CLEVELAND — On Saturday, dozens of people took a trip to the Erie Canal Reservation for Fall Family Fishing Fest where many learned to fish for the first time.
The fishing community has always been quite big in Ohio but over the pandemic, it grew tremendously.
At the festival were three generations hooking bate, casting lines and of course, patiently waiting.
“I’ve been fishing since I was probably nine years old, my dad used to take me fishing every weekend. My son's been fishing since he was one I took him as soon as he could walk around fishing,” said Cory Butram, a local fisher.
Their family has fished for years but especially spent a lot of time on the water during the pandemic.
“Yeah, we did a lot of fishing. We went to Wallace Lake, we're at the Canal Lagoon, everywhere in the Metro Parks. Pretty much every chance we got we were out,” said Butram.
It's something that seemed to be a trend for many Ohioans, some even trying it for the first time.
"Fishing has always been an important outdoor recreation activity including in Metro Parks, but it's really exploded, not only in our park but everywhere with COVID,” said Mike Durkalec, a fish biologist.
The Division of Wildlife reported that in 2019 more than 720,000 Ohio residents got their fishing license—in 2020 it was more than 800,000.
“People just want to get outside, they realize it's easier to social distance, and you can catch your dinner and save a little money and have fun doing it,” said Durkalec.
Looking at the turnout at Fall Family Fishing Fest, some people are still hooked, and the stores mirror that increased popularity.
“I have direct experience in trying to get equipment and finding it harder to find fishing supplies and other items than it has been in a long time so that's a good problem to have,” said Jamie Emmert the spokesperson for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
For the Butram it was never a debate whether they loved to fish or not. So you'll always know where to find them.
“It gets you outdoors it's good family time. The kids love it. They get to when they get bored fishing, you can go explore. But it's just fun, pack a picnic, grab your polls and just go,” Butram.
If you are interested in a fishing license the Ohio Division of Wildlife can help you. The license is good for 365 days and only costs $25.
Click here to learn more.
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