NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In the search for something to do during the coronavirus pandemic, CBS 11 News uncovered new numbers showing tens of thousands of Texans, have gone fishin.’
Texas residents purchased 40,325 freshwater fishing license packages in April, according to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department records. It’s the most licenses sold in a single month during the 2019-2020 season. It’s also a 39-percent increase over the same month last year.READ MORE: 1 Dead After Dallas Trash Collection Workers Attacked At Apartment Complex
That number doesn’t include children under 17, who aren’t required to have a license.
The rush has left racks of lures, weights, rods and reels, empty at times at stores like Olsen’s Pro Am near lake Worth.
“Madness,” was how Maranda Robson described it Friday. “We have just been so busy with new faces, even old faces that have just been coming in more regularly, but everybody wants to be fishing.”
The store is busy seven days a week, and owner Laura Stum said she hadn’t seen anything like it since she had been involved with the store starting in the early 1980’s.READ MORE: Texas Education Agency Ban On School Mask Mandates Sparks Federal Investigation
At the same time, there are shortages of minnows and nightcrawlers used for bait, and disposable Styrofoam cups to sell them in.
Stum said she was having to ration minnows to her wholesale customers, limited to about a third of her usual weekly purchase from hatcheries.
Conversely, license sales to out of state residents and seniors dropped off significantly, with travel restrictions and stay home orders in place. Non-resident one day licenses were down 72-percent over last year.
Despite the increase in anglers, game wardens are not reporting any increase in unlicensed fishing or unusual activity.MORE NEWS: Men Who Fenced Stolen Diamonds From Texas Sentenced To 15+ Years
They wrote 121 citations for fishing without a freshwater license this year during April this year. That was down from 621 during the same period last year.Latest Coronavirus News | Coronavirus Resources