Fishing and social distancing

Fishing is an activity that I have done for virtually all my life. So, with all of these admonitions about social-distancing, it was pretty easy for me to see that fishing is one activity that nearly everyone can enjoy, and one that is inherently “socially-distancing.” In Vermont there is no crazier fishing circus than the April run of rainbows in the Willoughby River, which brings out throngs of anglers who line up on a short stretch of river in Orleans. Even at this angling jamboree, anglers are still about six feet apart.

There is not a lot required to get started fishing. If you’re older than 14, you will need an annual license -- $26 for a resident adult, or $8 for youths 15-17. Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife website, in addition to providing regulations, has a universe of useful information, on where and how. You can easily set yourself up with a spinning rod-reel combination, some monofilament line, some hooks, a bobber or two, and a carton of worms for under a hundred dollars. Locally, Dick’s Sporting Goods is currently selling a rod-reel combo for $17.98! And, there is nothing wrong with sharing a rod within a family.

In Burlington, in addition to the Fishing Pier at the Waterfront, fishing is a permitted activity at all the parks that border Lake Champlain. The exceptions are the life-guarded beaches in the summer. The Winooski River is also an excellent fishing destination for locals, with many access points along designated trails. Beyond that, Vermont has hundreds of lakes and ponds, and a thousand or more brooks, streams, and rivers. Unless you see a “No Trespass” sign, you can fish. Hey, rain or shine, there’s plenty of fresh air and fun for the family, or anyone who’s inclined to give it a whirl. And, with luck, there may be a nice dinner too. Let’s get fishing!

Peter Shea

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