Take Me Fishing” Campaign Launches as Season Opens

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“DES MOINES – Iowa is teaming up with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and 29 other states in a national campaign this spring to encourage more people to get out on the water and go fishing.

“Fishing is a great way for Iowans to spend time with their families and friends and enjoy the outdoors,” said DNR Director Richard Leopold. “Fishing is fun, it’s affordable, and with hundreds of lakes and waterways across the state, it’s accessible to anyone.”

Iowa and other partners in the Take Me Fishing™ campaign are using a coordinated approach to encourage anglers to participate in fishing. In May and June, TV and radio ads sponsored by the national RBFF organization will air in Iowa and across the nation. Additionally, this past week the Iowa DNR sent 40,000 post cards to “lapsed” anglers – folks who didn’t buy a license a year ago — urging them to purchase a license and create a memory for someone by taking them fishing.

“We hope people think of their own special memories fishing as a kid, and pass that tradition on to others,” said Marion Conover, DNR Fisheries Bureau Chief. “Iowa is a great place to fish, and spring is when the fishing really heats up for those easy-to-catch shore fish like blue gill and crappie.”

“It’s a perfect time to take kids out and introduce them to this outdoor experience,” added Conover.

Research has shown that anglers list spending time with family and friends as among the top reasons they fish, and that fishing builds a stronger connection and stewardship for lakes and rivers and the fish and other aquatic life in them.

Sales of Iowa’s annual resident fishing license purchases have held steady at around 300,000 per year. Nationally, however, participation in fishing declined 12 percent between 2001 to 2006, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

Getting anglers back on the water and buying fishing licenses is important because every license dollar goes directly to natural resources, helping maintain Iowa’s fish populations, healthy waters and aquatic conservation efforts. Additionally, for every license Iowa sells, it receives $10 in federal funding from excise tax on the sale of fishing gear.

According to Frank Peterson, president and CEO of RBFF, individual anglers can help make the Take Me Fishing campaign successful. “Take someone fishing who has never been, or who hasn’t been in a long time,” he says. “You’ll build the memories of a lifetime, generate more money to invest in Iowa’s fisheries through the sale of fishing licenses, tackle and motorboat fuel, and help nurture the next generation of caretakers for Iowa’s great fishing and boating activities.”

RBFF has invested in 30-second radio commercials in Iowa and other participating states. It also has designed posters, print advertising and other materials for the partners to use, and provided grant money to states like Iowa for its direct mail efforts. Its centerpiece is a new TakeMeFishing.org Web site, where anglers can find tips on fishing tackle to use, fishing techniques, fish identification, maps showing lakes and rivers to fish and boat, and links back to all states’ fisheries programs.

According to Conover, sport fishing in Iowa generates $580 million in economic impact, supports more than 6,369 jobs, and generates $35 million in state and local taxes.

In Iowa, fishing licenses can be purchased on the Internet at www.iowadnr.gov, or at hundreds of local retailers and bait shops across the state.

For more information, contact Julie Tack, Iowa DNR (515) 281-8665 or Heather Sieber, RBFF (703) 778-5160