WDFW Weekender Report

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

Summer activities are in full swing throughout the state in August, providing some of the year’s best fishing and outdoors opportunities

Salmon fishing Buoy 10 at Lower Columbia Rive mouth
Mark Yuasa

The spotlight in August is Buoy 10 at the Lower Columbia River mouth, one of the last big hoorahs for summer salmon fisheries in Washington, where millions of migrating Chinook and coho stage before migrating upstream.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife indicates the Columbia River coho forecast is 683,800 which is similar to last year (665,600 in 2021) and double the 10-year average. The return of hatchery coho to the Columbia River is expected to be the largest since 2014. The fall Chinook forecast is 485,500, up from the actual return of 481,300 in 2021.

The fishing season from Buoy 10 up to West Puget Island for Chinook retention is open from Aug. 1 through Sept. 7, with only hatchery Chinook allowed to be kept Aug. 1-24. The daily adult limit is two salmon with no more than one Chinook: release wild Chinook from Aug. 1-24 and wild coho the entire season. From Sept. 8 through Dec. 31, the daily adult limit is three salmon, all wild coho must be released and release Chinook from Sept. 8-30.

One of top fishing spots is the Desdemona Sands area located in the middle of the river above and just below the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Look for fish during the mid- to late-flood tide where fish swim along a series of paths flanked by shallow sand bars.

The Wing Walls just outside of Ilwaco are a group of rotten pilings from an old fishing cannery that generates good action in the early morning. Since boats troll closely to the sunken pilings they tend to grab plenty of fishing gear.

The buoy line outside the town of Astoria above the bridge where huge freightliners anchor up is another ideal fishing location. Many will also troll downstream below the bridge and just off the Port of Astoria Marina.

On the Washington side just above the Astoria-Megler Bridge are three long underwater channels along Highway 401 where salmon stage. Other spots are the Church Hole off Fort Columbia State Park, and from the Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon side west toward Hammond.

What to use

Fishing gear is a basic salmon rod and reel with a weighted diver or drop ball sinker of 8- to 12-ounces with a triangle-style flasher tied to a leader with a whole herring or anchovy or a cut-plug herring.

Anglers should regularly check their bait as they’ll get “blown out” when dragged along the sandy bottom or from the extremely strong tides. To make your bait last longer try an anchovy plastic bait holder on the bait’s head to protect it from getting ruined in the heavy current. Spinners attached to a plastic “hoochie” squid, or an artificial cut-plug herring lure also work.

Other popular summer-time outdoor opportunities include: 

Salmon fishing in Puget Sound

Resident coho salmon caught in Marine Area 10 near Seattle
Chase Gunnell

Many inland marine salmon fisheries are happening right now for either Chinook or coho. Some are dependent on catch quotas or guidelines so anglers should consult the regulation pamphlet or WDFW website for updates. Visit the Puget Sound salmon fishery guidelines and quotas page for the latest information.

In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Sekiu (Marine Area 5) is open daily through Aug. 15 for salmon fishing. Daily limit is 2, with up to 1 hatchery Chinook. Chinook minimum size is 22". Other salmon species no minimum size. Release wild Chinook, wild coho, and chum. The Sekiu salmon fishery is scheduled to switch to Chinook non-retention on Aug. 16. Season may close earlier if Chinook guideline is attained.

The Marine Area 6 Chinook Selective Fishery Area is open Wednesdays through Saturdays only from beginning July 24 through Aug. 15 west of a true north/south line through the #2 Buoy immediately east of Ediz Hook, excluding Port Angeles Harbor and Freshwater Bay areas. A reduction in days was recommended by Puget Sound Recreational Fishery Advisors and representatives of the Marine Area 6 community to extend the Chinook season as long as possible.

On the days open the Marine Area 6 Chinook Selective Fishery Area daily limit is 2, with up to 1 hatchery Chinook. Chinook minimum size is 22”. Other salmon species, no minimum size. Release wild Chinook, wild coho and chum.

Central Puget Sound (Marine Area 10) is currently open daily for hatchery Chinook and coho through Aug. 31. Try off Jefferson Head, Kingston, Presidents Point, West Point south of Shilshole Bay and the east side of Bainbridge Island. Inner-Elliott Bay opens for Chinook fishing on Aug. 5-8 only but check for emergency rules as the fishery is dependent on in-season test fishing results. Sinclair Inlet is open now for hatchery Chinook.

Northern Puget Sound (Marine Area 9) is currently open daily for hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho through Aug. 15 (but could close sooner if the Chinook catch quota or encounter limit is achieved), and then is open daily for hatchery coho only beginning Aug. 16. Try Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend, Point No Point, Double Bluff and Bush Point off the west side of Whidbey Island, Possession Bar, Pilot Point, and the east side of Marrowstone Island.

The San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7) opens for hatchery coho only on Aug. 16 and the Bellingham Bay Chinook fishery opens on Aug. 16. The eastside of Whidbey Island in Marine Area 8-1 opens Aug. 1 for coho only and the southern portion of Marine Area 8-2 opens for hatchery coho only on Aug. 13.

South-central Puget Sound (Marine Area 11) will reopen Aug. 3, on a Wednesday to Saturday schedule, for hatchery Chinook. Hood Canal south of Ayock Point (Marine Area 12) is open through Sept. 30 for coho and hatchery Chinook. The Hoodsport Hatchery Zone opens July 1 for hatchery Chinook. The Quilcene Bay terminal coho fishery is open Aug. 1-31. Many piers around Puget Sound are open year-round for salmon fishing.

Visit the Puget Sound salmon fishery guidelines and quotas for more information and learn about salmon fishing basics.

Chinook and hatchery coho salmon off the coast

summer salmon fishing Chinook
Mark Yuasa

Salmon fishing remains decent off the southern ports of Ilwaco and Westport (Marine Areas 1 and 2) and are likely benefitting from a decent forecast of 1 million coho and 560,000 fall Chinook. In fact, fishing has been so good that WDFW fishery managers have made some adjustments to make sure each ports’ seasons continue into late summer.

The southern port of Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) – outside of the area listed below – salmon fishery is open daily through Sept. 30 or could close once the catch quota is achieved. Daily limit 2, of which no more than 1 may be a Chinook. Chinook min. size 22”. Coho min. size 16”. Other salmon species no min. size. Release wild coho. One section of Marine Area 1 closed to salmon fishing is north of 46° 15’ N and east of 124° 08’ 40” W. This is the area from approximately mid-mouth Columbia River north and within approximately 3 miles of shore.

The Columbia River Control Zone is closed to fishing for salmon, except open to fishing from the north jetty when adjacent waters north of the Control Zone are open to fishing for salmon or the Buoy 10 fishery is open to fishing from salmon.

Westport (Marine Area 2) is open for salmon through Sept. 30 but closed on Fridays and Saturdays for Chinook retention. On Sundays through Thursdays, the daily limit is 2, no more than 1 of which may be a Chinook; Chinook minimum size is 22” and hatchery coho minimum size is 16”; other salmon species no minimum size; and release wild coho. On Fridays and Saturdays, the daily limit is 2; hatchery coho minimum is 16”; other salmon species no minimum size; and release Chinook and wild coho.

At Willapa Bay (Marine Area 2-1) and the portion of Grays Harbor (Marine Area 2-2) west of the Buoy 13 line is open under the same rules as Marine Area 2. The Grays Harbor Control Zone is closed beginning Aug. 8. Regulations for Marine Areas 2-1 and 2-2 change in August, and details are listed in the Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet.

More summer fishing can be found on the season summaries page.

Additional information about this year's sport salmon fisheries and the North of Falcon process can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/nof. Before going to your favorite fishing location, be sure to check for emergency rule changes that could arise prior to and during the season.

Statewide river and lake fishing opportunities abound

Baker Lake sockeye fishing
Kirk Caldwell

It’s hot outside, but thanks to our wet spring and deep snowpack, many rivers and streams are still running cool and high, providing excellent opportunities to catch salmon, summer steelhead, trout, and other species this month. Please be aware that dangerous floating and wading conditions may exist!

Top prospects for August include the Cowlitz, Lewis, and other lower Columbia River tributaries for steelhead and salmon, Samish and Nooksack rivers for salmon, the Wynoochee, Humptulips, Calawah, Skykomish, and Green rivers for summer steelhead, and the Cedar River, Snoqualmie River above the falls and its tributaries, Yakima and Naches rivers and their tributaries, and many small streams for trout.

Baker Lake is open for sockeye fishing and the daily limit was increased to three sockeye after in-season updates showed the return of 30,176 is better than forecasted. Check fishing regulations and emergency rule changes for details.

Columbia River salmon fishing

Upper Columbia River salmon fishing
Mark Yuasa

The Columbia River coho forecast is 683,800 which is similar to last year (665,600 in 2021) and double the 10-year average. The return of hatchery coho to the Columbia River is expected to be the largest since 2014. The fall Chinook forecast is 485,500, up from the actual return of 481,300 in 2021.

The fishing season from Buoy 10 up to West Puget Island for Chinook retention is open from Aug. 1 through Sept. 7, with only hatchery Chinook allowed to be kept Aug. 1-24. The daily adult limit is two salmon with no more than one Chinook: release wild Chinook from Aug. 1-24 and wild coho the entire season. From Sept. 8 through Dec. 31, the daily adult limit is three salmon, all wild coho must be released and release Chinook from Sept. 8-30.

The Columbia River from West Puget Island upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco, opens Aug. 1 for salmon and hatchery steelhead retention closes downstream of The Dalles Dam. Top tributary prospects for August include the Cowlitz, Lewis, and other lower Columbia River tributaries for steelhead and salmon. Anglers should check the WDFW permanent rules pamphlet and the emergency rules page when planning to fish on the Columbia River mainstem and its tributaries.

The larger than expected sockeye return to the Upper Columbia River of 636,500 fish should continue to produce good action as well as summer Chinook. During August pretty much all the sockeye fishing is in the Brewster Pool. Summer Chinook can still be caught in the Entiat and Chelan River mouth areas, below Wells Dam, and from the Brewster Pool upstream towards Bridgeport. The peak timing of the Chinook and sockeye runs coincide with the Brewster King Salmon Derby on Aug. 5-7.

The Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery is open daily now until one hour after official sunset Aug. 31 with a daily limit of four sockeye (minimum size 12 inches). This is largely due to a much larger than expected sockeye return to the lake. Anglers must release all bull trout, steelhead, and Chinook salmon unharmed and without removing the fish from the water. Selective gear rules are in effect -- up to three single barbless hooks per line, no bait or scent allowed, knotless nets required. Two-pole fishing is allowed with a valid two-pole endorsement. A night closure is also in effect.

Based on current sockeye passage analysis at both Tumwater Dam and mainstem Columbia River Dams, WDFW projects a surplus of harvestable sockeye destined for Lake Wenatchee, well above the natural spawning escapement goal of 23,000 fish.

This fishery will be monitored closely and may close on short notice depending upon angler participation and harvest rates. Anglers are advised to check WDFW's website routinely for emergency fishing rule changes and additional details on the rules for each of these river sections. Learn more about the Columbia River salmon fishery rules.

Eastern, north- and south-central Washington fishing

Lake Chelan
Lake Chelan

Banks Lake, Moses Lake, and Potholes Reservoir are great choices for smallmouth and largemouth bass and walleye. The Potholes Reservoir and Banks Lake are also good for black crappie.

Several hike in lakes just west of Potholes Reservoir are a decent choice for anglers in search of largemouth bass that don’t get a lot of pressure.

The Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery is open daily until one hour after official sunset on Aug. 31 with a daily limit of four sockeye and check the WDFW website for additional rules. The Wenatchee River opens one hour before official sunrise on Aug. 1 for sockeye and hatchery Chinook, and daily limit is six salmon including no more than two adult hatchery Chinook and four sockeye; check the WDFW website for additional rules.

Try Lake Chelan for a mix of kokanee, lake trout and Chinook salmon. Shore anglers at Lake Chelan can also do well for cutthroat trout and smallmouth bass in the Manson and Chelan areas.

Charter/guide fishing tips

Booking a fishing trip of a lifetime can be a daunting task, from deciding what type of trip to finding the right captain and boat. There’s a lot to cover but we’ve got some helpful tips and advice to make your adventure in Washington a wonderful day on the water! Visit the WDFW Medium blog for tips on how to select a charter fishing guide.

Don’t be a litterbug

Don't be a litterbug
Washington Department of Ecology

Not littering… It’s that simple! If everyone does their part, we can keep Washington beautiful and litter free. While 75 percent of Washington residents never litter, 18 million pounds of waste accumulates on roads, parks, and recreation areas every year and costs the state millions of dollars in cleanup efforts, and negatively impacts the environment, wildlife, and public safety.

Simple tips to avoid this issue is to have a container for collecting trash; when visiting parks and recreation areas, bring a bag with you to pack out what you packed in; hold onto trash until you reach a waste receptacle at a gas station, rest area or your destination; safely secure your cargo on the road. When we all look out for each other, it makes a big difference! Visit the Washington Department of Ecology website for more information.

Be Fire Safe

A prescribed fire on a WDFW wildlife area

WDFW announced restrictions for campfires, and other activities on WDFW wildlife and water access areas in Eastern Washington. To help prevent wildfires this summer as temperatures rise and grass and brush become drier and can ignite easier.

Make sure campfires are dead out and keep a bucket of water and shovel handy. Ensure there is no vegetation leaning over your fire pit area and that needles, grass, and brush are far enough away not to ignite.

Campfire restrictions are currently in place throughout the Columbia Basin, Chelan, Big Bend, Wells, Sagebrush Flat, and Klickitat wildlife areas as well. As a reminder, campfires are restricted year-round on the Sunnyside-Snake River Wildlife Area.

A reminder that fireworks are prohibited year-round at all WDFW wildlife and water access areas around the state. Please also be careful not to drive or park on dry grass. With the wet spring, there are more areas of tall grass. When dry, it can present a fire danger if sparks land in it.

Other public land managers are also putting fire restrictions into effect or considering them. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is restricting campfires and other activities at its properties statewide. The United States Forest Service (USFS) does not currently have public use restrictions in place for the Umatilla, Okanogan-Wenatchee, and Colville national forests; USFS phases in restrictions as conditions warrant.

Be careful where you park as the hot exhaust system from your vehicle can ignite vegetation if it comes into contact with a hot muffler or exhaust pipe. Park in a clear area. State land managers ask that visitors to any wildlife area check local fire danger information and take precautions to avoid igniting a wildfire. Learn more about Be Fire Safe.

Shrimp fishing in Puget Sound

A large spot shrimp being held in the palm of a hand showing pink coloration with white stripes on the legs and head
Eric Winther

The western Strait of Juan de Fuca (Marine Areas 4 and 5) are open daily until further notice for spot shrimp.

Some marine areas including southern Puget Sound (Marine Area 13) are open for non-spot shrimp fishing. Anglers should check the regulations for additional details including depth restrictions for non-spot shrimp. Learn more about regulations, daily catch limits and other marine areas opening for shrimp fishing.

Trout fishing and WDFW Derby in statewide lakes

trout fishing opening day lowland lakes
Edlin Nguyen

Planted trout should be active in some lowland lakes especially deeper bodied lakes. The WDFW Trout Derby continues through Oct. 31 with thousands of tagged trout lurking in more than 100 lakes. Anglers who catch a tagged fish can win over 800 donated prizes totaling around $37,000.

Read WDFW's blog for helpful tips for a successful day trout fishing. Learn more about the WDFW fish stocking program.

Most high elevation or alpine trout lakes are accessible in the summer for hikers packing their fishing rods while some may take a while to access due to the longer than expected colder weather this past spring. Almost 200 small lakes, ranging from about 3,000 to 8,000 feet in elevation, lie on public land around Washington. Visit the high lakes webpage for more information.

Bottomfishing in marine areas

Coastal lingcod fishing is open daily through Oct. 15. The western Strait from Sekiu River mouth west to the Bonilla-Tatoosh border is open through Oct. 15 for lingcod and open year-round for certain rockfish species and cabezon.

Don’t have a boat? Read our article on where to catch bottomfish along a coastal jetty.

Two fishermen wearing orange water proof suits holding a very large halibut.
David Bergeron

Halibut fishing

Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Westport-Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2) areas will open to all-depth halibut fishing on Aug. 19, Aug. 25, Aug. 28, Sept. 3-4 and Sept. 23.

The halibut season at Neah Bay and La Push (Marine Areas 3 and 4) will open on Aug. 11, five days per week, Thursday through Monday; and starting on Sept. 6, the Neah Bay and La Push will be open seven days per week.

Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5 to 10) will reopen daily from Aug. 11 through Sept. 30 or when the quota is taken.

WDFW will host two virtual public meetings, slated for 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., on Aug. 9 and Oct. 4 to discuss season structure and proposed dates for the 2023 sport halibut season.

For more information about how to participate in the Aug. 9 and Oct. 4 Zoom webinars, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut. The meetings will be recorded and posted online so people can also watch the meetings afterwards at their convenience. For more information on the halibut season-setting process visit PFMC's website. Additional information can be found on the recreational bottomfish and halibut page. Anglers must record their catch on a WDFW halibut catch record card.

Be aware of water safety on or near lakes and rivers

As the temperature rises, so does the popularity of recreation at area lakes and rivers. On the surface, rivers, streams and lakes can seem calm, warm or shallow. Yet every year even the most experienced recreationists can become victims to deceptively strong currents, cold water temperatures, and unexpected changes in depth.

Chelan County Sheriff’s Deputy Mike McLeod, who has served on the Sheriff’s Swift Water Rescue Team for 15 years, has been busy responding to regular rescue calls on area lakes and rivers. He warns anyone recreating on the water that conditions this year are not normal.

“This year, our rivers have been flowing much higher for much longer,” McLeod said. “With the cold spring and late storms, it has kept snow pack levels higher for longer – that directly reflects conditions at our local rivers and lakes. On top of this, we’re also seeing that people aren’t prepared for these conditions when they get out on the water.”

"It’s vital that people scout their routes before they jump in a kayak or on an inner tube," said Sgt. Jason Reinfeld of Chelan County Emergency Management. "Know how conditions will change from your put-in to your take-out spots."

“You don’t want to be on a river and suddenly realize your take-out spot has a hazard such as rapids or waterfalls that would impede your ability to get out safely,” Reinfeld said. “Know the hazards on the water before you get on it.”

"Personal floatation devices are also essential for everyone recreating in the water, regardless of your swimming ability," McLeod added. “I was a nationally ranked swimmer when I was in high school and I still use a life jacket on our local rivers and lakes.”

Whether you’re floating down a river, fishing, or cooling off from a long day's hike, it is important to understand water safety in and around these tempting waters. Please keep these tips in mind if you are headed to an area lake or river:

fast flowing river and riparian habitat

Be Prepared, Know Your Limits

  • Choose swimming areas carefully and swim only during low-water conditions.
  • Use life jackets that meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements when boating, regardless of distance to be traveled, size of boat or swimming ability of boaters.
  • Swimming in lakes and rivers is more challenging than a swimming pool, so don’t overestimate your abilities or those of any children in your group.

Cold Water Temperature

  • Don’t be fooled by warm air temperatures. Even on a nice sunny day, water temperature can be extremely cold below the surface. Many Washington lakes and rivers stay below 60 degrees most of the year.
  • The shock your body experiences in cold water increases the risk of drowning, and hypothermia can quickly set in and overwhelm even the strongest of swimmers.

Rivers and Streams

  • Don’t float a section of river that no one in your group is familiar with – there can be hidden hazards that are difficult to see from the banks. Consider using a qualified local guide service if you are unfamiliar with a river.
  • Avoid rock hopping. Stream polished rocks along the water's edge may be slippery when wet or dry. A misstep may send you into the water.
  • If you choose to cross a stream by going through it, study the area first. Avoid deep and/or swift water.
  • If you are crossing a stream, unbuckle your pack's waist strap so you can shed it if you fall to prevent being pulled under by its weight. Consider putting your gear in a waterproof pack, which becomes a floating device to help your head stay above water.
  • Do not tie yourself into safety ropes — they can drown you.
  • If you fall into fast-moving water, do not try to stand up. The force of the water will push you over and hold you under. Most drownings result from getting a leg or ankle caught in an underwater rock ledge, between boulders or snagged in tree limbs or other debris. Lay on your back with your feet pointing downstream and toes pointing up toward the surface. Always look downstream and be prepared to fend off rocks with your feet.

Additional resources are available from the following sites: Washington State Parks Cold Water SafetyForest Service Water Safety; and Centers for Disease Control Drowning Prevention.

Black bear hunting

Fall black bear season begins Aug. 1 and runs through Nov. 15.  Bear hunters in certain Eastern Washington GMUs are reminded that it’s possible to encounter some protected grizzly bears, so species identification is critical. If you're hunting in those areas, you must score 80% or higher and carry proof that you have passed the WDFW test or an equivalent test from another state. Visit the WDFW hunting page for black bear hunting information.

Sign up for in-person hunter education

Hunter education instructor teaches young boy safe firearms practices

The minimum age to take the all-online hunter education course has now increased to 18. In 2020, we implemented an all-online hunter education course for students at least 9 years old.

Recognizing the importance and value of in-person and hands-on firearm safety instruction, WDFW’s goal has always been to move back to, or towards, in-person course delivery when it made sense to do so. While the COVID landscape is still a bit uncertain, things are getting back to normal. We recognize that this change may take some time to get used to, and we are committed to offering as many in-person courses as we can. Sign up for in-person hunter education today.

Birds around Washington

Pair of small yellow and black birds perched in thistle branches
Jim Cummins

Summer is a good time for birding across Washington especially for waterfowl, wading birds, shorebirds, raptors, songbirds, and more. Ducks can be seen throughout Washington including green-winged teal (as well as the rarer blue-winged and cinnamon teal species), goldeneye, mallard, ruddy, ring-necked, shoveler, gadwall, wigeon, and scaup. Wading birds include herons, egrets, bitterns, and rails. Shorebirds include avocets, dowitchers, stilts, phalaropes, snipe, and curlews. Raptors include great-horned owl, red-tailed hawk, northern harrier, and rough-legged hawk. Songbirds include blackbirds, goldfinches, kingbirds, swallows, and warblers. Learn more about birds around Washington.

#LifeOutdoorsWA

The outdoors fits into everyone’s life in unique and personal ways, and we here at WDFW want to foster connections with and appreciation of nature, the wide variety of Washington landscapes, and all forms of outdoor recreation through the Life Outdoors resources. We hope to see you in the field and on the water enjoying the Life Outdoors! 

Amphibians and reptiles

Closeup of an Oregon spotted frog peering just above the water's surface
Andy O'Connell

Did you know Washington is home to at least 25 species of amphibians (salamanders and frogs) and 28 reptiles (turtles, snakes, and lizards)? If you hadn’t noticed there’s a lot of ribbit-ribbit, croaking, hopping, and slithering happening right now around ponds, waterways, and greenbelts.

Amphibians and reptiles are both important members of aquatic (water) and terrestrial (land) ecosystems, and they may use different habitats throughout the year, and it is especially noticeable and visible during summer. Find out more information on the amphibian and reptile webpage.

Wild Washington Live!

Scavenger hunts are a great way to learn about plants and animals in your region. They help encourage scientific observation and inquiry skills and can help learners become more connected to the plants and wildlife near their home.

The Washington Native Plant Society put together localized scavenger hunts for every region in the state. Additionally, if you live in, or are visiting Thurston County parks and greenspaces, be sure to check out Nature Sleuths on your smartphone. For even more information on scavenger hunts in each region around the sate be sure to click on the August Weekender webpage.

Anglers’ guide to releasing salmon properly

Selective fisheries for hatchery-produced salmon and catch-and-release fisheries are increasingly important to providing recreational fishing opportunities around Washington. To ensure these salmon fisheries are successful long-term, it is vital that anglers do their part to comply with all regulations, especially how to properly release unmarked, sublegal (undersized) and out-of-season fish to improve their survival.

Also be sure to watch out for more informative videos and blogs this summer in regards to salmon fishing including a proper gear selection video. Read how to properly release salmon. Watch the salmon release video below.

Habitat at Home: Increase biodiversity in our community

Pacific tree frog

As we transition into late summer, access to food, water, shelter, and space will be important for Washington’s mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and insects throughout the state.

Native plants are especially important as they help increase biodiversity in your neighborhood or community. To learn more about creating habitat for wildlife near your home, check out our habitat at home page.

Boating in statewide waters

Boat on lake
Andy Walgamott

The Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Boating Program would like to remind you to take a boater safety education course, if you haven’t already, to be prepared this summer.

In Washington, boaters who operate a vessel with a 15-horsepower engine or greater must carry a Boater Education Card to prove they passed an accredited boating safety education course.

Lastly, keep in mind wearing a life jacket in, on, or around water saves lives as drowning is one of the leading causes of fatalities especially among young children. For more information on the boater safety education course, go to the Washington State Parks boating webpage.

Invasive species boat check stations

Zebra mussels found on a watercraft at a WDFW check station

An invasive species boat check station is open in Clarkston for the summer. If you plan to put your watercraft, motorized or not, in the Snake or Clearwater rivers, or other bodies of water in the area, please have it checked for aquatic invasive species at the station located at 1420 W. Port Drive.

All vessels registered outside Washington state must have a valid Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Permit. Learn more about invasive species check stations.

WDFW Logo

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 budget manager to community outreach and education specialist, environmental planners to electricians, fiscal technicians to wildlife biologists, a career with WDFW makes a difference.