Sasquatch family helps drivers avoid $99 ticket

August 27, 2013

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources has launched a video campaign featuring a Sasquatch family to remind people that a Discover Pass is required when visiting Washington state-managed recreation lands.

The video is available at bit.ly/SquatchFamily.

The Discover Pass is a vehicle access pass required on all Washington state-managed recreation lands. The fine for not displaying a Discover Pass is $99.

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Beaver Lake will get
 1,200 large hatchery rainbow trout for Aug. 21

August 16, 2013

NEW – 5:45 p.m. Aug. 16, 2013

Get out your fishing pole. It will soon be time to catch large trout in Beaver Lake, thanks to the release of about 1,200 hatchery rainbows averaging about 1 pound each.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is scheduled to release the fish Aug. 20. The agency will close the Beaver Lake access site at sunset Aug. 19 and reopen the site at sunrise Aug. 21. Beaver Lake, however, will remain open to fishing while the access site is closed.

The trout are part of an educational display at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery.

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New ‘Fish Washington’ logos are announced

April 23, 2013

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife now has a new set of “Fish Washington” logos designed to help symbolize the state’s many great fishing opportunities.

WDFW tallied more than 1,800 votes on new logo designs via the department website and Facebook page. Now, with a few tweaks based on public suggestions, the winning set of logos has been chosen. The logos selected depict trout and bass with backgrounds of Washington state waters and wilderness.

“Fish Washington” is a new effort by the department to inform anglers about fishing opportunities in Washington via a variety of communications platforms.

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Season’s first bears are spotted locally

April 2, 2013

Welcoming back spring also means welcoming back bears.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife heard the first spring reports of bears in the Issaquah and North Bend area during the week of March 18. Though wildlife appearance is a little early for the season, the department credited the abnormally mild winter with disrupting regular hibernation habits. That means regions of Issaquah should begin looking out for the scavenging animals.

“The Issaquah Highlands and Mirrormont are probably one of our biggest focus areas,” said Rich Beausoleil, department bear and cougar specialist.

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Explore state, national parks at no cost for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 15, 2013

NEW — 10 a.m. Jan. 15, 2013

Washingtonians can observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day in Lake Sammamish State Park and other state facilities, Tiger Mountain State Forest and other state forestlands, or in national forests and parks.

Officials at the agencies responsible for state and national public lands waived admission fees for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.

Visitors do not need a Discover Pass to visit state parks, including Lake Sammamish and Squak Mountain near Issaquah.

Mount Rainier National Park waived entrance fees to the 235,625-acre park. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is waiving fees at more than 74 day-use sites in the forest.

Throughout the year, state and national parks waive entrance fees to promote outdoor recreation.

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More kokanee return as community works to restore species

December 4, 2012

Homeowner funds $175,000 culvert project

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon swim Nov. 27 in the restored stretch of Ebright Creek at Wally Pereyra’s property in the 100 block of East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. By Greg Farrar

Lake Sammamish kokanee salmon — a landlocked cousin of sockeye and a species noted for distinctive red coloration — dwindled in recent decades, since before Wally Pereyra moved into a house along Ebright Creek in 1973.

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State offers grants to restore fish, wildlife habitat

November 28, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 28, 2012

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering grants for residents and organizations interested in fish and wildlife conservation.

The agency expects to have about $1 million from the Aquatic Land Enhancement Account available for the grants.

The program is open to residents and organizations — including nonprofit organizations, schools and universities, American Indian tribes and local conservation districts — for volunteer projects related to conservation or to help the public enjoy and understand animal species.

Through the grants, officials fund projects related to habitat, research, education and outreach, facility development and artificial production — although the agency intends to consider other projects. Grants cannot go toward salaries, wages or stipends.

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State adds flexible start date to Discover Pass

November 23, 2012

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 23, 2012

State agencies encourage holiday shoppers to consider a Discover Pass as a gift for family and friends interested in the outdoors.

Officials added a feature recently to allow purchasers to choose the pass’ start date. The option is available to customers who purchasing the pass at www.discoverpass.wa.gov, or in person from authorized retailers through the Washington Interactive Licensing Database, or WILD, system.

The pass is available in Issaquah at Big 5 Sporting Goods, Fred Meyer and Sports Authority.

The buyer can activate the pass immediately or on any day within one year of purchase.

State legislators passed the option into law in 2012 to allow greater flexibility to outdoor recreation enthusiasts, including people interested in giving the pass as a gift.

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Under new state laws, residents face fines for feeding bears

November 13, 2012

Under new state laws, residents face fines for feeding bears intentionally or otherwise, such as by leaving food waste in bear-prone locations.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife reminded residents about the changes last month, as black bears start to appear more frequently in areas populated by humans.

“This is the time of year when bears are looking to build up as much fat as possible to get through winter,” Mike Cenci, deputy Department of Fish and Wildlife police chief, said in a statement. “Putting food scraps out for them or leaving garbage cans or pet food exposed is an open invitation for them to pay you and your neighbors a visit.”

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Issaquah Salmon Hatchery spawns chinook, coho

November 6, 2012

FISH docent Grace Reamer holds a handful of chinook salmon eggs for students at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery on Oct. 30. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah Salmon Hatchery workers and volunteers sloshed around in 40-degree water Oct. 30, as the annual effort to spawn coho salmon started again.

Teams from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery plan to collect 1.2 million coho eggs. The process to spawn coho started about a month after hatchery workers and volunteers started spawning chinook. In the resulting effort, teams collected 2.2 million eggs.

FISH Executive Director Jane Kuechle and John Kugen, hatchery foreman, said the partnership between the nonprofit organization and the state agency is essential for the survival of Issaquah Creek salmon — and the hatchery.

The hatchery, a fixture in downtown Issaquah for 75 years, spawns and raises coho and chinook.

State fisheries experts expected a more robust chinook salmon return but a smaller coho salmon return to Puget Sound streams in 2012.

“It comes and goes,” Kugen said. “The best one that we had that I can remember was 2001, when we had 18,000 coho and then a couple years ago we had 13,000. Coho come back in bigger numbers because they’re released as bigger smolts. They’re about 7 or 8 inches long, so there’s less predation on them than chinook.”

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