It was a beautiful day on the water on Lake Wallenpaupack Tuesday, with the sun shining and mild temperatures. There was another reason, though, that folks were in a good mood.
"Even the birds and the fish are starting to get excited, I think," Edward Baniak joked.
Beginning this Friday, May 1, certain outdoor recreational activities will reopen. Governor Tom Wolf is lifting restrictions on private campgrounds, golf courses, marinas, and guided fishing trips. Word of the announcement spread quickly on Lake Wallenpaupack.
"The enthusiasm here around the community was absolutely amazing. From local residents to businesses," Baniak said. He's owned a home on Lake Wallenpaupack since 2017.
Baniak also owns Wally Bites, a website, and blog all about Lake Wallenpaupack. He partners with experienced and well-known guides around the lake and helps tourists and locals book guided fishing trips.
"Definitely from the guide's perspective here in the fishing, there was much information sharing when the governor released that news for May 1, they were like we're on, we can get on the fish. I think a lot of people, especially the small business owners here, feel like their season has been saved," Baniak said.
One of those guides who believes his season is saved is Michael Salamon, owner of Mike Salamon Guide Service. Since the governor made the announcement, in just one day, the guide from Roaring Brook Township has booking requests from nearly 20 clients, desperate to get back out on the water.
"May and June is probably when everyone wants to get out of the house; it starts getting warm. The bite could be some of the best fishing of the year, that would have really hurt," Salamon said.
Guides Newswatch 16 spoke with say when they get back to work on May 1, they are going to do it the right and safe way.
"We have to maintain our social distancing. I have masks we're going to be providing. I'm going to wash all of my equipment with alcohol after each trip," Salamon said.
According to the governor, the restrictions are being lifted to ensure that Pennsylvanians have opportunities to safely enjoy outdoor recreation as a way to maintain positive physical and mental health.
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