Ozark angler hooks state-record quillback

The number of fishing license sales across America was up dramatically during COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. People were looking for something to do outside the home while still being able to avoid crowds and maintain social distancing. Fishing offered that opportunity, plus they could even catch dinner. 

The age group with the most dramatic increase in fishing population was teenagers. Hopefully, they will learn fishing can be just as much fun as electronic games and smartphones. There was a decrease in out-of-state fishing license sales since travel was also restricted. The number of senior citizens fishing also declined during this time, as they were concerned about leaving home to do anything.

What those who tried fishing discovered was something those of us who fish already know. Fishing is a great escape, even when there’s not a pandemic going on. It’s pretty hard to worry about anything when you go fishing. You’re out in the fresh air and the beauty of nature. Catching a fish is the bonus.

If you haven’t tried fishing yet, this Saturday and Sunday are Free Fishing Days in Missouri. It’s a great time to give it a try because you won’t have to buy a fishing permit, trout permit or trout park daily tag. All other regulations as well as length and possession limits are still in effect.

It is still critical to continue all recommendations for physical distancing, avoiding overcrowding, hand washing and other public health measures during outdoor activities. Go to https://huntfish.mdc.mo.gov/fishing for fishing tips and places to go.


“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.“

—Henry David Thoreau


Don’t fish memories. Walleyes could be literally miles from the point you caught a limit on last year or last week. Walleyes aren’t loyal to areas, only food. Once you recognize that, your success will improve. 


National Trails Day is this Saturday and a great excuse to get outdoors and go hiking. Besides the great exercise and fresh air, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about social distancing and other COVID-19 rules. 

If you’re not sure where to go, the Missouri Department of Conservation has many places to hit the trail. To find nearby MDC areas go to http://mdc.mo.gov or download MDC's mobile app MO Outdoors.


In the news, two vodka drinking Russian anglers fled in terror when two hippopotamus surfaced near their riverside fishing spot. It turns out the wayward hippos had escaped from a nearby zoo. The two fishermen have given up drinking. 


June nights are made for being outdoors whether it’s camping under a star filled sky, catching fireflies, sitting around a campfire or fishing with a full moon shining on the water.

Larry Whiteley was born and raised in Nixa. He was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in honor of his more than 40 years of communicating the great outdoors all over the world through his outdoor articles and radio shows.

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