MARQUETTE - With the traditional opening of trout season this past weekend, and walleye, pike and muskellunge season openers just around the corner, area retailers can expect a seasonal increase in direct and spin-off sales, as a national recent trend of more Americans participating in outdoor activities continues.
The walleye, pike and muskellunge seasons open May 15. The new license season began on April 1, so anglers need to be sure they have purchased a new fishing license for this fishing season. The 2012 fishing licenses remain valid until March 31, 2013. Licenses may be purchased at a local retailer or online at www.mdnr-elicense.com.
However, anglers will be purchasing more than licenses as they gear up for the various game fishing seasons begin.
As Michigan anglers prepare for the upcoming fishing season the state is estimated to gross between $1.67 and $3.69 billon in tackle and equipment, like the lures shown above. (Journal file photo)
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said the annual economic value for Michigan's recreational fishery in 2006 was estimated between $1.67 and $3.69 billion. Michigan was ranked 5th nationally in angler expenditures in 2006 and recreational fishing was responsible for 27,348 jobs.
"Recreational fishing makes a noticeable contribution to the local economy for UP communities. Anglers usually purchase their live bait and gas locally, and also spend money on lodging, meals and even guiding services," said DNR Spokeswoman Debbie Munson Badini in Marquette. "With this in mind, the DNR is continually keeping an eye on angler creel reports and how potential changes to fishing regulations may encourage more anglers to make a fishing trip to the UP, while managing for a healthy and productive fishery."
The Outdoor Foundation said in a news release that nationwide, outdoor recreation reached its highest level in five years in 2011, with almost half of all Americans participating in outdoor acitivities.
The foundation said that more than 141 million Americans, or 49.4 percent of the U.S. population, participated in outdoor activities last year reflecting an increase of three million people compared to 2010 and continuing a five-year trend.
In addition, Americans made a total of 11.6 billion outdoor outings in 2011, which is 1.5 billion more than the previous year. Annually, participants averaged 82 outdoor outings from hiking to biking, skiing to paddling. The findings are part of the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report, the leading report tracking outdoor participation trends in United States published by The Outdoor Foundation.
"This report shows that Americans are getting up and getting outside a great trend for the outdoor community and the country," said Christine Fanning, executive director of The Outdoor Foundation. "We are encouraged by the growing population of active young people, which reflects recent efforts to re-engage and re-inspire America's youth to get outdoors."
The foundation said the research shows increases in youth and young adult participation continuing an encouraging, yet modest, trend over the last few years. The study found that outdoor participation increased by one-percentage in every age bracket, six to 12, 13 to 17 and 18 to 24 respectively.
This accounted for more than four billion outdoor outings for the younger generation with an annual average of nearly 90 outdoor outings. While encouraging, these rates are significantly lower than those recorded in 2006. For example, 63 percent of youth ages six to 12 participated in outdoor recreation in 2011, compared to 78 percent in 2006.
The most popular activities among young people, in terms of overall participation, continued to be running, biking, camping, fishing and hiking. Skateboarding, triathlons and bird-watching were among their top five favorite activities as measured by frequency. Interestingly, adults share a passion for similar recreational pursuits, the foundation news release said.
"We are seeing promising outdoor participation trends among traditional audiences across many recreation activities," Fanning said. "However, our preliminary data analysis shows that we are losing ground among minority populations and other important emerging markets. We will provide detailed information on all the trends in our signature 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Report, which will be released soon."
Published annually by The Outdoor Foundation with research support from the Department of Recreation, Park & Tourism Sciences at Texas A&M University, the 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report is derived from almost 40,000 online interviews conducted in January and early February. Respondents came from a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the U.S. Online Panel operated by Synovate. Over-sampling of ethnic groups took place to boost response from typically under-responding groups.
The 2012 Outdoor Recreation Participation Topline Report is available for free at outdoorfoundation.org.
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.