State fishing license sales slowing, but remain strong
St. Paul – After a surge to start the year, fishing license
sales have moderated.
As of earlier this week, anglers had purchased about 758,500
licenses, which compares to about 767,300 at the same time last
During the early part of the season, license sales were
“We don’t know where the numbers will be at the end of the
license year, but we got a good jump on them this year,” said C.B.
Bylander, Outreach Section chief for the DNR Fish and Wildlife
Division. “Potentially, it’s because spring came early, and we had
nice weather in early May and April.
“A lot of people were ready to go and bought early this year,”
Sales of licenses in some categories continue to outpace last
year. Anglers have purchased nearly 11,000 individual or
combination conservation licenses, compared with just more than
9,000 last year, for example.
Conservation licenses are cheaper than regular fishing licenses,
but anglers are allowed to keep half the fish limit they could with
a regular license.
The largest gains have been in walleye stamps, which were
created by the Legislature and sold for the first time last year.
Stamp revenues go to activities that relate to the stocking of
walleyes. Stamps are not mandatory, and anglers have the choice to
purchase one or not.
As of earlier this week, anglers had purchased more than 26,500
walleye stamps, which cost $5 apiece. Fewer than 5,000 anglers had
purchased a stamp at the same time last year.
“We’ve more than tripled our sales from last year,” Bylander
said. “We would attribute that to more awareness of the product
this year. This year, we not only did more promotion, we used Al
The legislation that created the walleye stamp also directed the
DNR to spend the first $25,000 in proceeds from stamp sales on
advertising the stamps. The agency did that, Bylander said.
In addition, all anglers should have been – or should be, if
they haven’t bought a license yet – asked whether they want to buy
a walleye stamp when they buy their regular fishing license.
That’s because “we reprogrammed all of our (Electronic Licensing
System) terminals to ask anglers if they are interested in
purchasing a walleye stamp,” Bylander said.
Sales of some types of licenses have now fallen behind where
they were at the same time last year. Residents have purchased
328,040 individual licenses this year, compared with 333,722 last
year, and 161,281 combination licenses, compared with 162,625 last
Sales of some nonresident licenses are up from last year (34,735
individual angling licenses this year compared with 34,209 last
year) while others are down (21,191 seven-day angling licenses this
year compared with 21,948 last year).
There have been slight increases in sales of 24-hour angling,
lifetime angling, and lifetime sports licenses.
The DNR estimates there are about 1.4 million anglers in the
state. License sales as a percent of the total state population
have declined, though “we continue to beat the nation in terms of
angling participation,” Bylander said.
“Fishing continues to be very good in the state of Minnesota,”
he said. “Access isn’t really an issue – you’re always close to
some darn good fishing.”