Executive Order 20-23 allows people to be outside, enjoying activities such as walking, running, fishing and hunting.
The Minnesota Department of Health recommends staying close to home, washing our hands, staying at home if we feel sick, not congregating when outdoors and following social distancing rules.
The governor decided to trust all of us by retracting some of the restrictions in place, so let us not mess this up.
Will we follow Executive Order 20-23 when fishing commences on May 9?
By allowing the fishing season to open, Gov. Tim Walz put faith in each of us to apply the common-sense guidelines necessary to be safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19 to others.
Actions imposed on our neighboring states west and east show not one size fits all. In North Dakota, conservation officers have been out checking onshore anglers, ensuring they are staying six feet apart from each other. Wisconsin has extended its stay-at-home orders until the end of the month.
In many states, if you plan to leave the state, upon reentering, you voluntarily quarantine for 14 days. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is being challenged for her stay-at-home order that included banning motorboat traffic on the state’s lakes and rivers.
Minnesota Rainy River guide Captain Chris Granrud used social media to voice his displeasure with access closures on the Rainy River, an early April fishing hot spot that attracts thousands of anglers. Like Granrud, others have painted the picture that the closures are only about limiting or shutting off the public access, instead of the real goal, saving lives.
Honestly, I have my doubts that many will follow the recommendations. If the past weeks are an indication, my suspicion was confirmed last Saturday. Filtering through our community, I saw shoppers packed one on top of each other in several stores, without a care or concern of their proximity to others. It makes me wonder how this will play out when hundreds of thousands of anglers will hit the state's waters next Saturday.
This year's fishing opener comes without a playbook, but some common-sense guidelines certainly would be a good idea to follow.
Plan early to buy necessities such as bait, tackle and lunch fixings.
Be patient while waiting to launch.
Invest in a box of latex gloves to use when touching the handle at gas pumps and dock poles at the access.
Fish with friends or relatives you know are not sick.
Keep your distance from other boats and onshore.
These are some weird times, and some anglers simply will decide to just stay at home for this year's fishing opener. But it is my opinion that fish will bite hard on jigs-tipped with minnows next Saturday, and if minnows are hard to get, a jig tipped with a plastic tail will do as well.