LORAIN, Ohio – As the pandemic has hit many businesses, it is fueling fishing charters, according to a report.
In 2020, Ohio saw the eighth highest increase in fishing charters, up 80% from 2019, according to FishingBooker.com, the world’s largest online fishing trip booking site.
Delaware tops the list with a 109% increase for 2020 from 2019, while Hawaii saw the largest decline, down 39% from the previous year.
For pleasure craft in the region, 2021 looks to bring even more business to those on Lake Erie.
Denny Viers runs Eyepopper Fishing Charters from Oasis Marina in Lorain.
âI don’t have weekend days until August,â he said. âI am currently about 38 years old [charters] on the books, and I ran two [so far]. “
Viers started fishing for walleye earlier in the season this year, after 2020 kept him busy and his schedule quickly started to fill up.
âMy phone started ringing in June and never stopped until August,â he said. âI ran almost double my normal trips in one season. I already feel like I’m going to get past that this year.
In Ohio, the daily limit for walleye is six per person.
Viers, a retired Rocky River teacher, argues the hobby is a perfect option during the pandemic.
âIt’s because the pandemic has blocked people,â he said. âThey didn’t go on vacation, so they had their money. They wanted to get out of the house and wanted to do something, and what better way to do it than on Lake Erie, in the open.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, approximately 930,000 fishermen purchased fishing licenses in 2020, an 80% increase which reflects the increase in boat charters.
Among those enjoying Lake Erie are Mario Toromanovic from Chicago and his friends from Wisconsin and Florida.
“It’s the start of the season,” said Toromanovic. âMainly because of COVID-19, I thought [fishing charters] would go down, but I think everyone wants to go fishing. Nothing else to do.”
Last year was also the first year the ODNR increased the costs of a one-year fishing license from $ 19 to $ 25.