ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Recent data from the state Department of Natural Resources shows fewer people are buying fishing licenses in Minnesota.
According to the department the number of licenses sold so far this year is down about 41,000, or 4.8 percent from the same time last year, the Star Tribune reported.
It's also the second-lowest fishing license sales number on record for this period in almost 20 years. The lowest number came in 2013, when the department sold 800,337 angling licenses through the weekend after July 4.
Jenifer Wical, marketing coordinator for the department's Fish & Wildlife Division, said the report fits into long-term trend of lower participation that's concerning. She said it shows that as elder anglers have been leaving the activity, but younger people haven't been taking their places.
Sales this year also could've been hurt by the holiday falling in the middle of the week, along with rainy weather, said Wical.
State officials had hoped the participation decline was because of a spillover effect from the long winter when sales were lagging earlier this season. Experts had doubts that northern lake ice would melt in time for the season opener for walleye and northern pike. The lakes did open, but cold water conditions stifled early catch rates.
"I thought by July 4th they would start to pick up again," Wical said of license sales. "This summer is just not happening the way it normally happens."