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Fishing: A Social Distance Sport

A man fishes from the shore at the Cleveland Metropark's Wallace Lake in Berea, Ohio. [Dennis Knowles \ ideastream]
A man fishes from shore at the Cleveland Metropark's Wallace Lake

With participation sports like basketball, baseball and football on hold due to the coronavirus, fishing offers a relatively inexpensive, safe and solitary alternative. Of course, if you go fishing, be sure to maintain the recommended 6 feet of distance from others.

Fishing has long been a popular spot. More than 49 million people in the U.S. fished recreationally in 2017, according to the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation. Statista, a market research firm, reported that only running and jogging were more popular as an outdoor activity.

Fishing from shore at the Cleveland Metropark's Wallace Lake in Berea, Ohio. [Dennis Knowles \ ideastream]

Last year, the Cleveland Metroparks logged over 590,000 visits to its 14 major waterways, including the 31 miles of the Rocky River.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and its public facilities closed March 16, with only essential personnel such as safety forces working. All events and programs have been canceled until further notice, but the fishable waterways remain open every day from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. At this time of year, trout are a favorite target of anglers. Bass and perch can also be caught from shore.  

Kayak fishermen on Wallace Lake in the Cleveland Metroparks Thursday. [Dennis Knowles \ ideastream]

Getting started fishing is easy and doesn’t have to be expensive. The basic items needed are:

٠5-6 foot rod and reel (spinning reel or spin casting)
٠8 lb. monofilament fishing line
٠#6 hooks
٠Needle-nose pliers (for removing hooks)
٠¼ ounce weights/sinkers placed a foot above the hook, which enables your line to reach the bottom
٠Plastic bobber, a floatation device. Attach it 2 feet above your hook to fish the surface waters
٠Large bucket with ice for preserving your fish (or practice catch and release)
٠Bait of your choice – night crawlers, minnows or wax worms
٠A rag or paper towels for cleaning your hands
٠Camera (for capturing fun moments)
٠Lots of patience
٠A fishing license (if 18 years or older)
٠A hat, sunglasses and sun screen
٠Refreshments (water and food)

The most important things about going fishing: Be safe and have fun.