Say NO To Fishing!

Well, I’m not sure how I feel about this, but the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Honourable John Yakabuski, announced this past weekend on Outdoor Journal Radio that he has decided not to postpone or delay the opening of Trout season in Ontario as scheduled for April 25th.

I wrote this piece immediately after interviewing the Minister on the show, and I honestly don’t know what to make of it. I swear I could almost hear the audience whooping and hollering as the announcement was being made. I could practically see my fellow anglers rushing out to the garage, packing up the fishing gear, and filling the cooler with beer. I got the sense that all was forgotten.

On the one hand, I’m elated with the fact that we can go out and enjoy this wonderful pastime called fishing.

God only knows we needed a little bit of good news for a change. Not to mention, we can all use some airing out after weeks of this isolation business.

On the other hand, I’m very disappointed with our Ford-led provincial government, who has so far made many difficult and right decisions but has got this one so terribly wrong.

Even in the most farfetched scenario, how can anyone justify saying it’s okay to drive from Scarborough to Port Hope to go fishing on the banks of the Ganaraska River, but it’s not okay to go skateboarding at Ashbridges Bay Skateboard Park in Toronto?

How can it be all right for a group of five family members to go to the Credit River in Mississauga (with lawn chairs and picnic baskets in tow) to enjoy a day outside fishing for steelhead, but it’s not okay for that same family to go camping at Emily Provincial Park next weekend?

It’s okay to fish the Niagara River but not Algonquin Park. I just don’t get it! This is all insanity as far as I’m concerned.

Listen, I’m all about our fishing rights. I’m all about the freedom to come and go in our wilderness areas for fishing and hunting. I’m all about being Canadian and enjoying all of the perks that go along with that.

Still, I’ll be damned if I’m going to endure all of the hardships and make all the sacrifices that my family, friends, co-workers and I have made to adhere to this pandemic quarantine protocol, just so some whining, snivelling brat can go stand on the banks of Duffins Creek at midnight on April 25th to get his fishing fix (and risk perpetuating the spread of this deadly virus in the process).

Whether you believe that self-isolation and social distancing is the solution or not, most of us have been following the protocol and doing what we feel is right, not just for our own health but for the greater good of our society. Some of us will lose our loved ones, our homes, our businesses, maybe even our lives to this scourge before it’s all over. And now we need to worry about someone’s fishing fetish?

I just don’t get it. What is the Ontario government thinking? Other jurisdictions like Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, and Quebec (soon to be followed by B.C. and Alberta) have all delayed, suspended or postponed all recreational fishing activities.

At a time when we need to hold the pedal to the metal on ridding ourselves of this ruthless killer COVID-19… really? We’re going fishing?

Maybe the government thinks that suddenly people are not going to be people just because fishing is involved. Have any of the decision-makers ever been on the shores of Duffins Creek on the opening night of the Trout season?

For that matter, have any of them ever been to the Bay of Quinte for the Walleye opener? Anglers who participate in these annual rituals will be the first ones to admit these are less than ideal places to be if you are concerned with the spread of a virus. Hell, I’ll go one step further and say these are the perfect places to be if you want to infect or be infected.

Even under normal conditions, every river, creek and tributary that dumps into Lake Ontario, Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and surrounding communities are jam-packed with anglers. But this year, with the extraordinary conditions that this pandemic has bestowed on us, those visitor numbers could easily swell to double or triple the normal size. It could be the perfect storm: overcrowding, less-than-ideal hygiene, and lots of socializing with endless reasons to celebrate with a drink or two.

All that, and fewer available frontline emergency workers in the event of accidents and fewer law enforcement officers to patrol it all. Do we really need to catch a fish that badly?

This is no time to be selfish. A lot of outlying towns and villages are already suffering from shortages in food and other essential products due to higher-than-normal cottager traffic. Do they really need the additional complications that we anglers are going to bring to their community on April 25th?

Let’s wake up, fellow anglers. This is as real as it gets. We are in the greatest fight of the modern era, and if you don’t understand this, you need a lot more than a day on Wilmot Creek chasing steelhead to help you.

We need to bear down and put an end to this nightmare that is affecting all our lives in ways that we never could’ve expected. Let’s mature up a little bit. Going fishing is not the answer; it’s a detriment.

Think of it this way: If only one more infection occurs due to the opening of Trout season on April 25th, and that one infection turns out to be fatal, and you knew all you needed to do to prevent it from happening was to stay home on April 25th, would you make the right decision?

Obviously, the policymakers of this current government feel obligated to not tamper with our fishing. They’ve already tampered with our children’s education, with our businesses, jobs, churches, and even with our food supplies. But for some reason, they’re afraid to mess with our fishing. Am I the only one who sees this as weird? I hope not.

We’ve all suffered so much already, some of us may never recover. It’s time to take control.

So here is what I would like to suggest: Given this latest decision by the government of Ontario to maintain the status quo regarding the opening of Trout season, we, as responsible citizens and intelligent anglers, apply extreme pressure to the MNRF and tell them, “No. This is not acceptable, and it’s not the right thing to do. You cannot allow Ontarians to go fishing on April 25th or any time soon. We need to put an end to COVID-19. Say NO To Fishing!

If you agree, sign our petition, together can we stop the spread of COVID-19!


"Say No To Fishing" - Petition

I agree that the government of Ontario should suspend all fishing activities until they lift the declaration of emergency which has now been extended to May 12

%%your signature%%

Thank You for your support!!!
300 signatures

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11 Replies to “Say NO To Fishing!”

  1. I was telling my wife just yesterday that will probably go insane if I can’t fish. That being said, my health and the health of all my fellow anglers and their families is more important than fishing, and we all have to view it that way. Selfish, uninformed behavior is unbecoming of our sport. While I may not like the possibility of not fishing, it’s vital that we distance ourselves so we can fish another day. I do believe that the MNR should provide a 1-year extension on all fishing licenses however.

    1. I completely agree with you Angelo. This was well thought out and well written.
      The fish can wait.
      So many people are dying from this horrible virus every day.
      No one is immune to it.
      We were so looking forward to going fishing this spring, but it simply is just not worth it.
      The virus could be anywhere…
      Left on something you touch or simply breathed in.
      Why risk it?
      The fish are safe for a little while longer and it gives us plenty of time to prepare for the next big fishing trip.
      I have signed the petition and I have shared it on my personal timeline on facebook.
      Come one everyone, please share this and sign it.
      It just makes sense.

      1. I wish I could have edited what I just wrote. I meant to write
        “Come on everyone…”
        Also, I would like to add that I think it is wise to also send along this petition to our Premier, Doug Ford who seems to help make the rules in regards to whether fishing season should or should not be open.
        Thank you again Angelo for spearheading this petition.
        Thank you also, and to Pete as well, for spending some time with me at last year’s The Sportsman Show and allowing us to film you guys with me for my YT channel. 🥰

  2. I have booked two major fishing trips this year which includes fly-ins, and I will cancel them if the Ontario government continues with the emergency lock down past May 12/2020.
    As I’m nearing 70 years old, it will be a great loss to sacrifice a year of fishing, however for the health of my family and friends I’m willing.

  3. I do not agree with this petition at all . Stay out of politics and stick to fishing
    I commented previously on the APP and it added me to the petition without my permission

  4. Can we get an opposing petition going?
    As long as physical separation is possible, why not fish?
    Police the groups, not the individuals who wish not to go crazy.

  5. Maybe a better message would be ‘fish locally or don’t fish at all’. We can practically see the Ottawa from our house, why wouldn’t we fish? Like running or walking, kayaking or canoeing, it’s a hobby that goes well with distancing. Movie theatres, pubs, public transit – nope. Getting outside in nature – yes – it’s a big country, and there’s room for us all to get out and still have space.

  6. Since just before March break here in Ontario we have had to distance ourselves from our children and grandchildren. We have been doing the isolation thing along with almost everyone we know. Bill celebrated his 77th birthday yesterday and we had to do a video call with our 2 grandkids in London so all of us would be safe. As a matter of fact, William, in London, turns 5 on the 21st of April but we can’t be there to celebrate with him. So all those whiney fishermen who think it is more important to take a break from it this year need to get their priorities in a bit better order. They will be the cause of this lasting longer than necessary. You are right Angelo. Small towns are not equipped to handle any emergencies that could happen because people couldn’t stay home. We love fishing, the whole family, enjoy your shows especially the ones with your kids/grandkids in them and we have cottages booked for the summer. So I hope all those impatient fisherpeople will think twice and realize the best course is to stay home. Thank you for all you, Pete and the others at Fish’n Canada do for our great sport, beautiful province and wonderful country. Oh yeah and I agree with the profanity thing too on here. I’ve been know to say a few words when the fish get away but isn’t that part of the fun?
    Take care and hope to see you on the water or at SAIL.

  7. I am sorry but even through you are well respected and you made your point well read to fit your views you still come off like the rest of the fear pushers most people can control there personal space yes as always there will be those that don’t and I would hope that the police and fellow anglers do their part to make sure we are all safe ,
    but it still needs to be up to us to self regulate not the government
    and I would hope that you remember you are where you are because of all of us

  8. I’m sorry people but I feel if you go out fishing with a person you have been in isolation with like for instance your wife. I see nothing wrong with that. if you stay away from others and don’t gather in groups I see no reason why you can’t go out for a little fresh air. yes I agree going out with a group of friends is wrong. getting in your boat with a group of friends is wrong. however going out fishing from shore by yourself or with your wife not a problem. as to the pumping of gas same thing as if you need groceries and need to pump gas. as far as breaking down and needing a tow its also the same if it should happen when getting groceries. as far as needing a licence if you were smart enough to get it at the beginning of the year congratulations you won the 2020 fishing lottery. so if you go out stay safe and follow all the rules about social distancing I say go ahead fish on. I agree with social distancing I support our healthcare workers and everybody on the front lines taking risks to stay at work so we can eat and have the things we need and yes we need to support them. but doing things the safe way doesn’t mean stopping everything. just use your heads. and don’t go out in groups. God bless and stay safe.

  9. I will be signing the petition to keep the fishing season closed until such a time when it is safe to reopen. Like most here, I have enjoyed fishing all my life and, being recently retired, was looking forward to this season. We all have been affected by this virus in one way or another and have made numerous sacrifices to curb the spread. Minister Yakabuski has announced the opening of the trout season. An option that could negate everything we have strived for. It has been a grave decision that will put Ontarians at great risk at this time. The minister thinks he has won the popularity and votes of the outdoors community, but he better think again. Most here are responsible and understand it is a time to be patient. A time to listen to our health professionals and act accordingly. If he is looking for popularity and votes, he has lost my support. The term “knuckle head ” was used in the media recently. If the shoe fits. Thanks to Angelo, Pete and the crew for all they do for the outdoors and our community.

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