Monday, January 30th, 2023
Monday, January 30th, 2023

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NY: Fishing license sales dip 5%

Great fishing, but a tough economy

Albany – Fishing license sales in New York declined again in
2010-11, but didn’t take the double-digit nosedive seen a year
earlier on the heels of a fee hike.

And while license sales dipped another 5 percent this season,
the general feeling is that a sour economic climate was largely to

That said, fishing activity in some areas of the state seem to
indicate that it may have been the casual, once or twice a year
angler who passed on purchasing a license this season. Along the
Salmon River, anglers flocked to that popular water over the
Columbus Day weekend to cast for chinook salmon and trout that
poured into the famed Lake Ontario tributary.

“There’s an awful lot of competition for spare time these
days,” DEC Fisheries Bureau Chief Phil Hulbert said. “That applies
to young people as well as older folks. Time and money is always an
issue, and fishing is one of many choices they have.”

That said, Hulbert says “a lot of people are still fishing. And
the fishing has been incredible at places like the Salmon River,
Lake Ontario and other waters. Our catch rate surveys have shown

Hulbert, however, admits that it’s likely been “a challenging
year” economically for many residents of the state, as well as
nonresidents who visit New York to go fishing.

John Miller, owner of Bob’s Sport and Tackle in Katonah
(Westchester County), agrees. Miller, whose business caters largely
to anglers who ply the waters of the New York City reservoir
system, says it’s been a slow season despite good fishing.

“The fishing’s great, and has been pretty much all summer,”
Miller said. “But with the economy, I think a lot of it is people
have work and are trying to get what they can while they have it.
Instead of recreating, taking time off, they’re working.”

Many charter captains and guides have reported solid seasons
with enough clients to keep them busy. “The customer base has been
down some,” said Orleans County sportfishing coordinator Mike
Waterhouse, whose region includes Lake Ontario and the hugely
popular Oak Orchard Creek. “But given the economy and the license
fee increase of two years ago, they’re holding their own.”

Waterhouse reported good numbers of anglers were taking
advantage of the famed fall salmon and trout runs up Oak Orchard
Creek, which annually attract anglers from across the Northeast, as
do the Salmon and Oswego rivers.

“I had one fisherman complaining that he couldn’t get down deep
enough to the brown trout because he kept catching chinook
(salmon),” Waterhouse said. “That’s a nice problem to have.”

Fishing license numbers for 2010-11, with the 2009-10 figure in
parentheses, were:

• Resident Sportsman (which includes fishing), 153,505

• Resident Fishing (full season), 299,645 (326,738).

• Resident Fishing (1-Day), 23,825 (21,213). DEC officials
indicated last year that sales of single-day licenses soared once
sportsmen saw they could purchase multiple 1-day licenses ($5 for
residents, $15 for nonresidents) and save money in lieu of
purchasing 7-days licenses ($15 for residents, $35 for
nonresidents). That quirk in the new license fee structure
- resident 1-day license fees were lowered from $15 to $5 –
resulted in huge increases in sales of single-day resident and
nonresident fishing licenses.

• Resident Senior Fishing, 21,893 (20,850).

• Nonresident Fishing (full season), 37,018 (38,903).

• Nonresident Fishing (1-day), 35,152 (37,092).

• Resident Fishing (7-day), 15,855 (16,581).

• Nonresident Fishing (7-day), 57,507 (65,642).

Hulbert said the total number of license holders – which
includes various lifetime license buyers – declined from 978,189 in
2009-10 to 935,994 in 2010-11.

Miller says he expects a slight bump in license sales over the
winter when ice fishing season begins.

“I have a lot of contractors and landscapers as customers,” he
said. “They’ve been busy all summer, but when their work slows down
they’ll be out ice fishing.”

And the state’s biggest hot spots of the fall, like the Salmon
River, have apparently seen as much fishing pressure as ever.

Salmon River Program Coordinator Fran Verdoliva said that during
Columbus Day, DEC’s creel census agent counted 1,100 vehicles in 11
state parking areas. “My guess is that there were at least two
people in every vehicle,” he told the Syracuse Post-Standard.

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