As many of you may know, a new law has just taken effect, which now requires all Hoosier senior anglers to purchase a fishing license. For years, Indiana seniors have not been required to purchase a fishing license, costing the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) millions of dollars in federal funding. Each year, the federal government taxes fishing equipment and boat fuel for the Dingell-Johnson tax and at the end of the year, divvies out the collections to each state based on the number of licensed fisherman. Since Hoosier anglers over the age of 65 were not required to get a fishing license, Indiana lost $7.90 per license, adding up to millions of dollars in just a few years.
Senior anglers, age 64 or older, will now have the choice to purchase either a $17 "fish for life" license or a $3 annual license. Those who were born before April 1, 1943 are exempt from purchasing a license.
In 2006, 5,460 Hoosiers age 64 purchased fishing licenses and if they all continue to a buy license, the state would gain over $44,000 in 2008, from the federal government. In 10 years, this adds up to $2.3 million for the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife. I did not want to require seniors to get a fishing license, but it is the best way to get our hard earned Hoosier dollars back from the federal government.
Hoosiers who purchase fishing licenses will reap the benefits of the revenue collected. The additional funds will be used to assist in the maintenance of the eight fish hatcheries and over 350 fishing sites that DNR operates. The eight hatcheries provide more than 20 million fish of 15 different species, which are used to stock public waterways. All of the hatcheries are over 20 years old, so maintenance and upkeep can become costly. The public fishing sites that DNR maintain are also in need of assistance. Many of the lakes and streams lack public access, and the increased funding will provide the money needed to construct boat ramps, parking lots, entrance roads and maintenance projects.
All fishing licenses may be purchased online at www.in.gov/DNR or at local area retailers such as Wal-Mart. If you have any additional questions concerning this legislation, please feel free to contact my office. I can be reached at 1-800-382-9841 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also possible to write me at 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204. I look forward to hearing any of your questions or concerns.
Visit us online at www.in.gov/legislative