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November 2017
Region 6: South Sound/Olympic Peninsula
(Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Thurston and Pacific counties)
Two razor clammers with their daily harvest.

Salmon and steelhead (rivers): Popular chum salmon and other fishing spots include the Hoodsport Hatchery area of Hood Canal, the mouth of Kennedy Creek in Totten Inlet, and Satsop River. The Satsop and Chehalis rivers also offer some good opportunities for coho fishing.

The Quillayute River, as well as sections of the Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Calawah and Dickey rivers re-opened for fishing Nov. 4, via an emergency fishing rule. Anglers must release hatchery and wild chinook salmon in all of these areas.

Salmon fishing also continues this month on the Quinault and Humptulips rivers. On the Quinault, anglers can keep six salmon, including two adult chinook or coho, but must release sockeye and chum. On the Humptulips, anglers can keep six salmon, including two adults but must release all chinook and wild coho.

The Humptulips and Bogachiel are open for hatchery winter steelhead fishing, which traditionally kicks into high gear around Thanksgiving. The first fish to arrive usually head for the Humptulips and Bogachiel rivers, followed by runs to other area rivers.

Anglers should note that the Dungeness River has re-opened to salmon fishing, per an emergency fishing rule.

On the Hoko River, anglers should be aware of a rule change regarding ways to identify hatchery steelhead on the Hoko.

Salmon (marine areas): November is also good for “blackmouth” or hatchery chinook fishing opportunities in Puget Sound and Hood Canal.

Areas 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island), 12 (Hood Canal) and 13 (south Puget Sound) remain open to salmon fishing.

Anglers fishing area 10 can keep one hatchery chinook as part of the two-salmon daily limit but must release wild coho and wild chinook. In marine areas 11 and 13, anglers have a daily limit of two salmon but must release wild chinook and wild coho.

Those fishing Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) can keep two hatchery chinook as part of their four-salmon daily limit but must release wild chinook.

Anglers should note that Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) closed Nov. 13 to salmon fishing per an emergency fishing rule.

Trout: Thousands of trout are waiting to be caught in area lakes as part of the Fall into Fishing effort by the WDFW. Hatchery crews have already stocked Leland Lake (Jefferson County); Isabella and Island lakes (Mason County); Harts Lake (Pierce County); and St. Clair and Lawrence lakes (Thurston County). Black and Long lakes (Thurston County) will be stocked with trout just in time for Black Friday fishing on Nov. 24.

Crab: Sport crabbing is open in several areas of Puget Sound, including marine areas 4 (Neah Bay, east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh 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 Gardiner), and 9 (Admiralty Inlet), except for waters south of a line from Olele Point to Foulweather Bluff.

In each area, crabbing will be allowed seven days a week through Dec. 31. The daily 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.  More information about crabbing regulations and catch cards is available online.

Sport crabbing is closed in marine areas 10 (Seattle Bremerton), 11 (Vashon Island), 12 (Hood Canal), and 13 (South Puget Sound).

Crabbing is open year-round in Washington’s ocean waters (marine areas 1-3 and 4 west of the Tatoosh-Bonilla line).

Razor clams: Diggers can return to four ocean beaches for an opening in early November. State shellfish managers have given the OK for the dig after toxin test results indicated clams from Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks are safe to eat.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:

  • Nov. 2, Thursday, 6:03 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Copalis
  • Nov. 3, Friday, 6:47 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 4, Saturday, 7:31 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Nov. 5, Sunday, 7:16 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW's website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.

WDFW has tentatively scheduled another dig for Dec. 1-4, pending results of future toxin tests.

More information about razor clamming can be found on the department’s webpage.

Young boy holding first duck of the season.Photo credit: Keith Harris

Elk: The month begins with the modern firearm season for elk Nov. 4-15, followed by a late season for muzzleloaders and archers starting Nov. 22. Hunters looking to harvest a Roosevelt elk in District 17 (Pacific and Grays Harbor counties) often have the most luck hunting the Willapa Hills elk herd in GMUs 658, 672, 673 and 681. In District 16 (Clallam and west Jefferson counties), the highest level of elk harvest has occurred in GMUs 615, 602 and 607.

Black-tailed deer: Hunters have several late-season opportunities this month, starting with modern firearms Nov. 16-19. Archery season begins Nov. 22 and the muzzleloader season opens the same day. The best opportunities to harvest black-tailed deer in the region include GMUs 663, 648, 672 and 660 in District 17 and 621, 627 and 633 in District 15 (east Jefferson, Kitsap and Mason counties).

Fall black bear: The season continues on the coast and around the Puget Sound area through Nov. 15.

Forest grouse: The statewide hunting season runs through Dec. 31. The harvest of grouse in Clallam County (District 16) rivals all other counties in south Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula. The Olympic National Forest and Skokomish Valley in District 15 also are popular grouse hunting areas.

Goose: The hunting season is open Nov. 4 through Jan. 28 for most of the region. However, anyone hunting in goose management area 2 (Pacific or Grays Harbor counties) should know the area is open only on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only Nov. 25 through Jan. 14.

Duck, snipe and coot: The season runs through Jan. 28. Some of the best hunting locations in Thurston County are near the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge as well as Henderson, Budd and Eld inlets and near Centralia in Lewis County.

In District 17 (Pacific and Grays Harbor counties), the highest concentrations of ducks are near Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor and the Chehalis and Willapa River valleys. WDFW Wildlife Areas in this district offer good waterfowl hunting opportunities.

Quail: The season is open in western Washington through Nov. 30. Locations to try in District 15 include Department of Natural Resources land parcels on the Tahuya Peninsula and the industrial timberlands between Shelton, Matlock and McCleary. Numerous walk-in opportunities are on timber company clearcuts around Mason Lake.

Pheasant: The season in western Washington runs through Nov. 30. About 1,800 pheasants will be released over the season (on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays) at WDFW’s Skookumchuck wildlife unit in District 11 (Thurston and Pierce counties). Due to a wildfire near the Scatter Creek wildlife unit, WDFW will release 3,500 pheasants just north of Scatter Creek and will redirect about 500 birds to sites at Lincoln Creek, Skookumchuck and the Chehalis River.  

Online resources: Hunters are encouraged to check WDFW’s hunting prospects webpage to get an area-by-area summary of what they can expect. Before heading out, hunters also should check the Big Game Hunting Pamphlet and the Waterfowl and Upland Game pamphlet for regulations.

Map of directions to the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail.
Map courtesy of South Puget Sound Salmon Enhancement Group

Chum salmon viewing: November is a good time to visit the Kennedy Creek Natural Area Preserve, which is located on Totten Inlet off U.S. Highway 101 between Olympia and Shelton. The creek is one of the most productive chum salmon streams in Washington. While there, visitors can find numerous species of migrating shorebirds or walk the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail. Chum salmon and waterfowl are also abundant at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Free admission: Washington State Parks is offering free admission to the parks on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, when day-use visitors will not need a Discover Pass. Entrance fees also will be waived on that day for visitors to Mount Rainier National Park, where people can also visit for free on Nov. 12.

Discovery Speaker Series: The South Sound Estuary Association is holding monthly discussions, including one in November about local solutions to stormwater. The event will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 16, at LOTT’s WET Science Center, 500 Adams NE, Olympia.

Region One: Eastern Washington Region Two: North Central Washington Region Four: North Puget Sound Region Six: South Sound/Olympic Peninsula Region Five: Southwest Washington Region Three: South Central Washington