Into the Outdoors - Coronavirus and Fishing

Updated: Apr 19

By Chris Henderson -

Of course, as we are all painfully aware, the Coronavirus is the main topic in the country today. Yesterday, I saw a man fishing for suckers in Sugar Creek, where it empties into the Allegheny. He was all alone, and was not violating any social distancing orders. This begs the question of how the pandemic will affect our fishing. I suspect that it will probably delay the opening of trout season. As much as I hate to say it, this would probably be a good thing. The often densely packed crowds on the opening day of the season seem like the ideal venue for spreading the contagion. For those of us who have spent the winter looking forward to opening day, this is a very bitter pill to swallow. Sadly, the reality for now is bitter, and it is what it is. As for other fishing, the situation might not be so bleak. Like the lone angler I saw yesterday, I think that it is still quite possible to fish while taking precautions. If you feel like wetting a line in a deserted area, and you keep to yourself, I think that the risk is pretty low. In fact, it could be an opportunity to get away from everyone and just plain relax, at a time when we all need some relaxation. At this time of year, there are many ways to enjoy the outdoor experience right in your own backyard. First of all, put up a bird feeder. Now that the bears are out and about, you should take them down at night. That said, you can have great enjoyment watching our feathered friends visiting the feeders in the daytime. One of my very favorites is the black-capped chickadee. These little guys are just too cute. I have been told that you can get them to sit on your finger or eat out of your hand. I have attempted this without success, but I have come close. Don’t forget about spring flora. I know that many find the dandelion a noxious weed, but I am glad to see them pop up in the Spring. They are also good eating. The wild chives are up too. This is a good opportunity to enjoy the simple things around us. The Game Commission has cancelled their seedling distribution for this year. Many years ago, I got one of those seedlings and planted it in the backyard. It is now much taller than me. Here’s the Game Commission’s news release. The Pennsylvania Game Commission announced today its Howard Nursery will not distribute seedlings as a result of mandatory closings and delays caused by COVID-19. The nursery annually has provided over a million seedlings to Hunter Access Program cooperators, who allow public hunting on their properties, the Seedlings for Schools program and public sales. Thankfully, no seedling beds yet had been opened. All seedlings will remain in beds until next spring for 2021 distribution. “It is disappointing our seedlings can’t be distributed this year, but we look forward to the 2021 seedling season,” noted Brian Stone, nursery manager. “We expect to have a greater variety and higher quantities of seedlings – some in larger sizes.” Unfortunately, the nursery had already received public orders. So, over the next few weeks, nursery staff will contact those who ordered to provide refunds, which will be provided in the order in which they were received. Seedlings for Schools orders also will be alerted through email in the same order requests were received. The nursery is closed currently; no one is available to answer phone calls. If you call, leave a message and someone will contact you. Please be patient for refunds. Everyone stay safe out there!

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