Fishing license sales spike through spring

Staff, DNR reports

Columbus — It appears plenty of people are taking the “Fish
Ohio” message to heart this spring, according to the DNR Division
of Wildlife.

Fishing license sales have been brisk with anglers purchasing
their annual tags at a clip of 272,600 since they went on sale Feb.
15. That represents more than a 26,000 license increase from the
same period a year ago when 246,444 were sold, according to Vicki
Ervin, communications manager for the Division of Wildlife.

Overall, sales of fishing licenses were up in four major
categories through the end of April compared with the same period
last year.

Resident annual fishing license sales were up 10.6 percent;
non-resident annual fishing licenses rose 14.7 percent; three-day
tourist fishing licenses grew by 23.4 percent; and one-day fishing
licenses reflected the greatest increase at 31.3 percent.

“It’s still early in the 2006 fishing season, but these numbers
are very encouraging,” said Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division
of Wildlife.

Last year, approximately 649,386 resident licenses were sold in
Ohio, according to Korey Brown, license sales coordinator for the
Division of Wildlife.

“It’s definitely encouraging,” Brown said of brisk sales so far
this year. “The division is cautiously optimistic that this will
translate into an annual increase.”

The mild spring weather and below average rainfall have combined
to provide near-perfect fishing opportunities, according to the
division. Lakes, rivers, and streams have been at normal levels and
clear, conditions which are unusual during springtime in Ohio. In
addition, the majority of March and April weekends were sunny and
warm.

Headlining spring fishing opportunities this year is the 2003
year-class of walleyes in Lake Erie. These fish have pushed the
walleye population of the big lake to the highest levels seen in
the last 10 years. Steelhead fishing in the northeast Ohio
tributaries also has been outstanding. On inland lakes, the spring
crappie and white bass runs are in progress, and saugeye fishing
has been good as well.

“In addition to being good for anglers, conditions this spring
have been almost ideal for spawning fish, giving us reason to be
optimistic about future seasons,” Gray said.

For more details on fishing licenses, general information on
fishing in Ohio, and the Fish Ohio award program, pick up a copy of
the 2006-2007 Ohio Fishing Regulations wherever licenses are sold,
or go online to www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife.

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