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  More to do Outside!

November 2017
Region 4: North Puget Sound
(Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties)
A woman fly fishes in a river on a foggy fall morning.
Photo credit: Deborah Alverson

Blackmouth salmon: Fishing for blackmouth salmon (chinook) gets under way Nov. 1 in marine areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton). Anglers fishing those marine areas can keep one hatchery chinook salmon.  

Coho salmon: Coho are still found in a number of the region’s rivers. Rivers with coho fishing in the north Puget Sound region include:

  • Nooksack River in Whatcom County is open for salmon fishing with a daily limit of two salmon, plus two additional hatchery coho. Anglers must release wild coho as well as pink salmon, as described in September’s fishing rule change.  
  • Snohomish River (Skykomish and Snoqualmie) in Snohomish County is open to salmon fishing with a daily limit of three hatchery coho. All other salmon must be released, as described in last month’s fishing rule change.  

Green/Duwamish River in King County is open to salmon fishing with a daily limit of six fish. Anglers must release chinook salmon in all river sections except from Tukwila International Boulevard/Old Highway 99 to I-405, where anglers can keep one chinook as part of the daily limit. No more than three adults may be any combination of coho and chum.

Samish River: The Lower Samish River, from the mouth (Bayview-Edison Road) to the I-5 Bridge reopened to salmon fishing Nov. 4 with a daily limit of two salmon. Anglers must release all wild coho.

Always make sure to check the sportfishing rules pamphlet and emergency fishing rules webpage before heading out.

Trout: The department will stock at least 45 Washington lakes with catchable-size trout this fall. Additionally, hundreds of thousands of smaller fry and fingerling trout will have grown to catchable size since the department stocked them this past spring. The complete list of lakes to be stocked, and the department’s recently updated stocking plan are available on the WDFW website.

Crab: Several marine areas remain open seven days a week through Dec. 31 for recreational crab fishing including: marine areas 4 (Neah Bay, east of the Tatoosh-Bonilla line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner), and 9 (Admiralty Inlet), except for waters south of a line from Olele Point to Foulweather Bluff.

The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 ¼ inches. Crabbers may also catch six red rock crab of either sex per day with a minimum carapace width of 5 inches.

Sport crabbing will not reopen in marine areas 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), 11 (Vashon Island), 12 (Hood Canal), and 13 (South Puget Sound). Additional information is available on WDFW’s recreational crab fishing website.

Young girl in hunter orange in a field
Photo credit: Matthew Gullikson

Migratory and upland game birds: November is prime time for waterfowl hunting in the region, where more birds are expected to arrive as the month progresses. Typically, opportunities for hunting migrating birds pick up along with wet and windy weather.  

The seasons for snow, Ross’, Snow, Blue, and White-fronted geese in Goose Management Area 1 (Island, Snohomish, and Skagit counties) are under way throughout November and run continuously through Jan. 28. For Canada geese in Goose Management Area 1 and all geese in Goose Management Area 3, hunting starts up Nov. 4 and runs through Jan. 28. Duck hunting also continues through Jan. 28.

Upland bird hunters have through Nov. 30 to hunt pheasants and quail in western Washington, while the forest grouse season runs through Dec. 31.

Visit the WDFW’s waterfowl webpage to learn hunting techniques, waterfowl cleaning tips and recipes. For more details on hunting seasons and regulations, see the Migratory Waterfowl & Upland Game Hunting Pamphlet.
Deer and elk: The modern firearm season for elk is open Nov. 4-15, and the late-season modern-firearm hunt for black-tailed deer is open Nov. 16-19. Archers and muzzleloaders also have late-season hunting opportunities in select game management units. Archery and muzzleloader hunts for deer and elk get started Nov. 22 in select western Washington game management units.
Black bear: The general hunting season for black bear continues through Nov. 15 in the Puget Sound Zone as shown on page 67 of the Big Game Hunting Pamphlet. Hunters are allowed two bear during the general season, only one of which may be taken in eastern Washington. Successful hunters are required to submit a bear tooth to WDFW to determine the animal's age. Tooth envelopes are available at all WDFW offices.

Cougar: The early cougar hunting season continues through Dec. 31, and hunters may use any legal weapon. Some GMUs in North Puget Sound that provide cougar hunting opportunities include 448 (Stillaguamish), 450 (Cascade), 460 (Snoqualmie), and 466 (Stampede). For details on harvest guidelines, visit WDFW’s hunting prospects webpage.

Volunteers plant native plants to restore salmon habitat
Photo credit: NSEA

Snow geese: More and more birders are making their way to the region to view snow geese, which also continue to arrive in increasing numbers. Thousands of snow geese winter in western Washington each year. Most of those birds congregate in the Skagit Valley, and can be found in the area from mid-October through early May. A great place to view the snow geese on upcoming weekends is at the Fir Island Farms Reserve Unit of WDFW’s Skagit Wildlife Area. For more information on the Fir Island Farms Reserve Unit, visit WDFW’s website.

Turkey Toss at the zoo: The Woodland Park Zoo is hosting a Turkey Toss event on Nov. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The zoo’s carnivores will chow down on raw, store-prepared turkeys. For more information, visit the zoo’s website.

Volunteer to improve salmon habitat: The Nooksack Salmon Enhancement Association (NSEA) will host several work parties in November to restore salmon habitat. The work groups will remove invasive vegetation and plant native trees and shrubs.

  • Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Whiskey Creek in Ferndale
  • Nov. 11, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Whatcom Creek at Maritime Heritage Park in Bellingham
  • Nov. 18, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Landingstrip Creek in Acme

For more information about volunteering, visit the NSEA website.

Prepare for Christmas bird count: Birders throughout the nation are making preparations for the 118th Christmas Bird Count scheduled Dec. 14, 2017 through Jan. 5, 2018. Sponsored by Audubon, the annual event enlists tens of thousands of volunteers throughout the Americas to count and categorize the birds they see for science.

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