While some states are closing or postponing spring hunting and fishing seasons due to coronavirus concerns, other states are still monitoring the evolving situation. For now, Oregon has decided to keep most of its hunting and fishing seasons open, but with an important reminder: use social distancing when outside and comply with other state guidelines.
“We’ll continue to monitor fisheries and do everything in our power to be sure it isn’t contributing to the transmission of the virus,” said Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Director Curt Melcher. “If we do see anglers, clammers or others are not following the guidelines and endangering themselves and others, then we may need to modify fishing seasons.”
According to ODFW, the agency has been working with the governor’s office and other state agencies “to address crowding and health concerns related to COVID-19,” which includes following the Stay Home, Save Lives executive order. While the order does allow residents to go outside for hiking, biking, hunting, fishing and other forms of outdoor recreation, social distancing must be followed to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The U.S. Coast Guard, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon State Police, Oregon State Sheriffs’ Association and ODFW officers are all keeping tabs on residents to ensure that Governor Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order is followed.
While seasons remain open, the state has closed access to parks and national forests as well as various boat ramps and access points in counties and cities across Oregon, according to ODFW; therefore, it’s essential that you check access restrictions before leaving your home. Also, be aware that salmon and steelhead fishing in the Columbia River is closed because Washington co-manages that fishery and all hunting and fishing is closed within that state.
However, walleye and other fisheries are currently open on the Columbia River.
“We thank anglers, hunters, clammers and all people recreating outdoors for following the guidelines,” said Melcher. “The outdoors provides an important outlet during this difficult time. We want to keep these seasons open provided they don’t contribute to the spread of COVID-19.”
Stay tuned to GOHUNT for further updates on how COVID-19 is changing hunting and fishing access and seasons.