Arizona reaches 10-year high on fishing license sales

April 1, 2019

Fishing is more popular in Arizona than it’s been in the past decade, according to the Arizona Governor’s Office.

The governor’s office reported more than 510,000 fishing licenses sold during the 2018-19 fiscal year, an increase of about 40,000 licenses over numbers 10 years prior. Fishing is on the rise throughout Arizona, and anglers from across the country are taking notice.

Lake Havasu National Wildlife Refuge Manager Richard Meyers occasionally receives phone calls from fishermen interested in fishing Havasu’s waters.

“I was on the phone earlier with a man from the East Coast,” Meyers said Monday. “He wanted to come out and fly fish for panfish, because of stories he’s heard about them. It’s definitely popular, and we’re seeing a lot more people out fishing on the Colorado River.”

Lake Havasu has become famous in recent years for its redear sunfish, including one record-breaking sunfish caught in 2014, as well as largemouth, smallmouth and striped bass. The lake’s fish have also attracted the interest of sporting events such as Bassmaster Elite, as well as dozens of fishing tournaments each year.

“All evidence suggests fishing in Lake Havasu is continuing to grow,” said former Lake Havasu Marine Association President Jim Salscheider. “We’re now home to more bass fishing tournaments than any other lake in the West. The city supports it, the Arizona Fish and Game Department supports it, and fishing is on the rise. We have winter fishing here – they don’t have that in the north – and Lake Havasu seems to be much more popular among boaters than other lakes in California.”

While Lake Havasu remains a popular fishing destination, Arizona law requires all anglers age 10 or older to procure a fishing license before baiting their hooks. Fishing licenses can be purchased online, or a license can be purchased from licensed dealers throughout Lake Havasu City.

Fishing licenses cost $37 for Arizona residents or $55 for non-residents. Residents older than 70, who can verify 25 years of residence in Arizona, are eligible for a complimentary license, as are disabled veterans.