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. Monday through Friday.

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

Director: Brendan Brokes

16018 Mill Creek Boulevard
Mill Creek, WA 98012-1541


Telephone: 425-775-1311

Fax: 425-338-1066

Fishing tips and news

New to fishing in Washington? Check out our Fish Washington blog post for a guide on how to get started.

New license year underway

An officer stands with a little girl holding a fish

Anglers ages 15 and older are required to have a valid 2023-2024 fishing license to fish in Washington waters after March 31, 2023. Licenses are available online, by phone (866-246-9453), and from license dealers around the state. The current Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet remains valid through June 30, 2023.

Free Fishing Weekend 2023

There are some important changes beginning this year for Washington’s annual Free Fishing Weekend, which takes place June 10-11. In past years, any species of fish or shellfish open for harvest could be harvested without a license during Free Fishing Weekend. Beginning this year, any fish requiring a catch record card (including sturgeon, salmon, steelhead, and halibut) and all shellfish will still require a license on Free Fishing Weekend. 

Also on Free Fishing Weekend, no Vehicle Access Passes are required to park at WDFW lands, and no Discover Pass is needed to park on WDFW, DNR, or Washington State Parks lands. 

Even for species that don’t require a license on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as seasons, size limits, daily limits, and area closures are still in effect. Anglers should be sure to check the current fishing regulations valid through the end of June before hitting the water, as well as any current emergency rules

Puget Sound and coastal salmon

Resident coho salmon caught in Marine Area 10 near Seattle
Resident coho caught in June off Jefferson Head in Marine Area 10. Photo by Chase Gunnell. Chase Gunnell

The start to early summer salmon fishing begins June 1 when Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) opens for coho fishing. Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) opens June 1 on Thursdays through Sundays only of each week for hatchery Chinook and coho fishing (season may be adjusted or closed if catch or encounters approach allowable limits). Salmon fishing also continues in southern Puget Sound (Marine Area 13).

The Tulalip Terminal Area Salmon Fishery is open each week between 12 a.m. Friday mornings to 11:59 a.m. Monday mornings (except closed on June 10).

On the coast, Marine Areas 3 and 4 (Neah Bay and La Push) opens June 17 and Marine Areas 1 and 2 (Ilwaco and Westport-Ocean Shores) opens June 24 for salmon fishing. 

Upper Skagit, Cascade rivers open for spring Chinook

The upper Skagit River from Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport to Cascade River Road is open June 1 through July 15 for hatchery Chinook salmon. See Fishing Rule Change for details.

The Cascade River is also open from the mouth to Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge Wednesdays through Saturdays only, closed to all other species. Night closure and anti-snagging rule in effect. This area of the Cascade River is closed to sport fishing for all species Sundays through Tuesdays.

Daily limit 4 hatchery Chinook including no more than 2 adults. 

These spring Chinook are returning to the Marblemount Hatchery and are known for reaching large sizes. Learn more about river fishing for salmon on this webpage.

Most rivers and streams open for trout, check regulations for Chinook, steelhead opportunities

Most rivers, streams, and beaver ponds opened for fishing the Saturday before Memorial Day, with some exceptions to protect wild salmon and steelhead. Be sure to check the fishing regulations and emergency Fishing Rule Changes before hitting the water, or use the Fish Washington mobile app.

After a 3-day opener during Memorial Day Weekend, an upper portion of the Skykomish River remains open for hatchery steelhead, however much of the Snohomish watershed is closed to protect endangered wild Chinook forecasted to return in low numbers this year. 

Lowland lakes trout, 2023 Trout Derby underway

trout fishing opening day lowland lakes
Edlin Nguyen

The lowland lakes trout opener on April 22 started off slow, but catches are improving as waters begin to warm around the state. Many thousands of stocked trout are still available to be caught in lowland lakes across Washington. 

See our stocking reports or the annual statewide stocking plan for more information. Or check out this blog post for a beginner's guide to trout fishing.

The annual WDFW Trout Derby continues through Oct. 31. Thousands of tagged trout are stocked in100+ lakes. Catch a tagged trout and you win a prize!  Click on WDFW trout derby link for details.

Be sure to check fishing regulations or the Fish Washington mobile app for updates before hitting the water.

Shrimping continues in several Puget Sound marine areas

Dates and regulations vary by marine area, with several openers throughout June including in the San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7). See our recreational shrimping webpage and news release for details. Also note 

A large spot shrimp being held in the palm of a hand showing pink coloration with white stripes on the legs and head
Eric Winther

An additional day of recreational spot shrimp fishing will be offered in Marine Area 11 on June 9, and Marine Areas 9 and 13 open for non-spot shrimp fishing on June 1.

Overall, the 2023 season will start around the same time and with similar opportunities compared to last year. The selected dates reflect a conscious effort to offer opportunities to harvest while keeping participants distributed and reducing the chance of exceeding recreational quotas. Due to high expected turnout, some areas can’t support any weekend openings while remaining within their current quota.

Lingcod open in Puget Sound, San Juan Islands, Straits

Known for being aggressive biters, hard fighters, and delicious table fare, lingcod fishing is one of spring’s most popular on-the-water activities from South Puget Sound to the San Juan Islands and Washington Coast. This fishery has only gotten better in recent years through careful management including slot limits to protect large females.  

Get tips on fishing for lingcod in this WDFW blog post. Or learn about fishing for lingcod from jetties or shore in this post.

Lingcod are open through June 15 in Marine Areas 5 through 13 except for Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) which remains closed. In these marine areas, anglers targeting lingcod and other bottomfish (excluding halibut) may not fish deeper than 120 feet to limit encounters with threatened yelloweye and bocaccio rockfish.

halibut fishing
Joey Pyburn

Live bait, jigs, and whole herring are favorites among lingcod anglers. All vessels fishing for lingcod, halibut, and other bottomfish are required to have a descending device onboard and ready should they need to descend protected rockfish species.

Cabezon is also open in most marine areas May 1-Nov. 30.

Halibut fishing continues in North Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca marine areas

Halibut fishing has switched to seven days per week through June 30 in marine areas 5 through 10. See regulations at: or learn more in our news release.

In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction. Anglers may possess a maximum of two fish in any form while in the field and must record their catch on a WDFW catch record card. There is an annual limit of four halibut.

Reminder that Barbless Hooks are required for all species in Marine Areas 5 through 13—including for halibut and bottomfish—except when using forage fish jig gear to target forage fish (herring, sandlance, anchovy, sardine and smelt). See Marine Area Rules & Definitions in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules.

A descending device must be on board vessels and rigged for immediate use when fishing for or possessing bottomfish and halibut. Information about descending devices can be found on WDFW’s webpage.

Lake Washington kokanee, cutthroat and bass fishing improving as waters warm

Anglers fishing Lake Washington have reported good catches of kokanee (landlocked sockeye salmon) as well as cutthroat trout. Given the size of this lake, there are primarily boat fisheries trolling with downriggers, sideplaners or divers, or leadcore lines.

Bass and perch fishing will also continue to improve as waters in this lake and others around Western Washington warm. For tips on perch, check out this video. Several public docks and parks around the lake offer bank fishing options for bass and perch.

Chinook and coho salmon

cutthroat trout fishing
Laura Lothrop

Southern Puget Sound (Marine Area 13) is open year-round and has been heading up for Chinook. You can also try for resident coho in Area 13 casting a fly or spinner, and they’re often accessible from shore at spots such as Purdy Bridge and Tacoma Narrows Park. For details, go WDFW's salmon fishing webpage

Fishing for sea-run cutthroat trout is also hot as these salty cutthroat feed on salmon smolts as well as small baitfish, sculpins, sticklebacks, and marine invertebrates. Learn more about fishing for sea-run cutthroat with a fly rod or light tackle spinning gear in this blog post.

WDFW invites comment on proposed rules to set 2023-24 salmon fishing seasons

WDFW is seeking public comment on proposed rules for the 2023-24 recreational and commercial salmon fishing seasons.

These rules represent the culmination of the annual North of Falcon salmon season-setting process, where state, federal, and tribal fishery managers work together to plan Washington’s commercial and recreational fishing seasons with input from the public. WDFW hosted more than a dozen online public meetings this spring to gather initial input from anglers around the state.

“We carefully considered all of the input we received through public meetings and our webpage as we developed these seasons,” said Kyle Adicks, WDFW’s intergovernmental salmon manager. “This formal comment period gives an additional opportunity for interested public to provide input on the proposed rules.”

The full recreational and commercial rule making package can be viewed on the WDFW rule making webpage. Members of the public can provide comment using the embedded web form, or by submitting comments using the email or phone options listed on the same page. Comments will be accepted until the end of the comment period on June 8, 2023.

WDFW will also take public comment during a public hearing beginning at 2 p.m. on June 8, 2023. That hearing will be conducted virtually; the public may register, tune in and provide comment by going to the WDFW webpage.

You can also learn more in the video below, or in this new blog post, Four big questions from this year’s North of Falcon.

Puget Sound salmon gear selection

Gear selection has become an important factor when it comes to recreational salmon fishing in Puget Sound especially during the Winter Chinook salmon season. A key role in angler success is choosing the proper lure or bait, and gear also has an important role in fisheries management. To ensure these salmon fisheries are successful long-term, it is vital that anglers learn how to reduce catching sublegal (undersized) Chinook.

Learn more on our blog or check out our YouTube video on salmon gear selection.


Anglers: help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species

CD3 Clean Drain Dry Dispose trailer
Our mobile Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose trailer to help prevent watercraft from spreading invasive species.

Did you know you can reserve our portable Clean, Drain, Dry, Dispose (CD3) trailer for fishing tournaments and other events to help ensure participants' boats don't spread invasive species such as New Zealand mud snails or zebra and quagga mussels?

Simply fill out the form from our partners Washington Invasive Species Council at least a month in advance and our Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) unit staff will deliver the CD3 trailer and help train boaters or paddlers on how to use it to decontaminate their watercraft. 

We also now have several CD3 cleaning stations at boat ramps and marinas in eastern Washington. Learn more on our aquatic invasive species webpage.

Hunting opportunities and news

For an overview of hunting in Washington and how to get started, visit our Hunt Washington blog post!

Special Hunt permits and raffles for 2023 are expected to be announced soon. Learn more on our webpage.

Big Game hunting regulations and special permit applications now available

WDFW has released the 2023 Big Game Hunting Seasons and Regulations pamphlet, learn more in our news release.

Through May 24, hunters may submit Special Hunt Permit applications for 2023 deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and fall turkey seasons, including online at

Hunter education

Hunter education instructor teaches young boy safe firearms practices

Starting June 1, WDFW will no longer offer fully remote hunter education courses. We will continue to offer in-person hunter education courses as well as hybrid courses that combine online and in-person learning.

Learn more in our latest news release: Complete hunter education before busy fall season

Students who started but have not completed a fully online hunter education course by June 1 will be able to finish their course and become certified. To learn about hunter education requirements and find an upcoming course near you, please visit the WDFW hunter education webpage.

First Turkey recognition

You can send us your first turkey harvest information and receive an official WDFW First Turkey certificate. With the certificate, you can also register your turkey with the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Washington state chapter to receive an official First Turkey pin. Both are great ways to commemorate your first harvest. 

Man in wheelchair turkey hunting

Reporting your harvest

Mandatory hunter harvest reporting allows the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to better manage game species throughout the state and set permit levels for upcoming seasons. This in turn allows for more hunting opportunities.

For more information, visit the hunting reporting webpage. 

Head to for info on hunting, angling, and more

WDFW has rolled out a promotional website for all things hunting, angling, foraging, recreating, and more. At, you’ll find informative how-to articles on the season’s major fishing and hunting opportunities, as well as a portal to online license sales and a regular update on WDFW’s latest Life Outdoors articles.

Each quarter, new fishing and hunting highlights are posted to help you get ready and take part in Washington’s current and upcoming opportunities. Dedicated to current agency promotions, outdoor recreation information, and educational content, preps you to meet with success in the field and on the water.

Hoof disease in elk 

As many hunters know, Treponeme-Associated Hoof Disease (TAHD) has spread among elk in Western Washington in recent years, including in the North Cascades Elk Herd. While elk are susceptible to many conditions that cause limping or hoof deformities, the prevalence and severity of this new affliction – now known as treponeme-associated hoof disease (TAHD) – suggests something different. 

In 2021, WDFW implemented an incentive-based pilot program to encourage Western Washington (400, 500, 600 series GMUs) hunters to harvest limping elk, potentially reducing prevalence of the disease over time. General season or permit hunters can choose to participate in the program by submitting elk hooves at one of the many collection sites in western Washington. 

See the WDFW website for the locations of collection sites. Hunters that submit hooves with signs of TAHD (for example, abnormal hooves) will be automatically entered into a drawing for a special incentive permit for the following license year. Multiple bull permits in western Washington with season dates of Sept. 1 – Dec. 31 will be awarded. Additionally, all participants will receive a custom, waterproof license holder. 

What hunters can do to help: 

Elk cow and calves
Da Kuehn
  • Harvest a limping elk from any 400, 500, 600 series GMUs 

  • Turn in your elk hooves along with complete registration forms at one of several collection sites in western Washington 

  • Report elk: Hunters can help WDFW track TAHD by reporting observations of both affected and unaffected elk on the department’s online reporting form. 

  • Clean shoes and tires: Anyone who hikes or drives off-road in a known affected area can help minimize the risk of spreading the disease to new areas by removing all mud from their shoes and tires before leaving the area. 

Wildlife watching and recreation

Searching for places to watch wildlife or recreate on State Wildlife Areas or WDFW Water Access Areas? Visit our Places to Go webpage, Wildlife Area map or Water Access Area webpage for ideas.

June is Pride Month, and you can catch our team at several events to celebrate. We will be tabling the Refuge Day event on June 10, the PRIDE celebration at Northwest Trek on June 24-25, and sponsoring the Capital City PRIDE festival in Olympia on July 1. Get more information events WDFW will be attending on our event calendar. We hope to see you there!  


A child watches wildlife with binoculars.
Photo courtesy Jason Wettstein

The outdoors fits into everyone’s life in unique and personal ways. We want to help people connect with nature wherever they are. Check out our Life Outdoors resources to plan your next adventure, whether it be birding in your neighborhood, or camping across the state. We hope to see you in the field and on the water enjoying the Life Outdoors! 

Applications open for Watchable Wildlife Grant Program

In 2021, WDFW created the Washington Watchable Wildlife Grant Program to support wildlife viewing opportunities and foster appreciation and stewardship of wildlife. This includes exploring habitat in person or online to better understand wildlife. Funds to support the Washington Watchable Wildlife Grant come from the Wild on Washington: Eagle license plate — one of WDFW’s specialized license plates.

The 2023 grant application period is open through June 11; submit your application online! Watchable wildlife or wildlife viewing is a recreational activity of observing animals or signs of animals in their habitats (e.g. tracks, nests, scat).

Visit our wildlife viewing webpage for more information and tips on wildlife watching! 

Bears emerge hungry

Bears are becoming active, drawn out of their dens by the looming spring-like weather. As always, their first thought will be to find food. Females with new cubs will be particularly hungry and may be attracted to human-provided sources of food such as compost, bird feeders, garbage cans, and fruit trees. 

To avoid attracting bears, secure garbage cans in a shed or fenced area, and keep meat scraps in the freezer until shortly before garbage cans are picked up or hauled away. 

Get more tips in our new blog post, Keep bears wild by cleaning up backyard attractants. Or learn more at and in our new video, below.

Tips for living with coyotes

Coyotes (Canis latrans) are present across nearly all of Washington state, from the shrubsteppe to the alpine, as well as urban and suburban areas. They are common in many larger, wooded green spaces and parks within cities including Seattle.

You may hear coyotes more frequently than you see them, especially when they have pups. Juvenile coyotes are often heard in summer, trying out their voices. Coyote sightings often increase in winter when they are more active, or in late-winter and spring when they may have dens and pups to care for.

Urban coyotes are a good reminder to keep a close eye on children and small pets or to keep them inside if unsupervised. Visit our coyote webpage or keep reading for tips to avoid conflicts with coyotes. Or learn more in this recent blog post

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

Conserving species and habitats

Looking for more info on wildlife conservation and species management around Washington? Check out our Bi-Weekly Wildlife Program reports on this webpage.

Close up of a lynx crouched on the ground and looking into the camera
A Canada lynx, a threatened species in Washington. Kent Miller - National Park Service

Fish and Wildlife Commission seeks public input on draft Conservation Policy

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission opened a public comment period on its draft Conservation Policy through June 30, 2023. The full draft policy is available on WDFW’s website and in our April news release.

To comment on the full policy, you can email, use this webpage, or leave a voicemail message at 855–925–2801 and enter project code 4262.

El enlace para la política completa está disponible en el sitio web de WDFW.

Wild Washington Youth Education: World Environment Day #BeatPlasticPollution 

World Environment Day

Did you know that an estimated 19-23 million tons of plastic end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans throughout the world each year? Unfortunately, this plastic pollution commonly gets eaten by or entangles wildlife. Additionally, when plastic breaks down its toxic chemicals pollute our habitats. With summer break and historically moderate temperatures, June is a great time to teach and model conservation stewardship with the learners in your life. For those still in the classroom, check out the #CleanSeas Plastic Challenge with classroom activities to help you reduce and reuse single-use plastics. For families out of the classroom, check out our family educational resources on plastic pollution. You can also search for community clean-ups and volunteer opportunities. Together, we can #BeatPlasticPollution and help our state’s fish and wildlife. 

Learn more on our Wild Washington youth education program webpage!

First grade lesson unit has students explore the phenomena of wildlife lifecycles

Kristen Hartshorn

Themed around the state’s diverse flora and fauna, our Wild Washington lesson plans are designed to equip K-12 students with the knowledge, social, and emotional skills needed to think critically, and problem solve around natural resource issues. Launched just in time for spring and baby wildlife, we’re proud to showcase our new first grade lesson unit focused on common Washington wildlife lifecycles.

This integrated unit teaches English language arts through a science lens as students investigate a scenario where a community member found baby wildlife and wants to know what to do. The lesson is an open educational resource and is free for teachers and educators to adapt to their classrooms. Visit our webpage to download and learn more.

Habitat at Home: Biodiversity in our community

Bats in the night sky
Photo courtesy Clement Falize

What’s better than watching the sunset on a warm summer evening? Counting bats for community science … while watching the sunset on a warm summer evening!  

This year, WDFW is partnering with Woodland Park Zoo and Bats Northwest to bring the Bat Activity Trends community science program to everyone in Washington. Bats are amazing pest control and an important part of our habitats, but we need your help to learn more about where bats are active in our state. 

o get involved, go outside in June, July or August and watch the skies for 30 minutes, starting right after sunset. Count each bat you see as it passes by, record the total number after 30 minutes, and submit the number to us online. That’s all it takes to make a difference in bat conservation!  

All the resources you need to participate are available online. This activity is open to all ages. We have online trainings available on You Tube, or you can attend our free Q&A session on Tuesday, June 6. We hope you’ll take part! 

Visit our Habitat at Home webpage to see how you can provide habitat for wildlife, anywhere you live, work, and play.

Learn how to identify and report European green crabs 

As we head into warmer weather, European green crabs (EGC) get more active just like many Washingtonians! These invasive

European green crab identification graphic 2023

shore crabs threaten Washington’s environment, coastal economies, and tribal and cultural resources. EGC can eat dozens of baby clams per day as well as digging up eelgrass and harming estuary habitats. Help us control invasive EGC by looking out for them whenever you are on the beach or in shallow coastal waters! Learn how to identify and report EGC at:

If reports are verified as European green crabs, our staff will follow up with trapping and monitoring. Hint: these invasive crabs 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 EGC are small, only getting up to four inches across when fully grown. 

WDFW and allies including Native American tribes and shellfish growers are preparing for a busy season of trapping for EGC. EGC 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. They are not likely to be caught in deep water, but may be found by beachgoers, waders, clam and oyster harvesters, or those crabbing off docks or piers in shallow areas. 

Please photograph and report any suspected EGC to WDFW. Regular updates and more information are also available on the European green crab species page. Or sign-up for our green crab management email list

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 fish hatchery specialists to environmental engineers and budget analysts to wildlife biologists, a career with WDFW makes a difference. 

Event calendar

Types of events

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

Meet your Regional Director - Brendan Brokes

Brendan Brokes, Region 4 Director
Brendan Brokes, Region 4 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.