Up North: Wisconsin Anglers Enjoy Fishing Opener Despite Pandemic

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: May 08, 2020 10:22 PM

Last weekend the Wisconsin fishing opener kicked off. Due to the pandemic the Governors Open was canceled and safety restrictions were put in place for anglers. 

Under clear skies and warm temperatures thousands of anglers enjoyed the Wisconsin fishing opener. 

"It's absolutely amazing. It's nice to get out and enjoy the weather. It's finally 70 degrees," said Greg Bowerman after launching his boat on Amnicon Lake.

The DNR reported selling over one million individual licenses, but with that came social distancing concerns. Third in the nation of out of state fishing licenses, Wisconsin is asking people to alter some traditions by fishing in small family groups and stay close to home during the coronavirus.

"You can get outdoors in your own community. You can fish within your own community. {Wisconsin has} 15,000 lakes, 84,000 miles of rivers and streams and we want folks to be safe," said Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole.

Businesses that thrive off of the opener are also changing some operations. Amnicon Bar owner Rick Clark said despite closing their dining room his business has stayed busy seven days a week with carside pickups.

"It's a busy time of year. Summer people are starting to come back or they are back already, as far as cabin people. It's the start to the summer and it's busy from here on in," said Clark. 

Some anglers grab grub from Clark's establishment, then head down the road to the boat launch. 

Once on the lake anglers may see more DNR officials than in previous seasons checking on licenses and proper social distancing.

"Our law enforcement staff is going to be out there, they're going to be visible and I think we can rely on our public to be a good trustworthy partner in this," said Matt O'Brien, the Wisconsin DNR conservation warden.
O'Brien added following safety precautions will help ensure a quicker return to traditions. 


Alicia Tipcke

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