DES MOINES, Iowa — During the height of the pandemic, indoor activities were extremely limited. This caused people to go and explore the great outdoors leading to a nationwide and statewide record of fishing licenses sold.
Fast forward to 2021, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said that there is a decrease in sales of licenses.
“We are down about 50,000 overall from 390,000 to 340,000 license sales [in 2021] and that is through the end of July,” Jeff Kopaska, a fisheries biometrician said. “We see about 90 percent of our sales in those first seven months of the year, so we are going to see that level of reduction probably continued through the end of the year.”
Even though there is a decrease in licenses sold in 2021, this year beats out 2018 and 2019. This is good news for the DNR as it shows more people might be willing to buy licenses year after year. One note that Kopaska added was that non-resident fishing licenses are still on par with where they were last year.
“We are seeing really high numbers of non-residents coming into the state to fish this year, very similar to last year,” Kopaska said.
With more anglers being out on the water, a local fisherman enjoys seeing more people participate. But with the increased numbers over the last couple years, there has also been an increase in litter.
“The fact that people disrespect and leaves trash and litter really troubles me, so that is probably the only downfall because of the pandemic,” said Chris Tilley, an Ames Resident and lifelong angler.
The DNR is expected to stock bodies of water throughout the state with trout as the year winds down. Kopaska encourages anyone who wants to fish to get out there as the bite will be great for the next two months.