Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

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Fishing license sales slightly ahead of last year’s pace

St. Paul — Minnesota is on pace to sell a few more fishing licenses this year than last year, though there’s still plenty of time left in the license year, which doesn’t end until Feb. 28.

Through Labor Day, the Minnesota DNR had sold a total of 1,013,671 of fishing licenses, which was up slightly from the 1,006,944 that had been sold at that same point last year.

“They are right on par,” said Don Pereira, DNR’s fisheries chief, who added there probably still is a little bit of a lingering effect from the DNR raising the rates on fishing licenses two seasons back.

In 2013, the DNR raised the resident annual fishing license to $22. It had been $17 before. That was among several changes to the price structure of various angling licenses. It had been the first time the state had raised fishing license fees in 12 years and the DNR was concerned, at the time, that without the increase, major cuts to programs would have to occur.

In 2012, the last year of the previous price structure, there were 1,173,518 licenses sold total. Last year, the first year of the more expensive licenses, only 1,136,957 licenses were sold, according to data maintained by the Minnesota DNR.

“It might take a couple of years to bounce back,” Pereira said.

The total number of license sales includes all types of fishing licenses sold, not limited to annual types and including short-term and non-resident types.

Early on this season, sales were way ahead of where they were last year. Two weeks before the opener, 181,012 licenses had been sold, compared to 84,865 the year before. A week before the opener, 206,798 licenses had been sold, compared to 124,055 the year before.

By the Monday after the opener, 337,737 licenses had been sold, compared to 259,710 sold at the same time the year before.

Not only was it another year removed the license fee increase, but the prospects of open water on the opener were better this year than last.

But June rains this year may have kept some anglers away, Pereira said, as suggested by the slower sales between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year.

“The rain didn’t help,” he said.

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