An angler fishes on the Skagit River.

Recreating in the outdoors means taking precautions as fires rage in the Northwest.

Hunters, anglers and those who simply wish to enjoy the outdoors are advised to check fire conditions and related access closures before heading out.

Strict fire restrictions and closures are in effect on lands managed by the state Department of Fish & Wildlife, the Department of Natural Resources, State Parks and North Cascades National Park.

"We are closing water access areas and wildlife area units as needed at this point," said Fish & Wildlife spokesperson Rachel Blomker. "We are also posting alerts on individual wildlife area units and water access area web pages as we get updates from the field."

Blomker said Fish & Wildlife expects to have a better understanding of wildfire impacts on habitat as well as infrastructure loss and field work delays in the coming days.

Those eager to get outdoors are asked to continue to take precautions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, staying at least 6 feet apart.

Among ongoing outdoor activities are fishing for salmon and trout, crabbing and hunting.

Most marine areas in Puget Sound remain open for salmon fishing.

Locally, the Samish River is open for chinook fishing with a two-fish daily limit through Sunday, while on the Skagit River, coho salmon fishing is open with a daily limit of two.

Beginning Sept. 17, the Cascade River will open for coho fishing Thursdays through Sundays with a daily limit of four.

Fish are set to become more active in lowland lakes as vegetation dies back, water temperatures cool, and fish prepare for winter.

Ample numbers of the over 450,000 catchable-size rainbow trout stocked in lakes this past spring remain and have had the summer to put on weight.

The only two marine areas that remain open to crabbing are 7-South (San Juan Islands/Bellingham) and 7-North (Gulf of Georgia).

Winter crab seasons for Puget Sound will be announced in early October.

In regards to boating, the Skagit Bay Sail and Power Squadron/America's Boating Club is offering a virtual class titled, "Radar for Boaters."

The online Zoom class will be 6:30 to 8:30 p.m Tuesdays and Fridays beginning Nov. 6. The final practical exam will be Dec. 5. The class is limited to 15 students and registration closes Oct. 10.

For more information, contact Bob Miller at (360) 588-9950 or at

The cost is $150 for nonmembers of the club or $190 for two family members sharing course materials. Costs for club members are $80 and $100.

Sept. 19-20 is the special youth-only pheasant hunting season in Western Washington. The season gives hunters under the age of 16 a jump-start on the general seasons opening this fall. Non-hunting adults must accompany young hunters.

A special pheasant hunting season for those 65 and older and those with disabilities is Sept. 21-25.

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