There’s Plannin’ Behind Fishin’
Freshwater anglers spend billions in Texas before ever opening a tackle box
Nightcrawlers, nets, rods, reels, bass boats, bait buckets and – nearly forgot – a fishing license.
You get the picture. There’s lots of money spent before a line is ever cast by fishing enthusiasts in Texas.
Freshwater anglers spend almost $2.4 billion annually in Texas, according to the most recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report detailing the economic benefits of fishing, hunting and wildlife watching in 2006. Freshwater fishing also generated about $227 million in state and local tax revenues and 33,000 jobs.
Texas freshwater lakes and rivers draw more than 1.8 million anglers annually, some looking for a bite of the big one, but many settling for catch and release and a fun day’s fishing.
But few fish translates to few fishermen, so the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) stocks fish in Texas rivers and lakes – more than 27 million in 2010 – creating a potentially positive economic impact.
“Because Texas had no natural lakes except Caddo Lake, stocking was necessary to create a fishery,” says Larry Hodge of TPWD’s Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. “Due to fishing pressure, continued stocking is necessary to maintain most fisheries.”
TPWD develops a statewide stocking plan annually to guide how Texas’ five state-of-the-art fish hatcheries will raise enough fish, mostly several species of bass and catfish, to meet the needs of public waters. According to Hodge, fish stocking is funded mainly with revenues from hunting and fishing licenses. Proceeds from the annual TPWD Toyota Texas Bass Classic buy fish to stock TPWD Neighborhood Fishin’ Lakes in 14 Texas cities. Other cities contribute to the cost of stocking several hundred Community Fishing Lakes across the state. TR