Ring in the new decade with First Day hikes, waterfowl, and winter wildlife

Photo Credit: Courtesy of WDFW

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

For Washingtonians, the start of the new year is a great time to hunt for waterfowl, fish for sturgeon, and enjoy the annual spectacle of bald eagles, snow geese, elk, bighorn sheep, and other wintering wildlife.

Be prepared for winter weather this January – it's essential for any outdoor activity. Check the weather conditions, river conditions and road conditions – and let people know where you're going before heading out.

Those hardy souls that do head outdoors this month can enjoy:

  • Waterfowl hunting: Winter storms are good news – up to a point – for waterfowl hunters, who welcome the surge of ducks and geese that comes with wet, blustery weather. The waterfowl season runs through Jan. 26 in most areas.
  • Blackmouth salmon: Salmon fishing will open in some Puget Sound marine areas in January for blackmouth (Chinook) salmon.
  • Sturgeon: Sturgeon opens for retention fishing on the three pools of the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to McNary Dam.
  • Puget Sound squid: Winter is a great time to jig for squid! Squid fishing is a fun group activity that is easy to learn and doesn't require a boat.
  • Bird watching: Now is a great time to see congregations of wintering birds, from snow geese in the Skagit Valley to bald eagles along the Snake River.

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