Brace for winter and enjoy waterfowl,
steelhead, views of wintering wildlife
For Washingtonians, the start of the new year is a great time to hunt for waterfowl, fish for steelhead, and enjoy the annual spectacle of bald eagles, snow geese, elk, bighorn sheep and other wintering wildlife.
But weather is an important consideration. Preparation is essential for any outdoor activity, especially in winter. Check the weather conditions, river conditions and road conditions – and let people know where you're going before heading out.
Those hardy souls that do head outdoors this month can enjoy:
Waterfowl hunting: Winter storms are good news — up to a point — for waterfowl hunters, who welcome the surge of ducks and geese that comes with wet, blustery weather. Success rates for waterfowl hunters typically pick up when storms roll in.
Steelhead fishing: Fishing for hatchery steelhead continues on several rivers on both sides of the Cascades.
Blackmouth salmon: Several marine areas of Puget Sound are open to blackmouth fishing, including the San Juan Islands, which traditionally reward anglers with some of the highest salmon catches during winter months.
Puget Sound squid: Winter is prime time to jig for squid in Puget Sound. Good spots include the Elliott Bay Pier in Seattle and the Edmonds Pier.
Whitefish: Anglers can catch and keep up to 15 whitefish from several rivers in the Columbia River Basin.
For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing opportunities available this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide current information about recreational opportunities around the state.