Fire is still a big deal

Agency updates will be found on the website at wdfw.wa.gov. Other 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.

Family fun a week away

Saturday, Sept. 21, opens the 23rd annual Sturgeon Festival at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way in Vancouver. It’s free and lasts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entertainment and education for all ages. Special events and plenty of activities.

Free Family Day for the 29th Annual Wenatchee River Salmon Festival is also Saturday (9/21) at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. Check out www.salmonfest.org for full details.

First Youth Hunting weekend happens then, too. Sept. 21 and 22 pheasants. Info from DFW at 509-575-2740, 360-902-2515, or see the Waterfowl & Upland Game Pamphlet.

Big days coming up

National Hunting and Fishing Day is Saturday the 28th. The day has been celebrated since 1971. This year’s honorary chairs are country music superstars Luke Bryan and Chris Janson — devoted outdoor nuts and advocates are encouraging experienced hunters and fishers to mentor youth in their outdoor passions. Think about doing something in honor of the billions of dollars that hunters and fishers have contributed to wildlife and its habitat in America. You will find more information and plenty of useful and interesting materials at www.nhfday.org.

Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day is also the 28th for eastern Washington duck and goose hunts for youngsters under non-hunting adult supervision.

Second Youth hunting weekend is the 28th and 29th for upland game. Check your Waterfowl and Upland Game Pamphlet.

National Public Lands Day — a free day to visit national parks — happens Saturday. This is a huge day of volunteer activity, with activities you’ll find by googling “National Public Lands Day.”

Coming up

The 2019 Issaquah Salmon Days Festival (50th annual!) happens Oct. 5 and 6. Salmon viewing, hatchery tours, exhibits, arts & crafts booths, the Grand Parade, foods of the world, continuous live entertainment and chances to win big bucks thanks to the Prime “Spawnsors.” Info at 206-270-2532 or wwwsalmondays.org.

Check out DFW’s Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Program. Go to wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/living and click on the Sanctuary Program link, Now is the time to plant trees and shrubs for long-term, year-round wildlife habitat on your property.

Links to most everything outdoors here in Paradise are at www.kittitasfieldandstream.org.

Hunting

Need a last-minute hunter ed class? Check out the online class info at www.hunter-ed.com/wa.

Hunting prospect reports for this fall are online — by district — at wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/locations/prospects, with all the info you need about wildlife populations and access to public and private hunting lands.

Fair to good grouse numbers in riparian woodlands up Blewett Pass, Manastash, Taneum, Reecer Creek and other foothills areas. You still have to find them, though.

Chukar and quail open in a couple weeks, and pheasants not long after that. I’m hearing fair to good reports of bird numbers.

Waterfowl hunting opens in over the next few weeks. Irrigated portions of the Yakima Valley appear to be the best of our region, with scattered flocks of early migrants (mallards, widgeon and green-winged teal). Better as the season wears on. Geese are still on bigger water.

Remember chronic wasting disease (CWD) rules, and follow them carefully (violations will be taken seriously and will be costly). Check out wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/cwd.

Fishing

Yakima River is good for waders and floaters. Mayflies and caddis, dry or wet flies and nymphs. Info from the guys at Worley Bugger (509-962-2033) or www.worleybuggerflyco.com.

Good brookie action still reported in headwaters of the Cle Elum River. Spinners and flies.

Yakima River fall salmon season is on. Fall Chinook and Coho. Check your regs.

Hanford Reach king salmon are now showing up in fair to good numbers. Most fishing is White Bluffs landing to a half-mile or so above the Vernita Bridge — plugs or anchoring and drifting salmon egg skeins.

Heads up

Boat inspections are spontaneous and ongoing across the state. On any given day watercraft are being inspected for invasive species, such as like zebra and quagga mussels, which are destructive to native fish and wildlife and our public waters. Learn more at wdfw.wa.gov/ais.

Fall has almost arrived. Take a picnic, a hike or a sightseeing trip out into the valley. Fill your lungs with the sweet air of Paradise and start celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day. Take someone who will spend too much of the winter inside.

— JH

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