The Marinette and Menominee area long has been recognized as favorite fishing grounds for sportsmen in pursuit of the various species swimming in local waterways. The recreation enjoyment has accelerated in recent years to a degree where the fish symbol is advertised for the benefit of travelers passing through our two cities. State and national fishing tournaments have come to our cities to boost the tourism industry.

Although commercial fishing is still active in our local waters, it’s not as robust as it once was decades ago when fishing boats lined the banks of local waterways from Marinette and Menominee to Cedar River. The Friday night fish fry remains a tradition from the past.

The coronavirus pandemic may have crushed a good chunk of our recreational life since its outbreak earlier this year, but one of the few sports activities attracting scores of people has been the sport of fishing. A drive past area boat launching sites will attest to the wide interest in the sport.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, fishing has emerged as a bright spot as Wisconsinites battle the health crisis. More than 1 million people have purchased Wisconsin fishing licenses this year, an 18% increase from the same period in 2009. The Journal-Sentinel said its analysis of data was provided by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The uptick appears to be directly related to the COVID-19 outbreak and changes in work and leisure patterns in the state.

Outdoor recreation, including fishing, was identified as an essential activity during Gov. Tony Evers health-related orders earlier this year. Fishing was specifically allowed during the Safer at Home order, both for recreation and food purposes. Wisconsin waters remained open for fishing without restriction throughout the late winter and spring. Not all states had the same opportunities.

Fishing has been a big part of the local economy and sports recreation scene since Native Americans first settled on the Menominee River, the shores of Green Bay and the abundance of inland lakes and rivers surrounding the area hundreds of years ago. Our fishing grounds and the provisions they store can put a smile on the faces of fishermen who pursue the trophies they hold.