WINTER SPORTS -- Ski resorts are the obvious beneficiaries from a good dump of snow, and perhaps the most public insight into the economic importance of a steadily building snowpack through winter.
Farmers, river rafters, hydropower operators and many more interests are keeping their eye on the lack of precip that's leaving the region mostly brown.
Under the general radar, duck hunters and steelheaders, in particular, are sizing up the the dry, mild weather that marked the end of 2013 as a giant bummer.
“Dry, calm weather is nice, but it doesn’t make for great duck hunting conditions,” said Dave Ware, game manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Ducks like water, and that is in short supply in the fields around the state.”
A good downpour would also improve fishing for winter steelhead on the Columbia River and elsewhere around the state, said Joe Hymer, a WDFW fish biologist based in Vancouver, Wash.
“Salmon and steelhead get active and move upriver when rivers and streams rise,” Hymer said. “A lot of anglers would welcome a good hard rain, the sooner the better.”
Statewide waterfowl seasons run through Jan. 26, while steelhead seasons vary by area, as described in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet.