Freshwater anglers are now entitled to use three rods per person
thanks to legislation recently signed into law by Gov. Andrew
Cuomo. Is this good news? The bill was designed to favorably impact
a fisherman’s experience by increasing the probability of catching
a fish. According to the new law, catching a fish is the primary
determining factor in whether a person makes a return trip to New
York for an angling adventure – creating a significant economic
impact. From that standpoint, the new law is good news.
Fishing is big business, bigger than some people might realize.
A recent study by Cornell Cooperative Extension used old
information and guesswork to piece together a hodge-podge Great
Lakes study that the Lake Ontario Sportfishing Promotion Council
certainly didn’t agree with. It downplayed the impact the sport
fishery had as it highlighted severely declining numbers and a
downward spiral that sounded more like another nail in the coffin.
The thing is, angler participation didn’t paint that picture at all
based on the state’s Lake Ontario creel census. Tournament and
derby fishing numbers are up based on my personal experiences.
A recent two-year study conducted by Niagara University and
completed in 2010 – new information – showed that Niagara County
sees an annual angling impact of more than $30 million. This was 10
times more than the Cornell study, using old information and
“educated” guesses. When you are dealing with businesses and
people’s livelihoods, releasing inaccurate information can be very
damaging. But what does this have to do with three rods?
Angler satisfaction is important. I would have to say giving a
fisherman the use of three rods is low on the totem pole. There are
other things that need fixing if you want to increase angler
satisfaction. I seem to recall the overall experience with friends
and family as ranking at or near the top of a fishing adventure.
Some of the things that have a negative effect on those experiences
include things like difficulty in purchasing a fishing license
(yes, we still have towns and villages that don’t have a
license-issuing agent for selling a license on a weekend);
difficulty in understanding the regulations – and possibly being
written up for a violation; a bad experience with an accommodation,
charter or other hospitality industry person; and more.
It should be about opportunity, and two rods per person is
plenty. Having three rods creates issues with our Canadian
neighbors once again when trolling in Lake Ontario or Lake Erie
should you venture across that imaginary line (and you are properly
licensed, of course). There are times when you troll through a
school of small jack salmon and every rod you have will hook up
with these smaller fish, killing them in the process. Think that
won’t impact the future of the resource? If one or two people
fishing want a couple more rods to run, take a kid fishing. That
should be where our focus is, satisfying the next generation of
anglers. We didn’t need another fishing rod per person to make me