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  More to do Outside!
 
 

July 2018
Region 2: Northcentral Washington
(Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties)
Columbia River sockeye salmon fishing near Brewster
Columbia River sockeye salmon fishing near Brewster
Photo credit: Rich Landers

Salmon: Salmon fishing season opens July 1 on most areas of the upper Columbia River from Priest Rapids Dam to Chief Joseph Dam. The exception is the section of the river from Wells Dam to the Hwy. 173 bridge at Brewster, where the fishery gets underway July 16.

With sockeye salmon returning in higher numbers than expected, state fishery managers recently added sockeye to the daily bag limit. As outlined in a Fishing Rule Change notice, anglers fishing upriver from Priest Rapids Dam can retain up to two hatchery chinook, plus two adult sockeye per day.

The total daily limit is six fish, including jack salmon. All salmon other than hatchery chinook and sockeye must be released. Additional information about the fishery is available in the Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet.

Warmwater fish: Walleye fishing is usually excellent during the month of July at Banks Lake, the large reservoir that stretches from Coulee City to Electric City in Grant County. Anglers there should also be able to catch smallmouth bass and a few black crappie.  

Anglers can also catch smallmouth and largemouth bass – plus some yellow perch, bluegill, and crappie – in Moses Lake, Evergreen Reservoir, and Potholes Reservoir in Grant County; Cow Lake in Adams County; Palmer and Whitestone lakes in Okanogan County; and Roses, Wapato and Dry lakes in Chelan County.

High mountain trout lakes: Most high elevation or alpine trout lakes are accessible this month for fishing-rod-packing hikers. Almost 200 small lakes, ranging from about 3,000 to 8,000 feet in elevation, lie within Chelan County and Okanogan County on public land, including the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, North Cascades National Park, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and Colockum Wildlife Area.

Safety and fire restrictions: WDFW staff remind anglers that even during the heat of July, always wear life jackets when out on the water. Although water levels are dropping as summer advances, water temperatures may remain cool enough in many places for accidental or intentional slips into the water to be numbing.

Keep the Fourth-of-July fireworks at home since they’re prohibited year-round on all WDFW water access sites and wildlife areas statewide.

To further prevent wildfires, additional fire restrictions  have been in effect since June 30 on all WDFW eastern Washington wildlife areas and water access sites. That means no fires, including campfires, of any kind; no smoking outside of vehicles; no use of chainsaws or welding equipment; and no operating motor vehicles of any kind off of developed roads and parking lots. 

Hunter Education instructor helping young boy at target practice.
Hunter Education

Hunter Education courses: Avoid the autumn rush and sign up now for a hunter education class. All hunters born after January 1, 1972 must complete a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license. WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education training requirement.

The traditional classroom experience includes practical exercises and live-firing activities taught by certified volunteer instructors. The online class offers the same classroom content, but on the student's schedule. An in-person Field Evaluation Course is required with the online class for students to demonstrate what they have learned.

Female Mt. goat with young kid in rocky mountain country
Keep your eyes open for mountain goats when hiking the high country.
Photo credit: Doug Kuehn

Wild babies: Young wildlife of all species are out and about now, some more visible than others, all in need of people leaving them alone and enjoying them from a distance.

WDFW waterfowl specialist Matt Wilson says ducklings are on display from city park ponds to river shoreline areas. “Give them lots of space and keep dogs on leashes,” he said. “Sometimes hens will stash ducklings in protected areas to distract predators – human or dog – then return to gather the ducklings later. Just because you don’t see the mother duck doesn’t mean ducklings need to be rescued. Give them space when out on or near waterways.”

This year’s mule deer fawns also visible throughout the region, especially at dawn and dusk when air temperatures are cooler. The Methow Wildlife Area in Okanogan County’s Methow Valley is one of the best places to see fawns, as well as bucks sporting velvet antlers.

Mountain goats: July is usually a good time to see mountain goats at salt licks along the Hart’s Pass Road northwest of Mazama in Okanogan County’s Methow Valley. Goats are also viewable in North Cascades National Park, and in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, especially in the Alpine Lakes, Lake Chelan-Sawtooth, and Pasayten wilderness areas.

WDFW biologists will be surveying goats from a helicopter July 5-6 over the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.

Although typically shy and retiring, mountain goats craving salt may approach humans and can become potentially dangerous. Learn more about safely viewing mountains goats at WDFW’s “Living with Mountain Goats” webpage.

Birds: Bird watching is good throughout the region this month, with dozens of migrant species breeding, nesting, and rearing young now. 

Many birders visiting the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area in Okanogan County are finding a variety of species in the riparian or streamside areas of Sinlahekin Creek and other waterways. Nashville and yellow warblers and alder flycatchers have been spotted near Reflection Pond. Lazuli buntings, gray catbirds, common yellowthroats, and yellow-breasted chats have been heard or seen along Sinlahekin Creek. Many other species are possibilities, as noted in the Sinlahekin bird check list.

Butterflies: More than 70 species of butterflies are commonly seen in July on the Sinlahekin Wildlife Area and other places in Okanogan County. 

The Monarch – the quintessential but now potentially of population concern butterfly species – is usually only spotted this month and next. Watch also for lots of species of parnassians, swallowtails, whites, sulphurs, coppers, hairstreaks, blues, fritillaries, checkerspots, crescents, nymphs, satyrs, and skippers. For more information see the Sinlahekin butterfly guide.

Other wildlife: Keep your eyes and ears open for other wildlife enjoying summertime weather.  Pacific tree frogs, painted turtles, and racer, garter and gopher snakes are common throughout the region.

Rattlesnakes are also abundant throughout the region and should be avoided. Hikers are encouraged to stay on well-used, open trails where snakes warming themselves during early morning hours can be more easily seen. In brushy areas, use a walking stick to alert a snake of your approach and wear over-the-ankle boots and loose-fitting long pants. More information is available on WDFW’s “Living with Snakes” webpage.

Safety and fire restrictions: This year’s abundance of water has produced an abundance of mosquitoes. Ticks are still out, too. Bring the bug spray along on your wildlife viewing trips.

Keep the Fourth-of-July fireworks at home since they’re prohibited year-round on all WDFW water access sites and wildlife areas statewide.

To further prevent wildfires, additional fire restrictions have been in effect since June 30 on all WDFW eastern Washington wildlife areas and water access sites. That means no fires, including campfires, of any kind; no smoking outside of vehicles; no use of chainsaws or welding equipment; and no operating motor vehicles of any kind off of developed roads and parking lots. 

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