Boating banned in Michigan under stay-at-home order

Published: Apr. 13, 2020 at 12:58 PM EDT
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It's walleye fishing season, yet no motorboats are allowed on the water in Michigan, making the most recent revision of the stay-at-home order a difficult one for fishermen.

The previous order still allowed for boats on the water, but when Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended the order to April 30, changes made reflected that motorboats and jet-skis are not considered acceptable outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan.

Marinas in Monroe County said thousands of fishermen and lake-lovers alike are usually docking their boats this time of year, but the docks are now sitting empty.

Bait and tackle shops are concerned about the decline in customers during what is normally a peak season.

Domka Outdoors, a local bait and tackle supplier in Monroe, had to postpone its Walleye Spring Bash, the largest derby-style tournament in the state.

"We had over 400 entrants that are now not coming into our stores, not weighing their fish, not going to the lake and staying at hotels or visiting these restaurants. It's affected all of us," owner Erin Domka said.

Other outdoor water activities, like fishing off of a dock, canoeing, kayaking, and sailboats are still permitted, but Domka said that's not how you catch walleye.

"In order to get on the water to troll for these walleye, you have to be in a motorized vehicle," Domka said. "Everybody in this is, quite frankly, angry."

said it has received many reports about the heavy use of boat launches, which violates social distancing requirements.

The DNR also noted that people who use motorized watercraft typically need to use secondary services such as parts and gasoline, which increase contact with others.

For more information and specifics regarding Michigan's stay-at-home order,