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More Montanans turn to fishing as a COVID-19 pastime

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Posted at 9:03 AM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-13 11:03:15-04

The COVID-19 pandemic is keeping more people away from work and school, it seems they've turned to fishing to stay busy.

Numbers released by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks show a 44% jump in the sale of resident fishing licenses over last year.

Last year at this time the agency sold 68,629 licenses for the season. So far this year that number is 98,892.

A two-day resident license is also available to Montana residents, and those are also seeing a slight increase, with 260 having been sold this year compared to 221 sold last year.

However, the pandemic also means a drop in the purchase of non-resident fishing licenses. Those drops are observed in two-day and 10-day non-resident fishing licenses.

FWP spokesman Bob Gibson believes this is due to the 14-day quarantine as many out-of-state visitors usually purchase them for a guided trip down Montana’s rivers.

The sale of two-day non-resident fishing licenses has seen a big drop year to date, with 2,530 having been sold this year compared to the 6,708 sold last year. There’s also a big drop for the 10-day non-resident license, with 754 sold so far this year, and 2,020 sold in 2019.

But a look at the number of non-resident licenses sold for the season appears to be steady, despite the 14-day quarantine out of state visitors.
According to the agency, 8,871 have been sold so far in 2020 and 8,796 were sold last year, resulting in a slight increase.