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Fresh crab is available to those willing to face Mother Nature’s wintery wrath.

Late-season recreational crab fishing is open through Jan. 31 in marine areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) except for Everett Flats, and 9 (Port Gamble/Port Ludlow).

Setting or pulling traps from a vessel is allowed only from one hour before sunrise through one hour after sunset.

The daily limit is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 1/4 inches.

Crabbers may also catch six red rock crab of either sex per day with a minimum carapace width of 5 inches, and six Tanner crab of either sex with a minimum carapace of 4 1/2 inches.

Meanwhile, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife has stocked lakes throughout the state with catchable-size trout.

Locally, Clear Lake received a stocking of trout as did Lake Padden.

In the realm of hunting, the application period for special spring bear permits continues through Feb. 28.

All hunters are required to report their hunting activity by Jan. 31 for each special permit acquired and each deer, elk, bear, cougar, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goat and turkey tag purchased last year.

Those who do not meet the deadline must pay a $10 penalty before they can buy another license.

Waterfowl hunters have through Jan. 26 to hunt ducks and geese. Hunters can find areas to hunt ducks and geese through the state’s Waterfowl Quality Hunt Program.

It’s also that time of year again when bald eagles take to the trees above the Skagit River in search of an easy meal.

The Skagit River Bald Eagle Interpretive Center near Rockport is open on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through the end of the month.

While some bald eagles live in the area year round, the majority of those found along the upper Skagit River during winter are from Alaska.

About 80,000 snow geese winter in Western Washington each year, and most congregate in the Skagit Valley. They can be found in the area from mid-October through early May. A great place to see them is the Fir Island Farm Reserve Unit of the Skagit Valley Wildlife Area.

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