For the first time in 10 years, wildlife officials in Utah are proposing an increase in the cost of fishing licenses for adults in the state.
At the same time, the new proposal seeks to reduce the cost of fishing licenses for teens aged 14 to 17.
The Division of Wildlife Resources is recommending an increase in the cost of a 365-day fishing or hunting license for residents aged 18 to 65 years. If approved, the license fee for that age group would increase from $26 to $34. A combination license, which allows the holder to fish and hunt, would increase from $30 to $38.
However, younger anglers would save some money under the DWR proposal. Right now, an angler who turns 14 must buy the same license adults buy, but the DWR is proposing a separate license for young anglers. Instead of buying a license for $26, anglers between 14 and 17 years old could buy a 365-day license for $16. A combination license for those aged 14 to 17 would also be available for $20.
For anglers aged 12 to 13, the annual fee for a fishing license would remain at $5. For those aged 65 and older, the fee would increase from $21 to $25.
The strategy behind the proposal for a separate, less expensive license for teens is to get more young people interested in fishing and hunting, and to get them to spend more time outdoors. A new law allowing school classes and other nonprofit youth groups to arrange free fishing trips at community fisheries in the state, which took effect July 1 of this year, has the same goal, said Phil Douglass, conservation outreach manager for the DWR’s Northern Region.
The DWR is also proposing that anglers not be required to buy a separate two-pole permit if they want to fish with two fishing poles. Anyone with a Utah fishing license could fish with two poles at no extra cost.
Other proposed changes to the fishing fee schedule include creating a multi-year fishing license of up to five years for $33 a year; eliminating the one-day license and replacing it with a three-day license for $24; and reducing the price of a veteran disability license from $21 to $12.
The changes are designed to provide the DWR the funding it needs to continue providing quality fishing opportunities in the face of rising operational costs. If approved, the fishing license fee increase would be the first in Utah since 2003. The changes, which would take effect in 2015, are expected to bring in more than $3.2 million in additional revenue, which DWR director Greg Sheehan said is needed to cover higher costs within the agency.
The DWR is also recommending several changes for Utah’s upcoming waterfowl hunt. The changes include holding the state’s Youth Hunting Day on Sept. 28 (one week before the general hunt begins), splitting Utah’s two Canada goose hunting zones into three zones, restricting duck hunters to no more than two wood ducks a day, and changing motorboat access at the Public Shooting Grounds and Clear Lake waterfowl management areas.
Details of all the proposed changes are available online at www.wildlife.utah.gov/public_meetings/info/2013-07_rac_packet.pdf. After reviewing the recommendations, plan on sharing your ideas at an upcoming Regional Advisory Council meeting. Council chairs will share the input they receive at the meetings with members of the Utah Wildlife Board when the board meets Aug. 22 in Salt Lake City. The Utah Legislature would have to give final approval for any of the changes to take effect.
In Northern Utah, a public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 7 at the Brigham City Community Center, located at 24 N. 300 West in Brigham City.