Go fish! Two North Valley lakes re-open with restrictions

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- A day of fishing is a welcome change for many families after several weeks with limited options for entertainment.

Merced resident Pinky Adams says, "It's better than sitting at home. We've been just at home in the backyard, front yard."

Adams captured video of her son getting his first catch just hours after the Merced Irrigation District opened lakes McClure and McSwain for shore fishing and even stocked them with trout. Officials also implemented measures to keep people from coming in close contact with staff members or one another, including limiting the parking lot capacity to 50%.

Mariposa resident Kelly Sharrar and his family came to the lake to celebrate his daughter's 13th birthday. He says, "There's not too many people out here. Everyone is respecting the 6-foot distance, which is extremely important because we don't want to negate the progress we've made."

The lakes are also now open from dawn to dusk for hiking and biking, but camping, boating, and other activities out on the water are still prohibited. Only residents from certain areas are allowed to enter.

MID General Manager John Sweigard says, "We generally limited it to Eastern Merced County, almost like Merced Irrigation District boundaries, Mariposa County and then closer to the lake in the 10-mile area in Tuolumne County."

Sweigard says the district worked with Mariposa County officials on the plan to give people a chance to enjoy the outdoors and the warm weather, while still being cautious of COVID-19.

Some residents have expressed their frustration with the restrictions on social media, but Sweigard says this is just the start of a phased re-opening.

He explains, "We hope to open it up soon to people on the water to go fishing in their boats, water skiing, wakeboarding, stuff like that and let our houseboaters back on their boats. We'll get there. In the next couple of weeks, I'm hoping we'll be fully open."

Visitors are being asked to bring a state-issued ID, along with their own soap and hand sanitizer. You can find more information here: http://www.lakemcclure.com/
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