If fishing is your game, you might want to take the luring call of California lakes with a grain of salt. Trade Only Today just brought word that the California Sportfishing League announced their study results that show the annual fishing license sales in the Golden State have dropped almost 55 percent since 1980.
Unfortunately, this drop has nothing to do with population trends—if anything, the state has brought in more residents with 23 million people swelling to over 38 million in that same timeframe.
So what caused the drop?
Most likely the fact that California fishing licenses now cost 66 percent more than the average amount in other states bordering the coast, according to the NMMA, and cost 76 percent more than that of all states, according to the study.
It goes on to explain, “In 1980, California’s annual fishing license fee was a mere $5. Today, California’s annual resident fishing license is the second-highest in the country, at $47.01 for a base ‘annual’ license, excluding permits and stamps that a substantial number of anglers are required to purchase throughout the year.”
Adding up how much you could pay for all the possible permits and stamps, the cost for fees alone could rise higher than $120 per calendar year, without even accounting for the added expense of transportation, food, tackle, etc. For families of avid anglers who like to go on fishing trips together, this unfortunately equates to hundreds of dollars.
A California Sportfishing League press release sums up the response well when it said, “California’s recreational anglers have become increasingly frustrated with the state for increasing the cost of fishing, all the while imposing greater barriers to access and constantly adding new and burdensome regulations."
Hopefully studies such as this one will encourage positive change that will better invite anglers out there to enjoy this beautiful region, no matter their age and income, rather than inhibit it.