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San Diego fisherman wants to know why lakes are closed

Chip Gilbert said social distancing is part of fishing and doesn't understand why the lakes were so abruptly shut down.

SAN DIEGO — The coronavirus has put a lot of restrictions on our daily lives from sheltering in place to social distancing. Fishermen and women that use the lakes in San Diego County said they have always practiced social distancing.  

"The last thing you want as a fisherman is to have someone fishing right on top of you," Chip Gilbert said. 

Gilbert said social distancing is part of fishing and doesn't understand why the lakes were so abruptly shut down.

"March 18, the mayor, city council, someone made the decision to close all of our city lakes to fishing," he said. 

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Gilbert started a petition to get some answers why and the petition is getting traction with nearly 1,500 signatures as of Monday night.

On the petition, a woman named Tamara said: "lakes and trails around the lakes helps to keep people sane, being out in the fresh air helps our mental and emotional state of mind." 

"Fishing is a basic right for people and a good way to practice social distancing," a user named Seth on the petition.

But the city and county have made it clear that it is not business as usual and places where people come together are closed because of the coronavirus. 

For Gilbert, he thinks the limited access that fisherpersons have to the lake will become less. 

"I just have a bad feeling that our lakes will never open back up to what they were. We only get three days a week as it is and I have a bad feeling that's going to be cut as well," he said. 

Gilbert said the lakes are set up to keep people safe. 

"They have what [are] called 'iron rangers.' It's your responsibility to pay for your permit, your launch fee's and go fish," he said. "There is no interaction with anyone". 

And while San Diego lakes are closed, Gilbert said the rest of the state is fishing. 

"Basically every county in California besides San Diego: Riverside, Los Angeles County, San Bernardino, Orange County, Sacramento - all the way up to Redding," he said. 

For now, the rules are the rules in San Diego and just like the surfers, boaters and ocean fishermen and women, everyone will just have to wait for this to pass.

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