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May 2018
Region 4: North Puget Sound
(Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties)
Man holds up rainbow trout he caught at lowland lake.
Photo credit: James Belinski

Catch a fish – Win a prize: The third annual statewide trout fishing derby kicked off April 28 and runs through Oct. 31. All you need to participate is a valid 2018-19 fishing license! More than 1,000 tagged fish are stocked in lakes around the state. For a list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes, visit the derby website

Try the ‘Fish Washington’ mobile app: Whether you are an experienced angler or just getting started, the “Fish Washington” mobile app should be on your phone. The free mobile app conveys up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream, and marine area in the state. The app does not yet include information on shellfish and seaweed collection rules. Download the app from Google Play or Apple’s App store.

Beware of cold water: During spring, the air warms but Washington’s waterways are still below 60 degrees – cold enough to cause an involuntary gasp and kill even strong swimmers in less than one minute. Before you head out on the water, make sure you are properly equipped with life jackets and other safety gear.

Catch spot shrimp: The popular spot shrimp season opens May 5 in Puget Sound. Visit WDFW’s Recreational Shrimp Fishing page for Marine Area spot shrimp schedules. 
The limit is 80 spot shrimp per day in all areas of Puget Sound.

Hook a halibut: Several areas of Puget Sound will open for halibut in May. For marine areas 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, the halibut fishery will be open May 11, 13, 25, and 27. Depending on available quota, areas will re-open to halibut fishing June 7, 9, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30.
There is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction.

Reel in some bass: May also provides good fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass across western Washington as waters warm and adult fish prepare to spawn. Look for bass around grass lines, docks, pilings and rock piles. On larger lakes, look for shallow embayments and shorelines with a southern exposure that will warm quicker than the main lake.

Learn about salmon seasons: Details on all recreational salmon fisheries for the 2018 seasons will be provided in the 2018-19 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which will be available in late June. To learn about notable changes to this year’s Puget Sound sport salmon fisheries, visit our salmon-season setting webpage.

Take a kid fishing: A variety of youth fishing events are scheduled in May across the state. Visit the WDFW youth fishing calendar to find local family-friendly opportunities to introduce kids to fishing.

A young hunter smiles holding a turkey he harvested
Photo credit: Sally McKerney

Hunt for wild turkey: The spring wild turkey season continues through May 31 around the state. For more information, see the Wild Turkey Spring Season pamphlet. For tips and techniques, check out our booklet on Turkey Hunting in Washington.

Apply for special hunting permits: Hunters have through May 23 to apply for special hunting permits for fall deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and turkey seasons. Special permits allow hunters to hunt at times and places beyond those allowed by a general hunting license.

How to apply:

  1. Purchase an application and hunting license online or at a license vendor.
  2. Submit the application with your preferred hunt choices online or by calling 1-877-949-3492.
  3. Permit winners will be selected through a random drawing in June. Results will be available online and winners will also be notified by mail or email by mid-July. 

Most special hunting permit applications cost $7.10 for residents, $110.50 for non-residents, and $3.80 for youth under 16. Applications for mountain goat, bighorn sheep, moose, and “quality” categories for deer and elk cost $13.70.

Bumble bee on a hydrangea
Photo credit: Timothy DeHan

Attend the Backyard Wildlife Festival: Learn about wildlife close to home and join us at the annual Backyard Wildlife Festival in Tukwila. This free event will take place May 12 at the Tukwila Community Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the festival website

Put bumble bees on the map: Join forces with conservation and science partners from across the Pacific Northwest to collect information and create the first-ever bumble bee atlas for the region. Data collected from this project will help us more effectively enact conservation measures that will benefit these important native pollinators. To get started, visit the PNW Bumble Bee Atlas website.

Celebrate World Migratory Bird Day: The second Saturday in May is World Migratory Bird Day. This year’s celebration theme is “Year of the Bird.” The 2018 theme highlights the urgent need to conserve migratory birds and their habitats. Learn how you can get involved on the Migratory Bird Day website.

Meet other Puget Sound birders: The Seattle Audubon Society offers a variety of bird walks for beginner and experienced birders. Families and non-members are always welcome to attend. If you need to borrow a pair of binoculars, you can request them at the Seattle Audubon Nature Shop a week in advance.

Bird walk locations include the Snoqualmie Wildlife Area, Washington Park Arboretum, and Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island. For more information, visit the event calendar page on their website.

Leave wild babies in the wild: It’s that time of year when you may see young wildlife as you enjoy the outdoors. Remember to leave those wild babies in the wild – even when they might appear to be orphaned or abandoned. More often than not, just leaving a young animal alone affords it the best chance for survival. More information is available on our Living with Wildlife webpages.

Avoid wildlife conflicts:  Wild animals reproducing this month can become a nuisance if they take up residence under a porch, in a crawl space, or in a garage or attic. Skunks and raccoons are among the most common in this region, but bats, squirrels and woodpeckers can become problems, too. Sealing up spaces where these animals try to nest or den is the first step to avoid nuisance situations.  Learn more about Preventing Conflicts With Wildlife

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