The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is keeping the health and well-being of all Washingtonians in mind as the state comes together in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. See Department of Health guidance and the statewide joint response website.
Closures and restrictions
March 16, 2021
#RecreateResponsibly to protect yourself, others, and the outdoors. Review the guidelines below before heading out on your outdoor adventure!
English: Responsible recreation guidelines (PDF)
Español: Pautas para la recreación responsable (PDF)
Viêt: Hướng Dẫn Vui Chơi Giải Trí Có Trách Nhiệm (PDF)
русский: Руководство по ответственному отдых (PDF)
- Know before you go. Some areas can become dangerous wither winter conditions. Research your destination, as roads and facilities may be closed in winter.
- Explore locally. Consider exploring locally, as driving and parking may be more challenging in winter. If you travel, be mindful of your impact on native and local communities.
- Plan ahead. Check local conditions and prepare for the elements, packing extra layers, waterproof clothing, and avalanche safety gear for the backcountry.
- Leave no trace. Did you know that snow is our water supply? Keep our winter playgrounds clean. Pack out any human or pet waste and be respectful of the land.
- Practice physical distancing. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth. When possible, opt to eat and rest outside. If you feel sick, stay home.
- Play it safe. Know your limits and your gear. Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury.
- Build an inclusive outdoors. Everyone deserve to experience a winter wonderland. Be an active part of making the outdoors safe, accessible, and welcoming for all identities and abilities.
WDFW Offices, Hatcheries, & Outreach
- WDFW offices: Regional offices and the Olympia headquarters office remain closed to the public until further notice. Staff will not be available for walk-in services but are still on the clock, and available by telephone. If you need to pick up an item, they may still be available to assist you. For phone and email contact information, visit the Contact Us webpage.
- Hatcheries: WDFW fish hatcheries are closed to the public.
- Outreach: WDFW’s Executive Management Team has made the decision that department staff will not be attending outreach events in January or February 2021. We are disappointed, yet looking forward to attending and hosting in-person events again in the future. Please watch our web calendar for additional ways to connect with us during these times.
Fishing & Shellfishing
- Fishing contests: All fishing contests and events must comply with any COVID-19-related gathering restrictions currently in place through the governor’s Healthy Washington - Roadmap to Recovery plan. If any portion of the fishing contest takes place on WDFW-owned or -managed lands, a Commercial Use Permit or Temporary Use Permit may be required. Please contact the regional lands agent to learn about any additional restrictions.
- Shellfishing seasons: People should check the recreational crab season webpage for a complete schedule by marine area.
- Puget Sound clam and mussel seasons: Please check the Shellfish Safety Map and our public clam, mussel and oyster beach page for open and closed areas. For razor clams, please visit our razor clam page.
Changes to animal sealing: When you harvest a bighorn sheep, black bear, bobcat, cougar, mountain goat, river otter, any other animal that requires sealing or pinning this season, you must schedule an inspection through a regional office or Olympia headquarters. In addition to scheduling your inspection, we ask that you practice physical distancing and wear a face covering to your inspection appointment.
- Hunter Education and Master Hunter Permit Program: WDFW is currently not able to hold Master Hunter Permit Program exams or in-person hunter education classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Take hunter education online.
Wildlife Areas & Water Access Areas
- Winter Elk Feeding Program at Oak Creek Wildlife Area: There won't be any volunteer support or truck tours this season, and the Visitor's Center and associated restroom will remain closed. Three vault toilets remain open. People can still enjoy watching elk from the public parking lot.
- Facilities: Visitors, anglers, and hunters should only venture out well prepared. WDFW recommends that people bring their own hand washing supplies, toilet paper, and a face mask, and be prepared to change plans if sites appear congested.
- Report an issue: Please report any issues you experienced while visiting WDFW-managed wildlife areas or water access areas.
- WDFW's event calendar has updated information on commission meetings, advisory group meetings, and other public meetings.
- See the Center for Disease Control information for information on this disease and animal concerns. WDFW veterinarians and emergency response staff have been serving as a part of the response management team helping to inform necessary precautions regarding the COVID-19/coronavirus situation in Washington.
- Official information on COVID-19/Coronavirus in Washington from the Washington State Department of Health.
- COVID-19 Resources for the Commercial Seafood Industry from the Washington Sea Grant
- Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act fisheries assistance funding information from NOAA Fisheries
- Civil Rights protections during COVID-19 from the U.S. Department of Justice
- WDFW Employee Information