Discover Coastal Washington

Skokomish river winds through its estuary

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

Director: Larry Phillips

48 Devonshire Road
Montesano, WA 98563

Email: TeamMontesano@dfw.wa.gov

Telephone: 360-249-4628

Fax: 360-249-1229

January fishing tips and news

Four lakes in southwest Washington to receive surplus adult hatchery steelhead

The Department will plant about 200 adult hatchery steelhead over the next few weeks into Pacific county lakes. DFW will stock about 40 steelhead into Cases Pond (Raymond, WA), up to 100 adults to Black Lake (Ilwaco) and 15 adults each to Snag and Western lakes (Radar ponds, Naselle). 

The recent high flows have pushed an excess of steelhead into the hatchery and returns of early winter steelhead are expected to exceed our hatchery broodstock needs at both the Forks creek and Naselle hatcheries. 

For the latest fish stocking information, visit our website. Anglers are reminded to keep an eye on WDFW’s emergency rules webpage for the latest regulations, and consult the 2020-21 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for additional permanent regulations.

Salmon (marine areas)

Select Puget Sound marine areas are open in January for salmon fishing as the winter fishery heats up. Anglers fishing in area 10 have a daily limit of one salmon and must release wild chinook. 

Salmon (freshwater)

Some Willapa Bay tributaries are also open for salmon fishing this month. Those tributaries include the Willapa River and sections of the Naselle River.  

Razor clams

Recently rising levels of marine toxins limited WDFW’s ability to reopen digs in December. Coastal shellfish managers are re-evaluating marine toxin levels in early January and will move forward on scheduling tentative digs in early 2021 if conditions allow. 

Domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, can be harmful or fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities. More information about domoic acid, as well as current levels at ocean beaches, can be found on WDFW's domoic acid webpage.

Razor clam diggers enjoyed more than 80,000 trips and harvested nearly 1.2 million clams in 2020.
Crab: The recreational crab fishery continues in portions of Marine Area 1 (Columbia River), 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay - West of Tatoosh-Bonilla line). 

Share your volunteer photos 

We want to see the outstanding work you’ve done to benefit fish and wildlife! We're grateful for all the volunteers who provide their time and talents by contributing to projects that benefit fish, wildlife, and habitat. Volunteer hunter education instructors are committed to ensuring that hunters have safe, legal, and ethical hunts. Many volunteers work directly with WDFW, but many also volunteer through partnerships and local projects around the state.

Share your photos or videos of your volunteer time with us at wdfw.wa.gov/share and select the category "Volunteer Activities". 

January hunting tips and news

Waterfowl

Brant season starts Jan. 9 in Pacific County and Jan. 16 in Clallam county.  Hunting days are limited in both locations so check the waterfowl pamphlet to know which days are open. Season runs through Jan. 31 with a 2-bird daily bag limit. 

Hunters have through Jan. 31 to hunt ducks. Goose hunts in goose management area 3 (most of Region 6) also are open seven days a week through Jan. 31.  Pacific County and the portion of Grays Harbor County west of Highway 101 (Goose Management Area 2 – Coast) are open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays only through Jan. 24, but re-opens on those same days Feb. 13-24. Goose Management Area 2 (Inland) – the section of Grays Harbor County east of Highway 101 — is open Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays only through Jan. 17, opening again Feb. 13 – Mar. 10.

Some of the best waterfowl hunting in Thurston County is at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. Henderson, Budd, and Eld inlets and the inlets of Pierce County also offer good waterfowl hunting opportunities. In Pacific and Grays Harbor counties, both geese and ducks tend to concentrate in the Willapa and Chehalis river valleys, although ducks also can be found near Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor.

January is a great time to see mixed waterfowl species that spend the winter on our inland lakes. Get to know our waterfowl with our duck identification guide

Rabbit and hare

Hunting seasons for cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare continue through March 15. Snowshoe hare are readily observed along forested roads in the western half of District 16 (Clallam and west Jefferson counties). The best opportunities for cottontail rabbit hunting in western Washington occur in District 11, where rabbits are abundant in the shrub and grasslands of Thurston and Pierce counties.

Report your harvest by Jan. 10 to win a special permit

Hunters who report their 2020 black bear, deer, elk, or turkey hunting results by Sunday, Jan. 10, will have the opportunity to win one of nine deer and elk incentive permits for fall 2021. 

To qualify for the drawing, hunters must submit a report by Jan. 10 for each black bear, deer, elk, or turkey tag they purchased, and each special hunting permit they received in 2020. The permits will be valid from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021.

Hunter reports are due by Jan. 31. Failure to meet the deadline can result in a $10 reporting fee, which hunters must pay when they buy a license for the 2021 season. Hunters can report online.

Share your volunteer photos

We want to see the outstanding work you’ve done to benefit fish and wildlife! We're grateful for all the volunteers who provide their time and talents by contributing to projects that benefit fish, wildlife, and habitat. Volunteer hunter education instructors are committed to ensuring that hunters have safe, legal, and ethical hunts. Many volunteers work directly with WDFW, but many also volunteer through partnerships and local projects around the state.

Share your photos or videos of your volunteer time with us at wdfw.wa.gov/share and select the category "Volunteer Activities". 

January wildlife viewing

Recreate Responsibly this winter

Recreate Responsibly to protect yourself, others, and the outdoors. Review the guidelines below before heading out on your outdoor adventure! 

  • Know before you go. Some areas can become dangerous wither winter conditions. Research your destination, as roads and facilities may be closed in winter. 
  • Explore locally. Consider exploring locally, as driving and parking may be more challenging in winter. If you travel, be mindful of your impact on native and local communities. 
  • Plan ahead. Check local conditions and prepare for the elements, packing extra layers, waterproof clothing, and avalanche safety gear for the backcountry. 
  • Leave no trace. Did you know that snow is our water supply? Keep our winter playgrounds clean. Pack out any human or pet waste and be respectful of the land. 
  • Practice physical distancing. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth. When possible, opt to eat and rest outside. If you feel sick, stay home. 
  • Play it safe. Know your limits and your gear. Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. 
  • Build an inclusive outdoors. Everyone deserve to experience a winter wonderland. Be an active part of making the outdoors safe, accessible, and welcoming for all identities and abilities.

First Day Hikes 

Washington State Parks invites the public to start the new year off with a First Day Hike on Jan. 1. To support public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington State Parks is encouraging visitors to consider a self-led hike this year (rangers won’t be guiding first day hikes). Jan. 1 is also the first “free day” – of 2021 – when visitors will not need to display the Discover Pass to gain access to state parks.

Seeing swans

Swans having been increasing in number across inland freshwater lakes and upland agricultural fields as they head south with fall weather so there’s a good chance to see some this winter. Members of the public are encouraged to report any observation of swans to the WDFW public observation portal

WDFW has re-established a hotline to report sick, injured, or dead swans in western Washington counties as part of its ongoing effort to assess the impact of lead poisoning on trumpeter and tundra swans. People can call 360-466-4345, ext. 266, to report swans that have died or need help in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, and other western Washington counties. Callers should be prepared to leave a short, detailed message including their name and phone number, location and condition of the swans. The hotline is available 24/7 through March.

Be a good steward

Do your part to "Leave No Trace" when enjoying public spaces and encourage your family and friends to do the same!

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimize campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be considerate of others

Share your volunteer photos

We want to see the outstanding work you’ve done to benefit fish and wildlife! We're grateful for all the volunteers who provide their time and talents by contributing to projects that benefit fish, wildlife, and habitat. Volunteer hunter education instructors are committed to ensuring that hunters have safe, legal, and ethical hunts. Many volunteers work directly with WDFW, but many also volunteer through partnerships and local projects around the state.

Share your photos or videos of your volunteer time with us at wdfw.wa.gov/share and select the category "Volunteer Activities". 

Christmas Bird Count

The Audubon Society continues to compile bird sightings from the annual Christmas Bird Count, which comes to a close in early January. For more information, check the Audubon’s website.

Event calendar

Types of events

  • Community event
  • Key date
  • Public meeting

Meet your Regional Director: Larry Phillips

Larry Phillips, South Puget Sound and Coast Region Director
Larry Phillips, South Puget
Sound and Coast Region
Director

Larry Phillips has served as the South Puget Sound and Coast (Region 6) Director since 2016. Larry was first employed by the Department in 1996 as a Fisheries Technician collecting creel survey data on the Snake River. In 1998 he was hired as a permanent employee by the Fish Program in Spokane and later transferred to Olympia to serve as the Area Fish Biologist for South Puget Sound. In 2007 Larry was promoted to District Fish Biologist. He remained in this position until 2015 when he was promoted to Inland Fish Program Manager with state-wide responsibilities. In 2016 Larry promoted to his current position.

Larry holds a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Lewis Clark State College in Lewiston (Idaho) and a master’s degree in Fisheries Science from Eastern Washington University. Larry enjoys fishing, hunting, hiking and camping.

Watch the Nov. 21 digital open house with Larry Phillips and Director Kelly Susewind.