Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing continues on portions of the Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam. WDFW Chelan/Douglas district fish biologist Travis Maitland reports sturgeon are still being caught in both the Priest and Wanapum pools, with the best fishing currently just immediately downstream of Rock Island Dam on the Wanapum pool.
Fishing at Potholes Reservoir and Moses Lake in the Columbia Basin is usually good during August for smallmouth and largemouth bass and walleye.
With more people heading out on the water, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Boating Program reminds you to take a boater safety education course if you haven’t already. 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.
Help fish beat the heat
The historic Pacific Northwest heat wave may be over for now, but the summer weather continues, and fish need our help staying cool as air and water temperatures remain high. Fishing in the early morning, when air and water temperatures are cooler, can help reduce stress on fish -- and on the fisher! High lakes are also a great option this time of year thanks to cooler temperatures at higher elevations.
If you fish the same areas every year, try to be aware of water levels and temperatures – if the water seems especially low, or hotter than usual, maybe give fish a break by coming back another time.
If you're fishing an area where you may have to catch and release, it's critical to take steps to minimize the impact. Using appropriate gear and landing the fish quickly can help, as can making sure not to remove the fish from the water once it's reeled in. Quickly remove hooks, or cut the line if the hook is especially deep. You can also help the fish revive by pointing it into a slow current, and letting it swim out of your hands whenever possible.
General hunting seasons for black bear open Aug. 1 in the Columbia Basin Zone, including Game Management Units (GMU) 248, 254, and 260-290, in the East Cascades Zone (including GMUs 244-247 and 249-251), in the in the Okanogan Zone (GMUs 203 and 209-243), and in the Northeastern A Zone as shown in the Big Game Hunting pamphlet.
Successful hunters are required to submit a bear tooth to WDFW to determine the animal’s age. All hunters are urged to avoid shooting sows with cubs.
2021-2022 Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Seasons and Rules available
Check out this year's regulation pamphlet details rules for migratory waterfowl and upland game. Make sure that you take note of new rule changes in the pamphlet. Some of the changes include: Expansion of fall turkey and chukar seasons in many areas, and forest grouse season now runs from Sept. 15, 2021 - Jan. 15, 2022 to protect brood hens with chicks.
Hunter Education courses
Avoid the autumn rush and sign up now for a virtual hunter education class. All hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972 must complete a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license. WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education training requirement.
Fire precautions: Hunters are reminded that restrictions on campfires, smoking outside of vehicles, and other activities on WDFW lands east of the Cascade Range remain in effect to prevent wildfires. Most of this region is considered in high or very high/extreme wildfire danger by the Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which also has restrictions in effect. For more information, see DNR's fire danger webpage.
All wildlife areas statewide have year-round prohibitions on fireworks and incendiary devices, including tracer rounds and exploding targets, to reduce the risk of wildfire.
This is usually the last month for a good look at, or at least a listen to, neotropical migrant species. Bluebirds, blackbirds, flycatchers, sparrows, swallows, tanagers, warblers, wrens and many other species begin gathering for southward migrations.
Almost any riparian or streamside area with lush vegetation is a good bet for finding these colorful birds, including those on the region’s many wildlife areas. But full, late summer foliage can make seeing some of these seasonal visitors more difficult than hearing them. Improve your bird song identification skills, but get up early or stay out late during cooler hours when birds are more active.
Those who have been providing sugar-water nectar in backyard feeders for hummingbirds should be especially diligent about keeping those feeders clean during the heat. Many hummingbirds will begin migrating out of the region by mid-August.
August provides lots of opportunity for viewing alpine and subalpine wildlife while hiking at elevation to beat the heat.
WDFW Okanogan district wildlife biologist Scott Fitkin says the best opportunities are at higher elevation areas where mountain goats, hoary marmots, pikas, Columbian ground squirrels, golden-mantled ground squirrels, ptarmigan, gray-crowned rosy finches, and many other bird species are active and visible.
By the end of the month, migrating raptors should be evident along high elevation ridges.
The Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in northcentral Okanogan County is a good destination for butterfly watching this month while many wildflowers are still in full bloom. Watch for several species of whites, sulphurs, coppers, hairstreaks, blues, fritillaries, checkers, nymphs, and skippers.
Strawberries, green onions, and salad greens are just a few of the delicious vegetable garden staples that have native alternatives to benefit both you and wildlife!
Growing native edible plants is ideal for those who:
Enjoy eating food
Like saving money, water, and time
Want to contribute to wildlife conservation
Native plants are a great choice for many reasons. First, they are adapted to the natural rainfall, climate, and soil of the area and as a result tend to be very low maintenance. This means you won’t have to spend as much time and money on watering and caring for your garden.
Additionally, these plants have co-evolved with native wildlife species and are best suited for supporting these species. One drawback of planting non-native plants is that they often don’t support insect species during all life stages. Studies have shown that caterpillar and bird abundance and overall biodiversity are significantly higher in urban gardens that are filled with native plants compared to gardens without native plants. By using native plants, you are helping to support a more robust insect population, which is critical to pollination and the support of many other wildlife species such as birds.
Keep in mind that some species will require you to plant more than one for them to reproduce via pollination. Research your plants ahead of time to gain a better understanding of what will work best for you. Most native plants will come back year after year with no need to replant. If you decide to grow a native edible garden this year, show us how you did! Use the hashtag #habitatathome to share your photos with us on social media.
Coastal strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis), woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), and wild or blue-leaved strawberry (Fragaria virginiana) are three great native alternatives to traditional strawberries. In fact, the coastal strawberry is one of two varieties that were hybridized to create the modern supermarket strawberry. Coastal and wild strawberries are drought tolerant and prefer full sun and well-drained soils. Woodland strawberries do great in semi-shade under trees and shrubs. If you’d like to make full use of the plant, add the young leaves to salads and soups!
The nodding onion (Allium cernuum) is a delicious and stunning alternative to green onions. The entire plant is edible (raw or cooked), including the flowers! It’s a drought-tolerant plant often found in prairies and rocky bluffs. It prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It blooms in early summer, but you can harvest it for food year-round, though it will die back in the winter. The nodding onion is equally as beautiful as it is delicious and can be used ornamentally in your yard.
Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) is an easy-going plant that can be the main ingredient in your salads. It is thin and crunchy and has a mild sweetness to it. Like other lettuce plants, it is shade tolerant and will become bitter in taste if exposed to too much direct sunlight. It’s great eaten raw or cooked like spinach, and the whole plant is edible!
Share your backyard wildlife photos
We want to see what birds and other wildlife visit your habitat. Share your photos or videos with us at wdfw.wa.gov/share and select the category “Wildlife Viewing”.
Brock Hoenes is the North Central Region (Region 2) Director. Brock started his career with WDFW in 2008 and has held positions with the department including ungulate section manager, assistant district wildlife biologist, district wildlife biologist, statewide WDFW elk specialist, and deer and elk section manager.
Prior to moving to Washington, Hoenes worked for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit on a variety of research projects focused on mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk, cougars, black bears, and pronghorn. Hoenes received his B.S. in Fish and Wildlife Management from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his M.S. in Wildlife Sciences from New Mexico State University.