A few days after Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared "stay-at-home" orders to prevent the spread of the virus, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says fishing charters must shut down operations temporarily until April 13.
The announcement came in an emailed press release direct from the Michigan DNR. Some fishing charter operations may have felt a reprieve when the executive order was first announced. The order made an exception for outdoor activities like walking, hiking and bike riding.
The DNR even said in a Facebook post on Monday that fishing activities were fine if people were following proper social distancing precautions.
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However, it seems the DNR re-evaluated things as far as guide services are concerned. The DNR says they made the decision in accordance with recommendations by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
The closure applies to any charter or fishing guide operation "that involves boats, canoes and other marine vessels."
"These operations do not meet any of the variances or exemptions outlined in the governor's order as activities necessary 'to sustain or protect life,' and they may also congregate anglers in violation of the order and state health recommendations," the press release reads.
The release also states that all law enforcement agencies have authority to enforce this shutdown until the stated April 13 date. This news comes a couple days after the DNR also shut down state park campgrounds and other overnight accommodations until the same date. Parks are still open for day uses like hiking. Michigan has also delayed some trout stocking programs and has even shut down state-owned shooting ranges to being open by appointment only.
Some charters acted before this order and shut down operations earlier this week.
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This news won't be good for many Michigan charter businesses, especially the ones that are busy during the fast-approaching spring walleye season. We will keep an eye on the situation here at Wide Open Spaces and bring you any updates as they become available.