More people than ever are getting hooked on fishing New hampshire’s lakes, ponds and streams.
In 2011, the most recent numbers available from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, more than 151,000 people bought fishing licenses here, according to Susan Perry, licensing supervisor.
When the numbers are calculated for 2012, Perry said she expects to see an even bigger number. If she does, that would translate into the most fishing licenses sold since 2001.
The numbers have been inching up, gaining about 2,000 a year.
Some credit a poor economy for the increase, others point to the department’s Let’s Go Fishing program, designed to hook children and adults who have never fished on the sport.
“It’s cheap entertainment,” said Howie Glynn, co-owner of Dockside Marina in Salem. “It requires some gear, but it doesn’t cost a fortune to do it.”
He’s had a busy spring, he said, and already has ordered more inventory because sales have been so strong.
“Everything is up,” Glynn said. “Fishing licenses, supplies and even boating licenses.”
That’s good news for tackle and bait shop owners, but it’s also good news for the state.
Fishing generated more than $208 million in revenue in 2011, according to a report done by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. When the last report was done in 2006, revenue was only $172 million.
“It’s tremendous to see that,” said Jane Vachon, public information officer for the Fish and Game Department. “It brings in tourists and it has people spending money.”
She, too, pointed the economics for those who enjoy the sport.
“It has definitely been on the upswing,” Vachon said. “It is a good way to get out and enjoy the outdoors, and not have to spend too much money.”
There’s a new development this spring which could mean it become more competitive, too.