Popularity in fishing has surged in Ohio during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lake Metroparks fishing
Posted at 6:45 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 06:55:40-04

CLEVELAND — If you've got cabin fever and you're itching to travel and get outdoors, there's one sport and hobby that's not slowing down anytime soon thanks to the pandemic.

A spike in license sales in Ohio over the past year shows that more people are giving it a try.

"We saw a nearly 80% increase in fishing license sales, which created a total of about nine hundred and thirty thousand anglers license statewide," Ohio Department of Natural Resources fisheries management supervisor Curt Wagner said.

Last year was also the first year that ODNR raised the costs of a one-year fishing license from $19 to $25.

But all the sales help fund wildlife habitat improvement, which is getting a big boost right now.

"And so a fishing license sales is doing much more than just allowing you to fish. It's really promoting and funding conservation," Wagner said.

Local fish bait and supply stores are noticing a difference in numbers as well.

Frank Kaesberger's been running his tackle company in Cleveland for 35 years and he's been seeing more customers.

"People have come in and they've never been fishing before or they want to take kids fishing," Kaesberger said.

He said getting supplies has been challenging and prices are going up on items across the board.

"Some of the worst things that we found the hurdles are is to get the merchandise. Unfortunately, 90% of what I sell is all made overseas," Kaesberger said. "This year is worse than last year as far as supply chains."

However, he said right now his store is stocked pretty well compared to bigger chains that have had no inventory.

"And, of course, as you can see behind me, we have just about everything," Kaesberger said.

If you're considering getting a fishing license, click here.