After a hot start to fishing license sales in 2020, anglers appear to be gearing up for another busy year in Minnesota in 2021.
Fishing license sales through May 1, two weeks before general fishing in Minnesota on May 15, increased 12 percent year over year, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources.
Of all the types of licenses available, 286,086 licenses had been sold by May 1, compared with 255,841 at that point in the previous year, the first year of the ongoing pandemic.
Compared to the pre-pandemic in 2019, license sales increased by almost 58 percent in 2021.
As of now, this is the fastest start to fishing license sales in Minnesota in at least 21 years.
Retail license sales are up 18 percent year over year, and non-resident individual license sales are up 55 percent from 2020. Resident youth license sales for anglers ages 16-17 are down 9 percent year over year, possibly as more children are back in school and other activities such as pandemic restrictions are easing.
It’s too early to say whether the trend will continue throughout the year – whether more people are fishing or more only buying licenses at the beginning of the year – but it seems that the decline seen in recent years is on the way of fishing license sales reversed during the pandemic.
Increasing fishing pressure has led the Vermilion Lake Association and other groups to ask anglers to only be half their legal fishing limit this summer.
By the end of the year, Minnesota will sell nearly 1.2 million fishing licenses, which are required for most anglers 16 and older, with the exception of a few special circumstances.