Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Fishing brings millions to county

Report: Anglers spent $22 million in 2011


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

A fly fisherman tests his skills on the Big Wood River south of Hailey. Express file photo

    A study released by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game last week shows that fishing brought the state more than $548 million in 2011—the most recent data available.
    The agency’s summary states that the agency conducted a mail survey, sending out 59,200 surveys to Idaho fishing license holders in 2011. Nearly 26,000 anglers returned responses, which the agency compiled into a study.
    The study separated out counties as well as fishing spots, but State Fishery Manager Jeff Dillon said in an email that more specific numbers—i.e., those for certain fishing spots—might be “influenced” by small sample sizes.
    “For example, the mean trip cost on Silver Creek was $426 in 2011, compared to $246 in 2003,” he said. “This increase is probably related to one or two anglers who told us they spent thousands of dollars to fish there, skewing the average up more than expected.”
    Dillon also noted that 2011 was a “wet year,” with nearly-full reservoirs and high rivers.
    In Blaine County, anglers spent an average of $233 per trip, and the average trip lasted 1.9 days. However, anglers took about 98,527 trips in Blaine County in 2011, bringing total spending to just under $23 million—not including the cost of fishing licenses and permits, which brought an additional $430,438 to the county.
    The report states that anglers spent the most money fishing the Big Wood River, at $9.9 million in 2011. Though anglers made fewer trips to the Big Wood River than they did to Magic Reservoir—25,539 trips as opposed to 41,820—anglers visiting the Big Wood spent far more on restaurants, groceries, fishing supplies, transportation, guides and motels than those visiting Magic. Magic Reservoir anglers spent about $4.5 million in 2011.
    Silver Creek brought an estimated $5.2 million to the Blaine County economy in 2011, while Little Wood Reservoir and Gaver Lagoon, the fishing pond at the Hayspur Fish Hatchery outside of Picabo, brought in $952,000 and $398,000 respectively.
    Spending by anglers in Blaine County ranked ninth in the state. Statewide, anglers spent $548.4 million on fishing trips and an additional $15 million on fishing licenses and permits. Anglers made 2,772,547 trips in 2011 and spent an average of $197.78 per trip.  
    Spending related to the Big Wood River averaged $391 per trip in 2011; angler spending in Blaine County was an average of $233 per trip, well above the state average.
Kate Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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