Message from WDFW
Message from the Director and Commission Chair
After months indoors, getting out to enjoy Washington’s spectacular waterways has taken on a new level of importance. Many anglers have added a mask and hand sanitizer to their tackle box this year, and we’re all eager to get out to our local fishing spots.
The COVID-19 pandemic created some serious operating challenges for WDFW this spring, including an unprecedented statewide closure of fishing and hunting seasons to help combat the spread of the virus. Closure decisions were not made lightly, and we thank you for your patience. The long-term impacts of the coronavirus shutdown, and related effects on fish and wildlife across Washington remain to be seen. But we do know it was a difficult time for all of us.
Despite these challenges, the WDFW team remained focused on getting important agency work done. Our Fish Program staff led us through our first all-virtual fisheries season-setting process. We kept our hatcheries up and running, tagging fish and getting lakes stocked. Enforcement staff maintained patrols to keep communities safe during these closures. And our Wildlife Program lands team rallied, assisted by an all-hands-on-deck support from across the Department, to make wildlife areas, boat ramps, and water access sites ready for your return.
Fishing will undoubtedly look different in 2020, with anglers fishing closer to home, and more physically distant than usual. The potential for local closures to protect high-risk communities — and a focus on recreating primarily with family and household members – remains. Please do your part to help keep us all healthy and able to spend time outdoors.
As we grab our gear (and that hand sanitizer) and head outside this summer with those close to us, we’ll do it with a new appreciation for our beautiful public lands, local fishing destinations, and our fishing community. May there be calmer waters, for all of us, ahead.
For non-emergency violations/poaching: Call WDFW toll-free 1-877-933-9847 (1-877-WDFW-TIP). See Reporting Violations/Poaching for more details.
To report commercial derelict fishing gear: Call toll-free (855) 542-3935
To report fish kills, oil or hazardous material spills, contact Department of Emergency Management: (800) 258-5990