Discover North Puget Sound

Boats in the San Juan Islands with Mount Baker in the background

Customer service staff in the Mill Creek Regional Office are available for walk-in service 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. WDFW staff will continue to wear masks while providing customer service, and the public is encouraged to wear a mask.

Counties served: Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Whatcom

Director: Brendan Brokes

16018 Mill Creek Boulevard
Mill Creek, WA 98012-1541

Email: TeamMillCreek@dfw.wa.gov

Telephone: 425-775-1311

Fax: 425-338-1066

June fishing tips and news

Puget Sound and Tulalip Bubble salmon fishing

summer salmon fishing Chinook
A happy salmon angler with a summer Chinook. Mark Yuasa

Central Puget Sound around Seattle and Bremerton (Marine Area 10) opens June 16 for coho only, no minimum size. Daily limit 2. Release Chinook and chum. These hungry resident coho are feeding primarily on krill and crab larvae when the season opens, transitioning to preying on herring later in June and into July. Early-summer coho anglers do well trolling needlefish Ace Hi Flies or hoochies with the tide on the outside of Jefferson Head south of the yellow shipping lane buoy. Trolling spoons, plugs, or mooching herring can also work well, especially after coho have switched to feeding on forage fish.

Throughout the summer, coho can also be caught casting small Buzzbomb or Rotator jigs or flies at Seattle-area beaches including West Point, Richmond Beach, Alki Point and Lincoln Park.

In Marine Area 8-2 near Everett, the Tulalip Terminal Fishery—often called the “Tulalip Bubble”—is open Fridays to Mondays only for Chinook; and southern Puget Sound (Marine Area 13) and many piers are also open year-round for salmon. Be sure to check the WDFW webpage for details and emergency rule changes before hitting the water.

Skykomish, North Fork Nooksack, and Skagit rivers open for Chinook

Salmon fishing opportunities abound in June for freshwater anglers, too. Several rivers in the North Puget Sound Region are now open for spring- and summer-run hatchery Chinook, including the Skykomish River near the towns of Monroe and Sultan, the North Fork Nooksack River, and the Skagit above Rockport and its tributary the Cascade River. In these rivers, Chinook are typically caught pulling plugs or bait divers, side-drifting corkies, bait or yarn balls with scent, or float fishing cured salmon eggs or shrimp under a bobber.

Summer steelhead, small stream trout fishing

Dozens of rivers and streams across Washington state opened for trout, steelhead, and other gamefish on May 28, the Saturday before Memorial Day. In the North Puget Sound Region, this means opportunities for summer steelhead in the Skykomish and Green rivers as well as feisty wild trout in area creeks. Please double-check fishing regulations before hitting the water, as several local rivers including the Stillaguamish open at a later date.

Summer steelhead from Cowlitz River. Photo by Collin Kuykendall
A nice Western Washington summer steelhead. Collin Kuykendall

For the best shot at hatchery steelhead, try casting a pink, orange or red jig or plastic worm under a float below Reiter Ponds on the Skykomish or around the Porter Levee Natural Area or one of the many King County Parks on the Green up to the Green River Gorge. Small brass or bronze spinners and spoons can also work well. Hatchery stocking reports are available online; refer to releases from 2020 for summer steelhead returning as adults in 2022.

Small stream trout fishing is one of Western Washington’s more under-the-radar fisheries, and is typically best in June and July when waters are still cold and not too low. Exploring “Blue Lines” on the map can be a fun and productive outing for anglers of all ages. Many streams—including those fairly near urban areas such as the Cedar River and tributaries of the Skykomish and Skagit—hold surprisingly large rainbow and cutthroat trout that can be caught using small spinners, spoons, jigs, or fly-fishing gear.

Be aware that many rivers and streams are managed under catch and release or selective gear rules—which prohibit using bait, barbs and treble hooks—in order to protect wild steelhead and salmon.

Free Fishing Weekend

New or returning anglers interested in fishing can join the fun during Free Fishing Weekend June 11-12. During those two days, no license is required to fish or gather shellfish in waters open to fishing in Washington. A valid Catch Record Card is still required for salmon, steelhead, halibut, and sturgeon. In addition, people do not need a Vehicle Access Pass or Discover Pass to park their vehicle at public lands or water access areas managed by WDFW, Washington Department of Natural Resources (DNR), or Washington State Parks in recognition of National Get Outdoors Day (June 11) and Free Fishing Day (June 12).

San Juan Islands and Puget Sound shrimp openers

Several opportunities remain for shrimpers in the North Puget Sound Region to harvest delicious spot prawns. Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) East, South and West will be open June 9-11, with additional late June and early July shrimping dates in Marine Area 7 West.

An additional spot shrimp date, June 9 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. (noon) has been announced for Marine Areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island). Visit our shrimp webpage for details.

The daily limit in marine areas open for shrimping is 10 lbs. of all shrimp species, with a maximum of 80 spot shrimp per person (if spot shrimp harvest is open). If retaining only spot shrimp, heads may be removed and discarded immediately in the field. All shrimp pots and traps must be removed from the water during periods when fishing is closed.

Lingcod remains opens through June 15

Angler Daniel Villoria Segert holds up a keeper lingcod on a sunny day in the San Juan Islands. Photo by Chase Gunnell
Angler Daniel Villoria Segert holds up a keeper lingcod on a sunny day in the San Juan Islands. Chase Gunnell

Plenty of lingcod are still being caught around Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, Bellingham Bay, and the straits of Juan de Fuca and Georgia. Fishing for these aggressive and tasty bottomfish closes June 15 in the Puget Sound region. Fishing for cabezon, a large member of the sculpin family, remains open through Nov. 30.

Look for lingcod and cabezon around structure including rockpiles, reefs, breakwaters, jetties, and sloping underwater ridges and drop-offs. In areas like Possession Bar off Whidbey Island’s Satchet Head, lingcod can also be found hiding in small depressions on the sandy bottom. Other popular areas include Doublebluff, Hat Island, Deception Pass, Burrows Island, Smith Island, Lopez Pass, and throughout the San Juan Islands and Bellingham Bay.

Target bottomfish around slack tide using 4 to 8 ounce jigs, mooching whole large herring with 7/0 or bigger hooks (big bait and hooks help deter smaller rockfish), or using live bait such as Pacific sanddab, herring, or shiner perch. Reminder that barbless hooks are required and fishing for lingcod and other bottomfish is prohibited deeper than 120 feet of water in Marine Areas 6 through 13 to protect endangered rockfish species.

Visit our recent blog post for more lingcod tips or check regulations for details.

Boating safety program

With boating season in full swing and saltwater and freshwater fishing ramping up towards summer, the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Boating Program reminds you to take a boater safety education course, if you haven’t already, to be prepared for the season.

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. Also keep in mind that wearing a flotation device in, on or around water saves lives as drowning is one of the leading causes of fatalities especially among young children.

June hunting opportunities and news

Sign up for in-person hunter education

learning to shoot
A new hunter learning how to shoot safely and responsibly.

Beginning June 1, the minimum age to take the all-online hunter education course will increase 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. For more information, visit the Hunter Education webpage

Be respectful of private lands

The public is fortunate to have the opportunity to hunt private property through WDFW's Private Lands program. However, some people in Eastern Washington have been target shooting on private lands, leaving a mess. If you hunt private property, please be respectful. Visit the WDFW Medium blog to read about opportunities to hunt and recreate on private lands.

WDFW invites public comment on rule making for cougar hunting and regulations

 Adult male cougar stands in tree.
An adult male cougar in a tree. Rich Beausoleil

The WDFW invites the public to submit written comment on a proposed cougar hunting rule change through June 25. Follow this link to provide feedback from May 19 – June 25, or visit our news release for more information.

The proposed rule would increase the cougar bag limit for individual hunters in the areas where monitoring has shown a high level of cougar predation on elk calves in the Blue Mountain Elk herd. This proposed rule change would allow hunters to pursue a second cougar within the identified areas.

"This proposed rule is in response to a recent WDFW monitoring effort that showed higher than expected calf mortality attributed to cougar predation in the Blue Mountains," said Anis Aoude, WDFW game division manager. "We are seeking your feedback on this proposed rule change."

Cougars are hunted during a general hunting season from Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. Beginning on Jan. 1, season closure is regulated by harvest guidelines for each Population Management Unit (PMU) until April 30.  The proposed rule does not recommend changes to any of the seasons or harvest guidelines.

Visit myWDFW.com to learn about hunting and outdoor opportunities

While you wait for draw results to be posted for special hunt permits (typically available in mid-June), visit our new website www.myWDFW.com to learn more about Washington's hunting, fishing, shellfish gathering, and other outdoor recreation opportunities. We’re posting monthly highlights, wild foods recipes, tips on getting outdoors with family, and much more. You can also find quick links to purchase licenses, permits and Discover Passes online.

June wildlife watching and recreation

Get to know wild edibles in your backyard and beyond

With spring marching on into summer, we here at WDFW wanted to introduce some foraging opportunities that might be just outside your door or just a bit beyond. Whether you are out fishing, hunting, or just taking a hike, there are a number of wild edibles that present themselves in the woods and even your own backyard that can be brought into the kitchen.

In our new blog post you’ll find a starting point for working with some of the more common edibles so that you can introduce them to your dinner table and maybe help out a little on the grocery bill. Some of the edibles here are already appearing while others can show up later in the spring.

Picture of Native littleneck clams.
Native littleneck clams from Puget Sound.

Head to public beaches and discover the joys of shellfish gathering

Here in Washington, we are lucky to live somewhere where we can forage delicious, healthy seafood from publicly owned tidelands. With over 350 open areas and about 275 low tides per year, there are endless opportunities to harvest on public lands.

Be sure to review Washington Department of Health biotoxin guidelines and WDFW shellfish regulations before heading out. 

Puget Sound tidelands and coastal beaches host many varieties of clams. In Puget Sound and Hood Canal, harvesting seasons vary by beach and there is a plethora of delicious species to discover.

Check out our four-part series of blog posts on shellfish gathering around the Puget Sound!

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

Bears are emerging from dens: tips to reduce and prevent conflicts

black bear pushing trash can

As recent incidents have demonstrated, black bears have emerged from their winter dens hungry and are in search of calories after five months of not eating. During this time of increased activity, we’re asking for your help to secure un-natural food sources to reduce bear encounters — especially around your home or while on the trail.

When they emerge, natural foods may be scarce, and bears often look for the easiest source of food, which may include garbage, bird feeders, and fruit trees. You should never attempt to provide food for black bears or allow them to be comfortable around people. Learn more in our recent blog post.

#LifeOutdoors photo contest

Send us your best photos of how you spend time outdoors in Washington for our monthly photo contest and a chance to win a Cabela’s gift card!

Your photos may be featured on WDFW’s Facebook and Instagram pages to celebrate the variety of ways people enjoy outdoor lifestyles and to inspire others to spend time in nature. Each month has a new theme and a new winner.

Visit WDFW’s Life Outdoors webpage to find out the outdoor recreation theme for the current month. Submit pictures of you, your friends, or family participating in the month’s featured outdoor recreation theme on WDFW’s website. When submitting your photo, select #LifeOutdoorsWA in the category section. In the description area, tell us a little about your experience.

On the last Friday of the month, a winner will be selected and featured on WDFW’s Facebook and Instagram. Winners will also be contacted via email to receive their prize.

When sharing your photos on social media, be sure to use the hashtag #LifeOutdoorsWA!

June species and habitats

Avian influenza confirmed in Washington

Mallard duck
A drake (male) mallard duck. Steve Winnie

Cases of avian influenza have been confirmed in birds all over the state since mid-May. Avian influenza, also known as bird flu, refers to the disease caused by infection with avian (bird) influenza (flu) Type A viruses. These viruses occur naturally among wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect poultry and other bird and animal species. Wild aquatic birds include ducks, geese, swans, gulls and terns, and shorebirds.

Avian influenza is very contagious among birds through saliva, nasal secretions, feces, and contaminated surfaces. It can spread from wild to domestic birds such as chickens, ducks, and turkeys. If you have domestic birds, it is important to keep them inside if possible for the next couple weeks and take steps to prevent wild birds from having contact with them.

If you see a sick or dead bird, do NOT pick it up. There is no treatment or cure for avian influenza and transporting it to a veterinarian or rehabber can spread the virus to places it doesn’t already exist. The best thing to do for sick birds is to report them using WDFW’s reporting tool.

While there is little concern about avian influenza spreading from birds to humans, it is always best to take precautions to protect yourself. Do not handle sick or dead birds, but if you have to, wear disposable gloves. More information on avian influenza, how to slow its spread, and impacts to human health are on the our webpage.

European green crab detected in Hood Canal

WDFW has received confirmation that volunteers with Washington Sea Grant recently captured a male European green crab in Nick’s Lagoon near Seabeck in Kitsap County. This is the first detection of European green crabs in Hood Canal, and the furthest south that these invasive crabs have been confirmed in the Salish Sea to date.

WDFW European green crab reporting sign and ID_2022 version
A sign with information for identifying and reporting European green crab. Click here for a larger version

The European green crab (Carcinus maenas) is a globally damaging invasive species that poses a threat to native shellfish, eelgrass, and estuary habitat critical for salmon and many other species.

WDFW's Aquatic Invasive Species program is now conducting rapid response trapping to understand the scope of green crab presence and to locally eradicate green crabs before they can take hold in the Seabeck area. Area residents, anglers, and others are asked not to tamper with European green crab traps, which are often deployed in shallow areas exposed at low tide and are typically identified with a bright orange buoy and an official tag or permit.

WDFW is in the process of ramping up the statewide European green crab emergency management program, including developing cooperative agreements with local entities to support a broad range of green crab management actions. More information and regular updates are available on our webpage.

If a member of the public finds a suspected European green crab or its shell in Washington, they are asked to take a picture and report it as soon as possible. WDFW is not asking the public to keep or kill suspected green crabs because they can be mistaken identification of native crabs. A crab identification guide is also available online.

European green crab are classified as a Prohibited Level 1 Invasive Species in Washington, meaning they may not be possessed, introduced on or into a water body or property, or trafficked, without department authorization. Early detection monitoring and other trapping efforts like those led by Washington Sea Grant are conducted under permits from WDFW and federal agencies.

WDFW and Soundwatch collaboration enhances boater education, marine mammal monitoring in central and south Puget Sound

Transient orca whale in the San Juan Islands with Mt. Baker in the background.
A male transient orca in the San Juan Islands. Chase Gunnell

Supporting marine mammal research, the sighting is part of a new Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Soundwatch collaboration to extend the on-the-water research, monitoring, and boater education that has traditionally spanned northern Puget Sound in the summer to central and south Puget Sound in fall and winter.

Launched in 1993, The Whale Museum’s Soundwatch program helps to prevent vessel disturbance to Salish Sea marine mammals, including endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

WDFW staff and Soundwatch led a two-week piloted project this spring in preparation for the project’s central Puget Sound implementation in fall and winter 2022. Learn more in our recent blog post.

Event calendar

No events found this month for this region. Check the agency calendar for more events.

Meet your Regional Director - Brendan Brokes

Brendon Brokes, Region Four Director

Brendan Brokes, North Puget Sound Region Director (Region 4), holds a master's degree in fisheries science from Oregon State University and has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1987. He served as the Habitat Program Manager in this region since 2015, after filling a decade-long role as the Assistant Regional Habitat Program Manager.

Before arriving at WDFW in 2001, Brokes worked at Mount Rainier National Park as a researcher and biological technician in aquatic ecology. He also worked with the National Marine Fisheries Service monitoring foreign commercial fisheries compliance.