Despite the winter chill, Washingtonians have plenty of reasons to head outdoors during the holidays. Seasonal fisheries are underway throughout the state, waterfowl hunting is in full swing, and birders are gearing up for some prime viewing opportunities in their backyards.

As seasons change, so do our practices to stay safe outside and to protect the places we play. Click through to see seven tips from the Recreate Responsibly Coalition to protect yourself, others, and the outdoors this winter.

Below are six safe and enjoyable ways to get out this December:

  • Goose and duck hunting: Success rates are increasing as more northern birds move into Washington.
  • Trout fishing: Fall stocking means the fish are biting at winter-only and year-round lakes in December.
  • Steelhead fishing: Winter steelhead returns will start building in Lower Columbia River tributaries during the month of December and continue into the new year.
  • Puget Sound crabbing: Several marine areas are open through Dec. 31 for sport crabbing.
  • Squid fishing: Winter is a great time to jig for squid in Puget Sound. Squid fishing is a fun, family-friendly activity that is easy to learn and doesn’t require a boat. Remember to keep six feet of physical distance between you and others.
  • Wildlife viewing: Audubon Society chapters around the state are preparing for the annual Christmas Bird Count, which takes flight this month. For more information, visit the Audubon website.

For more information about fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities available this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW's website. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide current information about recreational opportunities around the state.