Photo by Jenna Reese.

We’re No. 37!

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

There are some 29.2 million registered anglers in the United States, with more than 52 million anglers of all ages wetting a line annually, according to the Outdoor Foundation’s 2022 Special Report on Fishing. A list of the states with the most registered anglers per capita was developed from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data, which were ranked by fishing license holders based on 2021 data and American Community Survey population estimates, with fishing licenses, tags, permits, and stamps per capita serving as a tiebreaker.

What’s more, nearly 13 million kids under 17 went fishing in 2021 — 14% more than did in 2019 pre-pandemic. And while fishing has traditionally been considered a male-dominated activity, nearly 20 million women hit the water in 2021, and over 1.6 million of them did so for the first time.

And here’s an interesting coincidence: of the 50 states, Ohio is ranked 37th in both fishing and hunting categories. Here are our Buckeye State numbers: 

• Paid hunting license holders: 2.9 for every 100 people (346,220 total)

• Hunting license, tags, permits and stamps: 7.4 for every 100 people (870,022 total)

• Cost of hunting licenses, tags, permits & stamps: $24,024,033

• Paid fishing license holders: 6.8 for every 100 people (804,777 total)

• Fishing license, tags, permits and stamps: 7.1 for every 100 people (834,985 total)

• Cost of fishing licenses, tags, permits and stamps: $16,144,366

When researching this information, I found it notable that freshwater fishing has almost twice as many participants as saltwater and fly fishing combined.

Boating education grants awarded 

As part of the effort to keep boaters safe across Ohio, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has awarded more than $200,000 in boating education grants to strengthen or enhance local programs. Eight organizations will receive up to $30,000 each. 

Boating education grants help to purchase of safety equipment, such as kayaks, life jackets, and trailers. The following are this year’s grant recipients: 

Allen County: The Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District will receive $19,252.99 for equipment purchase and to provide adaptive paddling programs, general kayak floats, and a kayak youth camp.

Athens County: Hocking College will receive $30,000 for expansion of Trail and Waterway Guide course and equipment purchase.

Ashtabula County: 4-H Camp Whitewood will receive $30,000 for purchase of kayaks, life jackets, a trailer and other boating equipment to offer daily boating programs to summer camp participants.

Cuyahoga County: The Cleveland Foundry was awarded $29,325.24 for a new rescue boat, sailing equipment, and instructor certification to support year-round sailing and rowing programs to older students and adults.

Erie County: The Sandusky Junior Sailors, Inc. will receive $30,000 to expand sailing classes, purchase new boating equipment, marketing materials, and instructor certification training.

Franklin County: Oakstone Academy was awarded $29,209.04 to develop an adaptive paddling program for students and equipment purchase to support it, and the Simon Kenton Council (Boy Scouts of America) will receive $15,837.11 for the purchase kayak trailers and life jackets for their six-week summer scouting camp.

Perry County: The Sunday Creek Associates will receive $24,648.15 to purchase canoeing equipment and provide beginning canoe skills workshops.

Last year, more than $329,378.01 was awarded to outdoor non-profit organizations, colleges, park districts, and local school districts. The grants are funded by Ohio’s recreational boaters through the Waterways Safety Fund, which is comprised of a share of the state motor fuel tax, watercraft registration and titling fees, and funding from the U.S. Coast Guard. 

ODNR publishes Ohio Boat Operator’s Guide in Spanish 

Speaking of boating, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has made it a little easier for Spanish-speaking Ohio boaters to stay safe on the water. For the first time, ODNR is publishing an Ohio Boat Operator’s Guide in Spanish.

“We want to make sure everyone in Ohio has a fun and safe boating experience,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz said. “This partnership with the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission will help Spanish speaking boaters in Ohio learn the ways of the water, encourage required safety equipment, and ensure boaters have everything they need to make cherished memories on our lakes, rivers, and streams.”

The Ohio Boat Operator’s Guide is a summary of boating laws and rule for Ohio. The publication has helped boaters across Ohio achieve state boating registration and seeks to ensure that new boaters are well-prepared and practicing safe standards on the water. In it is found:

 -Boating Laws Specific to Ohio — Operator Age, Life Jackets, Water Skiing, etc.

-Required Safety Equipment

-Boat Registration and Titling Laws for Ohio

-Sound Signals

-Lighting Requirements

-Buoys and Navigation Markers

Boat operation guide readers will also receive a detailed explanation in Spanish on topics such as basic boating terminology, weather situations and rules of responsibility. ODNR has partnered with the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA) to promote the Ohio Boat Operator’s Guide in Spanish as well as other boating safety information sharing opportunities.

 “We are very pleased to partner with the ODNR to share the boating safety message to Spanish speakers in Ohio,” Executive Director of the Latino Affairs Commission Lilleana Cavanaugh said. “This partnership greatly assists our agency in acting as a liaison to bring the Ohio Boat Operator’s Guide Spanish version as well as other important boating safety information to the Hispanic/Latino community in Ohio.”

A recent study published by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and Discover Boating revealed that Hispanic boaters represent a fast-growing, emerging market of first-time boat buyers. 

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