The economic impact of Wisconsin fishing

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The Wisconsin Fishing Opener is this Saturday, and many are excited to enjoy the variety of fishing opportunities the state has to offer.

“We have extremely unique and diverse fishing opportunities that really cater to any level of expertise,” said Wisconsin DNR Fisheries Deputy Bureau Director Todd Kalish. “So if folks want to go fishing and they don’t have a boat or they don’t have access to certain areas and they can, you know, purchase a relatively cheap fishing pole from a retailer and go into their communities or into local streams and catch fish.”

With all of the unique fishing spots Wisconsin has to offer, the economic impact of fishing in the state is significant, with Wisconsin netting around $2.3 billion a year from the industry.

“We’ve estimated that over 22,000 private sector jobs are directly related to fishing in the state,”said Kalish. “Fishing also generates approximately $200 million in state sales and income taxes, and so the the economic activity generated by the sport of fishing is is a very significant aspect of the many people’s lives”

So far this license year, Wisconsin has sold about 310,000 licenses. Since they can be bought online or at a variety of retail stores, local businesses are able to lure customers in.

“They’ll come in to get the fishing license and you get the boat launch pass at the same time,” said Northwest Outlet employee Scott Miller. “You pick up a couple of lures and a jacket and whatever else you need. It’s kind of a one stop shop in that way.”

Businesses have faced many difficulties over the past couple of years, especially with stock.

“We’re still battling those same supply chain issues,” said Miller. “We’re just doing the best that we can to keep up with it and stay on top of everything and make sure that we have good product here to to serve our customers.”

Northwest Outlet has been able to maintain a full inventory, but there has been a slight increase in some prices.

“We’re doing everything that we possibly can to make sure that we’re trying to limit that because people are seeing price increases with just about anything that they’re that they’re buying,” explained Miller. “We’re trying to make that sting a little bit less wherever we can and take it on the nose where we can afford to and unfortunately, we do have to pass some price increases along. We do everything that we can to limit that.”

Despite the price increases and the late start to spring, people are hooked on fishing and excited for the opener.

“We’re seeing about the same, if not a little bit more traffic through the store this year, which is really nice to see,” said Miller. “People are still excited about getting out and enjoying the area, enjoying the weather now that we’re finally starting to see some more spring instead of that extended winter nonsense that we were dealing with.”

Before moving full stream ahead, the Wisconsin DNR recommends checking their website for updates on the latest fishing regulation.