By Louie Stout

When Indiana and Michigan governors issued “Stay at Home” orders, many people have asked, “What about fishing?”

Yes, you can go. The public is urged to engage in recreational activity providing you do it a safe distance from others.

The following statement was made yesterday by the Indiana DNR on its Division of Fish and Wildlife Facebook Page:

“There has been some misinformation circulating on social media recently stating that fishing in Indiana is suspended until a later date. We would like to set the record straight that fishing is NOT suspended and it is an activity you can enjoy while practicing social distancing.”

Likewise, the Michigan DNR issued the following statement on its Facebook Page:

“We've received some questions concerning the activity of fishing following the recent "stay home, stay safe" order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. The order given today stated that individuals may still engage in outdoor activities while following proper social distance from those around you.

“Fishing is one of those activities that can be done while following social distancing recommendations. We encourage you to spend some time fishing, but please keep your health and the health of others in mind.

“As a reminder, we have taken steps to close some facilities and cancel or postpone meetings and events to reduce coronavirus risk to Michigan residents. Check for the latest information available.”

Michiana Outdoors News applauds the states’ position and clarity on the matter.

However, it is recommended that anglers go fishing alone or only with immediate family members to avoid any close contact with someone outside the family who may unknowingly be carrying the virus.

Contrary to what some people believe, this is serious stuff and the more the disease spreads the longer we will be in this situation. Until a vaccine is available, we’ve all got to follow the rules and use common sense.

A word about tournaments

There’s nothing illegal about having fishing tournaments but Michiana Outdoors News and our panel of business leaders and anglers have our concerns.

We’re not only uneasy about the potential for spreading the virus – even between partners - but also public perception.

The last thing we need is state officials receiving complaints from the public about groups of anglers gathering and that resulting in violations being issued - or fishing shut down completely.

We applaud and appreciate tournament directors who understand this and have cancelled/rescheduled events and we urge others to do the same for the good of our sport and health of our fellow anglers.

The sooner we slow or even halt the spread of this disease, the sooner we can return to normal and resume fishing with our friends and fellow competitors.

Protect yourself

  • Maintain at least 6 feet between you and another person
  • If driving to and from a fishing spot, keep your vehicle's windows slightly down to allow air flow
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; if soap and water aren't available, use a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol.