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.
Please recreate responsibly to protect yourself, others, and the outdoors.
- Español: Pautas para la recreación responsable (PDF)
- Viêt: Hướng Dẫn Vui Chơi Giải Trí Có Trách Nhiệm (PDF)
- русский: Руководство по ответственному отдых (PDF)
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.
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.
- Camping: Most Phase 2 and Phase 3 counties are open for camping.
- WDFW has primitive campsites at the W.T. Wooten Wildlife Area in Columbia County, the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant County, Mount Saint Helens Wildlife Area in Cowlitz County, Cowlitz Wildlife Area in Lewis County, and Klickitat Wildlife Area in Klickitat County.
- Dispersed camping is allowed at other wildlife areas in Phase 2 and Phase 3 counties unless otherwise posted.
- Camping is allowed at some water access areas in Phase 2 and Phase 3 counties.
- To plan for your trip, see WDFW's rules for camping and infographic.
- 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.
- Get your dose of nature close to home: Read the Washington Trails Association blog and recent Crosscut article
- Social distancing protocols from the Governor's office
- 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