Students from North Thurston High School collect sperm from adult Chinook salmon at the Clear Creek Hatchery in 2017.

With salmon spawning season in full swing at many state hatcheries, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reminds the public that hatchery facilities will remain closed statewide due to the continued spread of COVID-19.

Many Washingtonians visit the hatcheries in late summer and early fall to observe spawning activity or to take advantage of available parking to fish nearby for returning salmon.

However, WDFW hatcheries remain closed at this time to ensure the health and safety of hatchery employees, and visitors may find some areas or facilities that are typically open may not be accessible as they have been in past years.

"Our hatcheries are home to some of the Department's most important work, and hatchery staff provide a vital service to the entire state," WDFW's Hatchery Division Manager Eric Kinne said in a news release. "We're hoping to reopen these facilities as soon as it's safe to do so, but for now we're asking the public to please respect any posted closures and be prepared to go elsewhere if an area remains closed."

— The Reflector

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