Chicago outdoors: Smelt and an interesting Michigan DNR note in the updates

An update on access around Chicago outdoors includes a smelt note and an interesting note from the Michigan DNR.

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A smelt gathering on opening night in 2019 on the Chicago lakefront. Credit: Dale Bowman

A smelt gathering on opening night in 2019 on the Chicago lakefront.

Dale Bowman

Here’s the second update on COVID-19 impact and Chicago outdoors as of today, March 26.

Smelt season will not be starting in Chicago as scheduled on Wednesday, April 1. I have not received official word yet whether it will be completely shut down for the month or not. If you want my educated guess, I would say yes.

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Here are the key portions from release on charter fishing and related activities from the Michigan DNR on Thursday, March 26:

DNR determines charter fishing and guide operations are not permitted In accordance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ recommendations designed to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the governor’s Executive Order 2020-21, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has determined that charter and fishing guide operations that involve boats, canoes and other marine vessels are not currently permitted. 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. These activities should cease immediately and not resume until at least April 13. In addition to the DNR’ Law Enforcement Division, Michigan State Police and local law enforcement agencies have full authority to enforce the provisions of this order.

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As to traveling to Wisconsin, after talking with several guides and business people, I would suggest that people outside of Wisconsin, including Illinois and Indiana, would do well to reconsider and reschedule fishing or hunting trips. In fact, some people are finding out they have no choice, their housing options are closed.

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