The cold spring apparently has slowed sales of Minnesota fishing licenses.

Sales through Monday are down 21 percent compared with the same time last year.

"We think it's likely the cool spring weather,'' said Ed Boggess, DNR Fish and Wildlife Division director. "And last year we had an early, warm spring and sold a lot of licenses early.''

Sales are down just 9 percent from 2009 and are up about 1.5 percent from 2008, which was another cold spring, Boggess noted. The DNR had sold 344,189 licenses through Monday. Last year, the agency had sold 435,270 licenses.

Boggess said the last time gas prices were high, the DNR saw license sales spike because people stayed in the state and went fishing instead of traveling elsewhere.

"It's too early to say if there's any reason for alarm,'' Boggess said. "We've seen a similar pattern of license sales when we've had a cool spring. But we'll obviously be watching it closely.''