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⚠ Before you head to the water check the latest COVID-19 updates. We encourage you to follow CDC recommendations.

Fishing Places Near You in the Social-Distancing Era

Getting outside to recreate is encouraged at all times, but especially during this period of extended indoor confinement due to COVID-19 concerns and local or state social-distancing mandates. Recreational fishing is one of those activities that is permitted in most places or will be as restrictions ease, so check here for info about your state, as things are changing frequently. 

For obvious reasons, going to fishing places near you is the most responsible thing to do, as opposed to making a distant journey. It’s what I’m doing as well, staying within my state and mostly within my county. This is generally easier to accomplish in rural areas than in some suburban and most urban ones.

While the whole gamut of places to go fishing may exist in the general sense – that is beaches, inshore bays, lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams – what you can access is dependent on where you are and what is publicly open at this time. In some areas, public ramps are closed, in others, local, regional, or state parks are closed, so your options could be narrowed, at least for a while.

That said, you may already know what possibilities exist for fishing places near you. If not, a search of your county government’s website (check Parks and Recreation) or a local/regional tourism website may help out, and also provide a source of directions. Check also with the state fisheries agency for a list of county fishing and boating access points and public places to fish.

If there’s no one present at a place you head to, then you should feel safe to fish from the bank, or to launch a boat or kayak to get on the water, and be well within social-distancing guidelines. If there are other people already present, and you can spread out appropriately, you’re in good shape, but if there are many other people at the site (which is likely in popular locations) and it would be hard to maintain social distancing, consider heading somewhere else if such an option exists. Otherwise, plan to return to this location at a time when it’s less crowded (early and late in the day are more likely) if you can.

If you know some hidden fishing spots, or have permission to fish a private pond, make going to such fishing places near you a priority, as crowding is less likely and social distancing less problematic. Since kayak anglers can put in at many places where people with boats cannot, or at places where nearby ramps are closed, they have an advantage in accessing local fishing waters. Make sure that you’re not trespassing when doing so.

It seems reasonable to me to fish with another family member or members who live with you, especially if you’re taking your boat out. Consider whether taking someone else along is maintaining proper safety measures. For now, out of an abundance of caution, I’m mostly fishing solo, in boat and kayak, and am not taking anyone along who doesn’t live in my household. Hopefully that will change soon.


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Ken Schultz

Ken Schultz

Ken Schultz was a longtime staff writer for Field & Stream magazine and is the former Fishing Editor of ESPNoutdoors.com. He’s written and photographed nineteen books on sportfishing topics, plus an annual fishing tips calendar., and his writing has appeared on various websites for nearly two decades. His author website is kenschultz.com.