Like it or not, fishing has become more popular. In Montana, Resident fishing license sales have increased to a record high of nearly 140,000 anglers. That is not counting the non-resident sales which were also off the charts last year.
The Covid -19 virus seems to have infected folks to pick up their rods again. Many of the fishermen that I see along the watersheds are using vintage gear. Spin fishermen have busted out their Mitchell 300 reels and old fiberglass Wonder rods. Even the line looks old. With so many folks being laid off, there has become a need to fill the time. Why not FISH!!!
For many fishing snobs, more anglers are not welcome. They prefer privacy and being alone. Competition is not something they desire. Fortunately for them, the crowds will soon dissipate. The Angler Hatch will end, and the part time Anglers will need to return to work.
This flood of fishermen has occurred across the country. Pennsylvania’s license sales increased nearly 20%, as did Maryland, and other eastern states. For these states that are funded by Fishing License sales, it could not have come at a better time.
Having a huge population of licensed Anglers is not a bad thing. When it comes to voting for conservation and environmental protections, Anglers are first to rise to the occasion. More money for enforcement, management, hatcheries, research, and improvements is welcomed, and needed.
Many fishermen that I know buy their licenses for angling and hunting every year. Many are too old, or busy, to participate afield but understand the importance of protecting the Natural Resources that they have spent a lifetime enjoying. Other younger sportsmen plan to fish and hunt, but life, family, work, and opportunity limit their time outdoors.
This is where we will be getting back to as soon as the pandemic ends. Making up for lost paychecks, education, and careers will become more important than catching a few fish.
These too busy to fish anglers will still appreciate the more limited opportunities that they will have in the future. They also understand how something as simple as fishing is so healthy for the spirit and the soul!
For more Montana Grant, find him fishing at www.montanagrantfishing.com.