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February 2019
Region 6: South Sound/Olympic Peninsula
(Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Thurston and Pacific counties)
A crowd of Washington razor clammers on a winter beach.
A crowd of Washington razor clammers on a winter beach. Photo by Dan Ayres

Razor clams: State shellfish managers have approved a dig Feb. 15-21 on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:

  • Feb. 15, Friday; 3:11 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Feb. 16, Saturday; 4:08 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch
  • Feb. 17, Sunday; 4:59 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Feb. 18, Monday; 5:46 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Feb. 19, Tuesday; 6:31 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 20, Wednesday; 7:14 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Feb. 21, Thursday; 7:56 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors

Under state law, diggers can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger's clams must be kept in a separate container.
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2018-19 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available online and from license vendors around the state.
For updates on upcoming openings, see WDFW's razor clam website.

Puget Sound Salmon:  Anglers will get the chance to fish for salmon this winter along the Strait of Juan de Fuca with openings in two marine areas this month.

Marine Area 6 (east Juan de Fuca Strait) opens Feb. 1 while Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) opens Feb. 16. In both areas, anglers have a daily limit of two fish but must release wild coho and wild chinook.

Salmon fishing continues in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) where anglers can keep one hatchery chinook as part of a two-salmon daily limit but must release coho and wild chinook.  

Anglers are reminded that Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) closed to fishing Jan. 20.

In marine areas 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island), 12 (Hood Canal) and 13 (south Sound), anglers have a two-salmon limit but must release wild chinook. In area 13, anglers must also release wild coho.

Anglers can check creel reports for information on catch and effort in Puget Sound. Recreational fishery samplers with WDFW collect the information each week at fishing access sites throughout the Sound.

Steelhead: The run of hatchery steelhead is winding down in the northern rivers, but anglers can still find late-run hatchery steelhead to the south in the Skookumchuck, Satsop, Wynoochee and mainstem Chehalis rivers. As the numbers of wild steelhead build in the coming months, anglers are reminded to release all steelhead with intact adipose fins.

Squid: Winter is prime time to jig for squid in Puget Sound. Good spots include the Des Moines pier, Edmonds pier, Point Defiance and Les Davis piers in Tacoma, and the Illahee State Park, Waterman and Indianola piers in Kitsap County. More information is available on the department’s squid fishing webpage. Information on fishing piers is available here.

Trout: Another option is to head to a local lake and hook some trout. Best bets include American Lake in Pierce County; Saint Clair and Black lakes in Thurston County; Leland Lake in Jefferson County; Kitsap Lake in Kitsap County; and Spencer Lake in Mason County. Before heading out, anglers should check WDFW’s sportfishing regulations pamphlet for details.

Spring bear foraging in forest meadow.
Spring bear foraging in forest meadow.

Spring bear permit: Hunters may purchase and submit applications for a 2019 spring black bear hunting permit through Feb. 28. Applicants will have the opportunity to be drawn for one of 272 permits in western Washington and 509 permits for hunts east of the Cascade Range. To apply for a permit, hunters must purchase a special permit application and a 2019 hunting license that includes bear as a species option. Hunting licenses, bear transport tags, and bear permit applications may be purchased online, by phone (866-246-9453), or at any license vendor in the state.

Black bear permit applications cost $7.10 for residents, $110.50 for non-residents, and $3.80 for youth under 16 years of age. Hunters selected for GMUs 101, 105, 108, 111, 117, and 418 will be required to successfully complete the WDFW Bear ID test or have proof or successful completion of another state wildlife agency bear ID test. Hunters can access the Bear ID test via  the WILD system

Applicants with an email in their WILD profile will be notified via email once the drawing has been completed. Permit winners will receive notification in the mail no later than March 31. Applicants may also check the results of the drawing by accessing their WILD account on the WDFW licensing website.

Finches perched on sunflower stalk in snow
Finches perched on sunflower stalk in snow. Photo by Jim Cummins.

Great Backyard Bird Count: Have 15 minutes to spare for bird science? That’s virtually all it takes to contribute to the Great Backyard Bird Count, an annual survey of birds sighted over a four-day period. This year’s bird count is scheduled Feb.15-18, when birders of all levels of experience are invited to count the number of birds they see in a 15-minute period and enter their tallies, by species, on the bird count website. Participants can conduct their counts in their own backyards, in neighborhood parks or anywhere they choose.

Snowshoeing:  Look for wildlife on a ranger-guided snowshoe walk at Mount Rainier National Park. The walks will resume when Paradise reopens following the partial federal government shutdown. Guided walks at Paradise are offered on weekends and holidays through March.

Rangers at Olympic National Park also are offering guided snowshoe walks at Hurricane Ridge on weekends and some holidays through March 31. The walks last about 90 minutes. The cost is $7 for adults, $3 for youth 6-15 years old, and free for children 5 years old and under.  A signup sheet is available at Hurricane Ridge about 30 minutes prior to the 2 p.m. walks. Check out the park's winter newspaper for more information.

Winter Speaker Series: Olympic National Park continues its speaker series Feb. 12 with a discussion about changes at park beaches and sea level change along the coast. The monthly talk, which is open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 South Peabody St., Port Angeles.

Discovery Speaker Series: The series continues Feb. 21 with a talk about whales. The series is sponsored by the South Sound Estuary Association. Events are held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at LOTT’s Wet Science Center, 500 Adams NE, Olympia.

Region One: Eastern Washington Region Two: North Central Washington Region Four: North Puget Sound Region Six: South Sound/Olympic Peninsula Region Five: Southwest Washington Region Three: South Central Washington