ST. PAUL -- It’s looking more like last summer’s COVID-19-inspired rush to go fishing was a one-time blip, with Minnesota fishing license sales now down 6% from 2021 and back to levels common in previous years.

Data from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources shows 50,000 fewer people have purchased 2021 fishing licenses compared to 2020, with sales through the July 4 weekend included.

Individual resident license sales are down 4% from last year while combination (husband/wife) sales are down 22%, conservation licenses (reduced limits) are down 21% and resident youth (ages 16 and 17) license sales dropped 24%.

There’s good news for resorts and tourism businesses, however. Nonresident individual license sales are up again, by 13% from last year, while nonresident 24-hour licenses, often sold for one-time charter fishing trips, are up 20%. The 65,478 nonresident individual licenses sold so far are by far the most in recent years, likely inspired in part by the ongoing closure of the Canadian border.

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So far this year the state has sold 826,112 fishing licenses of all types, down from 876,894 at this point last summer but still higher than 786,951 in 2019 and 805,944 in 2018. This year's sales remain well below 2015, 2016 and 2017 levels at this point of summer.

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