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The Weekender Report
The latest in fish and wildlife recreational opportunities across Washington State

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August 2013

(This document is updated periodically throughout the month to reflect current rules and opportunities. Please download the latest copy before heading out! Last updated August 21, 2013)

Contact: (Fish) 360-902-2700
                (Wildlife) 360-902-2515

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, elk and cougar 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 Dave Ware, 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.”

WDFW land managers are urging everyone planning to spend time outdoors this month to take care not to spark a wildfire. A Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) burn ban is in effect through Sept. 30 on all forest lands under its jurisdiction (including WDFW lands). For more information, see DNR burn ban. 

In sheer numbers, pink salmon will dominate the catch by Puget Sound anglers over the next month. Nearly 6 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.

“A bumper crop of pink salmon always generates a huge response from anglers,” said John Long, WDFW statewide salmon manager. “You can catch them from a boat, you can catch them from the shore and you can catch them throughout most of Puget Sound. It’s a great fishery for kids and whole families.”

Another big draw is the Buoy 10 chinook salmon season, which runs Aug. 1 through Sept. 1 at the mouth of the Columbia River. A big run of 678,000 fall chinook is expected to return to the river this year, with expectations that anglers will catch about 20,000 of them during the month – most of them between Buoy 10 near the mouth of the river and Rocky Point, 16 miles upstream.

The daily limit for the Buoy 10 fishery is two salmon, two hatchery steelhead, or one of each. But through Sept. 1, only one of those salmon may be a chinook. As of Aug. 23, anglers are required to release all unmarked chinook, but can still retain up to one marked (hatchery) chinook. For steelhead and coho, only fish marked with a missing adipose fin and a healed scar may be retained.

“Buoy 10 is a very popular fishery, drawing tens of thousands of anglers every year,” said Joe Hymer, a WDFW fish biologist.  “Fishing tends to start out slow, then accelerates quickly through the month of August.”

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 Aug. 15. In all open areas, crab fishing is allowed Thursday through Monday each week. The daily catch limit is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches.

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.

North Puget Sound
(Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties)

Fishing: Anglers are reeling in chinook, pinks, and coho in North Puget Sound, where two additional marine areas open for salmon Aug. 1 and crabbing is still an option.

“We are expecting more than 6 million pinks to make their way through Puget Sound into area rivers this year,” says Ryan Lothrop, Puget Sound recreational salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).  “Anglers across the state have been catching these salmon, catch rates are improving steadily, and we expect the run to continue to build as pink salmon enter rivers like the Skagit, Green, and Snohomish by mid-to-late August.”

The Puget Sound crab fishery is also under way in most marine areas. The exception is the northern portion (Gulf of Georgia) of Marine Area 7, which opens for crab Aug. 15.  All marine areas of Puget Sound will be open for crabbing Thursday through Monday of each week only. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are closed and all crab gear must be removed from the water.

Fisheries managers increased opportunities to harvest spot shrimp in Marine Area 7 West by extending legal fishing days from Thursday through Saturday to legal fishing seven days a week beginning Aug. 11. Enough harvest guideline remains to expand opportunity to seven-days-a-week and to keep the season open through Sept. 15.  See the rule change here.

Information on the rules, including how to properly record and report catch information is available on WDFW’s crab fishing webpage. The page includes links to a printable “Crabbing in Puget Sound” brochure and a “Puget Sound Recreational Dungeness Crab Guide,” both of which have information on crabbing regulations.

The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. Fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across.

Meanwhile, for those more interested in river fishing, freshwater anglers are gearing up for salmon openers on select rivers.

Those rivers include the following:

  • Skagit River: Salmon fishing opens Aug. 1 from the mouth of the river to the mouth of Gilligan Creek. The Skagit opens from the mouth of Gilligan Creek to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete for salmon fishing Aug. 16. Anglers fishing those sections have a four-salmon daily limit, and no more than two can be wild coho. All chinook and chum must be released.
  • Snohomish River: Salmon fishing opens Aug. 1 from the mouth of the river to the highway 9 bridge and on Aug. 16 from highway 9 bridge upstream to the confluence of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers.  There is a three-salmon daily limit, plus one additional pink salmon. Chinook and chum must be released. 
  • Green River: Salmon fishing opens Aug. 23 from the 1st Ave. South Bridge to Hwy. 99/Tukwila Intl. Blvd.   Anglers fishing the Green have a daily limit of six salmon; up to three adult coho and chum (combined) may be retained. Chinook must be released.

Check the Fish Washington pamphlet for additional details on regulations for these rivers.

A portion of the Stillaguamish River has been closed to fishing from the Highway 530 bridge at Cicero upstream to the bridge at Oso (Oso Loop Road/221st Ave. SE) to protect wild steelhead holding at Deer Creek.  Low flows and excessively warm water temperatures prompt the closure to reduce potential fish-handling mortality. See the rule change here.

On North Puget Sound, anglers can fish for chinook salmon in Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands). Those fishing Marine Area 7 can keep one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit, plus two additional pink salmon. They must, however, release wild coho and chum starting Aug. 1. 

Retention of Marine Area 9 chinook salmon came to a close at the end of the day’s fishing on Aug. 4; see the rule change here. Salmon fishing remains open in Marine Area 9 for coho and pink salmon, but all chinook must be released. Creel checks showed anglers were averaging a chinook per rod in the weeks prior to the closure, which indicates excellent fishing.  As such, anglers met harvest guidelines for Marine Area 9 for 2013. 

Coho and pink salmon fishing has opened south of a line extending from Foulweather Bluff to Olele Point, a portion of Marine Area 9 previously off-limits to fishing during the chinook mark-selective fishery.  Now that chinook will remain closed for the remainder of the season, fishing for two salmon plus two bonus pinks will continue through August.  See the rule change here.

Marine Area 10 chinook fishing has also come to a close for the season, ending at the end of the day on Aug. 18; see the rule change here.  All chinook must now be released in the marine area, but exceptions include Sinclair inlet and five fishing piers within the marine area, where anglers can continue to catch chinook salmon as part of their daily limit. Those piers include Elliott Bay Fishing Pier at Terminal 86, Seacrest Pier, Waterman Pier, Bremerton Boardwalk, and Illahee State Park Pier.  Salmon fishing for coho and pinks continues under regulations described in the fishing rule pamphlet.

Additional rules apply to Elliot Bay and Sinclair Inlet in Marine Area 10.   Anglers are advised to check the fishing pamphlet starting on page 116 for maps of these regions and for additional details on regulations. 

August brings other opportunities in the region to catch and keep salmon. Beginning Aug. 1, marine areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) open for salmon.  Anglers fishing these areas will have a daily limit of two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon, but must release chinook. Within area 8-2, Tulalip Bay at the terminal is open Friday through noon on Mondays and allows the use of two poles for those with a two-pole endorsement. 

Check the Fish Washington rules pamphlet for additional details on current salmon fishing opportunities.

Though many anglers focus on burgeoning opportunities for salmon in mid-to-late summer, August is also a great time to pursue yellow perch, bass, bluegill and catfish in lowland lakes.

“With warmer water temperatures, anglers should seek deepwater structure such as ledges and weed lines to find warmwater species during the heat of the day,” says Danny Garrett, WDFW lead warmwater fisheries biologist.  “In clearer lakes, such as Lake Washington, start your search for perch and bass in 15 to 20 feet of water.  In shallower lakes with stained water, such as Lake Cassidy, look for fish along the weed edge in five to 10 feet of water.”

Yellow perch is a species that will bite throughout the day, so perch fishing is a great way to introduce kids to the sport.

Though many trout fisheries have slowed with rising water temperatures, anglers in pursuit of trout or kokanee are still finding bountiful harvests in deeper Puget Sound lowland waters. 

“Try trolling for these fishes below the thermocline with common gear such as wedding rings, woolly buggers, hoochies, and even bare hooks baited with shoepeg corn behind a dodger--usually 12 to 30 inches--at slow speeds,” says WDFW trout biologist, Justin Spinelli. “Remember that kokanee, in particular, migrate vertically in the water column as they pursue invertebrates so try various depths until you find the schools.”

Trout and kokanee fisheries where success has been reported recently include Lake Stevens (Snohomish County), Lake Meridian (King County), Angle Lake (King County), and American Lake (Pierce County).  Anglers can identify other potential fisheries by consulting the Statewide Hatchery Trout and Kokanee Stocking Plan.

King County’s Beaver Lake will receive a stocking of 1,200 “jumbo” rainbow trout on Aug. 20. To facilitate fish planting, WDFW will close the Beaver Lake access site at sunset on Aug. 19 and reopen the site at sunrise on Aug. 21. Beaver Lake, however, will remain open to fishing while the access site is closed.

In previous years, WDFW released the trout into Beaver Lake in the fall. But this year nearly half of the fish will be released Aug. 20 to allow for the construction of a new water intake at the hatchery, said Justin Spinelli, fishery biologist for WDFW.

“We plan to release the remaining 1,300 trout later in the fall,” Spinelli said.

To find out more about fishing for these and other species in Washington, visit the Fish Washington website.

Hunting: The general hunting season for black bear opens Aug. 1 in most of the region. Hunters are allowed two bear during the general season, but only one bear can be taken in eastern Washington. Check the Big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules pamphlet for details.

Successful black bear hunters must submit a bear tooth to WDFW for age data collection and report their hunting activity over the phone (1-877-945-3492) or on-line. Successful bear hunters who report their harvest are entered in a drawing for special hunting permits.

Bear hunters will share the field with other big-game hunters scouting early-season hunts for deer, elk and cougar 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 Dave Ware, WDFW game manager. “But it can get hot out there in August, so it’s important to be aware of fire danger and stay hydrated.”

Check the Big Game Hunting Seasons and Rules pamphlet for more information on all these hunts.

Want to know if you’ve been selected for one of Washington’s coveted 2013 raffle hunts? Results are now available online, and winners will also be notified.  

Wildlife viewing: Now's a good time to head to the Ballard Locks to check out salmon passing the fish ladder viewing windows. Several hundred sockeye pass through the fish ladder daily, and chinook numbers typically start peaking in the third week of August. The Ballard Locks are located in northwest Seattle where the Lake Washington Ship Canal enters Shilshole Bay and Puget Sound. For information, call the locks' Visitor Center in Seattle at (206) 783-7059.

Also, Eastside Audubon in Kirkland is offering family-friendly field trips and birding walks throughout the month of August.  Check their website for dates, times and locations.

WDFW land managers are urging everyone planning to spend time outdoors this month to take care not to spark a wildfire. A Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) burn ban is in effect through Sept. 30 on all forest lands under its jurisdiction (including WDFW lands). For more information, see DNR burn ban.

South Sound/Olympic Peninsula
(Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Thurston and Pacific counties)

Fishing: The surge of summer salmon is upon us, and the smell of smoking fish is already wafting through campgrounds and neighborhoods across the region.

Along with strong numbers of chinook and coho salmon in the ocean and in protected waters, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) fisheries managers estimate 6.2 million pink salmon are flooding into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound on their biannual, odd-numbered-years-only spawning run. Many of those scrappy pinks are headed for South Sound rivers.

Doug Milward, WDFW’s ocean salmon manager, says Marine Areas 1-4 were very kind to salmon anglers in July.  He expects the fishing to be good and perhaps even better in August.  Chinook fishing has been outstanding so far this year, according to Milward. 

Starting Friday (Aug. 23) anglers in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Those fishing in marine areas 3 and 4 are also allowed two bonus pink salmon in addition to their two-salmon daily limit. All wild coho must be released in marine areas 1-4. See the rule change here.

With that change in the chinook limit, anglers will be allowed to keep two chinook per day in all four ocean marine areas. Anglers fishing off Westport (Marine Area 2) have been allowed to keep two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit since Aug. 4.

In the Strait of Juan de Fuca (marine areas 5 and 6), chinook retention opportunities come to a close on Aug. 15, but hatchery coho and pink salmon options continue into fall.  Prior to Aug. 15, anglers may retain two adult salmon, two of which may be chinook, plus two pink salmon. Wild coho, chinook, and chum salmon are all subject to release during summer in marine areas 5 and 6.

The South Sound (marine areas 11-13) is host to many salmon opportunities this August, but they vary within the areas.  Check your fishing regulations carefully, and go get ‘em! Opportunities abound for catching and keeping coho, chinook, and pink salmon.

August 2013 is shaping up to be an epic month for the region’s salmon anglers, but the opportunities aren’t limited to salmon. Marine Area 1 anglers have not yet exhausted their halibut quota, which means it’s not too late to book a charter or plan a trip to the Port of Ilwaco to fill your freezer with one of the Pacific’s most prized fish.

All of Washington’s major ocean ports offer good bottomfishing for rockfish and lingcod, and August is a great and usually gentle time to take to the ocean in search of these firm, white-fleshed fish.

Similarly, albacore tuna fishing begins to peak in August, when these sub-tropical, pelagic fish ride warm currents that have flowed delightfully close to shore in recent years.  When tuna are only 25 to 50 miles offshore, charter and private boat operators lick their chops.  Shorter runs to the tuna grounds mean less fuel burned and more time fighting these 50-mile-per-hour saltwater rockets.

A variety of river salmon fisheries materialize in August, including the South Sound’s pink salmon rivers: the Puyallup and Nisqually.  All three streams will receive large returns and will draw large crowds of anglers. 

Discussions between WDFW and the Skokomish and Puyallup tribes has resulted in a plan that opens prime areas on both rivers for tribal members and the general public.  Before grabbing your salmon rods, check out the news releases describing newly forged regulations for both the Skokomish and Puyallup.

The region’s best hatchery summer steelhead streams are the Humptulips and Wynoochee rivers, but summer fishing in these streams is often weather- and temperature-dependent and can be feast or famine. Still, anglers shouldn’t overlook these beautiful walk-and-wade rivers.  The best strategy for success is to fish high in the river system in areas that are open to fishing.  Search for groups of steelhead seeking thermal refuges near springs.

The Sol Duc River from the Sol Duc Hatchery outfall creek upstream to the concrete pump station will reopen to fishing on Aug. 18. The hatchery has now achieved the needed spring/summer chinook broodstock. See the fishing rule change here.

For details on river fishing for salmon and steelhead, including catch and gear limitations, open waters, and allowable fishing days, always check the Washington sport fishing rules pamphlet before hitting the water.

Trout fishing remains strong in the region’s deeper, cooler lakes, despite soaring summer temperatures that make trout lethargic.  Lethargy or not, they still have to eat. 

Trout in August feed almost exclusively early in the morning, in the evenings, and under cover of darkness.  Fish don’t like to move much for their meals.  As such, the region’s still fishers are outperforming trollers.  Those still fishing baits like shrimp, nightcrawlers, salmon eggs, and dough baits are doing well, especially near springs that discharge cold water.

North of Olympia, Saint Clair Lake has been especially good to trout anglers this summer, which should continue through August. American, Clear, and Ward lakes also produce good trout fishing during August due to their depth and good water quality.

Region 6 offers some of the Washington’s finest kokanee fishing, and it should continue to be good in August.  Larry Phillips, WDFW district fish biologist, says fishing has been excellent this summer at Summit Lake, where anglers have been catching kokanee to 13 inches. Clear and Ward lakes have been good, too, for fish from 10 to 12 inches. 

The popular kokanee fishery at American Lake won’t produce many limits this summer, says Phillips, but the fish are large and in excellent condition.  American’s kokanee are averaging 14-16 inches this year, and Phillips recently received a picture of a 21.5-inch koke from the popular fishery south of Tacoma.

Bruce Bolding, WDFW’s Warmwater Fish Program manager, says Region 6 is home to some very good and overlooked bass, panfish, and channel catfish angling.

“We stocked Saint Clair Lake and Lawrence Lake with channel catfish for the first time in the fall of 2011, but the fish should be big enough this summer to catch and fillet and have a great meal,” said Bolding.  “Chambers Lake was also stocked in 2011 but had been previously stocked in the 1990’s, so there could be a few really big fish left.  Harts Lake in Pierce County was not stocked in 2011, but still has fish from 2005.”

Bolding cites eastern Pierce County’s Kapowsin, Tanwax, Ohop, and Rapjon lakes as being good for panfish — especially perch and crappie.  He adds Thurston County’s Summit, Long, and Pattison lakes to the list. 

For a mix of largemouth and smallmouth bass, he advocates the same lakes as above, as well as Kitsap County’s Long and Kitsap lakes and Thurston County’s Black and Hicks lakes.  Munn Lake is a Thurston County selective fishery requiring catch and release and is good for bass and bluegill.

Hunting: General hunting seasons for black bear open Aug. 1 in the Coastal and Puget Sound hunt zones, and Aug. 15 in the South Cascades zone. (See map on page 62 of the Big Game Hunting pamphlet.) Hunters are allowed two bear during the general season, but only one bear can be taken in eastern Washington and are urged to avoid shooting sows with cubs.

Bear hunters will share the field with other big-game hunters scouting early-season hunts for deer, elk and cougar 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 Dave Ware, WDFW game manager. “But it can get hot out there in August, so it’s important to be aware of fire danger and stay hydrated.”

Meanwhile, hunters have until Aug. 15 at midnight to apply for an opportunity to hunt deer this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Eighteen applicants will be chosen during a random drawing to participate in the “limited-entry” deer hunt for bow hunters (Sept. 1-28), muzzleloaders (Sept. 29-Oct. 7) and hunters using modern firearms (Oct. 13-21). See the news release on WDFW’s website for more information.

Want to know if you’ve been selected for one of Washington’s coveted 2013 raffle hunts? Results are now available online.  

Wildlife Viewing: The mountains, valleys, beaches and ports of the region draw a diversity of species, many of which are on display in August.

Orcas can potentially be sighted almost anywhere in Washington’s saltwater, including Puget Sound.  In late July, a pod of at least five transient orcas made their way into Liberty Bay near Poulsbo. The whales put on a display at the marina and around nearby docks as they came close to shore, hunting and munching harbor seals.

The five orcas are likely members of a pod of 19 transient orcas that were also sighted near Seattle and Whidbey Island.  While some groups of transient orcas eat primarily seals, other resident pods focus on salmon.  Washington’s saltwater is home to a robust seal population and large numbers of returning salmon this August, perfect for orcas and orca viewing.

In late August, many of the region’s salmon streams will begin to fill with chinook and pink salmon, to be followed by chum and coho salmon in the fall.  Streams throughout the region are home to spawning salmon, but the 5th Street Bridge in Downtown Olympia is an especially good and unique place to view chinook salmon as they stage for their run through Capitol Lake to the Deschutes River.

On the southern ocean coast, Leadbetter Point State Park and Willapa Bay National Wildlife Refuge are excellent places to observe the shorebird migration in August, which includes, sandpipers, willets, plovers, and more.  Beaches elsewhere in the Long Beach/Willapa Bay area offer prime viewing as well.

Roosevelt elk and black-tailed deer are common sights during August mornings and evenings throughout much of the region.  Late this month, bulls and bucks will wage bloody war on saplings to remove the velvet from their new antlers.  Shredded, red-tinged saplings are a sure sign there’s an antlered critter nearby.

To learn more about wildlife viewing and recreation opportunities in both the coastal and Puget Sound regions, visit the WDFW wildlife areas webpage.

Seasonal Safety Notes: A summer burn ban is in place on all state lands, including all WDFW wildlife areas.  WDFW reminds outdoor enthusiasts that a variety of ignition sources can spark a wildfire, not just campfires, charcoal barbecues, and fireworks, which are illegal under the burn ban. Hot vehicle mufflers and catalytic converters can easily trigger a fire on backroads, and so can cigarettes and target shooting. 

Local fire-danger levels and burn-ban information is available online from the Department of Natural Resources. To report a wildfire or untended campfire, call 1-800-562-6010 or 911.

August is also a time when human-wildlife conflicts increase. Animals like deer and elk sometimes seek out the lush irrigated habitat of lawns and agricultural areas, and coyotes, black bears, cougars, skunks, and raccoons are similarly on the hunt for easy meals like landscaping shrubs, lawns, pet food, and sometimes pets. 

WDFW wildlife managers remind recreationalists and homeowners alike of the online Living with Wildlife resources on our website and ask the public to call 360-902-2515 with any non-emergency questions.  For dangerous encounters or potentially dangerous situations, please call 877-933-9847 or 911.

Southwest Washington
(Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Lewis, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties)

Fishing:  Starting Aug. 23, anglers fishing at the Buoy 10 fishery near the mouth of the Columbia River will be required to release any wild chinook salmon they intercept, but are currently cleared to catch hatchery chinook through Sept. 1. Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon approved the new selective fishing rule in response to soaring catch rates since the fishery opened Aug.1.

Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the new rules will help to minimize impacts on wild stocks, while allowing the popular fishing season to continue as previously planned.

“Our primary concern is wild chinook bound for tributaries of the lower Columbia River to spawn,” he said. “But fishery managers from both states agreed we could provide adequate protection for those fish without closing the chinook fishery ahead of schedule.”

Under the rule approved today, anglers may retain only those chinook salmon marked as hatchery fish with a clipped adipose fin or a missing left ventral fin. Barbless hooks are currently required to fish for salmon on the Columbia River, making it easier for anglers to release wild fish unharmed, Roler said.

Anglers fishing the Buoy 10 area have a two-fish daily limit, only one of which may be a chinook salmon. Hatchery coho and hatchery steelhead may be retained to make up the two-fish daily limit.

An estimated 678,000 fall chinook salmon are predicted to enter the Columbia River, well above the 10-year average. Fishing for hatchery and wild chinook is currently open from the mouth of the river upstream to Priest Rapids Dam in central Washington.

Bank anglers planning to fish near the mouth of the Columbia River should be aware they will need to purchase a Discover Pass to park on State Parks property near the North Jetty. The vehicle-access pass anglers receive with their fishing license only substitutes for a Discover Pass on WDFW lands.

By mid-to-late August, the bulk of the chinook run usually begins to move upstream with increasing numbers of coho moving in behind them, said Joe Hymer, a WDFW fish biologist. For anglers following upriver brights upstream, Hymer recommends fishing deep, between 40 and 50 feet down. For a lure, he suggests wobblers anchored with a heavy weight.

“Chinook go deep when water temperatures are high, so that’s a good place to find them,” Hymer said. “At the same time, anglers should take care not to drop anchor in the shipping channel. That can lead to real trouble.”

Hatchery coho are expected to make a stronger showing this year, helping to round out anglers’ daily limits. WDFW currently expects about 434,000 coho to return this year – three times more than last year’s return and similar to the recent 10-year average.   Hymer said coho salmon usually bite best at Buoy 10 on herring and spinners, and later on bait and lures in the tributaries.

Meanwhile, plenty of hatchery steelhead are also available for harvest, said Hymer, noting that the smaller “A-run” fish should keep biting through mid-August. By then, the larger “B-run” steelhead – many weighing in the teens – will start arriving to pick up the slack. Together, returns of both runs are expected to total 322,000 fish, on par with the recent 10-year average .

The procession of fall chinook, coho and hatchery steelhead should also provide good fishing on area tributaries for months to come, Hymer said. Like the mainstem Columbia River, most tributaries open for fall chinook Aug. 1, although those fisheries usually don’t take off until September. For steelhead, Drano Lake and the Wind River are good popular spots to cast for migrating fish dipping into cooler waters.

The White Salmon River has historically been another productive dip-in fishery, but how the fish will respond after Condit Dam was breeched in late 2011 remains to be seen.

Like last year, anglers will be allowed to retain up to six adult hatchery coho on all tributaries to the lower Columbia River with hatchery programs. Those rivers include the Cowlitz, Deep, Elochoman, Grays (including West Fork), Kalama, Klickitat, Lewis (including North Fork), Toutle (including Green and North Fork) and Washougal.

Unlike the mainstem Columbia River, chinook retention is limited to marked hatchery fish on those river systems, except on the Klickitat and Deep rivers where unmarked chinook can also be retained. Mark-selective fisheries also will be in effect on the Wind and White Salmon rivers.

Any fall chinook and coho may be retained at Drano Lake beginning Aug. 1 and any chinook on the North Fork Lewis River beginning in October. Anglers are advised to check the Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet and any emergency rules applicable to specific waters before leaving home.

Of course, salmon and steelhead aren’t the only fish available for harvest in August. Walleye fishing can be good in the Columbia River near Camas, as well as in The Dalles and John Day Pools. Bass fishing is also heating up from Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam. Anglers can also retain sturgeon measuring 43 to 54 inches in The Dalles Pool until the guideline has been reached.

For trout, the high lakes in the Cascades offer unparalleled fishing experiences for those willing to brave the mosquitoes. Wilderness areas around Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens are now accessible with the snowmelt.

A couple of drive-up lakes to check out are Council and Takhlakh Lake on the northwest side of Mt. Adams. Council was stocked July 8 with 3,000 rainbow catchable trout weighing half-a-pound each. Takhlakh was planted on June 24 with 3,000 catchables, along with 150 rainbows weighing almost 3.5 pounds each.

Hunting: General hunting seasons for black bear open Aug. 1 in the Coastal and East Cascades zones, and Aug. 15 in the South Cascades zone. (See map on page 62 of the Big Game Hunting pamphlet.) Hunters are allowed two bear during the general season, but only one bear can be taken in eastern Washington. Hunters are urged to avoid shooting sows with cubs.

Bear hunters will share the field with other big-game hunters scouting early-season hunts for deer, elk and cougar 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 Dave Ware, WDFW game manager. “But it can get hot out there in August, so it’s important to be aware of fire danger and stay hydrated.”

Meanwhile, hunters have until Aug. 15 at midnight to apply for an opportunity to hunt deer this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Eighteen applicants will be chosen during a random drawing to participate in the “limited-entry” deer hunt for bow hunters (Sept. 1-28), muzzleloaders (Sept. 29-Oct. 7) and hunters using modern firearms (Oct. 13-21). See the news release on WDFW’s website for more information.

Want to know if you’ve been selected for one of Washington’s coveted 2013 raffle hunts? Results are now available online, and winners will also be notified.  

Wildlife viewing: Summer is far from over, but shorebirds are anticipating the season’s change. Tens of thousands of them – sandpipers, yellowlegs, dowitchers and other species – are already flocking to Washington’s coastal areas en route from their Arctic breeding grounds to points south. Clouds of shorebirds, especially sandpipers, can now be seen from Ilwaco to Ocean Shores.

Unlike their spring migration, shorebirds’ flight south is a disorderly affair. Adults often leave the Arctic before their chicks are fledged and join flocks departing at different times. They also travel at a more leisurely pace, departing anytime from July to October. Rare birds, such as off-course Asian shorebirds, are more likely to join the others in their southward flight than on their trip north.

July is a great time to watch the parade of salmon, steelhead, shad and other fish pass the fish-viewing windows at the Bonneville Dam Visitor Center. Thousands of fish are now on display every day as they move up the fish ladders to continue their journey upriver.

Salmon and steelhead are also on the move this month. An record 434,000 upriver bright fall chinook salmon are expected to pass through the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam this year, and many of them will make that journey this month. Thousands of coho and summer steelhead will be passing by the viewing windows at the dam too.

To get to the visitor center, take Washington State Highway 14 east to Milepost 40 (about 5 miles from Stevenson) and park in front of the glass building at the end of the powerhouse. To check on the number of fish passing the dam each day, go to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website.

WDFW land managers are urging everyone planning to spend time outdoors this month to take care not to spark a wildfire. A Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) burn ban is in effect through Sept. 30 on all forest lands under its jurisdiction (including WDFW lands). For more information, see DNR burn ban. 

Eastern Washington
(Asotin, Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Lincoln, Pend Oreille, Spokane, Stevens,† Walla Walla and Whitman counties)

Fishing:  Fishing in August can sometimes be slow, due to higher daytime water and air temperatures. But anglers fishing early in the morning, late in the evening, or on days with lots of cloud cover can have success this time of year. 

Randy Osborne, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) central district fish biologist in Spokane, says mixed species waters are a good bet. Anglers can find yellow perch, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and crappie, along with some trout, at Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County, Downs Lakes in southwest Spokane County, Newman, Silver, and Liberty lakes in eastern Spokane County, Eloika Lake in north Spokane County, and the Spokane River reservoir of Long Lake (or Lake Spokane).

Osborne says some of the best rainbow and cutthroat trout lakes close to Spokane are Amber, Clear, Williams, and West Medical lakes in Spokane County, and Fishtrap Lake in Lincoln County. The lower Spokane River has nice rainbows and browns, but river anglers need to be aware of catch limits, gear restrictions, and other rules listed in the fishing pamphlet.

Bill Baker, WDFW northeast district fish biologist in Colville, said kokanee fishing should be productive in August at Loon Lake in southern Stevens County. “Most anglers there are fishing during the evening with glow hooks and other gear,” he said. “But trolling during the day should also be good.”

Baker notes that kokanee can also be had in a few other northeast district waters including Bead, Sullivan, and Davis lakes in Pend Oreille County and Pierre and Deep lakes in Stevens County.  Deep Lake should produce 12- inch-plus kokanee. 

“I’ve also heard anglers are catching some kokanee in the lower portion of Lake Roosevelt,” Baker said.  “They’re also doing well on rainbows in the reservoir.  Walleye fishing at Roosevelt has been fair, with somewhat lower success rates for most anglers compared to the last couple of years.”

Baker suggests fishing for trout (rainbow, cutthroat, brook and tiger) in higher elevation lakes on U.S. Forest Service property throughout August.  Davis, Ellen, Empire, and Ferry lakes are good bets in Ferry County.  In Stevens County, Black, Little Twin, and Summit lakes should be good producers.  In Pend Oreille County, anglers should find good fishing at Carl’s, Frater, Halfmoon, Mystic, North and South Skookum, Petit, and Yokum lakes.

Glen Mendel, WDFW southeast district fish biologist in Dayton, reminds anglers that steelhead fishing on the Snake River is open for retention of hatchery-marked fish in August this year. Mendel notes that steelhead numbers are rapidly increasing at the Columbia and Snake River dams. 

“The return of fall chinook salmon to the Snake is expected to be a 30 to 40 year record number this year,” said Mendel.  As such WDFW announced on Aug. 15 that the Snake River will open for retention of hatchery fall chinook starting Sept. 1. Fisheries managers have set a robust limit of three (3) adipose fin-clipped hatchery fall chinook adults (24 inches in length and larger), and six (6) adipose fin-clipped hatchery jack fall Chinook (less than 24 inches). The minimum size for chinook that can be retained in the Snake River is 12 inches.  Angler catch rates will be monitored, and Washington’s Snake River salmon harvest opportunities may be closed prior to Oct. 31 based upon on-going run size and harvest evaluations.  See the fishing rule change here.

WDFW Wooten Wildlife Area Manager Kari Dingman said the Tucannon River impoundments on the area are a bit “warm and green.” Some folks are still fishing them, she says, but many more are fishing the river during warmer weather.

Mendel reminds river anglers and other recreationists not to build rock or log dams across rivers and streams because it prevents bull trout and other species from moving upstream and downstream.  “Every year we have new rock dams in August and early September that block bull trout migration and sometimes trap and kill them,” Mendel said.  “Bull trout and spring chinook are very vulnerable at this time of year in low water, sometimes in marginal water temperatures. Neither can be legally harvested or harassed.”

Hunting: A few game management units (GMUs) in the region open to general black bear hunting in August.  GMUs 133, 136, 139 and 142 in Lincoln and Whitman counties, as part of the Columbia Basin zone, open Aug. 1 and GMUs 124-130 in Spokane County, as the Northeastern B zone, open Aug. 15.  The rest of the region opens Sept. 1 for black bear hunting.  (See map on page 62 of the Big Game Hunting pamphlet.)

Bear hunters will share the field with others now scouting for early-season archery or muzzleloader deer or elk hunts that open 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 Dave Ware, WDFW game manager. “But it can get hot out there in August, so it’s important to be aware of fire danger and stay hydrated.”

Whether scouting or hunting, remember the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) burn ban, including all campfires, is in effect through Sept. 30 on all forest lands under its jurisdiction (including WDFW lands). For more information, see DNR burn ban.  

Meanwhile, hunters have until Aug. 15 at midnight to apply for an opportunity to hunt deer this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Eighteen applicants will be chosen during a random drawing to participate in the “limited-entry” deer hunt for bow hunters (Sept. 1-28), muzzleloaders (Sept. 29-Oct. 7) and hunters using modern firearms (Oct. 13-21). See the news release on WDFW’s website for more information.

Want to know if you’ve been selected for one of Washington’s coveted 2013 raffle hunts? Results are now available online, and winners will also be notified.  

Loons with a chick only a few days old riding on one parentís back.
Loons with a chick only a few days
old riding on one parent’s back.

Wildlife viewing: August is usually a good time to escape summertime heat, either at high elevations or on the water, and both places offer good opportunities to see wildlife, at least early and late in the day.

Mountain hikers and campers may catch glimpses of bighorn sheep ewes with lambs or family groups of pikas or marmots. Lake or river recreationists are likely to encounter waterfowl families on the water, from hen mallards paddling around with a string of ducklings to Canada goose pairs with their goslings in tow.

WDFW Wildlife Biologist Annemarie Prince recently found relatively rare wildlife at Big Meadow Lake in Pend Oreille County – two loons with a chick only a few days old riding on one parent’s back. Prince will be monitoring the family regularly to determine survival.

Huckleberry and other wild fruit pickers should be alert and prepared for encountering black bears after the same goodies. Before you go, check out the Do’s and Don’ts in Bear County.

WDFW wildlife biologist Woody Myers notes that both white-tailed and mule deer fawns and elk and moose calves are very visible now throughout the region as they forage and frolic alongside their mothers. Early morning hours are best for viewing these animals in traditional areas of habitat – usually forested areas for whitetails and moose, more open shrub-steppe areas for mule deer, and grasslands for elk.

Myers notes that moose wandering into suburban or urban areas, or other inappropriate habitat, at this time of year usually involve yearling animals whose mothers, with newborn calves in tow, have pushed them out on their own.

Wildlife viewers making weekend outings in forested areas of the region need to remember that the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) burn ban, including all campfires, is in effect through Sept. 30 on all forest lands under its jurisdiction (including WDFW lands). For more information, see DNR burn ban. 

WDFW Wooten Wildlife Area Manager Kari Dingman said she and DNR staff are spending time putting out campfires and reminding people of the need to comply with restrictions. For more information, see DNR fire restrictions.  

Glen Mendel, WDFW southeast district fish biologist in Dayton, reminds recreationists not to build rock or log dams across rivers and streams because it prevents bull trout and other species from migrating upstream and downstream. “Every year we have new rock dams in August and early September that block bull trout migration and sometimes trap and kill them,” Mendel said.  “Bull trout and spring chinook are very vulnerable at this time of year in low water, sometimes in marginal water temperatures. Neither can be legally harvested or harassed.”

Northcentral Washington
(Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties)

Fishing:   The Wenatchee River hatchery summer chinook salmon fishery opens Aug. 1 from the mouth to 400 feet below Dryden Dam. Travis Maitland, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Chelan district fish biologist, notes that on Sept. 1 the fishery extends to the Icicle River Road Bridge (Hwy. 2 at Leavenworth) and runs through Sept. 30. See all the details for this fishery in the rules pamphlet.

Sockeye fishing at Lake Wenatchee sockeye salmon fishery will continue until the end of the day Aug. 18, when the number of fish available for harvest is expected to be taken. Anglers are allowed two sockeye of at least twelve inches in length.  Lake Wenatchee is a selective fishery; no bait or scent is allowed. 

Meanwhile, sockeye salmon fishing has picked up considerably in the Columbia River near Brewster, said Bob Jateff, WDFW Okanogan district fish biologist in Twisp. Effort has been good with catch rates of one to two fish per angler. Chinook salmon are also being caught, but in much smaller numbers.

Jateff also notes the section of the Columbia River from Wells Dam upstream to the Hwy. 173 Bridge in Brewster has been open to salmon fishing since July 16. Anglers are required to release any sockeye or chinook with a colored anchor (floy) tag located just below the dorsal fin. “Most of the sockeye are running smaller this year, in the 1- to 3-pound range with some larger adults up to 5 pounds,” Jateff said.  “The chinook are averaging 10 to 15 pounds.”

Jateff said fishing in the Methow River is good with flows leveling out due to earlier than normal snow melt.  Selective gear rules are in effect and no bait is allowed. The open area of the Methow extends from the Lower Burma Road Bridge (below the town of Methow) upstream to the Weeman Bridge (eight miles north of Winthrop).  “With warmer water conditions expected during the month of August, anglers should be very careful in playing and releasing fish during that time,” Jateff said. “It’s best to play the fish as quickly as possible and to not remove it from the water.”  

Jateff notes there are two sections of the Twisp and Chewuch rivers that are open to catch-and-release trout fishing. The Twisp is open from the mouth upstream to War Creek, and the Chewuch is open from the mouth upstream to Eight Mile Creek. Anglers should check the current sportfishing rules pamphlet as all of these open areas have varying closure dates. Anglers can expect resident rainbow and cutthroat trout in the 8- to 16-inch range, along with whitefish up to 18 inches.

Jateff also says it’s a good time to fish the smaller tributaries within the Methow River drainage as river and small creek flows recede. Boulder, Falls, and Eightmile creeks are all within easy driving distance from Winthrop and provide good fishing for eastern brook trout. Daily limit is five brook trout in Falls and Eightmile Creeks, no minimum size and bait is allowed.  In Boulder Creek the daily limit for brook trout is 10, no minimum size and bait is allowed.  In the Beaver Creek drainage, anglers can retain five brook trout, no minimum size, selective gear rules required, and no bait allowed.

Hunting:  General hunting seasons for black bear open Aug. 1 in the East Cascades and Columbia Basin zones, and Aug. 15 in the Okanogan zone. (See map on page 62 of the Big Game Hunting pamphlet.)

Bear hunters will share the field with other big-game hunters scouting early-season hunts for deer, elk and cougar 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 Dave Ware, WDFW game manager. “But it can get hot out there in August, so it’s important to be aware of fire danger and stay hydrated.”

Whether scouting or hunting, remember the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR) burn ban, including all campfires, is in effect through Sept. 30 on all forest lands under its jurisdiction (including WDFW lands). For more information, see DNR burn ban.  

Meanwhile, hunters have until Aug. 15 at midnight to apply for an opportunity to hunt deer this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Eighteen applicants will be chosen during a random drawing to participate in the “limited-entry” deer hunt for bow hunters (Sept. 1-28), muzzleloaders (Sept. 29-Oct. 7) and hunters using modern firearms (Oct. 13-21). See the news release on WDFW’s website for more information.

Want to know if you’ve been selected for one of Washington’s coveted 2013 raffle hunts? Results are now available online, and winners will also be notified.  

Wildlife viewing:  August provides lots of opportunity for viewing alpine and subalpine wildlife while hiking at elevation to beat the heat.

Northcentral region wildlife biologists suggest looking for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, hoary marmots, pikas, golden-mantled ground squirrels, ptarmigan, gray-crowned rosy finches and lots of other species. Good viewing sites in the western portion of Okanogan County are along roads and trails in the Harts Pass, Washington Pass, Cutthroat Lake/Pass areas, as well as along the Pacific Crest Trail in between these sites. There’s also lots of viewing opportunity in the higher elevations of the Chelan-Sawtooth and Pasayten Wilderness areas.

Bull moose crossing a wheat field

Bull moose crossing a wheat field just a quarter-mile south of the WDFW Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area in southern Douglas County.

Sometimes you don’t need to climb high to find interesting wildlife, however. WDFW Natural Resource Technician Angel Hastings recently saw and videographed a bull moose crossing a wheat field just a quarter-mile south of the WDFW Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area in southern Douglas County.

WDFW ungulate researcher Woody Myers notes that moose wandering into or through non-forested or other inappropriate habitat at this time of year usually involve one or two-year-old animals whose mothers, with newborn calves in tow, have pushed them out on their own.

The Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in northcentral Okanogan County is a good destination for butterfly watching this month while many wildflowers are still in full bloom. WDFW Area Manager Dale Swedberg says to watch for several species of whites, sulphurs, coppers, hairstreaks, blues, fritillaries, checkers, nymphs and skippers.

Amphibians in all stages of development can be found in ponds and wetlands, particularly at middle elevations. Some of the most commonly seen are Pacific treefrogs, western toads, and long-toed salamanders.

The Sinlahekin and other places in Okanogan County are also good spots for birders looking for a variety of neotropical migrants, including flycatchers, swallows, and tanagers, before they begin gathering for southward migrations.

Southcentral Washington
(Benton, Franklin, Kittitas and Yakima counties)

Fishing:  Columbia and Snake River walleye fishing has been excellent this summer and is expected to remain strong throughout August.  Paul Hoffarth, a fish biologist for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the best catches have come from Lake Umatilla -- the 67 miles of the Columbia River between John Day and McNary Dams. Angling upstream of McNary for the toothy fish has also been good.

Walleye are also numerous and active during August on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia and on the lower portions of the Snake River, especially below Ice Harbor Dam. Most anglers use diving plugs, jigs, blade baits, or ‘crawler harnesses to catch them.

Hoffarth reminds anglers that there is no minimum size limit and no limit on the number of walleye you can keep upstream of the Washington-Oregon border (17 miles upstream of McNary Dam). Below the state line (downstream), there is a daily limit of 10 fish, only five of which can measure over 18 inches and only one of which can be over 24 inches.

Rather fish for smallmouth bass? During August they swim deep, but the fishing can be good for those in-the-know. Trolling with deep-diving plugs and fine-diameter braided lines 150 to 200 feet behind the boat allows anglers to get their plugs down to the fish. Smallmouth usually run even deeper than walleye during the burning heat and gentle flows of summer.

Mid-river humps and bars from 30-45 feet in depth tend to attract large concentrations of mature smallmouth during August.  Along with trolling these areas, vertical jigging with blade baits and soft-plastic jigs is also very effective. As with walleye, Hoffarth says there is no limit on the number or the size of smallmouth bass anglers can keep in the Columbia River or its tributaries above the Washington-Oregon state line.  Below the state line, anglers can keep a daily limit of five smallmouth bass, only three of which can exceed 15 inches.

Anglers tend to catch both species at the same time, as well as occasional chinook salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead.  To retain salmon and adipose-fin-clipped steelhead caught accidentally while fishing for walleye or smallmouth, anglers must use barbless hooks. Starting Aug. 1, both fall chinook and coho with intact adipose fins may be retained.

Hoffarth reports sturgeon are still biting on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, but July 31 was the last day for retention fishing on Lake Wallula and the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam.  Lake Umatilla switched to catch-and-release-only on June 29. Sturgeon sanctuaries (located below many of the dams) remain off-limits to anglers until Aug. 1 when a catch-and-release season opens. 

Fishery managers are projecting a strong run of 339,200 summer-run steelhead over Bonneville Dam this year, many bound for the Snake River and the mid to upper Columbia River. The Snake and areas of the Columbia opened for hatchery steelhead fishing June 16 this year, including the stretch from Bonneville to the Highway 395 bridge in Kennewick.

WDFW will open the area of the Columbia River from the Highway 395 bridge to the old Hanford town site Oct. 1, earlier if the run comes in stronger or earlier than expected.  Look for announcements on the WDFW website.

Steelhead fishing in southcentral Washington can be tough during summer due to sunny conditions and high water temperatures, even when large numbers of fish are moving upriver.  Fishing very early in the morning or from dusk into darkness increases the odds of hooking up with these temperature-sensitive fish. 

Night fishing with black or lighted plugs can be very productive and is both legal and popular above McNary Dam on Oregon’s and Washington’s halves of the river.  A night closure is in effect below McNary on Oregon’s half of the river, so anglers must remain on Washington’s side of the river channel to stay legal.

Anglers can also look forward to great fishing for fall chinook salmon in the weeks ahead. A strong run of 677,900 is expected to return to the Columbia this year, including 432,500 “upriver brights” expected to cross McNary Dam – many headed for the Hanford Reach. Chinook should start biting at the end of August with the fishing improving and peaking in late September and early October.

Further north in Region 3, spring chinook fishing closed July 15 on the Upper Yakima River between Union Gap and Roza Dam after a strong season, said Eric Anderson, a WDFW fish biologist in Yakima. 

“Catch rates for springers were highest during June and tapered off during early July,” says Anderson. “Now anglers are looking ahead to the fishery for fall chinook in the Columbia River and lower Yakima.”

Salmon fishing will be allowed from Sept. 1 to Oct. 22 for fall chinook in the lower Yakima in an area stretching from Prosser Dam to the river’s mouth at the Highway 240 bridge in Richland. Catch rates can soar once the Yakima’s waters cool enough to draw fish out of the colder water of the Columbia River, but that often doesn’t occur until late September or early October.  Nonetheless, throughout August, a combination of upper-Columbia summer chinook and early arriving fall chinook bound for the Hanford Reach and the Yakima River will hold at the Yakima’s mouth near Bateman Island in Tri-Cities.  This fishery has been popular in recent years.

Water levels have now dropped in streams flowing into the upper Yakima and Naches rivers and their tributaries, said Anderson, providing excellent fishing conditions for wild rainbow and cutthroat trout. Anglers should be sure to check the regulations for those streams and to release all salmon, bull trout, and steelhead. 

In the Cascade Mountains, ice has now melted from alpine lakes, and anglers looking to beat the heat are headed for the high country. WDFW stocks many hike-in lakes around White Pass, Chinook Pass, and Snoqualmie Pass with rainbow and cutthroat trout; others have naturally reproducing eastern brook trout populations. 

For more information on fishing the high lakes in south-central Washington, Anderson suggested anglers check out the high lakes stocking list for the past several years to get ideas on where to go. Hikers and anglers can check trail conditions with U.S. Forest Service offices in Naches and Cle Elum before heading out. 

Anderson adds that anglers seeking boating or drive-up shore fishing opportunities will find good fishing is still available in August for planted trout at Clear and Dog Lakes in the White Pass area.

Also near White Pass, Rimrock Lake is kicking out limits of 16 kokanee averaging almost 10 inches.  The fish are deep, but they can be found all over the lake.  Very slow trolling with pop gear (gang trolls) or dodgers followed by a wedding ring spinner baited with maggots or tuna-scented shoe-peg corn is very effective.  Kokanee are also available in August at Kachess, Keechelus & Cle Elum Lakes off Interstate 90, and fishing is good for both kokanee and cutthroat at Bumping Lake off Highway 410. 

The daily combined trout and kokanee limit has been reduced to five fish at Cle Elum Lake in an effort to protect rebounding stocks of sockeye salmon. Since juvenile sockeye remain in the lake for two or more years before migrating to sea and are nearly indistinguishable from kokanee, reducing the kokanee bag limit reduces impacts on sensitive sockeye smolts.

Whether in Cle Elum Lake or elsewhere in the Yakima River Basin, Anderson reminds anglers that bull trout caught inadvertently while fishing for other species must be released unharmed. 

“There are very stiff penalties for catching and keeping a bull trout,” says Anderson.   

Hunting: General hunting seasons for black bear open Aug. 1 in the Columbia Basin and East Cascades hunt zones, and Aug. 15 in the South Cascades zone. (See map on page 62 of the Big Game Hunting pamphlet.) Hunters are allowed two bear during the general season, but only one bear can be taken in eastern Washington and are urged to avoid shooting sows with cubs.

Bear hunters will share the field with other big-game hunters scouting early-season hunts for deer, elk and cougar 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 Dave Ware, WDFW game manager. “But it can get hot out there in August, so it’s important to be aware of fire danger and stay hydrated.”

Hydration becomes key for not only hunters, scouters and wildlife, but also for dogs when the upland bird training season opens Aug. 1.  Hunters training their bird dogs should take care to water both their dogs and themselves and to watch out for rattlesnakes, which are active during hot weather, especially around water.

Meanwhile, hunters have until Aug. 15 at midnight to apply for an opportunity to hunt deer this fall on the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Eighteen applicants will be chosen during a random drawing to participate in the “limited-entry” deer hunt for bow hunters (Sept. 1-28), muzzleloaders (Sept. 29-Oct. 7) and hunters using modern firearms (Oct. 13-21). See the news release on WDFW’s website for more information.

Want to know if you’ve been selected for one of Washington’s coveted 2013 raffle hunts? Results are now available online, and winners will also be notified.  

Wildlife viewing: Hot, dry conditions at this time of year in the valleys of Region 3 limit some wildlife viewing opportunities to mornings and evenings. Some species, however, remain conspicuous throughout the heat of the day.

Resident waterfowl, shorebirds, wading birds, ospreys, gulls, terns, cormorants and American pelicans are on full display on the Snake and Columbia Rivers all day, alongside humans seeking cool water in what is typically the state’s hottest region.  Common loons are also regular sights on the free-flowing Columbia River’s Hanford Reach and in the upper reaches of Lake Wallula.

In the evenings, common nighthawks, barn owls, screech owls, great-horned owls and several species of bats take to the air in search of prey. Skunks, raccoons, badgers, coyotes, bobcats, foxes, mule deer and elk also become more conspicuous during August evenings and very early morning hours.  Roadkill incidents increase as the season moves on and more of the young of the year are mobile and on their own.  Watch out for wildlife on roadways, too!

In the mountainous reaches of Region 3 near Snoqualmie, Chinook, and White passes, morning and evening are still fine times to look for wildlife, but the cool of the mountains provides sanctuary for wildlife and humans alike.  Elk, mule deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, black bear, and coyote are in their summer coats and can be seen packing on the pounds for fall and winter. 

Blue and ruffed grouse broods are growing like weeds and are commonly observed near water sources and on trails and dirt roads throughout the mountains.  Barrow’s goldeneye, ring-necked ducks, osprey, and American dippers are common sights on mountain streams and lakes, and forested meadows are home in August to species such as Williamson’s sapsuckers, gray jays, Clark’s nutcrackers, chestnut-backed and mountain chickadees, varied and hermit thrushes, winter wrens, pine siskins, and white-crowned sparrows.

Seasonal safety notes: A summer burn ban is in place on all state lands, including all WDFW wildlife areas.  WDFW reminds outdoor enthusiasts that a variety of activities can spark a wildfire, not just campfires, charcoal barbecues, and fireworks, which are illegal under the burn ban. Hot vehicle mufflers and catalytic converters can easily trigger a fire on backroads, and so can cigarettes and target shooting. 

Local fire-danger levels and burn-ban information is available online from the Department of Natural Resources. To report a wildfire or untended campfire, call 1-800-562-6010 or 911.

August is also a time when human-wildlife conflicts increase. Animals like deer and elk sometimes seek out the lush irrigated habitat of lawns and agricultural areas, and coyotes, black bears, cougars, skunks, and raccoons are similarly on the hunt for easy meals like landscaping shrubs, lawns, pet food, and sometimes pets. 

WDFW reminds recreationalists and homeowners alike of our online Living with Wildlife resources and asks the public to call 360-902-2515 with any non-emergency questions.  For dangerous encounters or potentially dangerous situations, please call 877-933-9847 or 911.