Celebrate Ceviche Day!

Because… who doesn’t like fresh raw seafood and citrus juice….

WDFW, Washington Sea Grant promote public’s access to #LocalWASeafood

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Washington Sea Grant have teamed up to encourage all Washingtonians to celebrate Ceviche Day this Sunday, June 28, to bring awareness to the state’s abundance and variety of locally caught seafood.

Washington residents – even those who don’t fish themselves – have access year-round to some of the world’s healthiest and most sustainable seafood. The state’s commercial seafood industry, which drives a $600,000,000 yearly boost to Washington’s economy, is currently delivering Dungeness crab, Albacore tuna, rockfish, pink shrimp, and other fish and shellfish to families’ tables across the state. This comes at a time when reduced restaurant, market, and global trade demand during the COVID-19 pandemic has strained commercial fishing buyers and processors.    

“When you serve up Washington seafood harvested fresh from our coastal communities, you’re not only supporting more than 20,000 people who make up our state’s commercial fishing fleet, you’re also beginning to fully experience all that this state has to offer,” said Larry Phillips, coastal region director with WDFW. “We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the diversity of seafood that the summer season brings to the northwest than ceviche – it’s so versatile.” 

With its roots in Mexico, Central and South America, ceviche is a popular seafood dish that traditionally combines raw fish or seafood with lime juice in a simple appetizer, side, or main dish. Ceviche often varies by recipe depending on its country and regional origin. 

For the week following Ceviche Day on June 28, WDFW and Washington Sea Grant will share seafood recipes that highlight a variety of locally caught seafood products with information on how they are managed and where they can be purchased. 

“We are pleased to be partnering with WDFW in an effort to highlight the value that our local commercial fisheries bring to Washington consumers,” said W. Russell Callender, director of Washington Sea Grant. “Through sharing recipes widely and providing useful information to consumers, we hope to increase consumer understanding and access to Washington’s sustainable seafood resources.”

Need some help figuring out which of the wide variety of in-season seafood to prepare? Visit this blog post for suggested spot shrimp, tuna, geoduck, and salmon ceviche preparations from WDFW and Washington Sea Grant staff and their families: https://medium.com/@wdfw/celebrate-june-28-ceviche-day-with-local-washington-seafood-7d9678b14bf1

More information about when and where to buy locally sourced Washington seafood is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/where-to-buy-local-seafood. For more seafood recipe ideas, visit Washington Sea Grant’s News Blog: https://wsg.washington.edu/wsg-news-post/safe-sustainable-seafood/

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

Washington Sea Grant, based within the College of the Environment at the University of Washington, helps people understand and address the challenges facing Washington’s ocean and coasts through marine research, technical expertise and education. 

Marine Area 4 is Ready for Liftoff

A Press Release from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife announcing the opening of Marine Area 4. Some excellent shellfishing, and angling (if that’s your thing), can be had within the beautiful boundaries of Marine Area 4, including mussels, oysters, and numerous clam species.

Map of Marine Area 4

Saltwater recreational fishing to reopen in Marine Area 4; ocean salmon fishing dates and proposed halibut seasons announced

June 12, 2020 OLYMPIA – The waters where the Pacific Ocean meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca will reopen to saltwater fishing June 20, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today. The announcement follows similar reopenings last month along the rest of Washington’s Pacific coastline.

The Department also announced this year’s summer ocean salmon fishing seasons, which will kick off June 20 in all four coastal marine areas, and proposed dates for ocean halibut fishing beginning in August.

Marine Area 4 reopens

Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay), which includes the waters from Cape Alava on the Olympic Peninsula north to the mouth of the Sekiu River along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, will reopen to bottomfish and shellfish – including mussels, clams, and oysters – beginning  Saturday, June 20. Crabbing also reopens west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line, which runs from the Tatoosh Island Lighthouse north to Bonilla Point on Vancouver Island, but remains closed east of the line.  There are a number of additional restrictions that anglers also need to be aware of before heading out.

The Makah Reservation, including marinas and all services, remains closed to visitors. Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation represents the primary direct boat access in Marine Area 4, and as a result, those fishing in this area will have to launch from and land in other areas. Anglers fishing in Marine Area 4 will still have to follow all rules and regulations for that area, regardless of where they return with their catch.

“Anglers fishing in Marine Area 4 but returning to other coastal ports will need to make sure that they’re sticking to limits and following the rules for that area,” said Larry Phillips, coastal region director with WDFW. “That means they can’t get their limit in Marine Area 4, then head over to Marine Area 5 and continue fishing. These rules are necessary to respect local communities’ wishes and help keep people safe, while also supporting conservation and management objectives.”

La Push, located on the Quileute Reservation to the south, also remains closed to the public.

Anglers will need to continue following other state guidelines by staying close to home, traveling only with family or other members of their immediate household, and practicing physical distancing by keeping 6 feet apart. Anglers should also be sure to check ahead of time if their preferred fishing destination or launch area is open; many launches and beaches are managed under local, tribal, or federal jurisdiction, and may not be operating normally.

Summer salmon seasons

With Marine Area 4 reopening, sport anglers will also have the opportunity to reel in salmon off Washington’s coast starting Saturday, June 20.

That’s when all four marine areas open daily to fishing for Chinook salmon, said Wendy Beeghley, a fishery manager with WDFW.

The season will begin with a Chinook-only fishery with a one-salmon daily limit for all areas June 20-28. Coho may not be retained during this period. Beginning June 29, daily limits increase to two salmon per angler in all areas, and unmarked coho must be released. In areas 1 and 2, only one of those two salmon may be a Chinook. Also beginning June 29, Marine Area 2 will be open Sundays through Thursdays, and closed Fridays and Saturdays. Areas 1, 3 and 4 will remain open 7 days per week.

Willapa Bay (Area 2-1) and the portion of Grays Harbor (Area 2-2) west of the Buoy 13 line also open June 20 under the same rules as Area 2. Regulations for Areas 2-1 and 2-2 change in August, and details are listed in the Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. The 2020-21 edition of the pamphlet will be available in late June.

The recreational catch quotas for 2020 are 26,360 Chinook and 26,500 marked coho. The Chinook quota is up slightly from 2019, but the coho quota is substantially lower than 2019.

All four marine areas are scheduled to close Sept. 30, but Beeghley noted that areas could close earlier if the quota is met.

Throughout the summer, anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/creel/ocean for updates.

Potential coastal halibut fishing

Coastal halibut fishing remains closed for now, but WDFW has been working with stakeholders this spring to discuss options for re-opening ocean halibut fishing in August.

“While we realize August is still a ways out, we also want to be open with anglers who we know are eager to plan halibut trips this summer,” said Heather Hall, WDFW’s intergovernmental ocean policy coordinator. “We’ve worked hard to develop an approach that will help maximize anglers’ time on the water, bring that economic value back, and continue to keep everyone safe.”

Hall added that the delayed fishery may benefit halibut anglers and their families since ocean conditions should be better in August than when the fishery usually opens in May.

These dates are tentative and subject to change due to impacts from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

WDFW is proposing coastal halibut fishing for the following dates and areas:

North Coast (Marine Areas 3 and 4): Opens Thursday, Aug. 6. The fishery in this area will be open three days per week, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Aug. 6 through Sept. 30 or until the quota is taken.

South Coast (Marine Areas 1 and 2): Open Thursday, Aug. 6. Then, beginning Aug. 13, open two days per week, Thursdays and Sundays, through Sept. 30 or until the quota is taken. If catch and effort is tracking slower than anticipated, additional days may be added. Proposed additional dates are Friday, Aug. 28; Friday, Sept. 4; and Friday, Sept. 11.

Weekend Fun… Ideas from WDFW

Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) sent a press release reminding all outdoor enthusiasts that there’s a lot of stuff to do outside this coming weekend….

  • Trout: The statewide trout derby kicked off May 23 and continues through Oct. 31.
  • Columbia River sockeye: Sockeye fishing opens on a large portion of the Columbia River on June 16, with a 2-fish limit.
  • Puget Sound rivers: Anglers can fish for hatchery Chinook salmon in several rivers in north Puget Sound, including the Skagit, Cascade, North Fork Nooksack, and Skykomish. 
  • Bird watching: June is a great month to view birds throughout Washington, particularly at WDFW wildlife areas and other public lands.
  • Shrimp: Some marine areas in Puget Sound will open for recreational spot shrimp fishing June 11.
  • Hiking: The wildflowers are blooming and attracting a multitude of butterflies in many of our mid-elevation wildlife areas.

And don’t forget all of the clamming and oyster hunting that can be done….

Guest Editor Provides Tips for Outdoor Recreation

Safety Tips for Taking a Socially-Distant Adventure in Your Nearby Woods

By Jason Lewis

Image via Pexels

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the routines of millions of Americans upside down. One significant way it has done this is through governmental orders to stay at home. 

While abiding by social distancing guidelines is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19, being quarantined indoors for months on end can raise significant physical, mental, and emotional health concerns. In short, people need to spend time outdoors. And besides the backyard, the nearby woods is the only option for most families across the country. This means recreational activities like hiking, camping, and mountain biking are a saving grace. If you’re new to one or all of these activities, consider this advice for staying safe and enjoying your time.

Hiking 

As with the other activities listed here, it’s important to have the right equipment when you go hiking. Be sure to bring plenty of water and food, the right clothes, a compass, and a map, and research any other items you might want to bring. 

Before you head out, research the area where you will be hiking, especially if you don’t know much about local poisonous plants, wild animals, and hunting zones. Also, try to schedule your hikes during the day, look at the weather forecast, and remember to stay together, especially if you have young children. Nothing can ruin a nice, refreshing hike like losing sight of your kids.

Camping

You will need many of the same essentials for camping as you would for hiking. However, there are some camping-specific items that can make your venture safer and more enjoyable. For example, a quality headlamp can allow you to see better at night and perform tasks with both hands. With headlamps, it’s important to find one that is waterproof, bright, and comfortable to wear. It’s also important to get a reliable tent, sleeping bags, first-aid kit, and cooler. 

If your family goes camping, be sure to stay hydrated and inform yourself of any poisonous plants and potentially dangerous animals. Keep your campsite clean so that it doesn’t attract unwanted guests (e.g., bears, raccoons, etc.), and never leave a fire burning without someone there to watch it. You’ll also want to confirm local rules and regulations as many areas restrict fires at 2500 feet and above. Moreover, if you plan on using a propane stove, be sure to follow all the general safety guidelines. For example, only run the propane when you are lighting the stove, and make sure you know how the ignition switch works.

Mountain Biking

Along with getting the right kind of bikes for each family member, you want to make sure everyone has the protection they need. Depending on the age of your kids, this may mean investing in helmets, elbow/knee pads, and other protective gear. Generally speaking, adults and kids alike should always wear a helmet.

If your kids are fairly new to riding bikes, wait until they have a firm grasp on the basic skills and knowledge required. And when you do decide to take them along, ride on any trails you’re considering taking them on beforehand so that you know the terrain. This will help you determine which trails are good for your children and which ones are too difficult.

These days, venturing into your nearby wooded areas is really the only option when it comes to vacation and leisure time away from home. Consider going hiking, camping, and/or mountain biking, and do your research to make sure you have all the gear you need and that you take all the necessary safety precautions. In no time, your entire family will be experiencing the wide array of benefits that come with spending time in the great outdoors.

Jason Lewis is a personal trainer, who specializes in helping senior citizens stay fit and healthy. He is also the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created StrongWell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65.

Updated: Big News for Bivalve Hunters

Press Release from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife:

Recreational clam, mussel, and oyster fishery scheduled to open June 8 on most Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca beaches

OLYMPIA – Most beaches in Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca are scheduled to open for recreational clam, mussel, and oyster harvest on June 8, while other areas will open later in the summer as previously planned by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Opening this year has taken longer than expected due to COVID-19 related challenges and public health considerations, said Camille Speck, Puget Sound intertidal bivalve manager for WDFW.

“It took a lot of coordination, but we are happy to have found a way to work with communities and access managers to provide harvest opportunity and the enjoyment that comes from a day out on the beach,” said Speck. “We are also happy to announce some season shifts and extensions on a number of beaches to help make up for  opportunity lost during the unprecedented coronavirus closures.”

The approved dates reflect a conscious effort to offer harvest while still abiding by public health recommendations, such as keeping participants distributed, allowing physical distancing, limiting travel and discouraging overnight stays, she added.

WDFW is asking for cooperation from shellfish harvesters to reduce risk. “Patience and courtesy will be needed at public access sites,” said Speck. Because some popular parks are operating with reduced staffing and may have limitations on parking, harvesters should check for current conditions at the park they intend to visit and adhere to health authorities’ advice for physical distancing.

Clam, mussel, and oyster harvesting seasons are beach specific in Puget Sound. Harvesters are encouraged to check current seasons at wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/shellfish-beaches. In addition, water quality conditions may change quickly. All harvesters should check the Department of Health status for the site they intend to harvest the same day they plan to harvest. Harvest seasons and current health advisories and closures are available via the state’s Shellfish Safety Map at www.doh.wa.gov/shellfishsafety.

2020 Puget Sound clam, mussel, and oyster season changes and extensions. The following reflect adjustments from original 2020 seasons to make up for opportunity lost during the Stay Home, Stay Healthy-related closure:

  • Ala Spit County Park: clams, mussels, and oysters open Aug. 1-31.
  • Belfair State Park: clams, mussels, and oysters open two weeks early on July 15 and remain open through Dec. 31.
  • Dosewallips State Park: opens June 8 for clam, mussel and oyster harvest. Clams and mussels close Sept. 30. Oysters remain open through December 31.
  • Eagle Creek: opens June 8 for clam, mussel and oyster harvest. Clam and mussel seasons are extended by two weeks to close on Sept. 15. Oysters remain open through Dec. 31.
  • Frye Cove County Park: clams, mussels, and oysters open Aug. 1-31.
  • Hope Island State Park: clams, mussels, and oysters open Aug. 1-31.
  • Point Whitney Tidelands and Point Whitney Lagoon: open June 8 for clam, mussel and oyster harvest. Clams and mussels close June 30. Oysters remain open through Aug. 31.
  • Port Gamble Heritage Park Tidelands: clams, mussels, and oysters open two weeks early on July 1 and remain open through December 31.
  • Potlatch State Park and Potlatch DNR: clams, mussels, and oysters open June 8 and seasons are extended for two months to remain open through Sept. 30.
  • Sequim Bay State Park: clams, mussels, and oysters open June 8 and are extended by two weeks to close on July 15.
  • Triton Cove Tidelands: opens June 8 for clam, mussel and oyster harvest. Clam and mussel seasons are extended by two weeks to close on Sept. 15. Oysters remain open through December 31.
  • Twanoh State Park: Clams and mussels OPEN August 15, 2020 through September 30, 2020 only. Oysters open June 8 through December 31.
  • Marine Area 4 remains closed until further notice.

All other public beaches revert to the original 2020 season rules, which vary by beach and are displayed on the WDFW website and the Department of Health shellfish safety map.

In all areas of Puget Sound, harvesters are limited to the daily bag limit of up to 40 clams, not to exceed 10 pounds in the shell, and 18 oysters per person, removed from the shell on the beach and shells left at the same approximate tide height where they were harvested. Shucked oyster shells provide critical habitat for young oysters.

A valid 2020-21 combination license, shellfish license, or Fish Washington license is required to participate in the fishery.

A two page copy of current clam, mussel, and oyster seasons may be printed from the link at the top of the website page wdfw.wa.gov/places-to-go/shellfish-beaches. A printable shellfish identification chart is also available in the same website location.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

Today’s announcement does not open additional razor clam digging days on the coast.

For the latest updates on WDFW’s response to the coronavirus, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates.

To Angle, or not to Angle…

A Press Release from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife

May 28, 2020

Anglers can fish for free June 6-7, 2020 
State reminds anglers to continue to recreate responsibly this Free Fishing Weekend

OLYMPIA – Anglers can forget the fishing license June 6-7, but the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is still asking everyone to remember to recreate responsibly for this year’s “Free Fishing Weekend” to keep their communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s great to see that based on our conversations with public health officials, conditions are right to be able to continue on the department’s long-standing practice of offering a Free Fishing Weekend,” said Kelly Cunningham, WDFW’s fish program director. “This is about providing everyone an opportunity to give fishing a try—in a safe and responsible way.”

Anglers will need to follow state guidelines and health advice for the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to recreate in their local communities, traveling only with family or other members of their immediate household, and practicing physical distancing by keeping six feet apart. 

Anglers should check ahead of time if their preferred destination or launch is open. Some local marinas or facilities – including some tribal lands – remain closed, and anglers should be prepared to change plans if their first choice is closed or too congested. 

Before heading out, anglers should also check the current fishing regulations valid June 6 and 7 at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/. While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements (a fee is required for a halibut catch record card) and area closures will still be in effect. 

Halibut and razor clam harvest on the coast and intertidal shellfish in Puget Sound will remain closed due to continued port closures and concerns about the spread of coronavirus in local communities.  

While non-resident license sales are still suspended, non-residents can participate in Free Fishing Weekend since no license is needed. Anyone participating in Free Fishing Weekend should follow responsible recreation guidelines, which include staying local and fishing as close to home as possible.  

For those who want fishing advice, WDFW’s YouTube page (https://www.youtube.com/thewdfw) provides “how to” fishing videos designed to introduce techniques to both new and seasoned anglers.

Anglers who take part in Free Fishing Weekend can also participate in the department’s 2020 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem blue tags from trout caught over the weekend. Interested anglers should check for details online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/contests/trout-derby.  

Anglers will not need a two-pole endorsement to fish with two poles in selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted. Also, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at water-access sites maintained by WDFW or Washington State Parks. 

It is important to note that a Discover Pass will be required on Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ lands both days. 

In addition, the free “Fish Washington” app, available on Google Play, Apple’s App store and WDFW’s website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/app) is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state.  

Catch record cards, required for some species, are available free (except halibut will still cost $5.50) at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. See https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer. 

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities. 

Razor Clam Update

[via email from Dan Ayres, Coastal Shellfish Manager, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife] Emphasis editor’s own.

There will be no additional razor clam harvest openings until sometime in the fall of 2020. Conflicting information in local media reports and on various social media platforms has created some level of confusion.

Coastal Shellfish Manager, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Region Six

The last few days,  WDFW has been working with both Grays Harbor County and Pacific County regarding the possibility of allowing some razor clam harvest before the season ends on May 31. However, yesterday the Governor’s Office informed WDFW that because large razor clam crowds constitute a gathering under the Stay Home—Stay Healthy order. This order has been extended to May 31st, so razor clam digs and similar large gatherings are not allowed at this time.

WDFW is now focusing on a what we expect will be a great 2020-21 season and will start the field work for our summer-long razor clam population assessments very soon.

Call A Sturgeon

Editors Note: Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) are really an amazing group of folks, and this press release clearly demonstrates why. Of particular interest is the fact that the White Sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt is in great abundance as a direct result of programs initiated by WDFW.

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE  
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA 98501
https://wdfw.wa.gov/

May 19, 2020

Lake Roosevelt white sturgeon fishery

Action: Opens a harvest fishery for white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt.

Effective date: Open 7 days per week beginning June 15, 2020 until further notice.

Species affected: White Sturgeon

Location: From Grand Coulee Dam to China Bend Boat Ramp (including the Spokane River from Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400′ below Little Falls Dam, Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls Dam and the Kettle River upstream to Barstow Bridge)

Fishery Rules: Daily limit 1 sturgeon. Annual limit 2 sturgeon. It is legal to retain sturgeon between 50 inches and 63 inches fork length. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to middle of the fork in the caudal fin (tail). All harvested sturgeon must be recorded on a Catch Record Card (Catch Code 549). Two-pole fishing is allowed. Closed to night fishing. Anglers may continue to catch and release after obtaining a daily limit but must cease fishing after the annual limit has been taken. All other statewide rules for white sturgeon must be observed.

Anglers are asked to use heavy gear (50-lb. test mainline and leader at a minimum) and use 14/0 hooks or smaller to avoid catching and/or injuring large wild adult sturgeon. The request to use heavier gear will ensure anglers hook and land sturgeon effectively, but also is protective of large wild adult sturgeon that, if hooked, should be played to hand quickly and released without being removed from the water. WDFW recommends that any fish that will not be legally retained should not be removed from the water prior to release.

Reason for action: White Sturgeon hatchery programs began in 2001 in British Columbia (BC) and 2004 in Washington. Stocking ranged from 2,000-12,000 juvenile sturgeon per year from 2001 to 2010 (including both Washington and BC releases). Survival of hatchery-produced juvenile sturgeon was much higher than anticipated. As a result, there is a surplus of hatchery-origin sturgeon available for harvest from Lake Roosevelt.

Additional information: The Lake Roosevelt co-managers (WDFW, Spokane Tribe of Indians and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation) will all be conducting sturgeon fisheries. Non-tribal anglers are asked to be respectful of tribal angling, and both tribal and non-tribal sturgeon research that is occurring on the reservoir.

Anglers are reminded that fishery dates, times, slot limits, daily limits and annual limits may be adjusted over time to ensure that a sustainable population of sturgeon is maintained in Lake Roosevelt, as well as equitable access to the fishery amongst the three co-managers.

Information contact: For more information, contact Chris Donley, WDFW Region 1 Fish Program Manager (509) 892 1001 ext. 307 or Bill Baker, WDFW District 1 Fisheries Biologist (509) 563-5499.