Outdoors can help relieve stress, anxiety during crisis


A blue heron keeps a watchful eye along the shoreline of Oxbow Lake, located northwest of Defiance. The heron had been eating bluegills.

A blue heron keeps a watchful eye along the shoreline of Oxbow Lake, located northwest of Defiance. The heron had been eating bluegills.


Photo provided

If you love the outdoors, you have a perfect release for stress during this time of anxiety due to the coronavirus or COVID-19.

Maintain the recommended minimum 6-foot distance between people and you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities.

In the past week I have fished a few times, looked for migrating waterfowl in local lakes, rivers and their backwaters along with scoping out what wildlife I can see. And canine buddy Rusty, a yellow lab, and I have taken daily walks of about two miles - sometimes walking more than once a day.

Rusty, my wife and I have come in contact with humans. However, we have maintained at least a 6-foot zone (almost always more than 6 feet). The three of us enjoyed a nice walk along the Maumee River in Independence Dam State Park on a crisp sunny afternoon. We saw a bald eagle sitting in one nest in the park while nothing was sighted in the nest about two miles down river.

During these trips, I’ve seen close to 100 wild turkeys (you never come close to seeing that many during hunting season), numerous deer and Canada geese, some ducks, a few red-tailed hawks and blue herons.

Always take a pair of binoculars with you to gain a much closer look at our wildlife friends. You can practice your wildlife photography if you have a camera with a larger telephoto lens.

Watching a heron eating bluegills along the shore of a local lake was a delight. Looking out the living room picture window produced quite a sight — a huge Cooper’s hawk sitting in an Asian pear tree about 10 yards from the window.

Fishing did not produce large catches, but getting out in nature and enjoying the surroundings certainly helped the soul. Bluegills and crappies were biting on small plastic baits at depths from 18 inches to four feet. Some anglers were tipping these baits with either wax worms or spikes.

There are numerous places where one could take a leisurely hike. Just make sure to be safe. City, county, metroparks, state parks are good places for a walk or a trip around a local reservoir. This could get you out of the doldrums after spending much of the day inside during this crisis.

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Ohio state park offices are closed, but trails are still open. The nine lodges in the state parks are closed, but state park and lodge cabins, campgrounds and day-use areas including golf courses are still open.

The public is encouraged to continue visiting Ohio State Parks to hike, bike, golf, fish or just enjoy being outdoors. Make sure you follow all COVID-19 social distancing guidelines while in the parks.

ODMR staff will be available by phone and email at local park offices to respond to questions regarding local facilities, as well as current and new reservations. Visit ohiostateparks.org to find the park office number for each park.

To reschedule or cancel current reservations, as well as make new reservations, the public is encouraged to visit reserveohio.com or call the toll-free reservation number 866-644-6724.

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Numerous organizations are canceling activities during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Black Swamp chapter of Pheasants Forevers, located in Putnam County, has moved its annual banquet to Oct. 3 at the Kalida Fish and Game Club. The event had been slated for March 28 at the Fort Jennings American Legion. Ticket holders and sponsors will be contacted to discuss the changes.

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Lima bass angler Zach Maisch took advantage of a planned recent vacation to Florida. He finished 38th in the Toyota Series South Division on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida, with a two-day weight of 25 pounds, 9 ounces.

He caught a five-bass limit the first day, which weighed 15 pounds, 14 ounces. He had four keepers the second day that weighed 9 pounds, 11 ounces. Maisch failed to qualify for the third day of the tourney.

He planned to fish the tourney since the schedule was announced. His mother, Vickie Maisch Rumer, is a snowbird and has house near Clewiston. The two have long fished the FLW Bass Fishing League series in the Michigan Division.

Brandon Medlock of Lake Placid, Florida, won the event with a 15-bass limit that weighed 54 pounds, 4 ounces.

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Lima area FLW pro Kyle Weisenburger had his worst tourney outing of the season on Lake Martin in Alexander City, Alabama.

The Columbus Grove bass angler finished 114th in the tourney after failing to advance to the third round Thursday. He had five-bass limits both days, but they were smaller fish. His weight Wednesday was 7 pounds, 12 ounces while his weight Thursday was 9 pounds, 11 ounces which gave him a total weight of 17 pounds, 10 ounces for both days.

https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/03/web1_alsmithmug-2.jpg
A blue heron keeps a watchful eye along the shoreline of Oxbow Lake, located northwest of Defiance. The heron had been eating bluegills.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/03/web1_thumbnail_image0.jpgA blue heron keeps a watchful eye along the shoreline of Oxbow Lake, located northwest of Defiance. The heron had been eating bluegills. Photo provided

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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