Officials with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said this past week it is not ruling out the modification of hunting and fishing seasons around Oregon if people fail to comply with Gov. Kate Brown’s “Stay Home, Save Lives” order.
The ODFW said in a press release distributed late this past week that staffers planned to monitor recreational use of fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing locations while performing their regular duties. Although the organization said it can’t enforce the governor’s order for social distancing — keeping 6 feet from people outside the household — it also said staffers can make recommendations based on what they see in public.
“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,” ODFW Director Curt Melcher said in a press release. “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.”
Brown this past month issued the order in an effort to limit the spread of the new coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease. The highly-contagious virus, which as of Saturday had infected more than 900 Oregonians and caused 23 deaths.
The order does allow for outdoor recreation as long as the guidelines for social distancing are followed.
Just as hiking and biking are allowed, the ODFW said getting outdoors and fishing is a healthy way to get fresh air and exercise during this difficult time provided the guidelines are followed.
Guidelines include staying close to home rather than traveling far. The Governor’s Executive Order says hiking and outdoor activities are OK, but to limit travel. It also included staying home if you are sick and washing hands frequently.
Although hunting and fishing seasons are open, access to many areas are closed. State parks are closed, national forests have closed established recreation areas and some counties and cities have closed access to boat ramps or other locations.
Salmon and steelhead fishing in the Columbia River is also closed. The fishery is managed concurrently with Washington state, where all hunting and fishing is closed. Walleye and other fisheries remain open on the Columbia River.