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Plan a walk

This Saturday is the First Saturday Bird Walk. Kittitas Audubon kicks it off at 8 a.m. at Irene Rinehart parking lot. Dress properly, watch your “people spacing,” bring a mask, field guide, optics and a friend if you wish. Find more at www.kittitasaudubon.org.

KEEN is helping our kids

Help keep kids outdoors amidst COVID-19. Find out how by checking out www.ycic.org.

Fire is still a big deal

Agencies have relaxed none of the restrictions on fires and shooting on state managed land. Updates will be found on the website at wdfw.wa.gov.

Answers to other concerns and questions about burning conditions and access restrictions on private and public land are available by county at 800-323-BURN, with wildfire risk and restrictions info. You will find more from www.dnr.wa.gov.

COVID-19 and outdoor fun

Updates at wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates (or coronavirus.wa.gov).

Coming up

Saturday, Sept. 26 is the 49th National Hunting and Fishing Day. This year’s honorary chairs are Social media superstars “Dude Perfect,” known for the viral videos that have more than nine billion views. Spend a moment and think about the billions of dollars that hunters and fishers have contributed to ensure the abundant wildlife we enjoy in America. See www.nhfday.org.

Oct. 3 and 4 are the days of the 51st Annual Issaquah Salmon Days Festival. Voted one of the best celebrations in the state, it is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day for salmon viewing, hatchery tours, exhibits, arts & crafts booths, the Grand Parade, foods of the world and continuous live entertainment. Great family fun! Info at 206-270-2532 or www.salmondays.org.

Wildlife and family fun

Yakima River chinook are spawning and viewable in the Easton Reach of the river, in Lake Easton State Park. Interstate 90, exit 70, and follow signs to the park.

Hawks, falcons and eagles are increasingly reported over mountain ridges where they ride thermals and updrafts preparing for migration. Our best viewing area is probably Red Top Mountain on Teanaway Ridge, west of Mineral Springs Resort off Blewett Pass road (FS road 9738 to 9702). Always some good reports over the Saddle Mountains, Yakima Ridge, and Rattlesnake Hills, too.

Plan way ahead: The 30th Annual Wenatchee River Salmon Festival now happens in a year — Sept. 15-18, 2021 — with free family activities at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. See www.salmonfest.org.

Hunting and sighting-in

Cancellations of all shooting on WDFW-managed ground are enforced to reduce fire danger.

Cascade Field & Stream Club’s range on Hayward Hill is (thank you COVID-19) closed to non-members, so public sight in times remain to be determined — if at all. Possible info from President Brad at 509-607-0738.

Oct. 3 is Youth Hunting Day for eastern Washington duck and goose hunts for youngsters under non-hunting adult supervision. Sept. 19 and 20 is Youth Hunting Weekend for pheasants and Sept. 26 and 27 is Youth Hunting Weekend for upland game. Info from DFW at 509-575-2740, 360-902-2515, or see the Waterfowl & Upland Game Pamphlet.

Hunting prospect reports for fall are online at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/prospects. Forecasts for wildlife across the state. Info, also, about “places to go hunting.”

Chukar and quail hunting opens Oct. 3. Find habitat, get permission as needed, go play.

If you are hunting out-of-state deer or elk, check the chronic wasting disease rules at wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/diseases/chronic-wasting or 360-902-2515 or 360-902-2519. Failing to follow them will be costly.

WSU free publication: “Big Game from Hunt to Home” has tips for all stages of the hunting game, as well as cooking tips, nutritional information and recipes. Go to pubs.extension.wsu.edu, and in the search box at the right, request “PNW517” for the free download.

Fishing

Yakima River is good for waders and floaters. Mayflies and caddis. Dry and wet flies, and nymphs. Current info from the Evening Hatch folks, 962-5959 or www.theeveninghatch.com.

Hungry brookies reported in headwaters of the Cle Elum River, hitting spinners and flies.

Think about how you might celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day in a bit over two weeks. Then, as the fires die down, go fill your lungs with the sweetest air of the year. Hike the family up Manastash Ridge, or drive up the creek. The fall valley is beautiful, and you’ll probably see some wildlife.

— JH

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