One of the growing frustrations that comes with Coronavirus shutdown is State's decision to shut down outdoor activities like fishing.  The best fishing is often a solitary endeavor and to paraphrase and old quote - The worst day of fishing is better than the best day cooped up at home sheltering in place. So how does closing it down keep us safe? Wish I knew!

So when will the rivers, lakes and pond reopen?  Wish I knew!

What we do know is that America’s sportsmen and women generated nearly $1 billion in excise taxes last year, supporting critical state conservation programs. These funds are generated by excise tax collections on hunting, shooting and fishing equipment and boat fuel that is distributed to all 50 states and U.S. territories so the importance of outdoor activity isn't in question ... for NEXT year.

In a federal news release the Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, proposed an expansion of opportunities for sportsmen for next year.

“Once the Trump Administration’s effort to eliminate the threat of COVID-19 has been successful, there will be no better way to celebrate than to get out and enjoy increased access for hunting and fishing on our public lands,” said Service Director Aurelia Skipwith. “I deeply appreciate everything sportswomen and men do for conservation and our economy, so I am delighted when we can do something to expand opportunities for them. I hope it will help encourage the next generation of hunters and anglers to continue on this rich American tradition.”

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced a historic proposal for new and expanded hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 97 national wildlife refuges and 9 national fish hatcheries. This proposed rule is the single largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in history  .

Proposed expansions of refuge opportunities include the expansion of existing big game hunting to new acres at Willapa National Wildlife Refuge in Washington state and the formal opening of lands at Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery in Washington state to migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Opening more than 2 million acres of federal lands for public access not only boosts our economy but provides a gateway to transformative outdoor exploration and conservation opportunities for today’s sportsmen and for generations to come.

The Service will seek comments from the public on the proposed rule for 60 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register on April 9, 2020. The notice will be available at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket Number: FWS-HQ-NWRS-2020-0013, and will include details on how to submit comments.