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 1 p.m., Aug. 5, 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 this summer 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 Aug. 14, Sep. 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
- 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 opened Aug. 6.
- Shellfishing seasons: Recreational clam, mussel, and oyster fishery opened 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. The shrimp fishery closed again after harvest limits were reached in marine area 6 and 7 West. Puget Sound crab opened July 2 in many areas, but fishers should check this page for complete schedule by marine area:
- 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.
- Hunter Education and Master Hunter Permit Program: WDFW is currently not able hold Master Hunter Permit Program exams, hunter education classes, and engage volunteers in a very limited capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to current circumstances and uncertainty as to when the situation may improve, the department has canceled the 2020 open application period.
- Wildlife areas & water access areas: WDFW wildlife areas and boat ramps are open.
- Camping: Most Phase 2 and Phase 3 counties are open for camping. However, the following counties have decided to stay closed to camping until further notice: Island and San Juan.
- 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.
- 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.
- Reporting problems on WDFW-managed lands and boat launches: Report issues online.
- 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 June 1, 2020. Read more in the news release.
- 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