WDFW Weekender Report

Discover recreational opportunities in Eastern, North Central, South Central, North Puget Sound, Southwest, and Coastal Washington.

Gett outside to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities this June

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A graphic showing people of all backgrounds and interests enjoying the outdoors
Photo by WDFW

June is Pride Month, and you can catch our team at several events. We will be tabling at the Northwest Trek Pride Celebration in Eatonville on June 22 and Capital City Pride in Olympia on June 29. Come say “Hi” and see what’s happening with fish, wildlife, and habitat in your area! 

Other events this month

Check out 

Popular outdoor opportunities in June

Free fishing weekend!

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Dad fishing on Langlois Lake with his two daughters
Photo by Evan Sylvester

Another great (and free!) event this month is Free Fishing Weekend when fishing licenses are not required to fish for certain 

species in Washington. This year’s Free Fishing Weekend is June 8-9. A valid fishing license is required for anyone 15 or older to harvest any fish species requiring a catch record card (including salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and halibut) or shellfish. All other species open for harvest can still be harvested without a license during Free Fishing Weekend, including:  

Also on Free Fishing Weekend, Vehicle Access Passes are not required to park at WDFW lands, nor is a Discover Pass needed to park on WDFW, Department of Natural Resources, or Washington State Parks lands.  

Please note, even for species that don’t require a license on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as seasons, size limits, daily limits, catch reporting, and area closures still apply. Be sure to check current fishing regulations, valid through the end of June, before hitting the water, as well as any current emergency rules.  

Statewide Trout Derby  

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Logo for the 2024 WDFW trout derby.

The annual WDFW Trout Derby continues through Oct. 31. As the weather and water warms up, people are starting to catch derby fish. Thousands of tagged trout are stocked in 100+ lakes across the state. All you have to do is catch a tagged trout and you win a prize! Go to WDFW's Derby web page for info on how it works and how to claim your prize. 

Many rivers and streams open for trout  

Dozens of rivers and streams across Washington are open for gamefish, including trout, steelhead, char, and whitefish, as well as numerous non-native fish species like bass and perch. Many streams hold surprisingly large native rainbow and cutthroat trout that can be caught using small spinners, spoons, jigs, or fly-fishing gear. 

Many rivers and streams are managed under catch and release or selective gear rules—which prohibit using bait, barbs, and treble hooks—to protect wild steelhead and salmon. Be sure to check the fishing regulations and emergency Fishing Rule Changes or use the new and improved Fish Washington mobile app before heading out. Several rivers in the Puget Sound and coastal regions will remain closed to fishing this summer to protect Chinook salmon, including much of the Snohomish, Stillaguamish, and Nooksack river systems, as well as certain Willapa Bay tributaries. 

Columbia River salmon and steelhead

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Hatchery steelhead held in water
Photo by WDFW

Spring Chinook fishing downstream of Bonneville Dam is open June 12-15 for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead, with the Deep River also open under similar rules. The Cowlitz, Kalama, and Lewis rivers are also open to hatchery Chinook through July 31. 
 
Above Bonneville Dam, Drano Lake and Wind River are open for hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead. The Spring Chinook fishery in the Snake River remains closed. The mainstem Columbia River summer Chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam will be open June 16-19 below Bonneville Dam, with the stretch of river above Bonneville Dam to Priest Rapids open June 16-30 and closed to retention thereafter. Sockeye retention is expected to be allowed in the daily salmonid bag limit from June 16-July 31 for waters downstream of the Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco.  

Puget Sound and coastal salmon  

The start to early summer salmon fishing begins June 1 when Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) opens daily for coho fishing only. Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) opens June 5-30 on Wednesdays through Saturdays only of each week for hatchery Chinook and coho fishing (season may be adjusted or closed if quota or encounters approach allowable limits). Salmon fishing also continues in southern Puget Sound (Marine Area 13). The Tulalip Terminal Area Salmon Fishery is open each week between 12 a.m. Friday mornings to 11:59 a.m. Monday mornings (except closed on June 1 for a tribal fish ceremony). On the coast, Marine Areas 1, 3 and 4 (Ilwaco, La Push and Neah Bay) open June 22. Marine Area 2 (Westport-Ocean Shores) opens June 30-July 11 on Sundays through Thursdays, and then daily beginning July 14. Marine Areas 2, 3, and 4 are scheduled to stay open until Sept. 15, and Marine Area 1 closes Sept. 30. All ports could close sooner if catch quotas are met. 

Get paid to fish 

The 2024 Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward fishery, which pays anglers $6 to $10 for each qualifying fish, and up to $500 for a

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Northern pikeminnow in a net on a dock
Photo by Jim Souders

 tagged fish, is open through Sept. 30. Funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, this program contributes to conservation by harvesting a portion of the largest pikeminnow preying on threatened salmon and steelhead populations in the Columbia and Snake River basins. In 2023, the top angler earned over $100,000—simply from fishing! Visit pikeminnow.org for more information, including registration, rules, and regulations, then watch the webinar on YouTube to get started. 

The shad are coming 

Record shad returns over the past decade have turned the Columbia River into one of the most consistent and easily accessible sport fisheries in the region. In 2023, over four million American shad migrated through the Columbia River system. With a similar run expected in 2024, anglers will be tracking shad counts in early June. While shad fishing is open in the lower Columbia currently, once daily counts at the Bonneville Dam fish ladder hit 20,000-plus shad is prime fishing conditions. For more information, read our recent blog post.

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Spot shrimp fishing with the family
Photo by AJ Porter

Shrimping dates for June

Shrimping in several marine areas continues into June and there are some notable June shrimp openers, including:  

  • Marine Area 6- Port Angeles Harbor and Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca outside of the Discovery Bay Shrimp District- May 30 - June 1, June 13 - 16, and June 28 – 30.   
  • Marine Area 7- South- Iceberg Point, Point Colville, Biz Point, Salmon Bank- May 30 - June 1  
  • Marine Area 7- West- San Juan Channel, Spieden Channel, Stuart and Waldon islands- May 30 - June 1, June 13 - 15, June 28 – 3  

Be sure to check all the regulations before going out, including area boundaries or closures. Non-spot shrimp fisheries are also available in certain areas. 

Boating season is here! Clean, drain, dry your boat 

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WDFW staff speak with a boat owner at a watercraft check station
Photo by Inspectors at the Spokane-area watercraft check station

Help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species this summer by having your boat checked every time you pass a watercraft

 check station and by cleaning, draining, and drying it every time you take it out of the water. Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are a huge threat to the state's native ecosystems, in particular, invasive mussels, recently found as close to Washington as the Snake River in Idaho, are a major concern but you can take some quick, easy steps to try to help prevent their spread. 

First Turkey Program

With the spring wild turkey hunting season wrapped up as of the end of May, now is the time to celebrate if this was your first turkey season. Send us your first turkey harvest information and receive an official WDFW First Turkey certificate. With the certificate, you can register your turkey with the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Washington state chapter to receive an official First Turkey pin. Go to the WDFW First Turkey Program page for more information.

Be bear aware 

Heading out to camp this summer? If you are recreating in bear country, never travel alone, keep small children near you at all times, and always make your presence known—simply talking will do the trick. And store your food appropriately, even in busy campgrounds. If you live in an area with bears, take some precautions to keep them from visiting your property by securing trash, putting away bird feeders until next winter, and keeping barbecues cleaned or locked up. Find more tips on being bear aware on the WDFW website. 

Habitat at Home  

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A Mariposa copper butterfly on a flower
Photo by Rebecca Prosser

It’s a great time to get outside and see your local pollinators! From bees to butterflies and moths to hummingbirds, all of Washington’s pollinators have a role to play in plant reproduction. Discover who’s buzzing and fluttering around your neighborhood, and learn how to support their habitat. Plus, June 17-23 is National Pollinator Week! Keep an eye on our social media pages and events webpage for celebrations near you. 

Wild Washington youth education  

As Pollinator Week buzzes into action June 17-30, families can embark on a journey to safeguard our vital pollinators. Dive into the world of bees, butterflies, and beyond with these engaging activities that can be done near and away from the home. Grab your smartphone, download iNaturliast, and join Pollinator Partnerships’ national pollinator bioblitz (ends July 31).  

Want to stay closer to home? Check out one of our many activities; from planting a pollinator garden, to crafting bee hotels, embarking on a pollinator scavenger hunt, or exploring pollinator-themed coloring books, there’s a pollinator week activity for every family! 

Watchable wildlife 

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American pika standing on rocks lookup upward
Photo by WDFW

Looking forward to spending more time outside in the summer sunshine? That means you’re likely going to find some wildlife! Providing plenty of space for critters you encounter will keep them and yourself safe and comfortable. Learn more about keeping your distance and ethical wildlife viewing practices on our webpage.  

Heading to higher altitudes? We’re asking hikers to tell us when and where you’ve seen or heard pikas. With the simple click of a button on ArcGIS Survey 123, you can report pikas to WDFW’s researchers who are studying climate change effects on the species. Learn more about this project, pikas, and the simple steps you can take to help by reading our blog. Just want to see cute photos of pikas? The blog has that, too. 

Watch: How to be Whale Wise

With summer here, a lot of people are getting out onto the water. If you boat in Puget Sound, be Whale Wise and be aware of how far you are legally required to stay from Southern Resident killer whales.  

 

Join the WDFW team

If you'd enjoy preserving, protecting, and perpetuating the state's fish, wildlife, and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities, then check out some of our current job openings or sign up for job alerts. From fish hatchery specialists to environmental planners and budget analysts to wildlife biologists, a career with WDFW makes a difference.