Arizona nurse hooked on fishing for stress relief during the pandemic

Posted at 7:02 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 22:23:56-04

MESA, AZ — Lori Patterson goes to work at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa.

"We have one unit dedicated just for coronavirus patients in the ICU," Patterson explained.

But outside hospital hallways, Patterson can be seen reeling in fish and casting out her stress by the water all across Arizona.

"It was just a really cool thing that I was able to do on my days off," Patterson said.

Lori and her husband, Jeff, came to Arizona from Tennessee. She was called out to help our state once again.

The first time was a much happier one. She first came to the East Valley when 16 nurses were pregnant all at once at the Mesa hospital.

This time, she is answering the call to help because of the coronavirus.

"It's been... not as bad as some people," Patterson said. "Honestly, I think I faired a lot better than a lot of folks because we haven't had the surge of patients that they have had in like New York and some of the places."

She is staying positive about how her patients are doing and maybe her upbeat personality stems from her new-found hobby.

"Us out in nature and the fish and you didn't have to worry social distancing because it was just us and the fish, for the most part," Lori joked.

Multiple studies throughout the years have shown that fishing can make people feel more engaged in the present, even improving how you feel about yourself of for hours after.

So Lori decided to try it out and took on Arizona Game and Fish's Arizona Trout Challenge.

"It was so good for my mental health," Lori said. I mean, I felt like... when I was out there, I didn't have to worry about any calls, any appointments, any deadlines, any timeframes of anything. You just went and you were just in nature and just relaxed and we just took the time that we needed to get everything done."

In the end, Lori completed the challenge with the support of her husband.

"She caught four species in three days and six species of trout in 26 days," Jeff said about his wife proudly.

He should be proud because according to Arizona Game and Fish, that timeframe is incredibly fast.

"She's the first woman that has completed the Arizona Trout Challenge and catching all eight species," said Julie Carter. "So that's really cool and really exciting."

Carter is the Statewide Aquatics Program Manager for the department and said it is easy to get a fishing license online.

For Arizona adult residents, it costs $37 and $5 for youth. The license is active the same day you buy it and is good for a full year.

Click here to buy your license.

As for participating in the challenges, those are free. The goal is to catch specific species and take a photo with each one.

"It's really cool if parents can do that with their kids, especially right now with all of this time off," Carter explained. "It's just a fun thing to do and then at the end of the day you get a certificate that shows where you caught all of your fish and the species and then we also have hooded sweatshirts that have our trout challenge logo that you can get for free."

Arizona Game and Fish also offers tools online to direct you where to go to have the highest chances of catching each species.

Click here for those resources.