Since March 2020, the U.S.-Canadian border has been closed to non-essential travel, including recreation and tourism. But preliminary discussions are now underway to open the border, possibly in time for summer fishing.
According to CBC News in Canada, an official said that the increase in vaccinations has spurred discussions between the U.S and Canada about reopening. While keeping infection rates and COVID deaths down is still Canada’s priority, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Travel Pulse Canada, “there is hope” for a “slightly better summer.” Trudeau said restrictions need to stay in place until at least 75 percent of the population has had their first shot, and transmission of COVID-19 is better controlled through tracing and virus testing.
A summer opening would be welcome news for owners of sporting camps. Before the pandemic, over 18 million tourists visited Canada per year. The travel/tourism revenue brings in over $80 billion to the country. Last month, the opening day of the fishing season was lackluster. This spring marked the second fishing season where outfitters have relied on Canadian anglers to fill their boats. “We wished we had the borders open, but that’s the way it is,” says Byron (Byzie) Coughlan, owner and operator of Country Haven Lodge and cottages. Coughlan regularly gets calls from anglers outside of Canada telling him they’re fully vaccinated and are eager to fish. But the borders are still closed.
New Brunswick’s Brett Silliker, a full-time fishing and hunting guide for Upper Oxbow Adventures in Red Bank, says, “Sporting travel and tourism is an important business. The closing of borders has reduced my number of clients fishing for Atlantic salmon and striped bass. My spring bear hunts were down this year, as were my fall grouse and woodcock trips. It’s been that way for every guide and camp manager with whom I’ve spoken. But with more people getting vaccinated and the virus showing signs of containment, it’s logical that the borders will be reopened. I hope it’s soon.”