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Chicago outdoors & COVID-19 updates: FPD of Will Co., Chain, Waukegan, Geneva Musky Conference, McHenry CCD

The Forest Preserve District of Will County extends restrictions, rescheduled Geneva Musky Conference, Chain O’Lakes word, Waukegan word and trout within McHenry CCD are the updates for Thursday, April 2.

A file photo of fishing on the Chain O’Lakes. Credit: Dale Bowman
A file photo of fishing on the Chain O’Lakes.
Dale Bowman

Updates and reschedulings come around Chicago outdoors because of the impact of COVID-19: Fish Preserve District of Will County, Chain O’Lakes, Chicagoland Muskie Hunters, Waukegan, and McHenry County Conservation District. Here are some updates through this afternoon, Thursday, April 2.

The biggest comes from the Forest Preserve District of Will County today. Here are the key lead paragraphs, read carefully if you are wondering about fishing:

Forest Preserve’s coronavirus-related closures, cancellations extended through April 30

The Forest Preserve District of Will County has extended its facility closures and program cancellations through April 30 as a result of the new coronavirus pandemic and the recent extension of the governor’s stay-at-home order.

All visitor centers, including the District’s Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet, preserve parking lots, dog parks and latrines will remain closed during this time period. The launching of boats will not be allowed until the preserve parking areas reopen. Kayaking is not allowed at this time due to the closure of the parking lots and for safety reasons due to limited police patrols. All public programs and volunteer workdays are now canceled through April 30; registered program participants will be contacted.

Trails will remain open as long as they can be accessed safely on foot or by bicycle and people continue to help limit the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing of at least 6 feet as recommended by health authorities. Shoreline fishing also is allowed as long as social distancing is practiced.

The closures and cancellations have been instituted to help reduce a spike in COVID-19 cases, which could overwhelm health care providers and facilities and lead to more deaths. The Forest Preserve’s actions are designed to reduce the number of people in the preserves and on trails, which will help protect members of the public and District staff from the transmission of COVID-19.

“In the best interests of everyone, stay close to home,” urged Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve District’s chief operating officer.

The Fox Waterway Agency posted this today about use of the Chain O’Lakes. Here are the lead paragraphs:

4/1/2020 COVID-19 UPDATES

by Erin | Apr 1, 2020 | News

Hunters and anglers who wish to hunt or fish during the ‘Stay at Home’ order may do so provided they have the appropriate licensing and permits and are hunting or fishing on private property or at sites which are currently open to the public. We ask our hunters and anglers to help their fellow outdoorsmen and women by following all public health directives, including staying at least six feet away from other sportsmen and staying home if they’re exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.

Specifically, the Fox Waterway remains open for boating and provides a vast opportunity to practice essential social distancing measures to keep you and your loved ones safe during this world-wide Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.

Click here to read the full release, which includes information on office contact and stickers, etc.

Frank Loye, programs director for Chicagoland Muskie Hunters chapter of Muskies, Inc., emailed an update about club activities, including this on the Geneva Musky Convention:

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we will practice social distancing. As a result we have cancelled the April meeting and have rescheduled the Geneva Musky Convention to Nov 13 -15. We will be assessing our May meeting and other upcoming outings and events over the next few weeks.

Coho in Waukegan Thursday. Provided
Coho in Waukegan Thursday.
Provided

Lori Ralph of the Salmon Stop in Waukegan texted the photo above and this update on some good fishing Thursday:

And even though when you call the port and they say you can not fish the rocks, you CAN, you just can’t drive to them.

On Wednesday, the McHenry County Conservation District sent this update, related to trout season:

Closing The Hollows (Lake Atwood) in Cary, Beck’s Woods and Piscasaw North in Chemung for fishing through April 30, 2020

McHenry County Conservation District is doing all we can to keep our employees, visitors and residents as healthy and safe as possible. In response to the guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the shelter-in-place order issued by Governor JB Pritzker in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 disease, the Conservation District has announced additional cancellations and closures.

The District announced this morning that it is Closing The Hollows (Lake Atwood) in Cary, Beck’s Woods and Piscasaw North in Chemung for fishing through April 30, 2020 to conform with the social distancing guidelines issued by Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Stay at Home Executive Order and to deter the large number of anglers expected with the opening of trout season.

All three sites are closed completely Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5 to deter the large crowds that are expected this weekend with the opening of trout season.

The hiking trails at The Hollows will reopen on Monday, April 6, while Lake Atwood will remain closed.

Additional changes and new announcements may come in response to the circumstances in the days to come. We will communicate as quickly as we can. The District’s website MCCDistrict.org is the best location for the most up to date information on site openings/closing – as well as our Facebook page @DiscoverMCCD. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and always keep your best interests, health and safety in mind.