Discover Coastal Washington

Skokomish river winds through its estuary

Customer service staff in the Montesano Regional Office are available for walk-in service 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Port Townsend District Office will be open by appointment only. Please call 360-302-3030 to schedule an appointment.

Counties served: Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Thurston

Director: Chris Conklin

48 Devonshire Road
Montesano, WA 98563

Email: TeamMontesano@dfw.wa.gov

Telephone: 360-249-4628

Fax: 360-249-1229

February fishing tips and news

Reel in hatchery steelhead

WDFW staff have also been hard at work this season stocking surplus adult hatchery steelhead in Cases, Radar and Black Lake in Pacific County with potential for future stocks in Borst, Inez and Sylvia ponds in the coming months. Planted fish will feature a tag along their dorsal fin with a number to a WDFW fish biologist, who will be tracking the success of the program.

The additions are part of an ongoing effort give anglers an opportunity to harvest surplus hatchery steelhead with minimal to no impacts on wild fish.

Learn more about fishing opportunities about these and other lowland lakes on the WDFW website.

Go crabbing 

Dungeness crab

Crabbing is open year-round in Washington’s ocean waters (marine areas 1-3 and 4 west of the Tatoosh-Bonilla line). Maps and descriptions of Marine Areas are available on WDFW’s website.

Be a part of fisheries management: Submit a voluntary Salmon Trip Report today! 

Did you know? By completing a voluntary Salmon Trip Report during a day’s salmon fishing trip, you can have a direct role in WDFW’s ability to monitor salmon fisheries. Salmon Trip Reports help to increase the amount of data available for in-season management and can help fisheries managers make better informed decisions. 

WDFW’s voluntary Salmon Trip Report program provides critical data that WDFW fishery managers use to maintain salmon fishing opportunities as part of the annual salmon season setting process, commonly referred to as North of Falcon. The program spans coastal Washington and Puget Sound (Marine Areas 1-13). 

These trip reports are just one tool in a suite of options fisheries managers use to collect biological and fishery data for Puget Sound salmon. Other monitoring tools include dockside sampling, test fishing, and boat surveys. 

Learn more on our voluntary Salmon Trip Report web page. For more information about the annual salmon season process, which will kick off later this winter, check out our blog post.

Be Whale Wise while boating in marine waters 

Planning a boating trip very soon? Remember to Be Whale Wise, give these endangered whales some extra space, and slow down to help quiet the waters. Just by following Be Whale Wise regulations, you can make a big difference for endangered Southern Resident killer whales and their ability to move about, find food, and socialize.

  • Stay at least 300 yards from Southern Resident killer whales and at least 400 yards out of their path or behind the whales.
  • Reduce your speed to seven knots within one-half nautical mile of a Southern Resident killer whale.
  • Watch for the Whale Warning Flag, a tool to let others know that there might be whales nearby. If you see the flag, slow down! Get a flag of your own from our partners at the San Juan County Marine Resources Committee. 
  • Turn off fish finders and/or depth sounders if you do see Southern Residents in the distance. 
  • Help to encourage positive behavior: Report violations.  

Learn more at bewhalewise.org or in our video below. 

Find ADA-accessible facilities to enjoy the outdoors 

 Whether you’re looking for fishing, hunting, or wildlife viewing opportunities, our website offers many tools to find ADA-accessible facilities to enjoy the outdoors. WDFW-managed lands with ADA facilities include water access areas and wildlife areas. Our website also has a list of fishing piers that you can filter by county and availability of ADA-accessible facilities. Visit our blog post to learn more

Learn how to identify and report European green crabs

European green crab identification graphic, 2022

Attention beachgoers: help us control invasive European green crabs by learning how to identify and report them at: wdfw.wa.gov/greencrab

Hint: they're not always green and can be yellow, orange or red! The best ID tactic is to count the five "teeth" on either side of their eyes. Most are small, around the size of a quarter, but they can reach up to four inches across when fully grown.

European green crabs have been detected on the Washington Coast and at sites in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, San Juan Islands, Hood Canal, and near Bellingham and Anacortes.

These invasive shore crabs are found in shallow areas—typically less than 25 feet of water—including estuaries, mudflats, intertidal zones, and beaches. They are not likely to be caught by recreational crabbers or shrimpers operating in deeper water, but may be encountered by beachgoers, waders, clam and oyster harvesters, or those crabbing off docks or piers in shallow areas.

Please photograph and report to WDFW if encountered. If reports are verified as European green crabs, our staff will follow up with trapping and monitoring. Regular updates and more information are also available on the European green crab page. Or sign-up for our green crab management email list.

February hunting tips and news

Goose

Pacific County and the portion of Grays Harbor County west of Highway 101 (Goose Management Area 2 – Coast) is open Saturdays, Sundays, & Wednesdays again Feb. 12 - 23. The section of Grays Harbor County east of Highway 101 (Goose Management Area 2 – Inland) is open Saturdays, Sundays, & Wednesdays only again Feb. 12 – March 9. 

Wild turkey and upland bird survey

Help us monitor summer broods and year-round distribution of wild turkeys and upland birds by reporting your observations. A brood survey provides information on productivity, which is the number of surviving offspring produced in a population and provides information on average brood sizes, the percentage of hens with offspring, and a production index, which is a ratio of the total number of offspring to the total number of adult hens. A distribution survey assesses where birds are located and helps managers to track what habitats they’re using, how that might vary seasonally, and where their ranges are expanding or contracting. Visit the game bird survey page for details.

Sign up for in-person hunter education

Hunter education instructor demonstrating safety procedures at shooting range with boy

All individuals born after Jan. 1, 1972, are required to show proof of successful completion of a hunter education course before they can hunt. Prospective hunters in Washington have three options: a traditional in-person course, an online course, or a hybrid option which has an online course and an in-person field skills evaluation requirement. Prospective hunters 17 years old or younger can only choose either the traditional or hybrid option. The traditional course is highly recommended for students 12 and under. The in-person courses are taught by volunteers and course offerings fill quickly. For more information, visit the Hunter Education page.

February wildlife viewing

Flyer for the Chehalis Basin Film Festival

Chehalis Basin Film Festival 

Chehalis Basin community members are invited to a two-part film festival, Feb. 25 and March 3, highlighting collaboration, habitat restoration, species protection, and climate resilience in the Chehalis River basin. Event partners include the Chehalis Basin Lead Entity, Coast Salmon Partnership, Grays Harbor Conservation District, Grays Harbor Stream Team, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). We'll have more information in a news release available soon. 

Backyard wildlife activities

Two Rufous hummingbirds feeding from a large circular hummingbird feeder in a backyard garden
Russell Link

Learn how to landscape for wildlife: Vegetation is key to attracting a variety of wildlife. Native plants provide the food, shelter, and nesting habitat for songbirds, hummingbirds, butterflies, bees, and other wildlife. You can use this extra time at home to map out how you’d like your property to look and figure out which plants would thrive where you live. Visit the Washington Native Plant Society’s website for resources.

Add a water source to your yard: Put in a birdbath, garden pond, or other source of water outside your home. A safe place to bathe and drink will act as a magnet to many animals. You can make a simple birdbath with things you probably already have. Visit the Audubon’s website for an easy do-it-yourself bird bath using an old cake pan or flower-pot tray.

Build a bird house or nest box: Add bird houses to your property, or better yet, try to leave snags (dead trees) if they don’t pose any risk. Cavity-nesting birds have been especially impacted by urban development. A bird house of the proper dimensions can substitute for snags where these birds used to nest. There are lots of easy instructions online to build your own bird house or nest box. Visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Backyard Birding webpage for resources.

Keep your cats and wild birds safe: Domestic cats can make great pets, but when they are allowed to roam outdoors, there can be serious consequences to local wildlife. Cats kill about 2.4 billion birds every year in the U.S. alone. Visit the American Bird Conservancy website for information on their Cats Indoors Program and learn how to keep pet cats and wild birds safe. You may even consider an outdoor enclosure for your cat

Make a window cling to protect birds: Up to a billion birds die each year from flying into glass. You can help prevent that from happening at your house by making your own window clings using recycled plastic and puffy fabric paint. Check out this tutorial video from the Audubon Society.

Avian influenza

If you observe sick or dead birds while waterfowl hunting, please report them using WDFW’s reporting tool. With the fall migration of wild birds underway, Washington is preparing for a potential uptick in highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) cases.

With fall rains here, ponds are filling with water, which attracts potentially infected migrant wild birds, increasing the risk of transmission to resident waterfowl. Avian influenza viruses are transmitted through saliva, nasal secretions, feces, and contaminated surfaces. The virus can remail viable in the environment for a period of time, depending on conditions.

The HPAI virus was initially documented in Washington in May of 2022. Case numbers decreased as the weather warmed this summer and have now seemed to increase again this fall.

Sharing public lands  

A reminder that hunting is allowed on most state public lands (excluding State Parks and designated Game Reserves) so, during the course of your outdoor adventures, you may cross paths with a hunter, or if you are a hunter, you may encounter people who are hiking, walking dogs, or taking advantage of other recreational opportunities.  

Please be respectful of each other, to safely and responsibly share public lands and waters, and appreciate that all users of public lands care deeply about wildlife and their habitat. Intentionally obstructing the lawful taking of fish, shellfish, or wildlife—including waterfowl and upland game birds—is a crime in Washington as detailed in our state’s “hunter harassment” law RCW 77.15.210. Anyone who experiences hunter harassment or intentional obstruction of lawful hunting or fishing should contact WDFW Police immediately at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/enforcement/contact or 360-902-2936 Option 1. 

WDFW Outdoor Experience photo contest

WDFW Outdoor Experiences photo contest

Share your best moments in our 2022 Outdoor Experiences photo contest! From birding to volunteering to at home insect explorations we'd love to see how you and your family engage with nature in your community.

To be part of our 2022 Outdoor Experiences end of year wrap up, send us outdoor moments of yourself and others, or your epic outdoor selfie! To be considered, images must include people. Submit images between January 1-15 by clicking here and select the “2022 Outdoor Experiences” category from the drop-down menu to enter! Winning images will be announced in late January!

February Habitat at Home

  

Backyard Bird Count
Laura Rogers

Get counting!

February is for the birds. Grab your binoculars and cell phones and get ready for the Great Backyard Bird Count! Every February folks around the world come together to count their local birds, wherever they live or happen to be. This fun, free, program is accessible to everyone.  

How it works

  1. Pick a spot to for watch birds (at home, in your community, on your vacation; any place will work!) 
  1. Watch or listen for birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once between February 17-20, 2023 
  1. Make note of the species you see or hear. (If you don’t know, take notes and ID them later using the provided resources). 
  1. Count ALL the birds you see or hear. (Make your best estimate of how many birds you saw of each species.) 
  2. Pick a method that works for you and submit your count!  
  • Merlin Bird ID app (phones) 
  • eBird Mobile app (phones) 
  • eBird web page (desktops and laptops) 

If you are in the Seattle area, join WDFW and our partners at the Environmental Science Center at Bird Fest in Burien for some hands-on learning, bird walks, and more on February 18th! 

Wild Washington Education

Duck Stamp contest

If you have a youth artist in your family, there’s still time to submit their art to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Junior Duck Stamp (JDS) art contest. The program blends art and science and helps teach K-12 youth about wetland and waterfowl conservation. If you have a student who is interested, learn more about contest rules and eligibility.

The object of the contest is for students to engage with waterfowl and wetland conservation by drawing or painting a native North American duck, goose, or swan.  All entries must be postmarked or in-hand at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), by February 15, 2023.

Junior Duck Stamp Contest
Ridgefield Refuge Complex
28908 NW Main Ave
P.O. Box 457
Ridgefield, WA 98642

Teachers can also engage students in wetland education and conservation using the year-round youth and educator guide. To learn more, check out the full Junior Duck Stamp Conservation Education Curriculum.

Event calendar

Types of events

  • Key date
  • Community event
  • Public meeting
  • Commission meeting
  • Advisory group meeting

Meet your Regional Director: Chris Conklin

Chris Conklin, Region 6 director
Chris Conklin, Coastal Region Director

Chris Conklin, Coastal Region Director (Region 6), has worked with WDFW since 2013, most recently as deputy director of the Department’s Habitat Program. He began his career with WDFW as a habitat biologist working out of the Coastal Region office in Montesano, before becoming the assistant regional habitat program manager there.

Before joining WDFW, Conklin worked as a fishery technician at the Idaho Panhandle National Forest and a fish habitat biologist with the Quinault Indian Nation, as well as a forester for the Washington Department of Natural Resources. Conklin holds a bachelor’s degree in fishery resources from the University of Idaho. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering for search and rescue, working around his property with his son and wife and recreating near the water or in the hills above Naches.