No need to wait until spring to catch fish, observe wildlife

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, blackmouth salmon, rainbow trout, razor clams, sports shows, Great Backyard Bird Count, 2017-18 hunting seasons

Temperatures are warming, birds are singing and the lower Columbia River will soon be teeming with spring chinook salmon.

Spring is still a ways off, but February offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

State fishery managers expect a return of 160,400 upriver adult spring chinook to return to the Columbia River this year, 80 percent of the 10-year average. The fishery is open now below the Interstate 5 Bridge, but it usually doesn’t catch fire until March.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, blackmouth salmon, rainbow trout, razor clams, sports shows, Great Backyard Bird Count, 2017-18 hunting seasons
The Great Backyard Bird Count will give area birders of all levels of experience the opportunity to count the number of birds, such as the sparrow shown here, they see in a 15-minute period and enter their tallies online. Photo by Mike Schultz

Meanwhile, there are several other great fisheries and outdoor events available this month including:

  • Blackmouth salmon: Several marine areas of Puget Sound are open to fishing for blackmouth chinook salmon.
  • Rainbow trout: Anglers fishing Lake Roosevelt in northeast Washington have been reeling in some nice rainbow trout. Anglers also are doing well at many other lakes open to trout fishing.
  • Sport shows: A trio of sportsmen’s shows is scheduled in the coming weeks, including the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show, Feb. 8-12 in Portland; the Central Washington Sportsmen Show, Feb. 17-19 in Yakima; and the Wenatchee Valley Sportsmen Show, Feb. 24-26 in Wenatchee. WDFW will have booths at all three events.
  • Great Backyard Bird Count: 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, online at http://gbbc.birdcount.org/. Participants can conduct their count Feb. 17-20 in their own backyards, in neighborhood parks or anywhere they choose.

For more information about these and other opportunities to enjoy Washington’s great outdoors, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide current information about recreational opportunities around the state.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, blackmouth salmon, rainbow trout, razor clams, sports shows, Great Backyard Bird Count, 2017-18 hunting seasons
After counting birds during a 15-minute period, such as this Common Yellowthroat, area birders can enter their findings online at http://gbbc.birdcount.org/ Photo by Mike Schultz

WDFW seeks comments on 2017-18 hunting seasons

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comments on proposed recommendations for the 2017-18 hunting seasons.

Through Feb. 22, WDFW will accept written comments from the public to help finalize hunting rules and regulations proposed for the upcoming year. The proposals and comment forms are posted on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/seasonsetting/

Most of the proposals address changes in special permit levels and hunting-area descriptions proposed since the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the state’s last three-year hunting plan in 2015.

However, one change proposed by WDFW would significantly increase the daily limit of white-fronted geese and white geese throughout the state in response to those species’ growing abundance. Another would allow the department to restore points to hunters who draw a permit for a damage hunt but are not called to participate in a hunt.

“We encourage everyone interested in the upcoming hunting seasons to check the proposed changes and send us your comments,” said Anis Aoude, WDFW game manager.

The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, will also accept public comments on the proposed recommendations at its March 17-18 meeting in Olympia. Final action by the commission is scheduled at a public meeting April 14-15 in Spokane.

We'd love to hear your comments!

About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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