Olympia, WA – With fishing scheduled to reopen under standard rules on May 5, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reminds anglers that a number of emergency rules remain in effect for state waters.
While freshwater fisheries and Puget Sound saltwater fisheries (with the exception of shrimp and halibut) reopen beginning May 5 under permanent rules, the harvest of clams, oysters, and mussels remains closed statewide, and all saltwater fisheries off Washington’s Pacific coast also remain closed in consultation with local health authorities.
This includes all fishing and shellfishing in marine areas 1-4.
At this time, charter and guide industries have not received approval from the Governor’s Office to resume operations.
WDFW is working closely with guides and charters who have submitted safety and operations plans to the Governor’s Office for consideration.
In addition to these ongoing closures, some emergency fishing rules enacted before the statewide closure in late March will now go back into effect.
“We’re eager to get everybody back out and recreating responsibly,” said Kelly Cunningham, WDFW Fish Program director. “We appreciate everyone’s patience during this closure and we’re hopeful for continued progress in the fight against COVID-19 so that we can continue to provide safe management of these resources. It’s more important than ever that anglers know what’s open and what’s closed before they head out, not only in terms of whether fishing is open, but also the status of any facilities at their destination.”
While many state lands are scheduled to reopen for day use on May 5, many public water access sites might still be closed, including local, federal, or tribal facilities.
People should be prepared to make alternate plans if their intended destination remains closed or appears too congested.
All camping on wildlife areas and access areas remains closed and anglers should come prepared to provide their own toilet paper and soap and water or hand sanitizer.
Anglers are also urged to recreate within their own communities and to follow physical distancing guidelines, keeping 6 feet between themselves and others and not traveling by car or boat with anyone outside of their immediate household.
“It’s on all of us to follow these guidelines and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 without future closures,” Cunningham said.
Rules in effect when fisheries reopen May 5 include:
More information on these and other rules is available at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.
Anglers should also check the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations before heading out, and download the Fish Washington mobile app for up-to-date regulations.
The new license year began April 1. Anglers must have a current license for any fishery in which they take part.