OLYMPIA, Wash. - There’s more than one way to put a turkey on your table for Thanksgiving. As the holiday draws near, thousands of hunters are looking forward to the wild turkey season that gets under way Nov. 20 in northeastern Washington.
Then again, who says turkey has to be the center of attention on Thanksgiving Day? November is also prime time to hunt ducks, geese, elk, deer, pheasant, forest grouse and a variety of other game species around the state.
"Waterfowl hunting usually picks up around the middle of the month, when the wet and windy weather starts pushing more migrating birds into the area from the north," said Don Kraege, waterfowl manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). "That’s good news for waterfowl hunters from the Skagit Valley to the Columbia Basin."
For anglers, Thanksgiving traditionally marks the start of winter steelhead fishing in western Washington, where anglers can also reel in coho and chum salmon moving in from the ocean. On the eastside, fly fishers are flocking to a hot catch-and-release steelhead fishery on the Grand Ronde River, where anglers can retain up to three marked hatchery fish per day on the lower river starting Nov. 1.
Rather serve shellfish? Seven areas of Puget Sound are currently open for crab fishing, and two more - marine areas 11 (Tacoma) and 13 (South Puget Sound) - are scheduled to reopen Nov. 21.
In addition, four ocean beaches - Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks - will open Oct. 28-29 after noon each day for the first razor clam dig of the season. Pending the results of marine toxin tests, additional digs are tentatively scheduled Nov. 11-12 and Nov. 25-26, providing plenty of opportunities to put clams on the table for the holiday.
For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing available over the next month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/ . These reports are updated throughout the month to provide current information about recreational opportunities around the state.