WDFW Weekender Report

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

Ring in the new year with First Day hikes, waterfowl, and winter wildlife viewing

The start of the new year is a great time to hunt for waterfowl, fish central Puget Sound or winter lakes, and enjoy the annual spectacle of bald eagles, snow geese, elk, and other wintering wildlife.

Be prepared for winter weather this January – it’s essential for any outdoor activity. Check the weather conditions, river conditions, and road conditions – and let people know where you’re going before heading out.

Razor clams

The razor clam season continues in 2022, with 26 days of digging tentatively scheduled for the Washington coast in January and February; the limit will return to the usual 15 clams beginning Dec. 30. Explore all dig dates.

Winter salmon

Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) reopens for salmon fishing on New Years Day, with anglers primarily targeting resident Chinook salmon, also known as blackmouth. Fishing is open in this central Puget Sound area on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays only with a daily limit of one salmon; wild Chinook must be released. Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound south of Tacoma Narrows Bridge) also remains open with a daily limit of two salmon; chum, wild Chinook and wild coho must be released. Make sure to check the emergency rule changes before heading out.

Ice fishing

Many eastside lakes may be on their way to having a solid layer of ice cover, but under the surface there’s a flurry of activity, with trout, crappie and perch waiting to be caught by the tenacious angler. Fishing on iced over lakes can be very dangerous, so follow best practices and keep a close eye on ice conditions. Check out this link for ice fishing lakes.

Steelhead

Hatchery winter steelhead are returning to rivers across the Puget Sound region, Olympic Peninsula, and southwest Washington, with fishing opportunities typically peaking in January. The statewide daily retention limit is two hatchery steelhead unless specified otherwise.

Bird watching

Now is a great time to see congregations of wintering birds, from snow geese in the Skagit Valley to bald eagles along the Snake River. We encourage you to use eBird Northwest – it's an online tool for identifying birds, logging your sightings, and your chance to contribute to conservation efforts across the state.

Waterfowl

Winter storms are good news – up to a point – for waterfowl hunters, who welcome the surge of ducks and geese that comes with wet, blustery weather. Hunting typically improves as temperatures begin to drop. Statewide general waterfowl seasons closes Jan. 30.

Big Game Reports due Jan. 31

Hunters who bought tags for black bear, deer, elk, or turkey must submit their reports on their hunting activities by Jan. 31, 2022 for each 2021 license, permit, or tag. Hunters can file their reports by calling 877-945-3492, or online, starting with “ID and Birthdate” under Log-In.

Take a first day hike at the Klickitat Wildlife Area

With stunning views of the Klickitat River, a diverse array of vegetation, and plenty of animals to see, the Klickitat Wildlife Area is a strong choice for your first day hike. Take a walk along the Klickitat Trail through the Fisher Hill Unit, explore the network of old logging roads on the Simcoe Mountains Unit, or experience the open natural beauty of the Soda Springs Unit. And always remember to recreate responsibly while you’re out adventuring!

#LifeOutdoorsWA

Across January and February, our Life Outdoors blogs will offer tips on the plethora of winter recreation options we get to enjoy in Washington. From fun just for kids and cross-country skiing to backcountry alpine thrills and snowmobiling to snowshoeing and ice fishing, we’ll help get you outdoors to enjoy winter recreation’s high time.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Birds are everywhere, all the time, doing fascinating things. Join us, Feb. 18–21, 2022, when the world comes together for the love of birds.

Washington residents on climate change

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.

Wild Washington Live!: A Look into Ocean Bottomfish

Monday, Jan. 31 from 2-2:45 p.m.

Our January Wild Washington Live! takes students below the seas for a look at Puget Sound groundfish. Students will learn about rockfish, cod, sole, and flounder and how scientists study fish who live below the ocean’s depths. 

Exploring Natural Resource Pathways in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

A Wild Washington Career Connections Event

Do you find yourself looking at the stories maps can tell? Are you interested in learning how to visualize data? If so, join a WDFW Senior GIS specialist and learn how GIS is “a little bit art and a little bit science”. In this program, participants will explore some of the ways WDFW uses GIS and how GIS can influence your career. 

This event will be held on Feb. 16 from 10-10:45 a.m. and is great for anyone who is interested in map making and telling stories with data. All ages friendly, appropriate for high school and up.

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.