
  • Keep fish fully submerged when releasing back to the water.