Plenty of positives on the fishing scene

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

When looking at some soon-to-be released statistics, there are plenty of positives on the fishing scene.

Participants in the sport have increased and in some areas dramatically, according to the Outdoor Foundation Outdoor Recreation Participation Report and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Historical Fishing License Sales Data both which will be released in July, according to the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF). The USFWS issues an update on license sales data each year, including tags, permits and stamps, as well as the gross cost of fishing licenses sold.

There were a number of other areas that showed increases.

The report highlights participation and trends across the entirety of outdoor recreation, including fishing, hiking, biking and more. It includes additional information on fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region,

A sneak preview shows a dramatic increase for first-time anglers. A total of 3 million participants had their first fishing experience in 2017. That’s a whopping increase of 21 percent from the 2.5 million in 2016

Another huge increase came among Hispanic participation. That segment increased 11 percent with 4.2 million participants in 2017.

A total of 49.1 million people fished in 2017, an increase of 4 percent. With an increase of 1.3 percent increase in fishing license sales, that pushed the total increase over the past 10 years to 4.3 percent.

Looking at different groups, figures show an increase of 5.4 percent in youth (6-17) participation to 11.6 million. Female participation also rose as it increased 3.1 percent to from 17.1 million.

“As we continue to move closer to our 60 in 60 goal, news like this is incredibly encouraging,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “It’s obvious that the work RBFF and the industry are doing is working. More and more consumers are realizing the joys of fishing, and with fishing being the number one activity done from a boat. Perhaps most importantly, all this means more funding for critical conservation programs across the nation.”

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Road closures will affect outdoor enthusiasts on a pair of wildlife areas in northwest Ohio.

The one in Magee Marsh Wildlife Area near Oak Harbor was planned while the one in Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area was not.

The entrance road to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area closes Friday and will remain closed until Sept. 1 for bridge replacements. The road to Metzger Marsh is closed until further notice due to high water damage,

The road on Metzger Marsh, located in Curtice, was damaged by high water in recent storms and is currently unsafe for car traffic, but is accessible by foot. The road will be closed from the boat ramp to the pier, however the boat ramp will remain open. The time frame for repairs to the road is unknown at this time.

Bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts are reminded during the time of the bridge replacements in Magee Marsh,the wildlife area and the Sportsman’s Migratory Bird Center will not be accessible. Access to Black Swamp Bird Observatory will not be affected.

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We haven’t reached the first day of summer yet, but it’s not too early to think about hunting.

The application period for controlled deer and waterfowl hunts begin Friday and runs through July 31. These hunts take place on special areas.

Interested hunters may complete their application online using Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System at There is a non-refundable application fee of $3 per hunt.All applicants - youth and adult - must possess a 2018-2019 Ohio hunting license and meet the age requirements to apply for a controlled hunt.

Hunters randomly will be drawn from submitted applications. Successful applicants will be notified and provided additional hunt information by mail and email. Applicants are encouraged to visit Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System online to view the status of their application and, if selected, print their controlled hunt permit.

More specific information about can be found at on the controlled hunts page. For more specific information. This includes hunt dates and locations, including opportunities dedicated to youth, women and mobility-impaired hunters,.

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The Division of Wildlife (DOW) is asking wildlife watchers for their help. The agency wants public participation in conducting surveys of wild turkeys.

The DOW conducts an annual turkey brood survey to estimate population growth. This survey relies on the public to report observations of all wild turkeys seen during May, June, July and August. People can report observations at the new wildlife species sighting webpage at

Information submitted to the brood survey helps to predict future population changes and guide wild turkey management in the state. More than 2,800 turkeys were reported during the 2017 survey timeframe, with an average of 1.8 young turkeys (poults) per adult hen turkey. This average was below the long-term average of 2.4 poults per adult hen.6g

State and county population information is available online at Biologists began tracking summer observations of wild turkeys in 1962.

By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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