OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (F&W) Wednesday announced its decision to temporarily close recreational fishing and shellfishing statewide in the wake of Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home and Stay Healthy” order.
The closures began at midnight Wednesday, March 25 and will last until at least 5 p.m. on April 8. F&W will re-evaluate on April 6 whether the closure may need to be extended.
Fishery managers have reported that some anglers have been seen crowding river banks and boat ramps as concerns over coronavirus continue.
Officials add that many salmon and steelhead fisheries require regular monitoring under the Endangered Species Act, which includes conducting angler interviews at access sites surrounding the state’s marine waters. The on-site, face-to-face nature of angler interviews puts people at potential risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
F&W and other state agencies previously closed all of their water access sites, including the Ediz Hook Boat Launch in Port Angeles. Local and tribal governments are taking similar actions across Washington.
F&W Enforcement officers remain on duty and will be enforcing these new closures.
The lowland lakes opening day for trout remains scheduled for April 25, but will be evaluated depending on whether the governor’s order might be further extended.
For the latest updates on WDFW’s coronavirus response, please visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates.