COVID has forced people to move outdoors, a safe place to do activities while socializing. The state does not lack beautiful natural landscapes either.
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee – The past year has been tough for some businesses like restaurants and entertainment venues, but not for some outdoor businesses. Instead, the pandemic has sparked renewed interest and new customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many people to go outside for fun, a safe place to do activities while social distancing. Fortunately, there is no shortage of beautiful natural scenery in the Tennessee Valley.
With the rivers all around us, interest in fishing has increased over the past year.
âIt has been a good thing for us from a business perspective,â said Dave Luzader.
Fly fishing is a family affair for the Luzaders. Dave is the CEO of Ranger Outdoors LLC and his son, Caleb, operates the Tennessee Fly Company.
At the start of the pandemic, they had a warehouse full of products and big box stores hanging their purchase orders. But it didn’t last long.
âAbout March 2020, it’s like everyone’s calling and saying, ‘We want all the product that we can get now.’ So our business has just grown dramatically during the COVID pandemic because people are going out, âDave Luzader told Channel 3, a sister station to WBIR located in Chattanooga.
He said that as families tried to find new activities outside, many were spending more time fishing and sitting down for picnics. He said maybe it had been a healthy change in the lives of some families.
âAbout 80% of the people I see are new to the sport,â said Caleb Luzader.
Tennessee Fly Company serves people with a storefront in Charleston and does a lot of business online. You can also follow them on social media.
âI tell everyone in my fly shop. I keep a KISS method with fishing: âKeep It Simple Stupid,â said Caleb Luzader.
Her advice to newcomers is to simply avoid overthinking it. Get only the supplies you need within your budget, and find someone with experience to make sure you have a good fishing trip.
There are many fishing options in the Chattanooga area.
âLocally, it doesn’t matter if you’re in Chattanooga or Knoxville or anywhere in between, you’re probably about 30 minutes from a good spot to fish,â said Caleb Luzader.
This includes warm water fishing for bass and edge, as well as cold water rivers for trout fly fishing like the Hiwassee and Tellico.
This commercial fly-fishing boom also extends to boating and hunting, according to 2020 statistics from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. March Commission meeting.
âLet’s talk about the number of people who went outside last year. We had 209,000 people who purchased a license for the very first time. This is a 30% increase from last year, âsaid Jenifer Wisniewski, head of TWRA’s Outreach and Communications Division.
Interest in the great outdoors continues to grow, officials say.
âWe haven’t seen anything to indicate that things are going to slow down. We have remained extremely busy, âsaid Dave Luzader.
With all the extra people going outdoors, remember to practice outdoor cleanliness and leave no traces of your visit.
âIf you bring something, you have to put it away. And then another good thing to do is always try to pick up a net full of garbage every time you go out fishing, âsaid Caleb Luzader.
So get outside this spring and summer.
If you are interested in the sport of fishing there are several local fly fishing shops and bait and tackle shops throughout our area to help you get started.