Anglers fish at a safe distance at Sardis after Mississippi reopens state lakes

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SARDIS, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, hoping to ease depression and anxiety brought on by the COVID-19 virus, has allowed fishing to resume on state lakes and in state parks, although park recreation areas will remain closed.

Reeves announced Friday he would allow fishing at state lakes and state park lakes as a first step in reopening Mississippi.

“It’s a small thing, but I hope it helps even a bit for people who safely need to get out in the sun for their own sanity,” Reeves said.

On Monday, John W. Kyle State Park in North Mississippi was open and several families out on Sardis Lake, which has remained open during the pandemic as it’s controlled by the Army Corp of Engineers.

T. Ray Ellis from Sardis was glad Reeves is taking positive action.

“I think that’s a good idea, because we need a little freedom to get out a little bit,” Ellis said.

Many were practicing social distancing and were eager for the change to get back to normal.

“The fishing’s great. It’s a great place to get away,” said Brian Fraley.

“Just to get out of the house, to do something. We’ve been cooped up for a few weeks now and just decided to get out,” Tyler Fraley said.

Those were pretty much the sentiments shared by dozens of anglers lining the Sardis spillway.

While some folks landed a stringer full of fish Monday, others were happy with at least something on their hook.

For first-time angler Billi Rowell from St. Petersburg, Florida, fishing while social distancing worked out just fine.

“It’s been great. Everyone out here has been in good spirits,” Rowell said. “I mean everyone’s keeping their distance, but having a good day.”

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