This year's surge in fishing activity has leveled off now that the Fourth of July has come and gone, but individual angling license sales have stayed at their highest level in more than 20 years and total license sales are up 11 percent over 2019.
According to the latest data from the Department of Natural Resources, 876,800 fishing licenses of all kinds for the 2020 season were sold by the agency as of the Monday after the Fourth. Not since 2007 have people participated so heavily in Minnesota fishing during the same timeline.
Standard, individual licenses make up the biggest slice of the pie. As of July 6, the DNR had sold more than 391,000 of those licenses, up 19 percent from last year and the most since at least 2000.
But the year-over-year increase in individual fishing licenses stood at 37 percent when data was gathered two months ago -- around the time of the May 9 fishing opener.
A similar slowdown has developed in total fishing license sales. On Monday after the fishing opener, overall sales were up year over year by 27 percent. That margin had slipped to an increase of 11 percent, year over year, as of the Monday after the Fourth.
One of the highlights of the COVID-19 fishing story has been the huge increase in license sales to teenagers. As of July 6, that trend was still obvious in the data. By that date, the DNR had sold 31,455 "resident youth'' fishing licenses, up a whopping 34 percent from 2019.
Stamp sales also have exploded. As of July 6, walleye validations were up 47 percent from 2019 while trout validations were 19 percent higher than they were a year ago.