Weekly fishing reports at http://www.thefisherman.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=directory.category&PDIR=74

The Coronavirus pandemic is nothing to take lightly; it’s a serious issue that has resulted in thoughtful restrictions and “social distancing” efforts aimed at stemming the spread of the virus. At the same time, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) announced this week that state parks, forests, recreation areas, wildlife management areas and historic areas will remain open to the public. “Keeping state-owned open spaces available to the public is important so people can continue to enjoy the healthful benefits of recreation and being outdoors,” DEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe said.

While state parks remain open, as does Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook, the actual facilities (read: rest rooms) and park offices are not. “We advise the public to practice social distancing while enjoying our open spaces,” McCabe said. Earlier this week, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy ordered that all nonessential retail, recreation and entertainment businesses must shut down between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. and take steps to limit the number of customers to 50 people at any one time.

At this point in the crisis, that means local businesses like tackle shops and for-hire boats are still in play for the angling community, with family fishing actually being encouraged. “If you have to self isolate and practice social distancing with only close friends and family you might as well go fishing,” said Donald Trump, Jr. himself on Wednesday, adding “get your kids and take them to your local pond, river, lake or ocean.” In this week’s complete video forecast for the New Jersey, Delaware Bay region, we spotlight a few of the best opportunities locally for catching a few fish during the present crisis, with a quick breakdown of how and where the latest government restrictions apply to the current state of angling in the region.

Bottom line, recreational fishing is allowed, and in many ways is even being encouraged through “social distancing” with family. Bottom line, it’s an option that allows the community to add a sense of normalcy to lives turned upside down during the pandemic.