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Welcome back outdoors

It’s a bit faster, but caution always… For the very latest info on opening our outdoors, continue checking DFW’s wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates or coronavirus.wa.gov.

Your input needed

DFW has released a draft 25-year strategic plan designed to build connections with communities and partners to improve fish, wildlife and habitat — very important in this time of growing human population, changing climate, and shifting public expectations. Your thoughts are needed. See the draft plan and give feedback at wdfw.wa.gov/about/administration/strategic-planning. Soon.

Anticipating a July 4 weekend

No fireworks of any kind on any DFW managed wildlife area or water site or other ground.

DNR and other agencies, with very few exceptions, have fire rules in place on the publicly-managed ground in Washington. Find all the latest closures, opportunities and other news at www.dnr.wa.gov. Report any vandalism, illegal dumping or other problematic behavior to 800-562-6010. (Take note of license plate numbers and descriptions of any vehicles involved.)

Display your Discover Pass.

Kids outdoor camps are still on

KEEN is registering the Pond to Pines Summer Camps (K through grade 6) which run from June 29 to July 31. Each week is a different theme, and the info for all camps is at www.ycic.org.

Bear awareness

Black bears are plentiful across the state, and are quite active now. Be sure to dispose of camping trash in bear-proof containers (or pack it home). Keep meat and food in your vehicle or find a way to get it ten feet up a tree, and four feet from the trunk. Food — and food odors — should never be in your tent.

It is tick time, too. Use insect repellent around cuffs tucked into or tied to boots. Deet is known to be very effective, but follow “kid” instructions very carefully.

Fishing

DFW Trout Derby is now full on. Check it out at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/contests/trout-derby.

Father’s Day fish are still swimming around in your favorite fishing hole. Hundreds of fat fish were dropped around Paradise. Check out www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington.

Get free reports, maps and plenty of info about fishing at www.northwestfishingreports.com.

Get the free “Fish Washington” app (wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/mobile_app.html).

Soon and in fall several Columbia River reaches will open for various adult salmon, and likely good fishing awaits. Check your new fishing pamphlet and the DFW web page.

Channel cats and bass have been biting on the Lower Yakima. Remember that DFW suggests limiting catfish to a meal a week because of the probability of chemical contamination.

Yellow perch and walleye are still hot in Moses Lake (five to 25 feet of water).

Ocean fishing is finally on again, with specials at several charter outfits. Fishers can take salmon finally. Check out fishing info for Westport and Ilwaco at 800-345-6223 or at www.funbeach.com, www.westportcam.com, www.oceansportfishing.com or www.pacificsalmoncharters.com.

Wildlife and family fun

Thanks to these warm, sunny days, butterfly watching has been rewarding. Hundreds of species visit asters, fleabanes, daisies, thistles, dogbanes, buckwheats, penstemons, wild cherries, mints, milkweed and lilacs. Watch the purples, whites and yellows, particularly. Stake out wet sand, gravel and mud on hot days in our alpine meadows, or make an attracting wet spot of your own. Robert Pyle’s “The Butterflies of Cascadia” is a great guide for the whole family, and you may find great use for the “Audubon Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest” also.

Recent reports indicate that a fair variety of species have been in riparian areas down the Canyon, along the Yakima.

The WildWatchCams are now showing eagles, bats, bluebirds, seals and more. The fun grows as the little critters get bigger and bigger. Google “wildlife baby cameras.” For even more action, see Audubon’s explore.org/live-cams/player/osprey-nest.

Hunting and shooting

Permit drawing results are available. (You did draw a special hunt permit, right?) Find out for sure at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/#/login. Permits will be out in July.

Reminder: target shooting along Durr Road is allowed only between sunrise and 10 a.m.

Hunter safety training

Trevin Roletto’s next class in Cle Elum starts Monday, July 20. Register on DFW’s web page.

Long weekends ahead. Teach kids to safely handle the tools of camping and cooking. Since wildfire danger is so high this summer, save your fireworks for a great New Year’s celebration and go play with the professionals; they have a fire department standing by. Happy summer.

— JH

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