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  • How COVID-19 is impacting crappie fishing by Brad Wiegmann

    No fishing! Itís hard to believe, but several states in America the government has shut down tournament and recreational fishing; other states have encouraged outdoor recreational pursuits like fishing, but in a manner to be in consistent with social distancing guidelines. Faced with these changes crappie anglers, crappie fishing guides, fishing tackle retailers and fishing lure companies are experiencing some rough waters.

    In Kentucky crappie fishing guide Doug Wynn with Crappie-Gills-n-More ( shut down his guide service until further notice. ďThe social distancing guideline and to be compliant with orders from the federal, state and local government, I just felt like it was in the best interest of my guide clients to stop doing guide trips. I donít want to unnecessarily spread the Coronavirus to clients,Ē said Wynn.

    Unfortunately, April is one of Wynnís best months for guiding so it is effecting his income. Itís also closing parks on Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake go to Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife
    COVID-19's Effect On The KDFWR
    for more information on which ones. Crappie tournaments have been suspended until further notice and non-resident anglers traveling to Kentucky should self-quarantine immediately for 14 days upon arrival to Kentucky.

    Alabama crappie fishing guide Lee Pitts ( has experienced a negative effect of the COVID-19 social distancing and travel restrictions with his guide trips. ďFishing was really hot before COVID-19 and the flooding conditions on our lakes. Coronavirus has really hurt my guide service. Most of my clientele are from out of state and so they obviously had to cancel their trips. The trips I lost were ones that would have been the best time to go crappie fishing. It is business I canít get back until maybe next year,Ē said Pitts. Currently, Pitts still has some trips and openings for local, in state anglers.

    Mississippi crappie fishing guide Joel Harris (Joel Harris Facebook) guides on Pickwick Lake, Bay Springs and BCDA (Bear Creek Development Authority) reservoirs says COVID-19 significantly influenced on his guide service. ďSince the first week of April I have been shut down; I havenít had a guide trip. Clients have either cancelled or changed their trips to this summer. Itís not a good situation for fishing guides,Ē said Harris.

    Harris noted that he would still do guide trips, but it would be limited to just one angler per trip or itís possible to split up anglers to different boats keeping in accordance with the social distancing policy. ďRight now Iím just doing honey-do lists and cleaning up the shop. For now Iím just waiting around,Ē said Harris.

    Long time Alabama fishing guide on Lake Pickwick, Wilson Lake and BCDA reservoirs Brad Whitehead (Brad Whitehead/Facebook) is also feeling the effect of COVID-19 State of Emergency declaration and social distancing guidelines. ďItís not a great situation, but Iím making the best I can out of it. I have had some cancelled trips, but also have booked some other trips. Right now with social distancing guidelines, I am taking out one angler or getting them to split up and having two guides that way itís one to a boat. I have actually had some really enjoyable trips doing it that way,Ē said Whitehead.

    Whitehead noted that the number of anglers in boats or on shore is crazy. ďItís a weekday and it seems like the weekend with everyone on the water. It is good people are fishing during this time,Ē said Whitehead. Currently, Whitehead is still guiding, but limiting it to one client or splitting it up to one client per guide.

    Fishing tackle retail store and fishing companies are also feeling the impact of COVID-19.ĒItís almost shut down some dealers that I sell tackle to and several of the tackle stores are closed up. Itís not looking good,Ē said PICO Lures ( owner Mitch Glenn. Glenn noted some anglers are buying fishing tackle online now instead of going to the local fishing tackle retailer. One local retail store is actually taking order on the phone and delivering to the vehicle when the angler stops by the store to pick it up.

    Every day we seem to wake up to new guidelines and policies that are impacting how we live, work and play. These Executive Orders and State of Emergency declarations are in place to protect people from COVID-19 and have saved lives. However, just like having a plan to flatten the curve a strategic exit plan is important, maybe even more important for small businesses, local retailers and companies.

    The fishing industry will never be the same again. Some fishing companies, fishing tackle retails and fishing guides may even succumb and fail in the aftermath of COVID-19, however, even the companies, store and fishing guides remaining will be influenced. For anyone integrated with fishing as a living this will be one of the biggest challenges they will face to stay in the fishing industry.

    No fishing? No way! As long as there is a pond, stream, river or lake people are going to go fishing.

    This article was written April 16, 2020. Hopefully some of the current policies with change for the better by the time you read this.

    In keeping with the social distancing guideline anglers that can legally fish are recommended to follow these recommendations (:
    At Boat ramps: Keep your distance from other anglers or boats. Leave extra space between while waiting to load or unload your boat. Avoid touching handle rails, boat cleats or any part of the courtesy dock.
    Bank anglers: Keep at least one fishing rod length apart. Stay away from crowded places like bridges, courtesy docks or fishing piers.
    Boating anglers: One boat per family and avoid going out fishing with someone outside your family unit or anyone you have not been in self quarantined with. Allow for enough room for social distancing in the boat.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: How COVID-19 is impacting crappie fishing by Brad Wiegmann started by Slab View original post
    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Barnacle Bill's Avatar
      Barnacle Bill -
      Can't help but also wonder what all this will do with the overall crappie population.
    1. "G"'s Avatar
      "G" -
      Good read
    1. Mike1234's Avatar
      Mike1234 -
      I pray the small business can hang on. Hopefully this will be over soon.

      Sent from my iPhone using Fishing mobile app
    1. drumking's Avatar
      drumking -
      Some of the Striper guides that are fishing below Watts Bar dam in Tennessee have 4 anglers plus the guide in their boats. They are not paying attention to the guidelines.
    1. cva34's Avatar
      cva34 -
      Well it may be a break for FISH during Spawn times..more eggs to (repopulate laid) due to fish staying out of Fry Pan.. Just a crazy thought but maybe...Tryin to say something POSITIVE