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October 2018
Region 6: South Sound/Olympic Peninsula
(Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Thurston and Pacific counties)
Razor clamming at night on ocean beach.
Razor clamming at night. Photo by Dan Ayres.

Salmon and steelhead (rivers): Popular fishing spots for chum salmon include the Hoodsport Hatchery area of Hood Canal, the mouth of Kennedy Creek in Totten Inlet, and the Satsop River. The Satsop and Chehalis rivers also offer some good opportunities for coho fishing.

In Jefferson County, anglers can find chum salmon on the Dosewallips and Duckabush rivers. Those two rivers open for salmon fishing Nov. 1. In Kitsap County, anglers seeking chum-fishing opportunities should try Minter Creek.

In Pierce County, chum are returning to the Puyallup River, where anglers have a daily limit of six salmon, including up to two adults, but must release wild chinook and wild coho.

Salmon fishing also continues this month on the Quinault, Chehalis, and Humptulips rivers:

  • On the Quinault, anglers can keep six salmon, including two adult chinook or coho, but must release sockeye and chum.
  • On the Chehalis downstream of the Hwy 107 Bridge near Montesano, anglers can keep six salmon, including one adult, but must release adult chinook. Upstream of the Hwy 107 Bridge, anglers can keep six salmon, including two adults, but must release adult chinook and adult wild coho.
  • On the Humptulips, anglers can keep six salmon, including two adults but must release wild adult chinook and wild coho.

The Humptulips is open for hatchery winter steelhead fishing, which traditionally kicks into high gear around Thanksgiving. The first fish to arrive usually head for the Humptulips River, followed by runs to other area rivers.

Salmon (marine areas): November is a good month to fish for chum and hatchery chinook salmon in Puget Sound and Hood Canal.

Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) is open for salmon fishing through Nov. 15. Anglers can retain two salmon but must release chinook.

Anglers fishing in marine areas 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) and 13 (south Puget Sound) can keep two salmon but must release wild chinook in both areas and wild coho in area 13.

Meanwhile, anglers fishing Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) can keep two hatchery chinook as part of their four-salmon daily limit but must release wild chinook.

Trout: Thousands of trout are waiting to be caught in area lakes as part of the “Fall into Fishing” effort by the WDFW. Hatchery crews have already stocked Vance Creek ponds (Grays Harbor County); Leland Lake (Jefferson County); Kitsap Lake (Kitsap County); Lost Lake (Mason County); Lake Kapowsin (Pierce County); and St. Clair Lake (Thurston County).

Crab: Several Puget Sound marine areas are open for the winter crab season. Those areas include: marine areas 4 (Neah Bay, east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardiner), and 9 (Admiralty Inlet), except for waters south of a line from Olele Point to Foulweather Bluff. 

Maps and descriptions of the two sections of Marine Area 9 are on WDFW’s website.

The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. In addition, fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across. Additional information is available online.

Crabbing is open year-round in Washington’s ocean waters (marine areas 1-3 and 4 west of the Tatoosh-Bonilla line). Crabbers in these areas can use crab pots beginning Dec. 1 but may use other types of crab gear – such as ring nets – year round. Crabbers in Willapa Bay will be able to set pots two weeks earlier than usual this year, on Nov. 15, following a decision last month by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Razor clams: Diggers should have a plenty of chances to come home with clams this month, with a couple of four-day openings planned this month.

The first dig of the month has been approved by state shellfish managers after toxin tests indicated the clams are safe to eat. The dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:

  • Nov. 8, Thursday, 6:57 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 9, Friday, 7:36 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Nov. 10, Saturday, 8:15 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 11, Sunday, 8:56 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis

A second opening is tentatively planned for the following beaches, dates and low tides:

  • Nov. 22, Thursday, 5:55 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Nov. 23, Friday, 6:36 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 24, Saturday, 7:20 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 25, Sunday, 8:05 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

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 on WDFW's website and from license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches 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.

More information about razor clamming can be found on the department’s webpage.

Youth hunter with harvested ducks and his black Labrador dog.
Youth hunter with harvested ducks. Photo by Joe Rothrock .

Elk: The month begins with the modern firearm season for elk Nov. 3-14, followed by a late season for muzzleloaders and archers starting Nov. 21. Hunters looking to harvest a Roosevelt elk in District 17 (Pacific and Grays Harbor counties) often have the most luck hunting the Willapa Hills elk herd in GMUs 658, 672, 673 and 681. In District 16 (Clallam and west Jefferson counties), the highest level of elk harvest has occurred in GMUs 615, 602, 612, and 607.

Black-tailed deer: Hunters have several late-season opportunities this month, starting with modern firearms Nov. 15-18. Archery season begins Nov. 21 and the muzzleloader season opens the same day. The best opportunities to harvest black-tailed deer in the region include GMUs 663, 648, 672, and 660 in District 17 and 621, 627 and 633 in District 15 (east Jefferson, Kitsap and Mason counties).

Fall black bear: The season continues on the coast and around the Puget Sound area through Nov. 15.

Forest grouse: The statewide hunting season runs through Dec. 31. The harvest of grouse in Clallam County (District 16) rivals all other counties in south Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula. The Olympic National Forest and Skokomish Valley in District 15 also are popular grouse hunting areas.

Goose: The hunting season is open Nov. 3 through Jan. 27 for most of the region. Pacific County and the portion of Grays Harbor County west of Highway 101 (Goose Management Area 2 – Coast) is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays only Nov. 3 through Dec. 2, while the section of Grays Harbor County east of Highway 101 (Good Management Area 2 – Inland) is open Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays only Nov. 24 through Jan. 13.

Duck, snipe and coot: The season runs through Jan. 27. Some of the best hunting locations in Thurston County are near the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge as well as Henderson, Budd and Eld inlets and near Centralia in Lewis County.

In District 17 (Pacific and Grays Harbor counties), the highest concentrations of ducks are near Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor and the Chehalis and Willapa River valleys. WDFW Wildlife Areas in this district offer good waterfowl hunting opportunities.

Quail: The season is open in western Washington through Nov. 30. Locations to try in District 15 include Department of Natural Resources land parcels on the Tahuya Peninsula and the industrial timberlands between Shelton, Matlock and McCleary. Numerous walk-in opportunities are on timber company clearcuts around Mason Lake.

Pheasant: The season in western Washington runs through Nov. 30. However, several regional locations – including Fort Lewis, Scatter Creek and Skookumchuck wildlife areas – will be open for an extended season in December. In District 11 (Thurston and Pierce counties), the department will release about 2,000 pheasants at WDFW’s Skookumchuck wildlife area unit and roughly 3,900 pheasants at Scatter Creek Wildlife Area. Those releases occur on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays. Another 4,000 pheasants will be released at Joint Base Lewis-McCord. The dates of release depend on military training activities on the base.

Online resources: Hunters are encouraged to check WDFW’s hunting prospects webpage to get an area-by-area summary of what they can expect. Before heading out, hunters also should check the Big Game Hunting Pamphlet and the Waterfowl and Upland Game pamphlet for regulations.

View of Mt. Rainier from Tieton Peak.
Entrance fees also will be waived on Veterans Day for visitors to Mount Rainier National Park.

Chum salmon viewing: November is a good time to visit the Kennedy Creek Natural Area Preserve, which is located on Totten Inlet off U.S. Highway 101 between Olympia and Shelton. The creek is one of the most productive chum salmon streams in Washington. While there, visitors can find numerous species of migrating shorebirds or walk the Kennedy Creek Salmon Trail. Chum salmon and waterfowl are also abundant at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually Wildlife Refuge

Free admission: Washington State Parks is offering free admission to the parks on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, when day-use visitors will not need a Discover Pass. State Parks also is offering a pass-free day on Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving.

Entrance fees also will be waived on Veterans Day for visitors to Mount Rainier National Park.

Discovery Speaker Series: The South Sound Estuary Association is holding monthly discussions, including one in November about search and rescue in Puget Sound. The event will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Nov. 15, 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