Yes, with proper social distancing techniques. EEO 2020-42 (which rescinded EEO 2020-21) provides that “all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring among persons not part of a single household are prohibited.” There are many exceptions but even with an exception people must adhere to the social distancing guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) “including staying six feet away from people from outside the individual’s household to the extent feasible under the circumstances.” Paragraph 7 provides that:
(a) Individuals may leave their home or place of residence, and travel as necessary:
(1) To engage in outdoor physical activity, consistent with remaining at least six feet from people outside the individual’s household. Outdoor physical activity includes walking, hiking, running, cycling, kayaking, canoeing, or other similar physical activity, as well as any comparable activity for those with limited mobility.
In my opinion, fishing is an outdoor physical activity with or without a motor attached to a particular fishing vessel. As you can see from paragraph 7(a)(1), persons from the same household are explicitly permitted by EEO 2020-42 to fish together with or without social distancing.
It is also my opinion that ¶7(a)(1) also allows persons NOT from the same household to fish together provided they follow CDC social distancing guidelines, especially staying six feet apart.
EXAMPLES: Common sense should prevail here. A father and son from two households who motor out for a day of fishing, who are seated at opposite ends of the boat and who are not sharing drinks or engaging in other risky behavior that could spread the virus, are very unlikely to have a problem with my office. The same holds true for friends from different households enjoying a day fishing from a motorboat.
On the other hand, if the same individuals mentioned above are in a motor boat and seated side-by-side, or are passing around a shared water bottle, or are cramming four or five people into a small boat, or are tying off with several other boats and passing items back and forth, boat to boat, these people ARE likely to have a problem with my office. As I said, common sense and simple safety precautions should help individuals avoid problems in this regard.
BE ADVISED THAT I AM INFORMED, AND DO BELIEVE, THAT THE DNR DISAGREES WITH MY ANSWER TO THIS FAQ. ACCORDINGLY SOMEONE COULD VERY WELL BE TICKETED EVEN IF THEY ARE USING GOOD COMMON SENSE AND SAFETY PRECAUTIONS. IF THAT HAPPENS DO NOT FIGHT OR ARGUE WITH THE DNR OR ANY OTHER LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER. THOSE WHO PHYSICALLY RESIST OR OBSTRUCT SUCH OFFICERS WILL BE PROSECUTED FOR THAT OFFENSE, EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT PROSECUTED FOR AN EEO VIOALTION.