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Anglers Take the Pledge to Take Someone Fishing

April 05, 2007

More than 1,400 anglers so far have joined Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Commissioner Mark Holsten in a pledge to introduce at least one acquaintance to fishing each year.

Holsten and the anglers signed an Anglers' Legacy pledge at the recent Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis. The pledge is part of a DNR effort to help first-time anglers understand and appreciate fishing as a healthy, fun life-long activity.

“Today, kids and young adults aren't fishing at the levels of previous generations,” said Holsten. “And yet research shows that most kids and adults would gladly go fishing if only someone would ask them. This year, I will introduce someone new to fishing and I hope other avid anglers will do the same.”

Among anglers who signed the pledge at the Sportshow were noted sportsman Ron Schara, Gary “Mr. Walleye” Roach, outdoor media personalities Tim Lesmeister, Mike Kurre, Billy Hildebrand and northern Minnesota guide Tom Neustrom.

Schara explained why he signed the pledge. “It may sound corny, but fishing has been important to my life,” said Schara. “So what better thing for me to do than to pass on that joy to other people. That's why I believe and support the Anglers' Legacy program.”

Schara also said he had never met a child who didn't have an inherent fascination with fish and the idea of fishing. “It's inate,” he said, “but sadly kids for one reason or another don't get the chance to explore that fascination.”

Neustrom shared a similar sentiment. “Fishing is such a great way to have positive experiences with kids. As anglers, it just makes sense to support a program that combines fishing, friendship and the joys of the out of doors.”

Though Minnesota maintains a strong fishing tradition, fewer young people are picking up the sport. In the 1970s, about 40 percent of Minnesota's population age 16 and over held a fishing license. Today, angling participation for that same age group has dropped to 29 percent.

Ron Payer, DNR fisheries chief, encourages avid anglers to take the pledge to pass on the tradition of fishing. “The pledge approach asks anglers to give back what they have been given,” said Payer. “It's simple. Still, it has the potential to be life-changing for those who are extended an invitation to go fishing.”

To take the pledge, visit the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation Web site at www.anglerslegacy.org.

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