Fishing brings enjoyment and economic boost

Trudging through thick brush along the riverbank, listening to the constant buzzing of mosquitos under the hot summer sun might not sound like a lot of fun. But for many people, with a fishing rod in their hand, it’s one of the few ways to get outdoors and really enjoy life.

Lucky for those of us who fish, the Upper Peninsula’s wilderness is full of brooks, streams and rivers that are prime spots to dip a line, and the many inland lakes, as well as the Great Lakes, offer a whole other type of fishing opportunity and experiences to be enjoyed.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources recently announced its spring and summer fish stocking efforts, through which 11 distinct species of fish and one hybrid were released in waterways throughout the state.

The DNR set free slightly more than 25.47 million fish. Those finned creatures combined weighed more than 320 tons.

It took 19 specialized stocking trucks more than 380 trips to bring the fish from the hatcheries to the nearly 760 stocking sites. The DNR said those trucks added more than 103,000 miles to their odometers over the course of about 3,052 hours of driving.

“We had excellent spring and summer stocking seasons that will bring significant benefits and fishing opportunities to Michigan anglers,” Ed Eisch, DNR fish production manager, said in a recent news release.

Besides being a competitive endeavor, whether pursued professionally in tournaments or more for bragging rights among friends, fishing is a pastime for many people across the Upper Peninsula and a way to get in touch with nature.

But beyond that, it’s also a pretty serious industry.

In 2011, according to the DNR, anglers gave the state’s economy a boost by spending $2.4 billion in trip-related expenses and equipment, and Michigan’s angler participation that year ranked fifth in the U.S., with 1.1 million licensed anglers, drawing more than $11.2 million in federal funds to fish and aquatic habitat conservation.

These are sizable figures however you look at it, and the impact of the fishing industry on the state is an obvious benefit.

The work the DNR crews did should be commended, and the millions of fish that were stocked should be considered a valuable piece in Michigan’s fishing industry and a worthwhile contribution to our state’s economy.

Now that we’ve passed the equinox, and with the leaves changing color and the mosquitos dying off, autumn is one of the best fishing seasons of the year. Then again, the others aren’t so bad either.