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New 2020 fishing licenses & permits are required by next Wednesday. Get them at venders or online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.

Events still on (as of this week)

GISS (Get Intimate with the Shrub-Steppe) is still on for May 9. Booths will be at Helen McCabe State Park and field trips at Umtanum (register now, some trips fill fast); order native plants now and pick up on May 9; the 2020 Yakima Canyon Bird Fest is May 8-10; and the Pond to Pines Summer Camps (K through grade 6) registration is open. Find the latest updates and information for registration (for all of these opportunities) at www.ycic.org/.

Annual Tulip Festival starts next Wednesday and is on all month. Special tour programs will allow all visitors to observe corona virus safety precautions. There are birds aplenty, also (Fir Island Snow Goose Reserve, Johnson DeBay Swan Reserve especially). You will see raptors most anywhere. Check out www.tulipfestival.org.

DFW is hoping for days of clam digging at various beaches through the next month and a half. Digs are always set around naturally-occurring toxins. Check out proposed days and locations at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

Pheasants Forever Banquet still scheduled for May 2 at the Spring Creek Homestead in Union Gap. Proceeds support the chapter’s efforts on behalf of the “No Child Left Indoors” initiative. For more info or tickets, go to www.yakimapf311.org.

Razor Clam Festival (Fourteenth Annual) in Ocean Shores is now scheduled for May 30 and 31. Find out more on the Ocean Shores web page at www.osrazorclamfestival.org.

Let’s Go Outdoors! Still planned for Saturday, May 23, at the Fairgrounds. Standby for updates.

Events postponed or cancelled

Twenty-third Annual Othello Sandhill Crane Festival is cancelled for 2020. Find more info at www.othellosandhillcranefestival.org.

Olympic Peninsula BirdFest is cancelled for this year in Sequim. More info at www.olympicbirdfest.org.

Mule Deer Foundation Banquet for Ellensburg has been postponed. Stand by. Info from Dan at 509-995-0819.

Clean up of Durr Road and L.T Murray is cancelled for this year. Check out www.kittitasfieldandstream.org for more information.

Other Earth Month events are cancelled. Stay current at 509-963-1850 or www.cwu.edu/leadership-engage.

Friends of the NRA annual Kittitas County fundraiser is postponed until fall. More info on the Facebook page “Kittitas County Friends of NRA,” or call Brian Huss at 509-607-1677.

Hunting, shooting and hunter training

Until midnight Tuesday you may apply for 2020 multiple-season permits. Applications are at license dealers, at 866-246-9453, or online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov.

Target shooting is closed at the Sheep Company Road range on the Wenas Wildlife Area during construction of new and better shooting range facilities. Should reopen by June

Turkeys open in three weeks. Bird numbers high in northeast counties. Southeast and Klickitat County strong, too, with very good numbers in Yakima, Kittitas, Chelan, and Okanogan counties, and southwest Washington. Check regs at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting.

All in-person Basic Hunter Ed classes are cancelled, but online courses are welcoming you and those you wish to train. Find all info, and register online on the Washington DFW webpage (wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/requirements/education/basic).

Women only one-day handgun classes (small groups) are on into May. Check schedules with NRA-certified pistol instructor Marilyn Mason at 509-962-3002 or online at www.kvrpc.org.

Fishing

Yakima is heating up as the skwala hatch is well underway. Plenty of coaching from the Ellensburg Angler at info@ellensburgangler.com.

Trout are in local waters this month. Catchable rainbows will be in Easton Ponds, McCabe Pond and other waters, with some bigger trout. Triploid rainbow trout may go in Fio Rito North and Mattoon. Stocking info is at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html.

Walleye fishing has been picking up for boat anglers in the John Day, Bonneville and Dalles pools. It’s coming up at Priest Rapids, too.

Westport area seasons for salmon, halibut, bottom fish and tuna are available at Westport-Grayland Chamber of Commerce, 360-268-9422, www.westportgrailand-chamber.org, with additional info at www.oceansportfishingcharters.com.

2019 Catch Record Cards must be returned to DFW by April 30, even if you went 0 for 50.

Wildlife watch and photo ops

Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area has restricted access and allows walk-ins only (no motorized vehicle access) until May 1.

Blue herons are on their rookery south across the Yakima, just west of milepost 104 on I-90. Use binocs or spotting scope from some safe spot away from the interstate.

Our ospreys are in, too. Visible birds are on platform nests from the Canyon mouth to Easton.

Still time to build a couple more birdhouses. Then go find eagles, blackbirds (redwings and yellow-headed), and a plethora of wildlife around Paradise. Take lunch, hot chocolate, optics, cameras, kids and someone who spent too much of this challenging late winter cooped up.

— JH

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