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Fishing Opener Saturday Has Plenty of COVID-19 Changes

Pixabay.com scottgardner

An unusual game fishing season in Wisconsin opens Saturday. The head of the Department of Natural Resources is hoping the majority of anglers stay close to home.

During a conference call Friday morning, DNR Secretary Preston Cole said the DNR considers the opening of fishing a 'holiday', but he says with the COVID pandemic, he hopes anglers consider fishing close to home..

"We have about 15,000 lake and 84,000 miles of rivers and streams...so there has to be a river, stream or lake close to you. That's important, because we're still guided by the 'Safe At Home' executive order.......

Matt O'Brien of the DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement says wardens will also be doing things differently. He says social distancing will be in effect at the boat landings. He says boat launches can be stressful as anglers cue for launch. He says patience is the key to not congregating. O'Brien says wardens will also be doing things differently. He says the warden might not roll down the window on the vehicle, rather talking to anglers through the glass. He says wardens talk to many people, so it's a safety measure for both parties.

O'Brien says if they ask for a license, that also could be different...

"I think the nature of our compliance checks are going to change. We might ask you to read off your customer ID number and we're going to punch that in so we don't have to be in close proximity to handle your license, your Go Wild card...."

Even though COVID is top of mind, officials say you can also help minimize the spread of invasive species by removing plants and animals from your boat before and after launching, draining all water from compartments, and never move live fish from any waterbody.

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