WDFW COVID-19/Coronavirus response and updates

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 the new coronavirus (COVID-19). See Department of Health guidance and the statewide joint response website.

Closures and restrictions

Updated Sept. 2, 2020

WDFW reopened most recreational fishing, hunting, wildlife areas, and water access areas in a phased approach following the state’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

7 tips to recreate responsibly

Please recreate responsibly to protect yourself, others, and the outdoors. 

WDFW Offices and Facilities

  • Employee furloughs: Many WDFW employees will be furloughed on Sept. 4, Oct. 30, and Nov. 25. Services will be impacted. WDFW enforcement officers remain on duty.
  • 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.

Fishing and Shellfishing

  • Shellfishing seasons: Puget Sound crab opened July 2 in many areas, but people should check the recreational crab season webpage for a complete schedule by marine area. 
  • Puget Sound clam and mussel seasons closed on some Hood Canal beaches; many beaches remain open

  • Catch record cards: Return via mail or hold onto them until you are safe to drop off.

  • Remaining closures:
    • All family fishing events, outdoor workshops, and other group activities.
    • Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 and community health risk, the Skokomish Tribe has decided to delay opening the Skokomish Park at Potlatch (aka “Saltwater Park”) Hood Canal boat launch. This boat launch and associated facilities, located just north of Potlatch State Park in southern Hood Canal, will remain closed until further notice; a date has not been announced.

Hunting

  • 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. The department has canceled the 2020 open application period for the Master Hunter Permit Program. 

WDFW-Managed Lands

Resources

  • 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.