Hunting seasons underway, salmon on the move
The sun is setting earlier and the leaves are starting to turn – signs of another change of season. Fall is in the air, and hunters are heading out for the year’s major hunting seasons as anglers are still reeling in salmon from the Columbia River, Puget Sound, and other fisheries, plus trout from lakes throughout Washington. Bird watchers are planning adventures to celebrate the fall migration.
Columbia River salmon
All areas, including Buoy 10, remain open for coho fishing in September. Buoy 10 Chinook retention closed in late August, but remains open through Sept. 9 for Tongue Point-Warrior Rock, and all of September for waters upstream (including above Bonneville Dam). Steelhead is closed in all areas. Check the 2021-2022 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet and WDFW’s emergency rules webpage before heading out.
Puget Sound halibut
Reel in halibut in Puget Sound and along the northern coast. Halibut season kicked off in mid-August and is expected to remain open three days a week, Thursday, Fridays, and Saturdays, through Sept. 25 or until the remaining quota is reached.
The 2021 Trout Derby continues through Oct. 31! No entrance fee or registration required. Just catch a tagged trout and you win. You can find more information on lakes that still have prizes on our trout derby webpage.
Puget Sound and ocean salmon
Several marine areas offer anglers opportunities to fish for salmon in September. Make sure to check the 2021-22 fishing regulations and emergency regulations before heading out. You can also download the Fish Washington mobile app, which provides up-to-date fishing regulations on your phone.
Crabbing on Labor Day
Most areas of Puget Sound will be open to recreational crab fishing until sunset on Labor Day, Sept. 6. The San Juan Islands/Bellingham (Marine Area 7 South) and the Gulf of Georgie (Marine Area 7 North) will remain open through Sept. 30. The coast remains open year-round.
Get to know a WDFW Wildlife Area
The South Puget Sound Unit in Pierce County has a fully ADA-accessible trail that offers great opportunities for wildlife watching. The unit is one of the last places to experience the westside prairie ecosystem that once stretched across thousands of acres in the region.
September offers prime weather excellent for outdoor lifestyles. This month, we’re featuring WDFW-managed places with specialized facilities to assist those who benefit from additional accessibility accommodations. Plus, we’ll highlight resources to help you mark National Public Lands Day on Sept. 25. And in case you missed them, August’s blogs highlighted exploring tidepools and the basics you’ll want to know before stepping into the world of backpacking.
Deer and elk
Deer and elk seasons begin this month as hunters take the field. To help hunters prepare for a successful hunting season, wildlife biologists consulted their local sources and contributed their personal observations about hunting prospects throughout the state.
Continuing a hunting heritage
Sept. 18-19 is the special youth-only pheasant hunting season in Washington. This special season gives hunters under 16 a jump start on the general seasons that open later this fall and can be a good introduction to the sport. Non-hunting adults at least 18 years of age must accompany young hunters pursuing birds.
National Estuaries Week (Sept. 18-25) is a nationwide celebration of our bays and estuaries and the many benefits they provide to local communities. Watch WDFW’s social media for engaging posts and ideas for what you can do to conserve estuaries and support these important fish and wildlife habitat areas in the Pacific Northwest.
Climate change and its impact on hunting, angling, and other recreational pursuits
Climate change affects everything in nature: fish, wildlife, habitat, ecosystems, us. As stewards, we must act now to protect the places and activities we love. Check out our video about climate change, its impact on hunters, anglers and recreationalists in Washington, and small ways you can help be part of the solution.