Catching a break during the pandemic

FISHING+IN+THE+YOOP%E2%80%94+Despite+the+COVID-19+pandemic%2C+theres+opportunities+to+get+outside+and+do+some+fishing+while+maintaining+social+distancing.+Photo+courtesy+of+Kelby+Reichard.

FISHING IN THE YOOP— Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s opportunities to get outside and do some fishing while maintaining social distancing. Photo courtesy of Kelby Reichard.

Kelby Reichard

While it may seem complicated for those with no previous experience, fishing offers students a way to connect with the outdoors and remain socially distant during the pandemic.

The age of COVID-19 has brought about a change in all student’s lives and has left many searching for new hobbies to embrace this fall, especially ones that are outdoors. 

Fishing is one such activity that requires little preparation and is available to the public year-round. In the Marquette area, there are opportunities for people interested in lake fishing, river fishing, fly-fishing, and ice fishing. There are also many different resources and programs available for individuals uncertain with where to begin, said George Madison, a fisheries manager with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The best place to find information for beginners is on the DNR website at  https://www.michigan.gov/dnr where students can learn the steps in getting started, what bait to use, the different species to fish (and how to identify them), how to tie knots, and where to fish.

For the beginner fishers not looking to leave the shore, people around Marquette can become involved in fishing even if they don’t have a vehicle.

“The area of Marquette and the communities of the Upper Peninsula have clean, healthy, fishable water bodies within close proximity to just about anywhere where people live,” stated Madison. “You do not need a boat to be able to fish, and there are numerous places where folks can shore-fish.” 

Madison offered a few suggestions for anyone looking for the best fishing spots.

“Locally for NMU students, staff, and families, the Tourist Park impoundment offers good shore fishing opportunities, and there are restrooms and water located there,” he said.

Madison added that the Dead River offers good trout fishing and the Chocolay and Carp Rivers offer steelhead fishing in the spring and salmon fishing in the fall. People can also look to ice fish this winter, but that will require slightly different equipment.

During the pandemic, people were motivated to leave their homes and try new activities in the outdoors, and many of them have turned towards fishing, said Madison. 

“We had beautiful weather this past summer, and for those who did get out, they found the experience to be a lot of fun, which leads to people experiencing many more trips being out and trying area fishing locations,” Madison said.

Anden Armbruster, a sophomore criminal justice student, began fishing at a young age, but recently started fishing at Deer Lake in Ishpeming, west of Marquette.

“Since COVID began, I’ve been able to get out fishing more than usual,” he said. “It was one of the few things that I was able to do near Marquette, so I spent a lot of time at Deer Lake.”  

 Armbruster encourages others to become involved in fishing and to learn as you go.

“In my opinion, I think it is very easy for beginners to learn how to fish … it takes time to get good at,” he stated.  

According to Madison, the Michigan DNR also has information on its website about different programs open to novice anglers.

 One such local program is called “Becoming an Outdoor Woman” and is tailored towards females looking to enhance their understanding of many different outdoor skills, including fishing. Madison added that many programs like this had to be halted during the summer due to public safety reasons, but are set to return next spring.

There are a number of educational programs through local fishing clubs, including the South Shore Fishing Association, Trout Unlimited and Central Upper Peninsula Sport Fishing Association. Information about opportunities can be found on their websites or social media accounts.

The best method of fishing for those with no previous experience is “hook-bobber, and worm” fishing, said Madison. It’s as simple as getting a fishing pole with fishing line, tying on a hook, attaching a bobber to the line, and baiting the hook.

“You don’t have to go out and purchase brand-new gear. Most resale shops also have fishing equipment for a very low cost,” Madison added. 

Here are some places to learn more about fishing around Marquette:

Michigan DNR – https://www.michigan.gov/dnr

Michigan DNR Family Friendly Fishing Sites – https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79119_79146_81198_81199—,00.html 

Michigan DNR Becoming an Outdoors Woman – https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79135_79219_81148—,00.html 

South Shore Fishing Association – https://www.southshorefishing.com/ 

Trout Unlimited (Fred Waara Chapter, Marquette) – http://www.michigantu.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=187&catid=56 

Central U.P. Sport Fishing Association – http://www.superiorfishing.net/CUPSFA/about.htm