191106-yh-sports-out-hunting-stores-2.jpg

Fishing lures are pictured at Oak Creek Ace Hardware on Wednesday in Naches.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will close recreational fishing and shellfish harvesting statewide for two weeks starting at midnight Thursday to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Fishery managers reported some anglers have been seen crowding the banks as more people try to go outside. Fish program director Kelly Cunningham said that made the closure necessary after Gov. Jay Insleeā€™s stay-at-home order issued on Monday.

Many salmon and steelhead fisheries require regular monitoring under the Endangered Species Act, which includes one-on-one interviews with anglers.

The wildlife department, the state Department of Natural Resources and State Parks have temporarily closed recreation areas, boat launches and campgrounds.

The wildlife department plans to re-evaluate the closures on April 6 to determine whether they need to be extended. Wildlife department enforcement officials will remain on duty to enforce the closures.

Lowland lakes are still scheduled to open for trout fishing on April 25. For all updates on COVID-19 related wildlife department closures, go to wdfw.wa.gov/about/covid-19-updates.

Reach Luke Thompson at luthompson@yakimaherald.com and on Twitter: @luketscribe