41k Fewer People Buying Fishing Licenses in Minnesota This Year

It's down and a half three percent

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – The Land of 10,000 Lakes is selling fewer fishing licenses this summer.

KVRR’s Danielle Church found it’s the second fewest sold in the past 20 years.

Clay Schultze has enjoyed fishing for as long as he can remember, turning nature into his playground.

“I personally like coming out and not just fishing but just anything. Just kind of being connected with nature and just experiencing all the things that it has to offer,” Schultze said.

But Minnesota DNR officials say people are actually starting to disconnect from nature, which is why they’ve seen about 41,000 fewer fishing licenses purchased this year.

“Long term trends are suggesting there’s a decrease in the amount of younger people that are fishing,” said Mandy Erickson, assistant area fishery manager with the DNR. “That baby boomer generation is older and there’s not a lot of replacement, not a lot of young folks who were enjoying fishing as much as there were in the past.”

If the trend continues, it’ll mean less funding for DNR programs and fewer resources they can offer. But the trend isn’t just in Minnesota.

It’s also spreading nationwide because fishing has some competition.

“(It’s competing against) sports and activities and family vacations and everything else. There’s so many other things competing with getting outside and enjoying nature,” Erickson said.

But some anglers say the reason less people are fishing is because they don’t have a boat.

“There are very few areas for you to fish here without a boat. Lower the prices on the licensing and make it more accessible for people who don’t have a boat,” said Matthew Onstad, Quality Bait and Tackle owner.

“That makes it hard. And boating is hard too because you’ve got to haul the boat and make sure you find a place to land your boat and all those things but I think kids should try it,” said Sara and Wally Schultze, Clay’s grandparents.

Especially because it’ll help them to see nature from a different perspective.

“If you’re fishing and on the lakes and enjoying things, you start to see things like the habitat and the plant and water quality. If you’re not on the water, you tend to take a lot of those things for granted or not even notice them,” Erickson said.

The DNR does have programs in place to help make fishing more accessible.

They even have some of them for single mothers who want to teach their kids how to fish.

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