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Fishing license sales up 21 percent

Jack Danchak - Columnist
Posted 7/23/20

Reading a press release from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, one can identify it as the same situation that is happening here in New York State. While COVID-19 virus was taking its toll, …

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Fishing license sales up 21 percent

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Reading a press release from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, one can identify it as the same situation that is happening here in New York State. While COVID-19 virus was taking its toll, many Pennsylvania's went fishing on lakes and streams across the state in numbers not seen in decades.

As of June of this year, PA's resident annual fishing license sales totaled 607,788, up by 21.48 percent over 12 months earlier. Trout stamp sales had a 15.52 percent increase, and there was a 59.75 increase in unpowered boat launch permits.

Even when all other fishing licenses are factored in, including three-day tourist and voluntary youth, both of which declined this spring, the increase was 16.62 percent which is still one of the biggest the commission has ever seen, with 705,670 licenses sold midway through the year.

Bernie Matscavage the commission's Director of Administration said, “There's been nothing like it that I can remember, but then this year has been unlike any other. People weren't working, they had time on their hands and were not able to go to the movies or the shore or enjoy a lot of other activities, so they turned to fishing and boating as safe alternatives.”

Tray Kosty who operates a Bait & Tackle shop had this to say, “About 50 percent of our customers this year are brand new to fishing. They don't care what they catch. They're never fished before, but now they have time to try it, so we send them to the waterways with night-crawlers. Some come back to tell us they caught their first fish, and some come back because they lost all their hooks and sinkers. Business has been so good, it's ridiculous. By the end of the day, we're sold out of rod & reel combos and we are having trouble keeping products in stock.”

Mike Milvet, another Bait & Tackle operator, said, “The demand for fishing gear and rental boats has been crazy in recent months. My customers say they are having difficulty finding a canoe or kayak to purchase, and I had to go to four places just to purchase paddles. My entire rack of rods and reels has sold out many times this year.”

Jeff Bryel, of Rocky Mountain Kayak's said, “People aren't working and can't go on their usual vacation, so they are playing close to home. I'm selling a lot of kayaks, especially for fishing. Fishermen will spend a lot of money for a kayak, I suppose if a guy can afford a $30,000 or $40,000 bass boat, he can pay $1,200 to $1,500 for a kayak.”

Enjoy the gorgeous lakes and streams we have here in Sullivan County and make sure you are wearing a life-preserver.

Jack Danchak is the President of the Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs of Sullivan County.

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