Iowa DNR says the pandemic spawned more interest in fishing

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 9:44 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI) - If you’re fishing for a new hobby this spring, a lot of Iowans have landed a big one because of the pandemic.

Iowans will see more opportunities to get outdoors and go fishing because the Iowa Department of Natural Resources noticed the 2020 uptick, according to a report by KCCI.

Resident fishing licenses increased 38% in 2020, with 320,000 sold. With that growth, they’re making plans for this season.

The Department of Natural Resources runs a statewide fishing program, called Fish Local. State biologists work with cities and counties to keep ponds on track and improving.

With the pandemic, they’ve been working to incorporate more areas close to people’s homes.

“There’s 116 public fisheries here in the Des Moines Metro, 118 if you count Saylorville and Big Creek. So, as these cities continue to expand, those storm water retention basins become more prevalent, and that’s where we come in to help make those into fisheries,” Iowa DNR Community Fishing Biologist Tyler Stubbs told KCCI.

Plus, the money from your fishing license comes right back into Iowa, funding fishing management, stocking and research.

The DNR is also providing resources in hopes that the trend will continue this spring.

The interactive map from their Fish Local website shows where you can cast a line in Iowa. Clicking any spot will lead to more details, like what kind of fish you can catch there.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says they saw a significant spike in people fishing in those ponds during the pandemic.

“Especially during COVID, we noticed a lot of the smaller communities that have some ponds, said ‘hey, how do we make these better for our residents? We’re seeing a lot of people use these things.’ So, it’s really turned into a statewide effort.” Stubbs said.

The interest led to a shortage in fishing rods and reels, life jackets and other outdoor recreation items as well.

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