Outdoors News Round-Up

The Washington Outdoors Report

A Washington State gray wolf from the Teanaway Pack – Courtesy WDFW
Wolf news, trout fishing, an update on razor clam closures and news from our state parks makes for an interesting round-up of outdoors news in Washington this week.
 
WOLVES: On Oct. 29 the U.S. Department of the Interior declared victory on the effort to recover Canadian gray wolves in the lower 48 states and removed them from the federal endangered species list. Nearly exterminated by the mid-20th century, there are now some 6,000 wolves distributed across states surrounding the Great Lakes, the Rocky Mountain West and the Pacific Northwest. The move puts management of wolves in the hands of individual states and while some conservation groups like the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Boone and Crockett Club have come out in support of this, a number of environmental organizations are (pun intended) howling mad and lawsuits are already being filed to keep federal endangered species protections in place for these animals.
 
In Washington State there are at least 145 wolves in 26 packs, the majority of them located east of the Cascades and the highest density of them found in Northeast Washington. Asked about the implications of this federal delisting, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Staci Lehman replied that wolves remain protected in Washington (as a state endangered species) so there will be no major changes right away. Lehman went on to say,” Our focus will stay the same – to continue recovery efforts of wolves statewide and to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock.”
 
TROUT: With salmon opportunities waning in Eastern Washington, it’s a good time to turn back to trout fishing and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is stocking several lakes around the state with catchable sized rainbow trout. East of the Cascades, Rowland Lake in Klickitat County will be stocked with a healthy number of jumbo-sized trout. In Chelan County, Fish Lake and Roses Lake were stocked at the end of October with catchable rainbows. In Douglas County, Putters Pond in Rock Island and Jameson Lake were stocked with some 5,000 trout each. In Okanogan County, Alta, Pearrygin, Rat and Patterson Lakes were also stocked at the end of October with several thousand rainbow trout each. Finally, in Grant County, Potholes Reservoir was stocked with 3,000 rainbows and Windmill Lake with 1500 in mid-October. There were no trout plants in Ferry or Stevens Counties in October and none scheduled for November. However, Lake Roosevelt historically provides excellent rainbow trout fishing in the fall. 
 
RAZOR CLAMS – PART 2: Razor clam digs scheduled for Nov. 13 through 19 have been cancelled not due to Covid-19 concerns but due to high levels of a marine toxin called domoic acid that makes them unsafe to eat. This toxin has now been found in clams on all four of Washington’s razor clam beaches from the Olympic Peninsula to Long Beach. Larry Phillips, the Coastal Region Director for WDFW, says, “It is entirely possible that we will see higher than safe levels, even into December.”
 
STATE PARK FREE DAYS AND A FAREWELL: If you are looking to visit one of Washington’s State Parks on the cheap, you can do so for free two days this month. Veteran’s Day (Nov. 11) and Black Friday (Nov. 27) are both days where no Discover Pass is needed for a day visit to any of Washington’s 100 open State Parks. Having said that, if you are looking to increase your visits to our state park system in 2021 ask for a Discover Pass for Christmas. For $35 you can visit any of our parks any day you want to as well as our Department of Fish and Wildlife Areas and access sites. 
 
In other news from Washington State Parks, longtime Director Don Hoch will be retiring on March 2, 2021. Hoch has worked for Washington State Parks since 2004 and has been the Director of the agency for the last ten years. This well-respected leader plans to move to Georgia to spend more time with his family. A search for a new director will begin this month.
 

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