Director’s Bulletin | July/August 2021

Hello Everyone:

Fishing, hiking, camping, bird-watching, all aspects of Life Outdoors, are mainstays of mid-summer. Summer is a great time to enjoy all that Washington has for offer.

Fishing kicks into over-drive during the summer months, and Washington’s anglers are out in force. Recently, the agency celebrated “Bass Week,” and those fish are still out there, hiding under that log in your favorite fishing hole.

We do ask that you share your fishing experience. We won’t ask you to share where you fish, but wherever that is, by making the extra effort to invite grandkids, kids, neighbors and friends to join you on your next outing, you’ll be sure to create new memories that will last for years.

Summer also brings opportunities for renewed commitment to respectful enjoyment and stewardship of your public lands and water access areas. Practice kindness at the boat launch, pack out what you pack in, ensure that landowners’ use conditions are met, and be cognizant of the ever-important fire restrictions on the land that you’re enjoying.

This is a great time to be outside and your support is what makes this possible.


Kelly Susewind
WDFW Director

Check latest WDFW wildfire prevention requirements and closures

In response to increased fire risk and nationally depleted firefighting resources, all eastern Washington lands, including water access areas within wildlife areas, that WDFW manages are currently open for day use only. Water access sites with allowed overnight camping that are not located in wildlife areas remain open. In addition, campfires, target shooting, and other activities on department-managed lands in eastern Washington are not allowed. We ask for your continued understanding during these challenging conditions. Before heading out on your adventure, check for restrictions on the WDFW website.

Southern Resident killer whale recovery likely suffers a loss
Late last week, amid reports that Southern Resident killer whale K21, known as Cappuccino, had been seen Wednesday struggling and in poor condition, the Department took action to increase our law enforcement presence on the water and enact an emergency commercial whale watching restriction. Cappuccino, unfortunately, has not been spotted in recent days, and each passing day without a sighting increases concern. We are waiting, alongside the Southern Resident killer whale recovery community, to learn more. Although Cappuccino’s age reflects the average life expectancy of a male orca, his sudden health decline serves as a reminder of the urgency of implementing the recommendations of the Governor’s killer whale task force. According to WDFW Director Susewind, “Even if this news begins to look grim for this individual, we continue to have hope. My Department and many others are working hard to recover Southern Resident killer whales and ensure that they have plenty of prey, a quiet environment to forage, and clean waters.”

WDFW joins Woodland Park Zoo for a 30-year shellebration!

In “shellebration” of the 30th anniversary of the Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project, Woodland Park Zoo invited the public to watch Zoo staff and WDFW biologists prepare more than 37 western pond turtles (Actinemys marmorata) for an August release to the wild in south Puget Sound. The head start program has been very successful in helping reverse the fate of the western pond turtle in Washington. More than 800 turtles now inhabit six sites, and populations are headed in the right direction toward achieving recovery. Watch our video about Western Pond Turtle recovery at WDFW.

Columbia River salmon

The always-popular Buoy 10 fishery opens Aug. 1, with anglers able to fish for Chinook and coho salmon through Labor Day. Other portions of the lower river are also open for salmon throughout August, but catch limits and rules vary by location; be sure you know the rules for the section of river you’re fishing.

Bass are still biting this summer

Bass week may be over, but the fish are still out there. With more than 1,000 lakes containing bass statewide, and some outstanding river fishing opportunities, both smallmouth and largemouth bass offer excellent fishing in Washington waters. And, you don’t have to own a boat to catch bass — some of the state’s best fishing can be done from docks or along the shoreline. Use these new resources to get started.

Videos: Beginner’s guide to buying and rigging bass tackle, bass lures overview, and six collaborative Northwest Fishing Report videos
Blog: Beginner tips for catching bass from the shoreline
Blog: Best bass waters by region
Blog: Top five best Washington bass fishing tips for beginners
Blog: A look at bass jargon

Staff Profile: Abby Tobin wants you to report bat observations

Come along with Abby Tobin, white-nose syndrome coordinator with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, as she tests bats alongside a team of community scientists. The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome, an often-fatal disease of hibernating bats, does not affect humans, livestock, or other wildlife. To learn more about how to help meet the challenges of the disease by reporting bat observations with online tools, please watch our new video.

Coastal Steelhead Management

This summer and fall, WDFW is hosting a series of virtual town halls to gather feedback from the public on coastal steelhead management ahead of the 2021–2022 season. During the first town hall in late July, fishery managers shared more information about initial indications for 2020–2021 fishery returns and heard comments from the public on the 2020–2021 season. To view past meeting recordings, more information, and upcoming opportunities to stay engaged in pre-season planning, visit our Coastal Steelhead webpage at

Visit a tidepool to explore Life Outdoors

The outdoors fits into everyone’s life in unique and personal ways. Last month, we shared ideas for filling kids’ summer vacation with activities that cultivate a connection to nature as well as a beginners guide to wild berry picking. This month, we’re asking you to grow your appreciation for Washington’s diverse landscapes with tidepools and backpacking trips. As you explore, we ask you share photos of your adventures with us for the chance to win prizes at our newly launched Life Outdoors webpage.



The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.