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 new statewide joint response website.

Closures and restrictions

Updated 4:00 p.m. June 30, 2020

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reopened most recreational fishing and hunting in a phased approach following the state’s efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus. The department is asking hunters and anglers to enjoy these outdoor activities as locally as possible, while also practicing physical distancing.

WDFW Offices and Facilities

  • Employee furloughs: By order of the governor, most state employees are required to take one furlough day per week beginning the week of June 28. Many WDFW employees will be furloughed on June 29, as well as July 10, 17, and 24. 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, please see our Contact Us webpage.
  • Hatcheries: WDFW fish hatcheries are closed to the public.

Fishing and Shellfishing

  • Fishing seasons: All freshwater fisheries and Puget Sound saltwater fisheries in Marine Areas 5-13 opened under permanent rules on May 5. Halibut fishing in Marine Areas 5-10 opened starting May 20 on alternating days through June 30. Coastal saltwater fishing in marine areas 1-3 opened May 26. Marine area 4 reopened to saltwater fishing and shellfish harvest on June 20. Summer ocean salmon seasons also begin June 20. Ocean halibut fishing is currently tentatively scheduled to begin in August.
  • Shellfishing seasons: Recreational clam, mussel, and oyster fishery is scheduled to open June 8 on most Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca beaches   and the recreational spot shrimp fishery opened May 28 in some Puget Sound areas,  and June 11 in others. Puget Sound crab opens July 2 in many areas.
  • Razor clams: Large razor clam crowds constitute a gathering under the Stay Home—Stay Healthy order. WDFW is now focusing on what we expect will be a great 2020-21 season and will start the field work for our summer-long razor clam population assessments very soon.
  • Catch record cards: Return via mail or hold onto them until you are safe to drop off.
  • Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Check Stations: AIS check stations are still active, and WDFW staff are inspecting watercraft for invasive species.
  • Remaining closures:
    • All family fishing events, outdoor workshops, and other group activities.
    • **UPDATE June 8: 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. Hood Canal recreational shrimp fishers will need to seek an alternative access site until further notice. 

Hunting

  • Sealing bobcats and river otters: Successful hunters/trappers must contact a WDFW office for pelt sealing and submit the associated harvest report to the department by July 20. (The previous date was April 20.)

WDFW-Managed Lands

License Sales

  • License sales: Buy a license by phone at 360-902-2464 or online at: https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/#/login, or at any open license dealer.
  • Non-resident license sales: License sales to out-of-state residents resumed as of June 1, 2020. Read more in the news release.
  • Hunting license and permit refunds: Hunters can get a refund and/or point restoration by calling the Wildlife Program Customer Service desk at 360-902-2515 or email wildthing@dfw.wa.gov.

News

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.