Fishing licenses hold firm

Albany — Fishing license sales in New York state have held steady through early summer, DEC figures showed.

Early indications are that a shift to create a fishing license that’s good from one year from the date of purchase – instead of the previous Oct. 1-Sept. 30 may be impacting sales in some manner.

“Annual fishing license sales are up slightly for both residents and nonresidents, while short-term fishing license sales – both 1-day and 7-day – are down,” said DEC assistant director of fish, wildlife and marine resources Doug Stang. “To date, for the entire 2013-14 license year, license sales seem similar to the previous two years.”

A sporting license fee restructuring that took effect Feb. 1 of this year saw a rollback of some fishing license fees, including those for resident and nonresident anglers; for 1- and 7-day nonresident fishing licenses; and for 7-day resident licenses.

But perhaps the biggest move was making the fishing license valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.

“I think that was the biggest change,” Stang said. “And anglers are also realizing that with the reduction in fees, it’s better to go with an annual license instead of two 7-day licenses during the course of the season.”

Fishing license sales figures for the period Feb. 1 through July 4 showed 239,687 resident annual licenses sold, compared to 224,856 through the same period of 2013.

Resident single-day fishing license sales plummeted from 15,434 for the Feb. 1-July 4 period of 2013 to 2,584 this year. Resident 7-day licenses fell from 3,729 last year to just 157 this year.

Other fishing license sales numbers for Feb. 1-July 4 (with the 2013 figures in parentheses) were:

• Nonresident (season): 24,717 (18,507).
• Nonresident 1-day: 2,256 (16,206).
• Nonresident 7-day: 806 (21,398).
• Resident Senior Fishing, 14,545 (13,871).
• Resident Sportsman (including Fishing), 1,674 (2,248).
• Lifetime Fishing, 774 (259).
• Lifetime Sportsman (including Fishing), 1,612 (865).

Stang said Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push for lifetime license purchases along with the new New York State Adventure License Series likely played a role in that boost.

• Resident Super Sportsman (including Fishing), 1,102 (90).
• Resident Fishing (military/disabled), 2,554 (2,250).
• Resident Senior Sportsman (including Fishing), 113 (837).
• Resident Trapper Super Sportsman (including Fishing), 33 (5).

Participation in the state’s mandatory free marine registration program has also been on the increase, figures showed. A total of 162,472 angler had registered, which is required if they’re fishing New York’s marine waters and within tidal waters of the Hudson River and its tributaries, or waters of Delaware River or Mohawk River.

That number is up from 151,492 through the same period of 2013.

“I think more people are becoming aware of it, and also ECOs (environmental conservation officers) are now taking a bit of a harder line and writing tickets instead of written warnings,” Stang said.

New York’s fishing license sales see a big boost ahead of the state’s April 1 trout season kickoff, then again in June as bass season approaches.

Another rush will occur during the fall when anglers flock to the Great Lakes tributaries in search of salmon and trout.

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