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By Louie Stout

Michigan’s non-resident fishing license sales are starting to bounce back after a substantial price increase two years ago.

Non-resident licenses plummeted 10 percent from 203,773 in 2013 to 184,300 in 2014 following the hike in fees.

However, 2015 saw a 3 percent recovery to 189,414 non-resident fishing sales compared to the year before.

In 2013, Hoosiers paid $34 for a basic Michigan fishing license. That jumped to $75 in 2014, and when officials saw sales dip substantially, they lowered it to $68.

That wasn’t enough to pacify a lot of Indiana residents who continue to boycott. The lack of Hoosier anglers going to Michigan hurt businesses near state borders that cater to fishermen.

However, another noteworthy statistic shows that one- and three-day licenses leaped from 132,300 to 153,747 in 2014 but fell back to nearly 149,000 in 2015. They cost $10 and $30, respectively.

The increase in annual sales and decrease in short-term licenses sales to non-residents likely indicates outsiders are biting the bullet and coming back.

It would certainly fit fiscal managers’ expectations. State DNR’s anticipate drop in license sales following a price increase but those numbers climb back to normal in due time. Furthermore, the price increase still puts more cash in DNR coffers with a bonus $8 million in revenues.

Comparatively, a Michigan resident pays nearly half as much to fish annually in Indiana, a state where there hasn’t been a license increase in years and the money probably is needed more.