Governor Inslee and WDFW Director Kelly Susewind will hold a joint press conference along with other natural resource agency heads this afternoon to address the phased reopening fishing, state boat ramps and other recreational activities.
The Seattle Times is reporting that the 2:30 p.m. appearance will include news that boat launches owned by the state of Washington will reopen May 5, under specific rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and not overwhelm facilities, with angling for trout, bass and walleye expected to “likely open later in May.”
In a subsequent Facebook response, WDFW stated, “Highly recommend you tune in an (sic) hear the most accurate and up to date information at 2:30 p.m.”
“Salmon seasons, which require the most active monitoring, will likely be the last to open,” reporter David Gutman adds following an interview with Peter Schrappen, head of government affairs for the Seattle-based Northwest Marine Trade Association.
Many Chinook and coho stocks are either listed under ESA or have specific quotas that need to be closely tracked by creel samplers at docks as anglers come off the water.
They’re also among the most coveted to fish for, though rainbows help fuel the most popular single day in Washington angling, the fourth Saturday in April opener that this year was scrubbed due to the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that has shut down fishing in the state since late March.
The order has come under fire because it’s the most restrictive in the nation — “non-sensical” Washington state Senate Republicans tweeted this morning — with few other jurisdictions across the world going as far, just Nova Scotia and France if any others.
But it was also put in place to reduce travel to distant parts of Washington, reducing the potential spread of coronavirus to rural communities from harder hit urban areas.
As the order has dragged on the past two weekends have seen angler protests in Tri-Cities, Wenatchee, Moses Lake, Vancouver and Seattle as fishermen say they can cast lines while effectively socially distancing from one another.
Many launched their boats from non-state-owned facilities that have remained open for the public to get on the water, though not dangle a line over the side.
Still, that there is some form of relief is in sight is good news. As the governor himself has stated and NMTA’s Schrappen reiterated, expect a careful turn-of-the-dial approach instead of the flip of a light switch in terms or reopeners.
Further details should come out of Monday’s press conference.